By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 1 Comments
    Stinging Nettle

    Stinging nettle is native to Europe, but it has become established in North America and now grows in Canada and throughout the United States. It is best known for its ability to provoke an impressive …

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 4 Comments
    St. John’s Wort

    Overview St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been used in Europe for treating mood disorders and has become very popular in the United States. The plant itself is a perennial native to Eur…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Slippery Elm

    Slippery elm trees are native to North America and grow in moist but not waterlogged woods of eastern Canada and the United States. The colonists were familiar with the use of bark from other elm spec…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Siberian Ginseng

    This shrub, a Russian relative of China's popular herb ginseng, also grows in northeast China, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, and in Korea. In Russia, it occurs in forest undergrowth and…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Senna

    Senna (Senna alexandrina) has a place in medical history going back to the ninth century when Arabian physicians introduced Europeans to this powerful laxative. The plant is native to the Nile in S…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Scullcap

    Scullcap is a member of the mint family and a native of North America, where it thrives in moist woodlands. Common names for it include helmetflower, hoodwort, and mad-dog weed (from its introduction …

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 1 Comments
    Saw Palmetto

    Saw palmetto, also called sabal palm, grows in the southeastern United States. Its dark berries were traditionally made into a tea and taken for urinary problems or sexual difficulties. During much of…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Red Clover

    This familiar plant is native to Europe, northern Africa, and central Asia, but red clover is also grown for pasturage and as a rotation crop in the Americas and Australia. (Nodules on the roots fix n…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 4 Comments
    Psyllium

    Psyllium seeds (also known as blond psyllium or ispaghula) are derived from a species of plantain that is native to India and Iran. The seeds are small and reddish-brown, with no distinctive aroma an…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Pau d’Arco

    Pau d'arco, known as lapacho colorado in Argentina and Paraguay and as ipe roxo in Brazil, is a good example of the lure of the exotic. This South American native has been used medicinally by several …

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Passion Flower

    Several species of Passiflora are native to the Americas, but the one generally used as a botanical is P. incarnata. This perennial vine grows wild in the southeastern United States as far north as Vi…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Oregon Grape

    Barberry, B. vulgaris, was highly regarded as a useful and even necessary herb in Europe from Elizabethan times and through the eighteenth century. The English settlers brought it with them to America…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 1 Comments
    Milk Thistle

    Milk thistle, also referred to as St. Mary's thistle, lady thistle, or holy thistle, originated in the Mediterranean region and was grown and used as a vegetable throughout Europe. It was brought to t…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Ma Huang

    Ma huang, Chinese ephedra, was used to treat asthma, or at least wheezing, five thousand years ago. The Herbal Classic of the Divine Plowman described it as an herb of "middle class," referring to its…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 2 Comments
    Licorice

    The roots of this plant are widely used, not only in European herbal medicine but also in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia. In China and parts of Russia, the species used is G. uralensis; it is k…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 2 Comments
    Lemon Balm

    Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is originally a native of the Mediterranean area and western Asia, but it has long been popular in Western Europe, including England. It is frequently used as an attr…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Kava

    Kava (or kava-kava) has an important place in the cultures of many islands of the South Pacific. Traditionally, it was painstakingly prepared and consumed with great ceremony and considered a sacred d…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 1 Comments
    Juniper

    This small evergreen is one of several juniper species native to the northern hemisphere. It has the distinction, however, of being the principal flavoring for a commonly used alcoholic beverage, gin.…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Horse Chestnut

    Horse chestnut trees originated in northern India, the Caucasus, and northern Greece but have long been grown throughout Europe. Relatives in the same genus grow in the United States as California buc…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Hops

    Hops have been used to flavor beer for nearly a thousand years. This plant, a member of the same family as marijuana, is cultivated commercially in England, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the United…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 1 Comments
    Hawthorn

    Hawthorn is a small thorny tree with white flowers and red berries that grows in England and throughout Europe. C. laevigata is only one species; related species have slightly different chemical profi…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Guggul

    Guggul (Goo-gall) is a resin from a tree native to India. This resin has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, which combined it with other plant products to cleanse and rejuvenate the body, especiall…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Green Tea

    Until a few years ago, tea might have seemed more appropriately addressed in a cookbook than in a book about herbs. This beverage is probably the most frequently consumed in the world after plain wate…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Grapeseed

    Seeds of the fruit of the vine, once discarded as waste after the juice was pressed out for wine, have become the source of a popular dietary supplement. Grapes were first cultivated near the Caspian …

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Gotu Kola

    This Asian species is reputed to bring long life to the user. According to the Sinhalese proverb: "Two leaves a day will keep old age away." As the story goes, people in Sri Lanka noticed that elephan…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 1 Comments
    Goldenseal

    Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is a perennial plant that grows wild in wooded areas of North America, from New England to the southern Appalachians, and west to Arkansas and Minnesota. The Cheroke…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Ginseng

    Ginseng has been used for more than two millennia in China, where the earliest written description of its use appeared in a medical book written during the Han dynasty, before a.d. 100. At that time,…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 0 Comments
    Ginkgo

    Ginkgo biloba is one of the most popular botanical medicines in both Europe and America, but Chinese healers take the prize. They have been using this ancient tree for thousands of years to treat asth…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 2 Comments
    Ginger

    Ginger is a popular seasoning for foods in many different cuisines. In China and Southeast Asia where it probably originated, it has also been put to a range of medicinal purposes. It is considered go…

    By: Joe Graedon October 18, 2005 4 Comments
    Garlic

    Garlic is valued in many parts of the world for its pungent aroma and flavor. It is possible that garlic's biological activity and popularity in Mediterranean cuisines contribute to the healthful effe…