Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Uses and Identification
11. Acer negundo
13. Acer platanoides
14. Acer rubrum
15. Acer saccharinum
16. Acer tataricum
19. Achillea alpina
20. Achillea atrata
23. Achillea nobilis
26. Aconitum anthora
29. Acorus calamus
31. Actaea racemosa
32. Actaea spicata
36. Adiantum pedatum
39. Adonis annua
40. Adonis vernalis
44. Aechmea serrata
45. Aeginetia indica
51. Aesculus pavia
52. Aethusa cynapium
54. Agave americana
59. Agrostis canina
63. Aira praecox
64. Ajuga genevensis
66. Ajuga reptans
67. Albizia lebbeck
68. Alcea rosea
72. Aletris farinosa
76. Allium angulosum
77. Allium canadense
78. Allium carinatum
79. Allium cepa
82. Allium flavum
83. Allium lineare
85. Allium moly
86. Allium moschatum
87. Allium nutans
88. Allium obliquum
89. Allium ochotense
90. Allium oleraceum
91. Allium ramosum
92. Allium roseum
93. Allium sativum
96. Allium senescens
100. Allium triquetrum
101. Allium ursinum
102. Allium victorialis
103. Allophylus cobbe
106. Alnus glutinosa
108. Aloe perfoliata
109. Aloe variegata
111. Alopecurus pratensis
112. Althaea cannabina
113. Althaea officinalis
114. Alyssum spinosum
115. Amaranthus blitum
117. Amaranthus caudatus
119. Amaranthus hybridus
122. Amaranthus spinosus
123. Amaranthus tricolor
124. Amaryllis belladonna
125. Amberboa moschata
127. Ambrosia trifida
128. American ginseng
129. Amethystea caerulea
130. Ammi majus
131. Amorpha fruticosa
132. Ampelopsis arborea
135. Anacamptis morio
138. Anacyclus valentinus
140. Anagallis arvensis
143. Anchusa arvensis
144. Anchusa officinalis
145. Andromeda polifolia
147. Androsace alpina
148. Androsace lactea
150. Androsace villosa
151. Anemone apennina
152. Anemone coronaria
153. Anemone hepatica
154. Anemone hortensis
156. Anemone nemorosa
157. Anemone quinquefolia
159. Anemone sylvestris
160. Anemone trifolia
161. Anemone virginiana
162. Anethum graveolens
165. Angelica lucida
166. Angelica sylvestris
168. Annona glabra
169. Annona muricata
170. Annona reticulata
171. Annona squamosa
172. Anoda cristata
173. Antennaria alpina
174. Antennaria dioica
176. Anthemis arvensis
177. Anthemis cotula
178. Anthericum liliago
179. Anthericum ramosum
182. Anthyllis cytisoides
183. Anthyllis montana
184. Anthyllis vulneraria
185. Antirrhinum majus
187. Apium graveolens
189. Apocynum cannabinum
190. Apocynum venetum
191. Aquilegia canadensis
192. Aquilegia vulgaris
193. Arabidopsis lyrata
194. Arabidopsis thaliana
195. Arabis alpina
196. Arabis glabra
197. Arachis hypogaea
198. Aralia chinensis
199. Aralia nudicaulis
200. Aralia racemosa
201. Aralia spinosa
202. Arbutus unedo
204. Arctium lappa
206. Areca catechu
207. Arenaria ciliata
209. Arethusa bulbosa
210. Argemone mexicana
211. Argentina anserina
213. Arisaema dracontium
214. Arisaema triphyllum
216. Aristolochia baetica
218. Aristolochia indica
219. Aristolochia longa
220. Aristolochia rotunda
222. Arnica montana
224. Aronia arbutifolia
225. Artedia squamata
226. Artemisia abrotanum
227. Artemisia absinthium
228. Artemisia annua
230. Artemisia campestris
232. Artemisia maritima
233. Artemisia vulgaris
235. Arum maculatum
236. Arundo donax
238. Asarum canadense
239. Asarum europaeum
241. Asclepias exaltata
242. Asclepias incarnata
243. Asclepias nivea
245. Asclepias syriaca
246. Asclepias tuberosa
248. Asimina triloba
252. Asparagus capensis
253. Asparagus falcatus
255. Asperugo procumbens
256. Asperula arvensis
257. Asperula cynanchica
258. Asperula tinctoria
259. Asphodeline lutea
261. Asphodelus ramosus
263. Asplenium ceterach
264. Asplenium marinum
265. Asplenium nidus
266. Asplenium onopteris
272. Asplenium serratum
274. Aster alpinus
275. Aster amellus
276. Astragalus alpinus
278. Astragalus cicer
282. Astrantia major
283. Astrantia minor
284. Atriplex halimus
285. Atriplex hortensis
286. Atriplex littoralis
287. Atriplex patula
288. Atropa belladonna
289. Aurinia saxatilis
290. Avena fatua
291. Avena sativa
292. Averrhoa bilimbi
293. Averrhoa carambola
295. Axyris amaranthoides
Used for: stomach problems, "liver
insufficiency", blood circulation, deworming,
topical anesthesia, pain relief,
and vaginal steaming (A. absinthium, absinthe); Traditional Chinese medicine (A. annua, sweet wormwood,青蒿)
- Claimed to:
intestinal worms (but is not effective).
been used to treat uncomplicated malaria; like
all known chemical treatments for malaria, it
can cause resistance.
In , Tu Youyou was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery and development of artemisinin, a chemical derived from A. annua, in the treatment of malaria.
- Harmful effects:
effects: Side effects of large
doses may include nausea, vomiting, stomach
pain, headache, dizziness, seizures, numbness of
the legs and arms, delirium, paralysis, and
kidney and liver failure.
contains thujone (e.g. as it occurs in small
amounts in absinthe
), which is neurotoxic above the threshold so caution should be exercised for therapeutic usage.
- Also called: aconitum, monkshood, wolfsbane, leopard's bane, mousebane, women's bane, devil's helmet, Queen of all Poisons, blue rocket
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM): many
species are used as a general panacea, including
as a diaphoretic, diuretic, arthritic, sedative,
alterative, and deobstruent,
and for rheumatism, bruises, arthritis, acute hypothermia, diarrhea, impotence, and yang imbalance.
herbal medicine: (A.
napellus) for pain relief, fever reduction,
There isn't enough evidence to know if it's good for
- Harmful effects:
very poisonous, and ingestion may lead to
nausea, vomiting, weakness, sweating, breathing
problems, heart problems, and death.
(Indeed, aconite was, and sometimes is, used as a poison.)
can also cause severe side effects.
Also called: Aloë, true aloe, in
TCM: lúhuì (蘆薈)
In TCM: although not native
to China, it is used as an anthelmintic,
stomachic, and laxative, and for ecsema.
herbal medicine: softening
and smoothing skin (topical), purgative (oral),
and wound healing (topical)
effects: It is effective for
topical application to treat minor burns and
some skin problems, but may possibly be too
dangerous to use internally as a laxative for
Aloe was formerly promoted by some CAM practitioners as a cancer treatment, but it is ineffective, and some patients died after receiving aloe injections.
effects: A cancer study of aloe
vera extract in rats and mice found that it
"caused cancers of the large intestine in male
and female rats and also caused hyperplasia of
the large intestine, small intestine, stomach,
and lymph nodes in male and female rats. Aloe
vera extract also caused hyperplasia of the
large intestine in male and female mice and
hyperplasia of the mesenteric lymph node in male
mice and hyperplasia of the stomach in female
Claimed to: Help skin problems (not
, induce perspiration, diuresis, expectoration, wound healing, and be a stimulant
- Harmful effects:
arnica is generally safe, but "repeated use can
cause skin reactions, severe inflammation,
itching, blisters, skin ulcers, and other
allergy-related skin problems," especially when
used on broken skin.
extremely toxic when ingested and shouldn't be
Also called: areca nut, paan; in
TCM: bīnláng (檳榔)
Preparation: Areca nuts are usually
wrapped with Piper betel
Usage: traditional Chinese
medicine for deworming,
antiparasitic, malaria prophylaxis, and
Used in Southeast Asia to colourblacken teeth. It's also apparently "widely used in Ayurveda".
- Harmful effects:
can lead to mouth, liver, cervical, stomach,
prostate, lung, and sweat gland cancer.
effects of betel nut/leaf include skin color
changes, dilated pupils, blurred vision,
wheezing/difficulty breathing, increased
breathing rate, salivation, increased tearing,
incontinence, sweating, diarrhea, fever,
confusion, problems with eye movement,
psychosis, amnesia, stimulant effects, and a
feeling of euphoria.
It can also cause dependence, and withdrawal can cause anxiety or memory lapse. Betel nut chewing can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, high or low blood pressure, and irregular heart beats.
Usage may be
associated with other diseases (HIV/AIDS, dengue
fever, tuberculosis, and typhoid) due to
immunosuppression, injury to the oral mucosa,
and associated fecal-oral contamination of the
betel quid ingredients.
- Birthwort (Aristolochia spp.)
See the main article on this topic: Aristolochia
- Also called: pipevine, Dutchman's pipe
Usage: Ninety-nine species have
been documented to be used ethnobotanically
so usage would tend to be that of a panacea overall. Some of the main usages are:
Chinese Medicine for various things, including
herbal medicine, particularly A. clematitis for
promoting sweating, menstruation, reducing
fever, inducing childbirth, and stimulation.
- Harmful effects:
contains aristolochic acid,
considered to be a significant cause of kidney
failure and upper urinary tract cancer in
because of the popularity of herbal medicine there (approximately % of Taiwan's herbal medicine prescriptions contain aristolochic acid, and AA has been ingested by approximately % of Taiwan's population.) The Taiwanese Department of Health banned its use in cosmetics and commercial skincare preparations in .
In Belgium, a
weight loss spa using TCM herbs gave its clients
herbal supplements containing birthwort, and as
a result, more than
of its patients developed kidney failure,
and several also developed urothelial and
bladder cancers. Because Traditional Chinese
Medicine allows for the substitution of
identically or similarly named plants, plants
that are botanically unrelated may be
substituted. In this case, the relatively safe Stephania
tetrandra (漢防己, Han Fang Ji) was
intended for the clients, but the lethal Aristolochia
fangchi (廣防己, Guang Fang Ji) was
given to the clients.
birthwort (Aristolochia clematitis) is
also used as a medicinal plant and contains
aristolochic acid. It has been linked to
thousands of cases of kidney failure (Balkan
number of cases of aristolochic acid nephropathy
(usually fatal) is unknown and is probably
- Also called: black bugbane, black snakeroot, fairy candle
Claimed to: reduce spasms, contract
tissues, increase urination, increase
menstruation, increase mucous, and be a sedative
effects: may include stomach
upset, cramping, headache, rash, a feeling of
heaviness, vaginal spotting or bleeding, and
- Usage: traditional Chinese medicine.
effects: It may be dangerous to
take dong quai in large amounts for a long time
because it contains carcinogens.
Dong quai can cause skin to be more sensitive to sunlight, thus possibly increasing the risk of skin cancer. It may or may not act like estrogen in the body. It can slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding, and so should not be taken less than weeks before surgery. Dong quai may increase the risk of miscarriage.
traditional Chinese medicine: It is known
as suàn (蒜).
"The medicinal virtues of garlic are considered to be many. It is thought to have a special influence upon the spleen, stomach, and kidneys, acting as a sedative and removing poisons. It is supposed to correct the unwholesomeness of water, to destroy the noxious effect of putrid meat and fish, and to prevent goitre and pestilential diseases."
herbal medicine: Used for
constipation, poor digestion, intestinal worms,
dysentery, cholera, typhoid and paratyphoid.
Lowers blood cholesterol and blood pressure, Lowers blood sugar. Reduces risk of certain cancers. Fights minor viral infections such as cold and sore throat.
- Known antimicrobial effect in vitro, tests suggest some effect on throat infections in greater-than-typical amounts.
based on large-scale statistics of incidence and
diet, probably bullshit.
meta-analysis showed consistent evidence that
garlic powder intake reduces the cardiovascular
disease risk factors of total cholesterol, LDL
cholesterol and blood pressure.
consumption increases cellular hydrogen sulfide
Increased production of cellular HS is likely behind the life-extension effects of caloric restriction in animals.
- Seductive effect on body odor well-documented and conclusive. Freshens breath for up to twelve hours.
- Side effects:
Bad breath, a
burning sensation in the mouth or stomach,
heartburn, gas, nausea, vomiting, body odor,
diarrhea, and an increased risk of bleeding.
been reported in people working with garlic, and
other allergic reactions are possible."
Aesculus hippocastanumfruit and nut
Used for: varicose veins, skin
ulcers, hemorrhoids, neuralgia and sunburn.
horse chestnut seed extract is good for varicose
veins, chronic venous insufficiency, and
symptoms of poor blood circulation.
esculin-free horse chestnut seed extract is
mostly safe, with side effects including
dizziness, headache, stomach upset, and itching.
It may lower blood sugar. Raw horse chestnut seed, leaf, bark, and flower, on the other hand, are toxic and can be lethal.
In TCM: ai (艾)
refers to A. vulgaris.
Other species of Artemisia are also used. A. vulgaris is used in moxibustion, and is regarded as a panacea.
improving appetite and digestion, laxative,
menstrual regulation, gout, rheumatism, tired
vaginal steaming, homeopathy, and moxibustion.
to treat everything under the sun.
the allergenic qualities of American ragweed.
Mugwort and can cause hay fever, rashes, and
other irritations. It also appears to be related
to some food allergies.
evidence that it does anything useful.
- Mu Tong (Aristolochia manshuriensis or Akebia spp.)
"Mu tong" (木通) is a conflation of two unrelated genera, one highly dangerous (Aristolochia spp.) and one not so dangerous (Akebia spp.). For the dangerous one, see Birthwort.
Used in: traditional Chinese
medicine for "relieving excess fire" and
"stimulating the secretion of milk".
effects: May cause fatal kidney
failure because all Aristolochia species
contain aristolochic acid.
Not known to
be effective for anything.
Also used non-medicinally as a pesticide.
taken short-term by adults.
Neem is contraindicated for children, because it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, blood disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, brain disorders, and death. High-dose or long-term internal use by adults is dangerous, and can harm the kidneys and liver, lower blood sugar, and cause infertility and miscarriages.