List of plants used in herbalism

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The Chelsea Physic Garden has cultivated medicinal plants since 1673. The plant shown here is montbretia (crocosmia aurea), used as a remedy for dysentery.

This is a list of plants that have been used as herbal medicine. The ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to defend against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals. Many of these phytochemicals have beneficial effects on long-term health when consumed by humans, and can be used to effectively treat human diseases. At least 12,000 such compounds have been isolated so far; a number estimated to be less than 10% of the total.[1][2] These phytochemicals are divided into (1) primary metabolites such as sugars and fats, which are found in all plants; and (2) secondary metabolites – compounds which are found in a smaller range of plants, serving a more specific function.[3] For example, some secondary metabolites are toxins used to deter predation and others are pheromones used to attract insects for pollination. It is these secondary metabolites and pigments that can have therapeutic actions in humans and which can be refined to produce drugs—examples are inulin from the roots of dahlias, quinine from the cinchona, morphine and codeine from the poppy, and digoxin from the foxglove.[3] Chemical compounds in plants mediate their effects on the human body through processes identical to those already well understood for the chemical compounds in conventional drugs; thus herbal medicines do not differ greatly from conventional drugs in terms of how they work. This enables herbal medicines to be as effective as conventional medicines, but also gives them the same potential to cause harmful side effects.[1][2]

Most cultures have a tradition of using plants medicinally. In Europe, apothecaries stocked herbal ingredients for their medicines. In the Latin names for plants created by Linnaeus, the word officinalis indicates that a plant was used in this way. For example, the marsh mallow has the classification Althaea officinalis, as it was traditionally used as an emollient to soothe ulcers.[4] Ayurvedic medicine, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine are other examples of medical practices that incorporate medical uses of plants. Pharmacognosy is the branch of modern medicine about medicines from plant sources. Plants included here are those that have been or are being used medicinally, in at least one such medicinal tradition.

Modern medicine now tends to use the active ingredients of plants rather than the whole plants. The phytochemicals may be synthesized, compounded or otherwise transformed to make pharmaceuticals. Examples of such derivatives include Digoxin, from digitalis; capsaicine, from chili; and aspirin, which is chemically related to the salicylic acid found in white willow. The opium poppy continues to be a major industrial source of opiates, including morphine. Few traditional remedies, however, have translated into modern drugs, although there is continuing research into the efficacy and possible adaptation of traditional herbal treatments.

A[edit]

Aloe vera

B[edit]

C[edit]

Chili peppers

D[edit]

Dandelion flower

E[edit]

F[edit]

G[edit]

Garlic bulbs

H[edit]

J[edit]

K[edit]

  • Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) Kratom is known to prevent or delay withdrawal symptoms in an opiate dependent individual, and it is often used to mitigate cravings thereafter. It can also be used for other medicinal purposes. Kratom has been traditionally used in regions such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
  • Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) African treatment for depression. Suggested to be an SSRI or have similar effects, but unknown MOA.

L[edit]

Lavender blossoms

M[edit]

N[edit]

O[edit]

  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare) Used as an abortifacient in folk medicine in some parts of Bolivia and other north western South American countries, though no evidence of efficacy exists in Western medicine. Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece as a palliative for sore throat. Evidence of efficacy in this matter is lacking.

P[edit]

Purple coneflowers
  • Passion Flower (Passiflora) - Thought to have Anti-depressant properties. Unknown MOA. Used in traditional medicine to aid with sleep or depression.

R[edit]

S[edit]

  • Syrian Rue (aka Harmal) (Peganum harmala) - MAOI. Can be used as an anti-depressant, but carries significant risk. Used in traditional shamanistic rites in the amazon, and is a component of Ayahuasca, Caapi or Yajé (which is actually usually Banisteriopsis caapi but has the same active alkaloids).

T[edit]

U[edit]

Valerian flowers

V[edit]

W[edit]

Y[edit]

Databases[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • ^ Digitalis use in the United States is controlled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and can only be prescribed by a physician. Misuse can cause death.
  • ^ This encyclopedia is not a substitute for medical advice nor a complete description of these herbs, their dangers (up to and including death), and their (in)compatibility with alcohol or other drugs.

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of herbalism at Wiktionary