Medicinal Herbs: Know the Different Herbal Properties (Part 3)
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Medicinal Herbs: Know the Different Herbal Properties (Part 3)

Experienced herbalists select one or two herbs which have one target property (example: antipyretic, or fever reducing), to this will be added one or two other complimentary herbs which accomplish a related objective. As you learn to combine herbs, you become a skilled herbalist.
                 different herbal properties in herbs

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Medicinal herbs produce certain effects on the body. A list of all these possible effects is called "herbal properties." One herb will produce certain effects while another may produce some of the same ones, plus certain others. Listed below are the major categories of herbal properties. The "examples" are some of the best herbs containing those properties.

To this list has been added a "goes with" section. This is because herbs with certain properties work best with herbs containing certain other properties. The "goes with" sections, below, will tell what these are. Experienced herbalists select one or two herbs which have one target property (example: antipyretic, or fever reducing), to this will be added one or two other complimentary herbs which accomplish a related objective. As you learn to combine herbs, you become a skilled herbalist.

This is the continuation of Medicinal Herbs: Know the Different Herbal Properties (Part 2)

You can also check out the first part - Medicinal Herbs: Know the Different Herbal Properties (Part 1)

Discutients

These are herbs which dissolve and remove tumors and abnormal growths. These are used in poultices, fomentations, and taken internally as teas.

Examples: Red clover, chaparral, garlic, black walnut, burdock root, devil's claw, poke root (only used externally)

Goes with: Stimulant herbs (cayenne) and demulcents

Diuretics

These are herbs which increase the flow of urine. Of course, one should drink additional water when taking diuretics. They are generally combined with demulcents, to soothe any irritation from acids or gravel. Diuretics are important in helping to care for water retention, bladder ache, kidney stones, scalding urine, obesity, prostatitis, backache, gonorrhea, skin eruptions, and lymphatic swelling.

Examples: Corn silk, gravel root, pleurisy root, black cohosh, blue cohosh, burdock root, chaparral, cleavers, dandelion, false unicorn, fennel, gotu kola, Hawthorn berries, juniper berries, cranberry, mullein, plantain, squaw vine, white oak bark, and white willow

Goes with: Ginger will help direct the herb action into the kidney/urethral area. Use stimulant herbs (cayenne) in order to speed up the action; and use nervine tonics, to relax the tube ends and open up the valves for an easier flow of fluids and to tone up the area.

Emetics

These are herbs which induce vomiting. They are generally given as teas or tinctures.

Examples: Lobelia (tincture or 1/2 cupful tea), bayberry, chaparral, false unicorn (large doses), and mandrake (large doses)

Goes with: Emetics are generally used alone, but a light stimulant (peppermint tea) can be added, to allay pain due to muscular wrenching.

Emmenagogues

These are herbs which promote menstrual flow.

Examples: Squaw vine, motherwort, angelica, black cohosh, blessed thistle, blue cohosh, chamomile, gentian, goldenseal, myrrh, pennyroyal, prickly ash, and rue

Goes with: These combine well with stimulant herbs, nervines, demulcents, and emollients. Emmenagogues depend on the stimulant ginger as a carrier. Sometimes gas is generated, for which a carminative is used.

Emollients

These are herbs which soften and soothe, when applied externally in salves, poultices, and fomentations. They may also be taken internally for their demulcent quality.

Examples: Flaxseed, slippery elm, wheat germ oil, Irish moss, chickweed, coltsfoot, comfrey root (not leaf), fenugreek, marshmallow, and plantain

Goes with: These combine well with almost all herbs or herb combinations.

Expectorants

These are herbs which help excrete mucus from the throat and lungs. They are generally combined with demulcents, which are soothing.

Examples: Garlic, chaparral, comfrey, elecampane, fennel, fenugreek, horehound, lobelia, lungwort, mullein, myrrh, nettles, plantain, pleurisy root, thyme, vervain, wild cherry, and yerba santa

Goes with: These combine well with demulcents, emollients, stimulant herbs, antispasmodics, and nutritives.

Febrifuges

These are herbs which reduce fevers.

Examples: Boneset, catnip, dandelion, hyssop, peppermint, shepherd's purse, white willow and yarrow.

Goes with: These are compatible with stimulant herbs, antispasmodics, and with most diaphoretics.

Galactagogues

These are herbs which help secretion of milk from a nursing mother.

Examples: Anise seed, blessed thistle, cumin, dandelion, fennel, fenugreek, raspberry, and vervain

Goes with: Galactagogues work best alone.

Hemostatics

These are herbs which stop internal bleeding or hemorrhaging.

Examples: Bayberry, beet root, blackberry, mullein, nettles, white oak bark, witch hazel, and yarrow

Goes with: These combine well with stimulant herbs and antispasmodics, but do not combine with any herb that will expand the pore structure (such as diaphoretics).

Hepatics

These are herbs which strengthen, tone, and stimulate the secretive functions of the liver.

Examples: Aloe vera, barberry, bayberry, buckthorn, carrot, dandelion, wild yam, wood betony, and yellow dock

Goes with: These work well with stimulant herbs (cayenne, ginger), with antispasmodics, and with carminatives. Often aromatics are added, to cover some of the bitterness.

Check out the remaining parts:

Medicinal Herbs: Know the Different Herbal Properties (Part 4)

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