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Basic-Herbs-art - 11/2/02


"Basic List of Herbs" by HL Suzanna the herbalist.


NOTE: See also the files: herbs-msg, Herbs-Sm-Grdn-art, herb-uses-msg, spices-msg, p-herbals-msg, A-Mazng-Herbs-art, gardening-bib, p-agriculture-bib.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                               Thank you,

                                    Mark S. Harris

                                    AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                         stefan at florilegium.org



This was originally written as a handout for a class. These are not specifically herbs used in period nor are the uses given specifically period, but this list gives a place to start with herbs or in researching period use of herbs.


Basic List of Herbs

by HL Suzanna the herbalist


These herbs are either commonly available, or are safe to use.  Any

special cautions are noted in the description.  


Remember that many drugs are derived from herbal sources, and herbs can be dangerous if misused.  Always consult with a qualified health care practitioner about any illness.  Herbs should not be used over a long period of time except on the recommendation of your health care practitioner, and do not exceed the recommended dosages.


Alfalfa - provides significant nutrients, and is a good alternative cleanser and toner.


Baking soda - poultice for insect bites and stings; used in bath to soften water; counteracts acids.


Celery - diuretic, cleanser for the urinary system, especially the seeds; also a mild nervine and sedative.


Chamomile - mild sedative; good compress for bruises, sprains, etc.; good wash for sunburn, burns; good rinse for fair hair.


Chickweed - This common weed is good in salads or as a cooked green; it makes a good poultice for inflammations, boils, etc.; and is a good tonic and fomentation for arthritis.


Cloves - stimulate digestion; prevent spoilage, fight infection, good to cleanse wounds, ulcers, etc.; relieves pain of toothache (oil of clove can kill the nerve in the tooth).


Comfrey      - contains allantoin, promotes growth of skin and supporting tissues, good for healing wounds, bruises, sprains, etc.; not to be taken internally for extended periods of time (FDA says not at all), due to cancer risk.


Cucumber - ointment or juice good for the skin, burns, sunburn.  Sliced cucumber on closed eyes refreshes the eyes.


Dill - soothing to the stomach; promotes perspiration, is cooling.


Dandelion - (not the prickly kind, which is Texas false dandelion) edible, the leaves are good in a salad or as a cooked green, the root, roasted and ground, can be used as a substitute for coffee; good cleanser and tonic for kidney, liver, and colon, mild laxative and diuretic.


Echinacea - (purple coneflower) strengthens the immune system, especially good for upper respiratory problems; good wash for wounds, abscesses, etc.  Native to New World. Do not take continuously for more than 4 - 6 weeks.


Flax seed - laxative; crushed and mixed with enough water to make a paste is effective as a drawing poultice for boils, etc.; made into tea with honey & lemon for coughs, colds.


Garlic - reduces cholesterol and fights arteriosclerosis; may help reduce high blood pressure; fights infections; helpful in bronchial problems.  Be aware that very excessive garlic consumption has been linked to too low blood pressure and thinning of the blood in a few cases.


Ginger -      stimulant, topically it promotes circulation and warmth; may bring on delayed menses - avoid large doses (1 oz. or more) during pregnancy; promotes perspiration and may help break up a fever.  Good to prevent nausea, motion sickness, and stomach upsets.


Honey - soothing, emollient, humectant, promotes healing, good in skin creams and lotions; good as a flavoring.  Helps fight infections.


Lemon juice - stops coughing; fights nausea; lightens hair.


Licorice - promotes healing by helping the body produce cortisone; good for coughs, colds, asthma, other lung problems; soothing to a sore throat; also helps the body synthesize estrogen, so may be helpful in women's problems; may elevate the blood pressure - do not use if cardiac problems or hypertension are present.


Marsh mallow - emollient, soothing, promotes healing.


Milk - soothing, emollient, can be used in skin creams and lotions, and in the bath; buttermilk is a good mask for oily skin.  Milk is good first aid for burns.


Mustard - irritant, stimulant, external application to promote circulation, mustard plaster (mixed with water and/or vinegar to make a paste, applied on a piece of cloth - never directly to skin) used for colds, rheumatism, etc. - avoid eyes; emetic in large doses.


Oats - nutritive, particularly good for the nerves; oatmeal is a good scrub for oily skin.  Can be added to bath water for dry, itchy skin.


Onion - antiseptic, fights penicillin-resistant staph and strep, onion and honey as poultice for wounds, gargle for sore throat, etc.


Parsley - high in minerals; helps remove garlic odor; diuretic, tonic to kidney, bladder; improves digestion; good poultice for insect bites.


Passionflower - sedative, muscle-relaxant.  Native to New World.


Peppermint - good for digestion, relieves gas; fights nausea (unsweetened tea); stimulant, topically promotes circulation; induces perspiration; helps open up nasal passages.


Raspberry leaf - (also blackberry leaf) relieves diarrhea; good for mouth ulcers, cleansing wounds; promotes easy labor and childbirth (taken near the onset of labor); too much may cause constipation.


Rose hips - (fruit of the rose) very high in Vitamin C, good for colds, flu, etc.; lemony taste, good to eat, good for preserves - roses also edible, if not chemically sprayed.


Rosemary - supposed to aid memory; good hair rinse, supposed to prevent baldness; stimulates circulation; good for headaches (applied to temples).


Sage - antiseptic, gargle for sore throat, mouth ulcers, wash for wounds; helps reduce fevers; good for sore gums; improves digestion.


Sassafras - externally for skin problems of all types, acne, rashes, etc.; internally, thins the blood - do not use for two weeks before any surgery; long term use is harmful to the kidneys.  FDA says not to use internally due to cancer risk.  Native to the New World.


Skullcap - sedative, anti-spasmodic.


Slippery Elm - nutritious, soothing, healing, emollient.


Thyme - strong antiseptic, good for sore throat, wounds, etc.; improves digestion, relieves flatulence; wash to repel insects; can be used in herbal tobacco substitutes.


Willow - same actions as aspirin, relieves pain, reduces fevers, fights inflammations; may be less harmful to the stomach; do not use if allergic to aspirin.


Witch Hazel - astringent, usually available as tincture for external use.  Native to the New World.


Vervain - sedative, may lower blood pressure.


Yarrow - weed, common to this area; good for colds, flu, reduces fevers; good hair rinse, supposed to prevent baldness; promotes healing of wounds.  pretty flowers dry nicely.



Copyright 2001 by Sue Rogers, 2925 Seymour, Dallas, TX 75229. <wjwakefield at juno.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org