A | B | C | D | E | F |
G | H | I | J | K | L | M |
N | O | P | Q | R | S | T |
U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Home       Help
Copyright - JKL Company
Reprinted with permission from the book From Magic to Medicine                  Alphabetical Herb List


Charak, the father of Ayurvedic medicine wrote in 3000 B.C. that "garlic helps in maintaining the fluidity of the blood, strengthens the heart, and prolongs life." It has been scientifically shown to ... 1) Prevent the cholesterol raising effect of high fat foods. 2) Prevent the rise in triglyceride levels due to sucrose rich foods. 3) Slow down the body's production of fibrin, a blood-clotting compound. 4) inhibit the clumping of blood platelets. It was used by the ancient Egyptians.

Garlic also has antibacterial properties as demonstrated in a study in 1969, which showed that it killed Salmonella and Escherichia coli bacteria.

Other tests showed that it killed all eighteen strains of the dangerous microorganism called Cryptococcus neoformans.

Another study found that topical applications on fungal lesions of the skin could be effectively cured by garlic extract.

Studies have shown that a component of garlic called “allicin” will inhibit the manufacture of cholesterol by the liver. Other studies have shown that lower cholesterol levels is associated with increased consumption of garlic, onions and other related vegetables. However, recent clinical trials suggest that garlic supplements are not worth taking to lower cholesterol levels because the effect is so small.

There is abundant evidence that garlic also protects against cancer of the colon, stomach, and breast.

Sometimes used as vaginal suppositories ... many people swear that garlic capsules fight yeast infections.

A study in Japan showed that garlic trapped lead and mercury in the body and removed it.

Powdered garlic is an immune-function booster ... since 1990 there have been 129 references to the beneficial effects of garlic. One study showed that a half to one clove of garlic eaten daily will translate into a 9% decrease in cholesterol levels ... which decreases the risk of heart attack by 18%.

INGREDIENTS: Selenium, germanium, calcium, vitamin A, B1, B2, C. The two primary components are enzyme allinase which forms allicin.

MORE BENEFITS: Detoxifies the body ... purifies the blood ... strengthens blood vessels.

DOSAGE: For prevention purposes, the recommended daily intake of fresh garlic is 4 grams (approx. one clove) ... while cooking will destroy garlic's anti-microbial effects, it's benefits for the heart remain intact. Typical use of garlic oil is 1-2 teaspoons ... 0.24 to 1.2 teaspoon of powdered garlic ... 1-2 raw cloves.

CAUTION: There are documented cases of unwanted interactions with the blood-thinning drug warfarin (Coumadin). Some people report allergic reactions and develop a rash when touching or eating garlic. Stomach upset has also been reported. People who have clotting problems like hemophilia should not use it. Long-term topical use is not recommended because it can irritate and possibly burn. It is not recommended for long term use for people with diabetes, acute inflammation, dehydration or insomnia or for those who are taking blood thinners.


Available as "supplements" but best obtained through diet. Improves oxygenation at a cellular level. USES: Decrease pain, maintain immunity system, eliminate body toxins. WHY IT WORKS: Germanium carries oxygen to tissues in much the same manner as hemoglobin. DOSAGE: Kazuhiki Asai is a scientist from Japan who discovered than taking 100 to 300 Milligrams a day improved the following illnesses ... AIDS, arthritis (rheumatoid), food allergies, cancer, candidiasis, cholesterol (high).

FOOD SOURCES: Aloe vera, comfrey, garlic, ginseng, onions, shiitake mushrooms, suma.

GINGER (rootstock) (Zingiber Officinale)

Japanese experiments reveal that ginger thins the blood and also has a direct effect on the heart similar to the drug digitalis. It slows down the heart rate while increasing the force of the contractions in the upper chamber of the heart.

In 1982 a study at Brigham Young University found that people who took ginger root capsules were better protected from motion sickness than from the most commonly used drug ... Dramamine.

It eases the effects of a cold and soothes a sore throat.

Stimulates the circulatory system and has a cleansing effect on the kidneys.

Often used in teas and capsules (small doses).

Considered a circulatory stimulant that stimulates blood flow to keep tissues healthy by increasing the amount of oxygen they receive, and eliminating waste from them.

Originally cultivated in Southern Asia, it is now cultivated worldwide and appears to have anti-oxidant properties.

DOSAGE: According to Jude´s Herbal Home Remedies (Jude C. Williams) you can mix 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger in a cup of boiling water ... brew for 15 minutes ... strain ... sweeten with honey and drink as a tea. For motion sickness 500-1000 milligrams a day ... use a few days prior to the journey.

CAUTION: Consult with your health care provider if pregnant or if you have gallstones.

GINKGO BILOBA (Ginkgo biloba)

Ginkgo Biloba leaves come from what many believe is the world's oldest tree species. Originally cultivated in China, it can now be found all over the world. The therapeutic effects of the leaf are attributed to a combination of chemicals rather than any single component. 20 million people in Europe regularly take this herb to stay healthier and younger feeling. It is one of the most well researched herbs and is commonly prescribed in Europe.

Research studies indicate that the use of ginkgo biloba can help ... 1) Improve blood circulation to the brain ... 2) Improve peripheral blood circulation ... 3) Improve one's mood and sociability ... 4) Arthritis and rheumatism problems ... 5) Improve lung and bronchial congestion ... 6) Eye weakness caused by poor circulation ... 7) Relieve anxiety and tension ... 8) Alzheimer's and senility ... 9) Chronic ringing in the ears ... 10) Coldness in the body.

Used to treat short-term memory loss, mild depression, and vertigo.

Recent European studies with young people reveal benefits from taking the leaf on a regular basis. It improves short-term memory, increases concentration, quickens information recall, and enhances alertness. It has been successfully used to treat conditions related to poor circulation such as phlebitis. It is interesting to note that the world's oldest trees is also used to treat age-related disorders.

Ginkgo is especially useful in treating health problems caused by diminished blood flow to the arms and legs, such as Raynaud's disease and intermittent leg cramping. Use of ginkgo can lead to an improvement in the ability to walk without pain.

Ginkgo appears to protect cell membranes from oxidation making it a super anti-oxidant in the class of vitamins A, E, and beta-carotene.

In 1997 clinical trials were held which determined that dementia (due to mini-strokes or Alzheimer's) patients who took 120 milligrams a day scored higher on mental performance tests. It also seemed to have slowed down mental decline while one out of five may have had slight improvement.

Also see Memory and Brain Enhancement section for more information.

(Also see Chapter 2)

Dosage: The recommended dosage is 24% flavoglycosides, three times daily.

Side effects: Mild and infrequent but have been know to cause gastrointestinal upset or headache. Ginkgo is well suited to long term use ... and the benefits improve with time.

The fruit pulp is toxic if ingested and contact can cause an allergic skin response.

CAUTION: Generally safe. However, sometimes adversely affects people who take blood-thinning medications like Coumadin (warfarin).

Should not be taken with aspirin and acetaminophen products, or diuretics. It may boost blood pressure and increase the risk of bleeding problems such as hyphema (bleeding into the front chamber of the eye) and hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain).

GINSENG (Penax Quinque Folius)

Boost stamina, relieve stress, stimulate the immune system, reduces cholesterol, protect your liver, fight cancer, help control diabetes.

Once grown only in Asia, and requiring a harsh environment, the ginseng root has played a legendary role in Oriental medicine ... especially in China. Chinese literature cites a wide range of uses for the root. It emphasizes increased vitality.

Panax ginseng is a favorite brain herb ... according to research done at the Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Panax ginseng contains compounds which increase the brain's neuro-transmitter activity.

It is a demulcent and helpful for coughs, colds and chest congestion. Reduces symptoms of fever and inflammatory illness ... can help relieve nausea and vomiting.

A male hormone associated with longevity, prostate and stomach problems.

Also see Siberian Ginseng and Brain Enhancement sections for more information.

CAUTIONS: The main risk is that you may not be getting your money´s worth. Ginseng is very costly so manufacturers dilute it. One study analyzed 54 ginseng products and found that 25 % contained no ginseng whatsoever! Buy only from reputable sources.

Penax ginseng may alter blood levels of warfarin. When taken with an anti-depressant, phenelzine ... may cause headache, tremor and episodes of mania. Siberian ginseng may boost blood levels of digoxin to unsafe concentrations.

As with all herbs do not take while pregnant without first consulting with your health provider.


Used to improve stamina, mental acuity, stress. fatigue due to lack of sleep, nervousness, poor appetite, and restlessness. Protects from the effects of stress. Also, it increases metabolic activity, lowers blood pressure, lowers glucose levels when they are high and raises them when they are low. Causes and increase in iron absorption and movement through the gastrointestinal tract.


Has been used to treat a constellation of ailments like ... arthritis, weakness, menopausal problems, sexual disinterest, senility, etcetera.


Has been used to treat poor memory and poor mental abilities due to decreased blood supple to the brain ... it improves mental and physical abilities.


A natural substance which occurs in the body to contribute to healthy joints. It is often “paired” up with “chondroitin” when treating osteoporosis. An analysis published March 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that patients had improved mobility and moderate pain relief. The same study indicated that there was a large positive effect for chondroitin.

Stimulates the (cartilage cells) chondrocytes into manufacturing collagen to normalize cartilage metabolism. Evidence exists which reveals that glucosamine can actually slow down loss of cartilage.

Full effects are typically not realized until after a month of use.

CAUTION: Concerns are being voiced about possible adverse effects when combined with blood thinning medications. Also, harmful effects on insulin resistance (major cause for type II diabetes). Long term effects are still unknown in the year 2000.


Used typically as an astringent, diaphoretic, carminative (A substance that relieves flatulence), anti-inflammatory urinary antiseptic ... has been used to treat cystitis and urethritis, improve the healing of wounds. Also counteracts illnesses which result in inflamed membranes and mucus discharge (anti-catarrhal).

GOLDEN SEAL (Hydrastis Canadenis)

A wild perennial American herb ... it is also called Yellow Root.

Golden Seal is often considered one of the best "all-around" herbal remedies. It has been cited as beneficial in more than 50 different ailments like ... bronchitis, cankers, coughs, inflammations, ulcers.

Powerful astringent and antiseptic agent. Has been used for inflamed mucous membranes like the stomach, intestines, vagina and rectum. Caution: High doses may also cause nausea, vomiting, a feeling of pins-and-needles in the hands and feet and a decrease in the white blood cell count.

Also for cankers, mouth sores, bladder infections, mucous membranes, nasal passages.

The root helps decrease nausea and is considered a remedy for colds, stomach and liver troubles ... also used as a laxative.

Can be used externally as eyewash and to treat pyorrhea.

CAUTIONS: Considered safe for application to external wounds as long as it is thoroughly cleaned prior to use. Never exceed recommended amounts because large doses have resulted in the death of laboratory animals due to respiratory paralysis and cardiac arrest.

GOTU KOLA (Cantella Asiatica)

Traditional India herb for boosting energy levels and strengthening the nervous system. Meditators use it because it allows the body to become totally relaxed while keeping the mind alert.

It is now getting recognition for it's other mind-enhancing qualities ... like memory enhancement.

Scientific evidence is thin but promising. Its reputation is based on word-of-mouth antidotes of users. Gotu Kola does not contain caffeine like the herb Kola does.

Chinese legend tells us of the herbalist LiChing Yun who lived to be 256 years old - as a result of taking gotu kola ... and even though the anti-aging properties have not yet been proven by science, it does appear to have multiple benefits.

Gotu kola is considered to be an excellent herbal treatment for mental fatigue as well as strengthening and revitalizing mental stamina. It's known to stimulate circulation to the brain. Many people use it to increase learning ability ... and also as a nerve tonic.

Accelerates healing of bruises & abscesses (tissue healing) ... sedative & diuretic.

The nuts, roots, and seeds decrease fatigue and depression. It also increases sex drive, shrinks tissues, and stimulates the central nervous system.

It may even fight cancer due to the flavonoids it contains. Some of these chemicals are known to have anti-cancer activity. Whether gotu kola has the particular flavonoids that provide protection is still unknown.

DOSAGE: ½ to 1 dropperful of concentrated drops or tincture, two to three times daily.

Capsules of the weaker variety are called Hydrocotyle asiatica and is the type most commonly available in health stores. This type is usually taken in doses of two to four 200-milligram capsules daily.

The stronger type is called Centella asiatica, which is more expensive and used to treat serious problems like epilepsy. Consult with a doctor familiar with herbs if you wish to use it for a medical condition.


Anti-fungal ... helps the body manufacture beneficial bacteria. Has a reputation for counteracting candida, E. coli, flu, parasites, salmonella, staph, strep


Powerful antioxidant shown to reduce free radicals 20 times more than vitamin C or vitamin E. Free radicals have been implicated in aging and disease. Used mainly for it´s high content of proanthocyanidin ... a bioflavonoid sometimes used as a treatment for bruises, gum disease, arthritis, phlebitis, ulcers, varicose veins, allergies that respond to antihistamines and other vascular ailments. Proanthocyanidins are also helpful in maintaining the elasticity of skin.

Grape seed extract assists the entry of vitamin C into body cells to protect them from free radical damage. It is interesting to note that it does not lose potency with long periods of storage (greater than 12 years).

Proanthovyandin is available in red, purple and white grapes ... the most abundant amounts are contained in the seeds of purple grapes.

If you have a sensitive stomach ... use the tincture. Can be taken with or without food.

Available as pills, capsules and tincture.

GREEN TEA EXTRACT (Camellia Sinensis):

Originally from Asia. Has potent anti-oxidant activity. The star ingredient is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which counteracts respiratory and digestive infections. It has been used to reduce high blood pressure, counteract bacteria, which results in food poisoning and blocks the actions of carcinogens, metastasis and UV radiation. Also, inhibits bacteria from attaching to teeth thus helps to prevent cavities. No real problems from excess use.

 This herb has shown promise (small-scale test) for those interested in weight loss and appears quite safe: In one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (December 1999 issue) researchers studied the effects of green tea extract on energy expenditure and fat burning in 10 males who took either the extract (which contains caffeine), caffeine alone, or a placebo. The males who consumed the extract increased their calorie expenditure and burned more fat than did those who took the caffeine alone or the placebo. Note that no side effects were reported. Green tea extract is available in health food stores in capsule and tablet forms. But bear in mind that although this research is interesting, we still are not sure if people who take this extract will really lose weight. Also, it is not proven if drinking regular green tea would have similar effects.


Historical or traditional uses (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): The native people of the Amazon rain forest used crushed guarana seed as a beverage and a medicine. Guarana was said to treat diarrhea, decrease fatigue, reduce hunger, and to help arthritis. It also has a history of use in treating hangovers and headaches related to menstruation.

Guarana is a good source of energy; it acts on the central nervous system to prevent fatigue. It also slows the pulse, improves alertness, depresses appetite, counteracts fatigue and elevates the mood. Has also been used effectively for headaches due to nerves or joints.

ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS: Guaranine (which is similar to caffeine and related alkaloids theobromine and theophylline) constitutes the primary active agents in guarana. Effects include stimulating the central nervous system, increasing metabolic rate, and having a mild diuretic effect. One long-term study found no significant actions on thinking or mental function in humans taking guarana. Caffeine may have adverse effects on the blood vessels and other body systems, as well as on a developing fetus; presumably, guaranine would have similar effects. Guarana also contains tannins, which act as astringents and may prevent diarrhea. DOSAGE: A cup of guarana, prepared by adding 1-2 grams of crushed seed or resin to 250 ml (1 cup) of water and boiling for ten minutes, can be drunk three times per day.4 Each cup may provide up to 50 mg of guaranine. CAUTION: Guarana may cause insomnia, trembling, anxiety, palpitations, urinary frequency, and hyperactivity. Guarana should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.

Return to top of page | Home |