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  • Aloe Vera

    Aloe vera is a popular houseplant with medicinal potential. There are nearly five hundred species of aloe, a type of plant that originated in southern Africa, near the Cape of Good Hope. The use of

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    • Arnica

      Arnica montana is a perennial flowering plant native to southern Russia and other mountainous areas in Europe. In Germany, A. montana is a protected species, so the pharmacopoeia there includes the

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      • Bilberry

        "Bilberry" sounds a lot like "blueberry," and for good reason. The bilberry is a European blueberry. American blueberries are Vaccinium corymbosum. Huckleberries and whortleberries are also closely re

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        • Black Cohosh

          This plant, native to North American forests, has a number of popular names: bugbane, black snakeroot, rattleroot, and squaw root. It sends up graceful tall spires of white flowers; the black in it

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          • Boswellia

            Frankincense, like myrrh, is featured in the Bible story about the three wise men visiting the infant Jesus. Like myrrh, frankincense is a resin from a tree in the family Burseraceae. (Guggul is anoth

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            • Cascara Sagrada

              Cascara sagrada, Spanish for "sacred bark," comes from the American buckthorn tree (Rhamnus purshiana) native to the western coast of North America, from California to British Columbia, and as far inl

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              • Cat's Claw

                Cat's claw, or uña de gato as it is also called, has piqued many people's interest lately, first because it comes from remote and exotic rain forests, and second, because it is believed to act on the

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                • Cayenne

                  The Capsicum genus originated in the New World but has been adopted into cuisines around the globe. It contains as many as five species, with an untold number of variants, giving rise not only to the

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                  • Chamomile

                    Two different plants carry the common name chamomile. One of them, M. chamomilla, is sometimes referred to as Hungarian, German, or genuine chamomile to distinguish it from C. nobile, Roman or English

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                    • Chaste Tree Berry

                      Chaste tree is a large shrub (up to twenty-two feet tall) native to the Mediterranean and southern Europe. Although it flourishes on moist riverbanks, it is easily grown as an ornamental plant in Amer

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                      • Cranberry

                        Cranberries are a traditional part of the Thanksgiving feast in America, where V. macrocarpon is part of the native flora. Recent interest in cranberries, however, goes beyond sauce or relish. A tr

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                        • Dong quai

                          The term "dong quai" (a Chinese name that is sometimes transliterated tang-kuei or dang-gui) refers to a plant known either as A. polymorpha var. sinensis or simply as A. sinensis. As the name suggest

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                          • Echinacea

                            Echinacea is the name of a genus of native North American plants with reddish or purplish flowers. There are nine species, but only three of them (E. angustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea) are used

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                            • Elderberry

                              Sambucus canadensis, the American elderberry, is a large shrub native to much of North America. It bears white flowers early in the summer and dark, almost black, berries in the late summer. Both t

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                              • Evening Primrose

                                The evening primrose is native to North America, where it grows like a weed. Not really a primrose, it is sometimes called "sun drop." The large yellow flower opens late in the day and lasts only o

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                                • Fennel

                                  This member of the celery family is a well-known herb native to southern Europe and western Asia, but it was known in ancient China (as xiao hui xiang) as well as in India, Egypt, and Greece. In th

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                                  • Feverfew

                                    Feverfew was used by Greek physicians to treat "melancholy," which may have included headaches as well as depression. The English used it into the seventeeth century for symptoms that might transla

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                                    • Garlic

                                      Garlic is valued in many parts of the world for its pungent aroma and flavor. It is possible that garlic's biological activity and popularity in Mediterranean cuisines contribute to the healthful effe

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                                      • Ginger

                                        Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a popular seasoning for foods in many different cuisines. In China and Southeast Asia where it probably originated, it has also been put to a range of medicinal purp

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                                        • Ginkgo

                                          Ginkgo biloba is one of the most popular botanical medicines in both Europe and America, but Chinese healers take the prize. They have been using this ancient tree for thousands of years to treat asth

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                                          • Ginseng

                                            Ginseng has been used for more than two millennia in China, where the earliest written description of its use appeared in a medical book written during the Han dynasty, before a.d. 100. At that time,

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                                            • Goldenseal

                                              Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is a perennial plant that grows wild in wooded areas of North America, from New England to the southern Appalachians, and west to Arkansas and Minnesota. The Cheroke

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                                            • Gotu Kola

                                              This Asian species is reputed to bring long life to the user. According to the Sinhalese proverb: "Two leaves a day will keep old age away." As the story goes, people in Sri Lanka noticed that elep

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                                              • Grapeseed

                                                Seeds of the fruit of the vine, once discarded as waste after the juice was pressed out for wine, have become the source of a popular dietary supplement. Grapes were first cultivated near the Caspi

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                                                • Green Tea

                                                  Until a few years ago, tea might have seemed more appropriately addressed in a cookbook than in a book about herbs. This beverage is probably the most frequently consumed in the world after plain wate

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                                                  • Guggul

                                                    Guggul (Goo-gall) is a resin from a tree native to India. This resin has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, which combined it with other plant products to cleanse and rejuvenate the body, especiall

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                                                    • Hawthorn

                                                      Hawthorn is a small thorny tree with white flowers and red berries that grows in England and throughout Europe. C. laevigata is only one species; related species have slightly different chemical profi

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                                                      • Hops

                                                        Hops have been used to flavor beer for nearly a thousand years. This plant, a member of the same family as marijuana, is cultivated commercially in England, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the United

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                                                        • Horse Chestnut

                                                          Horse chestnut trees originated in northern India, the Caucasus, and northern Greece but have long been grown throughout Europe. Relatives in the same genus grow in the United States as California

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                                                          • Juniper

                                                            This small evergreen is one of several juniper species native to the northern hemisphere. It has the distinction, however, of being the principal flavoring for a commonly used alcoholic beverage, gin.

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                                                            • Kava

                                                              Kava (or kava-kava) has an important place in the cultures of many islands of the South Pacific. Traditionally, it was painstakingly prepared and consumed with great ceremony and considered a sacred d

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                                                              • Lemon Balm

                                                                Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is originally a native of the Mediterranean area and western Asia, but it has long been popular in Western Europe, including England. It is frequently used as an a

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                                                                • Licorice

                                                                  The roots of this plant are widely used, not only in European herbal medicine but also in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia. In China and parts of Russia, the species used is G. uralensis; it is k

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                                                                  • Ma Huang

                                                                    Ma huang, Chinese ephedra, was used to treat asthma, or at least wheezing, five thousand years ago. The Herbal Classic of the Divine Plowman described it as an herb of "middle class," referring to

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                                                                    • Milk Thistle

                                                                      Milk thistle, also referred to as St. Mary's thistle, lady thistle, or holy thistle, originated in the Mediterranean region and was grown and used as a vegetable throughout Europe. It was brought to t

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                                                                      • Oregon Grape

                                                                        Oregon grape, also known as Barberry, B. vulgaris, was highly regarded as a useful and even necessary herb in Europe from Elizabethan times and through the eighteenth century. The English settlers bro

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                                                                        • Passion Flower

                                                                          Several species of Passiflora are native to the Americas, but the one generally used as a botanical is P. incarnata. This perennial vine grows wild in the southeastern United States as far north as

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                                                                          • Pau d'Arco

                                                                            Pau d'arco, known as lapacho colorado in Argentina and Paraguay and as ipe roxo in Brazil, is a good example of the lure of the exotic. This South American native has been used medicinally by several

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                                                                            • Psyllium

                                                                              Psyllium seeds (also known as blond psyllium or ispaghula) are derived from a species of plantain that is native to India and Iran. The seeds are small and reddish-brown, with no distinctive aroma an

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                                                                              • Red Clover

                                                                                This familiar plant is native to Europe, northern Africa, and central Asia, but red clover is also grown for pasturage and as a rotation crop in the Americas and Australia. (Nodules on the roots fix n

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                                                                                • Saw Palmetto

                                                                                  Saw palmetto, also called sabal palm, grows in the southeastern United States. Its dark berries were traditionally made into a tea and taken for urinary problems or sexual difficulties. During much

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                                                                                  • Scullcap

                                                                                    Scullcap is a member of the mint family and a native of North America, where it thrives in moist woodlands. Common names for it include helmetflower, hoodwort, and mad-dog weed (from its introducti

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                                                                                    • Senna

                                                                                      Senna (Senna alexandrina) has a place in medical history going back to the ninth century when Arabian physicians introduced Europeans to this powerful laxative. The plant is native to the Nile in S

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                                                                                      • Siberian Ginseng

                                                                                        This shrub, a Russian relative of China's popular herb ginseng, also grows in northeast China, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, and in Korea. In Russia, it occurs in forest undergrowth and

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                                                                                        • Slippery Elm

                                                                                          Slippery elm trees are native to North America and grow in moist but not waterlogged woods of eastern Canada and the United States. The colonists were familiar with the use of bark from other elm s

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                                                                                          • St. John's Wort

                                                                                            St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) has long been used in Europe for treating mood disorders and has become very popular in the United States. The plant itself is a perennial native to Europe, but it has ada

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                                                                                          • Stinging Nettle

                                                                                            Stinging nettle is native to Europe, but it has become established in North America and now grows in Canada and throughout the United States. It is best known for its ability to provoke an impressi

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                                                                                            • Valerian

                                                                                              Valerian is a perennial plant that grows readily in Europe, North America, and northern Asia. A number of related species have been used by herbalists throughout history, but the exact kinds and amou

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