A Garland of Herbs

Table of Contents





St. John's Wort

A Garland of Herbs

This miniature herbal is created as a demonstration of structured data published in non-proprietary formats (HTML and XML). It is not intended for use as a reference on herbal remedies. Compiled by a non-expert from publicly-available sources, its content is not deliberately falsified or distorted; nevertheless it should not be regarded as authoritative in any way.

While the contents of the herbal may not be trustworthy, however, its structure should be perfectly serviceable for the need: to present organized information in a way that both improves access for readers, and renders the dataset suitable for such automated processes as indexing and filtering.


There is a consistent organization to each entry. Note that not all entries have all sections.

Primary Names

Each herb is listed with its common name and its formal (Latin) botanical name.


Where the herb is commonly found is listed as its habitat. This section is mainly for interest: amateurs are not encouraged to go to anyplace described, harvest a likely candidate, and boil it up.

Also called

Any names by which the herb or plant may also be commonly known are listed here.

Treatment for

Common ailments for which the herb is a known palliative (or even a cure), are listed here. This list is not exhaustive, of course; nor is it necessarily correct. (Herbal medicine has largely been an inexact science.)


Any preparation(s) for the herb is (are) described in this section. If different parts of the plant are used, their preparations are described separately.

Active Ingredients

In some cases, where the active chemical component or components of an herb are known, they are listed here.


Medical terms describing the pharmacological effects of the herb (e.g. sedative) are listed here.


Each herb is briefly described in one or more paragraphs.


Any supplemental notes on the herb, especially respecting possible warnings associated with it, appear here.


This guide is adapted from several sources on the Internet (see references below).


Botanical.com, a hypertext edition of A Modern Herbal (M. Grieve, 1931) http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/mgmh.html

Herbal Medicine Center at Healthworld Online: see http://www.healthy.net/clinic/therapy/herbal/

The Warnings page of Dr. Yang's Herbs and Gems for Health: http://www.ocnsignal.com/yangwarn2.shtml


Symphytum officinale

Habitat: By river banks, in ditches and in wet spots.

Also called:  Knitbone; Knitback; Consound; Blackwort; Bruisewort; Slippery Root; Boneset; Consolida; Ass Ear

Treatment for: wounds; broken bones; ulcer; hernia; haemorrhage; bronchitis

[Root, rhizome, leaf]
Unearth the roots in spring or autumn. Split and dry in fairly cool place. Infuse one to three tsp of the dried herb in a cup of water, bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Active ingredient: Allantoin

vulnerary; demulcent; anti-inflammatory; astringent; expectorant

A relative of the forget-me-not, comfrey is recognizable by its broad, hairy leaves. One of the best known of traditional herbal treatments; its use goes back at least to the Middle Ages and into the indefinite past. Has been used for gout and aching joints as well as for all kinds of breaks, wounds and ulcers.

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Zingiber officinale

Habitat: Cultivated worldwide.

Treatment for: dyspepsia; colds; colic; gastritis

1/2 oz. ginger root (bruised, powdered or grated) may be boiled in one pint water and taken by spoonfuls.

stimulant; carminative; anti-spasmodic; rubefacient; diaphoretic; emmenagogue

Eases the stomache and loosens nasal and bronchial congestion. Stimulates circulation; effective against sore throats.

Also makes a good candy; can be prepared as a syrup and used in cooking or tea. A common ingredient in Asian, West Indian and African cooking, ginger root is widely available in grocery stores.

While effective as a treatment for nausea, particularly in combination with peppermint (another "food" with medicinal effects), ginger is not advised for relief of morning sickness, due to possible harmful effects to fetal development.

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Echinacea spp.

Habitat: Prairies, plains, and open woodlands.

Also called:  Purple Coneflower

Treatment for: microbial infections; colds; flu

Decoction: one to two tsp of the root to one cup of water, boiled and simmered for 10-15 minutes.

Active ingredients: glycosides; polysaccharides

anti-microbial; immunomodulator; anti-catarrhal; alterative

Excellent for helping to prevent illness. Good for upper respiratory tract infections such as laryngitis, tonsillitis, runny nose and sinuses. Seems to act directly against foreign microbes, giving the immune system time to kick in. Also seems to stimulate the immune system itself.

Should not be taken habitually, as if an immune booster. Works best when used seldom, and only at the onset or early initial stages of contracting an illness. If used carefully in this way, the herb can help prevent a cold completely. If used too routinely, however, it loses its effect.

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St. John's Wort

Hypericum perforatum

Habitat: Uncultivated ground including woods, hedges, roadsides, and meadows.

Treatment for: hysteria and nervous depression; neuralgia; pulmonary complaints; bladder troubles; dysentery, worms, diarrhoea; jaundice

[tops and flowers]
One oz. may be infused in a pint of water and taken in doses of one to two tbs.

anti-inflammatory; anti-microbial; aromatic; astringent; resolvent; expectorant; nervine; vulnerary

As a sedative and analgesic, St. John's Wort is useful for treating neuralgia, anxiety, depression and tension, and irritability. Will also ease sciatica and rheumatism, and has been recommended for hemorrhoids, facial pain after dental extractions and toothache.

Should not be used by women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding, or in conjunction with standard antidepressants.




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