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     Medicinal Herbs
 

Fennel

As a medicinal plant, fennel seed has been used as an antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, stimulant, and stomachic. Fennel has also been used to stimulate lactation, as a remedy against colic, and to improve the taste of other medicines. Chinese herbal medicine includes the use of fennel for gastroenteritis, hernia, indigestion, abdominal pain, and to resolve phlegm and stimulate milk production (11.1-10). Fennel is known to provoke both photodermatitis and contact dermatitis in humans (11.1-96). The volatile oil may cause nausea, vomiting, seizures, and pulmonary edema (1.8-100). The essential oil has been reported to stimulate liver regeneration in rats (7.6-57) .

 
Symphytum peregrinum -Comfrey
 
Plant contains allantoin, used in some face creams, or to cure scours in pigs and calves, or give a bloom to horses. For humans, it is reported to be good for asthma, whooping cough, stomach and duodenal ulcers and lung ailments. Gerard's herbal is quoted in the New Scientist (July 15, 1976, p. 14.) on multicolored Comfrey, variously known as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Pigweed, Suckers or Church Bells. "The slimie substance of the roote made in a posset of ale and given to drink against the pain in the backe gotten by any violent motion such as wrastling or overmuch use of women, doth in foure or five days perfectly cure the same, although involuntarie flowing of seed in men be gotten thereby." Comfrey is said to be alterative, astringent, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, hemostat, nutritive, and vulnerary. The root decoction is used as a mouthwash or gargle for asthma, bleeding gums, hoarseness, sore throat and stomatitis. It is also used for arthritis, bronchitis, bloody urine, cough, dysentery, dysmenorrhea, enterorrhagia, gallstones, gastritis, hematochezia, hematuria, hemoptysis, internal ulcers, leucorrhea, metrorrhagia, scrofula, tonsilitis, and ulcers of the kidney. In a vague reference Hutchens (1973) quotes S. Clymer (1963) "Numerous uncontradicted reports of lung cancer cured where all other means have failed and in which the sole treatment consisted of infusion made from the whole green plant and, even in some instances, of infusion made from the powder of the entire plant." Interestingly, comfrey does contain b-sitosterol which shows anticancer activity against the Lewis Lung Carcinoma Adenocarcinoma 755 and Walker Carcinosarcoma 256 tumor systems. Homeopathically, comfrey is prescribed for abscess, bone cancer, breast, enlarged glands, eye pain, fracture, gunshot wounds, hernia, menstrual arrest, sexual abscess, sprains and wounds (Hutchens, 1973). Allantoin, present in comfrey leaves and roots is said to be a cell proliferant, making the edges of wounds grow together and healing sores.
 
Fabaceae -konna
Purging cassia, Indian laburnum, Golden-shower
 
According to Hartwell (1967-1971), the plants are used in folk remedies for tumors of the abdomen, glands, liver, stomach, and throat, cancer, carcinomata, and impostumes of the uterus. Reported to be aperient, astringent, laxative, purgative, and vermifuge, Indian laburnum is a folk remedy for burns, cancer, constipation, convulsions, delirium, diarrhea, dysuria, epilepsy, gravel, hematuria, pimples, and glandular tumors (Duke and Wain, 1981). Ayurvedic medicine recognizes the seed as antibilious, aperitif, carminative, and laxative, the root for adenopathy, burning sensations, leprosy, skin diseases, syphilis, and tubercular glands, the leaves for erysipelas, malaria, rheumatism, and ulcers, the buds for biliousness, constipation, fever, leprosy, and skin disease, the fruit for abdominal pain, constipation, fever, heart disease, and leprosy. Yunani use the leaves for inflammation, the flowers for a purgative, the fruit as antiinflammatory, antipyretic, abortifacient, demulcent, purgative, refrigerant, good for chest complaints, eye ailments, flu, heart and liver ailments, and rheumatism, though suspected of inducing asthma. Seeds are considered emetic. Konkanese use the juice to alleviate ringworm and blisters caused by the marking nut, a relative of poison ivy. Leaf poultices are applied to the chilblains so common in the upper Sind; also used in facial massage for brain afflictions, and applied exter- nally for paralysis and rheumatism, also for gout. Rhodesians use the pulp for anthrax, blood poisoning, blackwater fever, dysentery, and malaria. Gold Coast natives use the pulp from around the seed as a "safe and useful purgative" (Kirtikar and Basu, 1975). Throughout the Far East, the uncooked pulp of the pods is a popular remedy for constipation, thought to be good for the kidneys "as those who use it much remain free of kidney stones" [Heyne as cited in Perry (1980)]. A decoction of the root bark is recommended for cleansing wounds. In the West Indies, the pulp and/or leaves are poulticed onto inflamed viscera, e.g. the liver. The bark and leaves are used for skin diseases: flowers used for fever, root as a diuretic, febrifuge; for gout and rheumatism.

Humulus lupulus L.

Cannabinaceae
Common hops

Dried strobili used medicinally as a bitter tonic, sedative, hypnotic. The decoction from the flower is said to remedy swellings and hardness of the uterus. A cataplasm of the leaf is said to remedy cold tumors. The dried fruit, used for poultices and formentations, is said to remedy painful tumors. The pomade, made from the lupulin, is said to remedy cancerous ulcerations (Hartwell, 1967–1971). Reported to be anaphrodisiac, anodyne, antiseptic, diuretic, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, soporific, stomachic, sudorific, tonic, and vermifuge, hops is a folk remedy for boils, bruises, calculus, cancer, cramps, cough, cystitis, debility, delirium, diarrhea, dyspepsia, fever, fits, hysteria, inflammation, insomnia, jaundice, nerves, neuralgia, rheumatism, and worms (Duke and Wain, 1981). Moerman (1982) gives interesting insight on Amerindian uses of a plant alien to them originally. Delaware Indians heated a small bag of leaves to apply to earache or toothache. More interesting was the Delaware use of hops as a sedative, drinking hop tea several times a day to alleviate nervousness. Cherokee, Mohegan, and Fox also used the plant as a sedative. George III is said to have slept on a pillow stuffed with hops to alleviate some symptoms of his porphyria. I would personally not hesitate to drink a chamomile-hop-valerian tea as a sedative or herbal sleeping potion, but I would never recommend it to anyone else. The antibiotic principle lupulone is tuberculostatic (Duke, 1972).

Alnus maritima Nutt.

Betulaceae
Seaside Alder

According to Hartwell (1967–1970), the alders are used in folk remedies for cancers, indurations and/or tumors, especially of the breast, epithelium, duodenum, esophagus, face, lip, pancreas, pylorus, rectum, throat, tongue, and uterus. Reported to be astringent and depurative, closely related Alnus serrulata is a folk remedy for bruises, burns, diarrhea, eye, hematuria, malaria, poison ivy, scalds, sores, syphilis, and wounds (Duke and Wain, 1981). Erichsen-Brown (1979) lists many other uses of the alder; e.g. the Potawatomi Indians made a bark tea for flushing the vagina or to shrink hemorrhoids via rectal syringe. None of these are specific to Alnus maritima, just generic

Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.

Betulaceae
European alder, Black alder

According to Hartwell (1967–1971), the leaves are decocted in folk remedies for cancer of the breast, duodenum, esophagus, face, pylorus, pancreas, rectum, throat, tongue, and uterus. The bark and/or roots are used for cancers and inflammatory tumors of the throat. Reported to be alterative, astringent, detersive, diuretic, sudorific, tonic, and vermifuge, black alder is a folk remedy for cancer, fever, foot ailments, tumors, and worms (Duke and Wain, 1981). The bark decoction is taken as a gargle for angina and pharyngitis, as an enema in hematachezia.

Cichorium intybus L.

Asteraceae
Chicory, Succory, Witloof chicory, Radichetta, Asparagus chicory

Cultivated plant in India is used as a tonic, and in diarrhea, enlargement of the spleen, fever and vomiting. Wild form is considered alexiteric, emmenagogue and tonic. The juice is said to be a folk remedy for cancer of the uterus and for tumors. The powdered seed is said to remedy indurations of the spleen. The leaf, boiled with honey for a gargle is said to cure cancer of the mouth. The root, boiled in water is said to help cancer of the breast and face (Hartwell, 1967-1971).

Chemistry