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Medicinal Plant Actions

by Dr. Steve Blake, ScD, MH
Registered Herbalist, AHG


Medicinal Plant Actions is a 185 page electronic book in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. This herbal reference covers 711 medicinal plants with their actions and properties. Each medicinal plant has a list of names including botanical names.

Celery seeds are a tasty spice, but did you know that they are also diuretic and stimulating? With Medicinal Plant Actions, you can look up your favorite herbs and discover beneficial effects you never knew they had.

Herbalists and other phytotherapists have been using properties to describe medicinal plants for hundreds of years. Much of the information about medicinal plants is in the form of their actions. Rather than saying a plant is used for insomnia, many references will state that it has the action “sedative” or “hypnotic”. Properties and actions of medicinal plants describe the action of the plant on the body. 

Medicinal Plant Actions does more than just list actions and properties for each plant. The numbers of agreeing references are included to see which properties are attributed to a plant by multiple authors. For example, 13 books agree that licorice is demulcent, while just one book lists licorice as emetic. 

Increase your understanding of medicinal plants and enjoy the broad scope of information gathered together into one concise electronic volume.

This book has a companion volume called the Herbal Property Dictionary. This companion volume defines hundreds of the properties.

In this electronic book, you may use the find feature (an icon like binoculars) to quickly go to any word or phrase.

Download a free sample PDF

To Buy the electronic book: Medicinal Plant Actions
by Steve Blake

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A Few Excerpts from the Full Book
By Steve Blake AHG, DSc, Master Herbalist
Available from LifeLong Press
Copyright 2004 Steve Blake


Burdock Root

BURDOCK ROOT is known by the following names:  Arctium Lappa,  Arctium Minus - Also Used,  Arctium Tomentosum, Arctum Lappa, Arctum Minimus,  Arqityon - Iraq,  Asteracea,  Bardana - Chile,  Bardana - Italian,  Bardana - Spain,  Beggar’s Buttons, Burdock, Burdock - India, Burdock - Potawatomi,  Burdock Blood - Canada, Burdock Root,  Burr Seed,  Clotbur,  Cocklebur,  Compositae Family,  Daisy Family, Dulavratotu - Turkey,  Gobo - China, Gobo - Chinese,  Gobo - Japan, Greater Burdock, Hardock, Kewe - Belgium, Kleine Klette - German,  Lamparo - Spanish,  Lampazo Mayor - Spain,  Lampazo Menor - Spain,  Lappa Major,  Lappa Minor,  Niu Bang - Chinese,  Niu Pang Chiu - China,  Niu Pang Tzu - China, Niu Tsai - China,  Radix Bardanae, Shu Nien - China,  Small Burdock - English, Ta Li Tzu - China, Turkey Burseed,  Waisar - Kurdistan and Wu Shih - China.

BURDOCK ROOT is most often noted as having the following actions and properties. The number in parenthesis shows how many authors agree: Diuretic(22),  Alterative(18), Diaphoretic(17), Depurative(6), Demulcent(4),  Antidote(3),  Aperient(3),  Bitter(3),  Antipyretic(2), Carminative(2),  Cholagogue(2),  Stomachic(2), Sudorific(2) and Tonic(2).

BURDOCK ROOT is noted to have the following actions and properties:  Alexeteric, Alterative (leaves), Alterative (seeds),  Antimicrobial, Antiphlogistic,  Antiscorbutic,  Antitumor,  Aperitif, Aphrodisiac, Astringent,  Astringent Action,  Bactericide,  Blood Purifier,  Cleansing,  Cool Energy,  Detoxifying,  Diuretic (seeds), Diuretic - Mild, Emmenagogue, Estrogenic,  Fungicide,  Heat Clearing,  Heating, Hepatic, Kapha Soothing,  Laxative, Lithotriptic,  Pitta Soothing, Pungent, Pungent - Post Digest, Purgative, Refrigerant, Stimulant - Gustatory Nerves,  Sweet,  Sweet (root Only),  Sweet - Slightly and Tonic (leaves).


CHAMOMILE is known by the following names: Alman Papatyasi - Turkey,  Amerale - Belgium,  Anthemis Floes, Anthemis Nobiles,  Anthemis Nobilis,  Anthemum Nobilis, Anthemus Nobile, Asteraceae Family, Athemis Nobilis, Babuna,  Babunah - Iran, Babunj - Arabic,  Babunnej - Iraq,  Bayboon - Kurdistan,  Camomile - France,  Camomile - Germany, Chamomile, Chamomile - Europe,  Chamomile - Uk - Wales,  Compositae Family,  Ground Apple, Kami-ture, Manzanilla - Chile,  Manzanilla - Dominican Republic,  Manzanilla - Peru, Manzanilla - Spain,  Manzanilla Dulce - Dominican Republic,  Matricaria Chamomilla,  Maythe - United Kingdom,  Papatya - Turkey,  Roma-kamiture,  Rumi Papatya - Turkey,  Whig Plant and Whip Plant.

CHAMOMILE is most often noted as having the following actions and properties. The number in parenthesis shows how many authors agree: Carminative(16), Antispasmodic(12), Tonic(12), Diaphoretic(9),  Emmenagogue(9), Nervine(8),  Antiseptic(7),  Sedative(7),  Stimulant(7),  Stomachic(7), Anodyne(6),  Antiphlogistic(5),  Diuretic(5),  Nervine - Sedative(5),  Analgesic(3), Bitter(3), Expectorant(3),  Sudorific(3),  Vermifuge(3) and Antibiotic(2).

CHAMOMILE is noted to have the following actions and properties: Anti-inflammatory, Antidyspeptic, Antifungal,  Antipyretic,  Aperitive, Aromatic,  Blood Pressure - Lowers,  Calmative,  Cicatrizant,  Cooling,  Cordial,  Depurative, Diaphoretic - Hot, Digestive, Digestive - Pungent, Discutient,  Disinfectant, Emetic,  Emollient,  Kapha Soothing, Neutral Energy,  Pitta Soothing, Pungent, Pungent - Post Digest, Sattvic, Spicy, Tonic - Cold,  Tonic - Intestinal and Vulnerary.


GENTIAN is known by the following names: Acanthaceae Family,  Andrographis Paniculata,  Apocynaceae Family, Apocynum Androsaemifolium,  Balmoney, Bitter Root,  Bitterwort, Centiyane - Turkey,  Central European Gentian - G. Pann.,  Chinese Gentian,  Chirata - A Variety, Chiretta,  Chiretta - A Variety, Felwort, Fillwort,  G. Triflom Pall., Genciana - Spain,  Gentiaceae Family,  Gentian,  Gentian - Europe,  Gentian Officinalis,  Gentian Punctata - Spotted Gentian, Gentiana,  Gentiana Lutea, Gentiana Pannonicus - A Variety, Gentiana Purpurea - Purple Gentian,  Gentiana Sp., Gentianaceae,  Gentianaceae Family,  Great Yellow Gentian, Katuka,  Katuki, King Of Bitters,  Kirata, Kuru,  Kutki,  Liliaceae Family, Long Dan Cao,  Mahatikta,  Marsh Felwort - Swertia Perennis  Var., Picrorhiza,  Picrorhiza Kurroa, Purple Gentian - G. Purpurea,  Radix Gentianae Longdancao, Radix Luteae,  Ryutan - Japanese,  Skarsoeta - Iceland,  Spotted Gentian - Gentian Punctata,  Swertia - A Variety,  The Creat,  Tikta,  Trayamana and Yongdanch’o - Korean.

GENTIAN is most often noted as having the following actions and properties. The number in parenthesis shows how many authors agree:  Stomachic(7),  Tonic(6), Anthelmintic(5), Bitter(5), Alterative(4), Antipyretic(4),  Cholagogue(4),  Anti-inflammatory(3), Emetic(3), Antibiotic(2), Antiseptic(2), Aperitif(2), Cooling(2),  Febrifuge(2), Kapha Soothing(2), Laxative(2), Pitta Soothing(2) and Tonic - Bitter(2).

GENTIAN is noted to have the following actions and properties: Antacid, Antibacterial, Antibiliary, Antiperiodic,  Antirheumatic,  Antispasmodic, Antivenomous,  Aperient (root),  Aperitive,  Astringent, Ayurvedic, Bitter - Very, Bitter Digestive Stimulant,  Bitter Tonic, Blood Purifier,  Cathartic,  Clearing The Yang,  Cold, Cold Energy, Digestive - Pungent, Diuretic,  Emmenagogue,  Kapha Rasayan,  Kapha Soothing In Artava,  Kapha Soothing In Meda, Kapha Soothing In Rakta, Laxative - Mild, Pungent, Pungent - Post Digest, Stimulant, Stimulant (root),  Tonic - Digestive and Tonic Bitter.