Quick List of some useful herbs and their application...



    Achillea millefolium


    Bitter, astringent plant used internally for feverish colds & flu, indigestion, hypertension, menstrual problems, etc; externally, stops bleeding.

    Rhizomatous hardy perennial, to 50cm. Any good, well-drained soil, sun. Propagate by division of rhizomes, or seed (needs light).

    Agrimonia eupatoria


    Cooling, astringent plant used for digestive tonic, diarrhea, urinary infections, phlegm, to clear toxins; externally for wounds,

    skin inflammations, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 30mm.

    Attractive compound leaves, yellow flowers. Well-drained to dry soil, sun. Propagate by seed sown in spring, or division.

    Albizia julibrissin

    Mimosa tree,

    He huan

    Bark and flowers are used for insomnia & irritability, flowers for poor memory, bark (internally & externally) for injuries, skin conditions, lung abcesses.

    Small, ornamental tree to 1m. Tolerant, prefers warmth, moisture and sun. Propagate by seed sown in spring (nick or hot water soak before sowing).

    Aloe vera


    The common name Aloe Vera includes the species Aloe ferex and Aloe ferox, which are used interchangeably with Aloe Vera. Aloe barbadensis is the same species as Aloe Vera.

    Familiar garden plant, 1m. Poor, light, well-drained soil, full sun. Propagate from individual pups direct plantedat any time of year, or by seed.

    Malva sylvestris

    Common Mallow

    Soothing, mucilaginous plant used for bronchitis, urinary tract infections, digestive problems; externally for injuries, skin inflammations, etc.

    All parts edible. Erect, hardy perennial herb,80cm. Prefers moist to wet soil and sun. Propagate by seed or division of clumps, autumn or early spring.

    Arctium lappa


    Niu bang (zi)

    Root alterative and blood-cleansing, for skin conditions due to internal toxicity (eczema, psoriasis). Seeds dispel wind heat (colds, fever, sore throat).

    Stout biennial to 2m (2nd yr). Prefers deep, rich, moist soil, sun or part shade. Direct sow in spring, spacing 15cm (for roots) to 60cm (for seeds). Edible plant.

    Artemisia vulgaris


    Ai ye

    Aromatic, bitter herb used for poor appetite & digestion, nerve tonic, female reproductive system (regulate menstruation, etc.), expels parasites. Moxa

    Rhizomatous hardy perennial herb, 2m; may be dangerously invasive. Most soils, sun - part shade. Propagate by division or spring sown seed.

    Atroppa belladonna


    Belladonna is one of the herbs that we seriously urge caution with as just about every part of the plant has some toxic effect. 

    They love full sun, alkaline soil and regular watering but little else as far as care goes.

    Astragalus membranaceus


    Huang qi

    Important tonic root, immune system ("defense energy") stimulant; used for fatigue, poor appetite, spontaneous sweating due to deficiency, recuperation.

    Hardy perennial herb, multistalked,1m. Prefers light/well-drained, slightly alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by seed sown direct or in flat, in spring, space 30cm

    Avena sativa


    Nutritive, restorative, tonic herb/grain used especially for nervous system: depression, anxiety, etc. Also used externally for skin condittions and in cosmetics.

    Annual grain crop, 1m. Good soil and sun. Direct sow in autumn (mild winter areas) or early spring, harvest in green (milky) seed stage.

    Baptisia tinctoria

    Wild indigo

    The bitter, antibacterial root stimulates immune system, used especially for head and throat infections. Also used externally formulcers, boils, wounds, etc.

    Hardy perennial herb,1m, multistalked, attractive. Prefers average to dry, acid soil and sun. Sow seed in spring, direct or in pots.

    Berberis vulgaris


    Bitter, aromatic plant used especially for liver and gallbladder (hepatitis, gallstones, etc.), also diarrhea, hypertension. Fruit is edible and medicinal.

    Hardy deciduous shrub to 25cm, spiny. Prefers light shade and calcareous soil. Propagate by seed, division of suckers, or autumn cuttings.

    Calendula officinalis

    Pot marigold

    Petals have astringent, antiseptic & anti-inflammatory properties, used internally for liver & gynecological problems, externally for variety of skin problems and circulation.

    Hardy annual, 60cm, showy orange/yellow flowers. For any good soil, prefers full sun. Direct sow early to late spring. Often self-sows.

    Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd's purse

    Astringent, diuretic, antiseptic herb used especially to stop bleeding - internal (menstrual, post-partum) and external; also for cystitis.

    Often self-sows. Winter annual , flowering to a rosette. Appreciates good soil, sun to part shade. Best sown direct, autumn to early spring. Self-sows.

    Centella asiatica

    Gotu kola

    Rejuvinative, tonic plant with diurectic, detoxifying and immune stimulating properties. Promotes healing, retards senility. Aids spiritual practices.

    Tender, perennial herb, 30cm. Moist to wet soil , sun or light shade .Prpogates by runners. Frost-susceptible, but easily overwintered if protected.

    Chamaemelum nobile 

    Chamomile, Roman

    Aromatic bitter flower used mainly for digestive (poor appetite, dyspepsia, etc.) and sedative (insomnia, anxiety) properties; soothing children, etc.

    Mat-forming , hardy perennial herb, 20cm. Prefers well-drained soil and sun. Propagate by division or seed, sown autumn-early spring.

    Chelidonium majus

    Celandine poppy

    Anti-inflammatory, cleansing, diuretic plant used internally for liver and gall bladder, etc; externally for variety of skin & eye problems, warts, tumors.

    Sensative perennial herb,30cm, attractive. Prefers rich, moist soil, light shade. Propagate by seed sown in flat in spring, self sows.

    Chenopodium ambrosioides

    Wormseed, Epazote

    Strongly aromatic herb with insecticidal properties, primarily used against intestinal worms. Cooked with beans to flavor and aid digestion .

    Branching annual/perennial herb to1m +. Prefers poor soil and sun. Easy from seed in spring, may self-sow excessively if allowed to.

    Dioscorea villosa

    Wild yam

    Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic root used for menstrual & labor pain, colitis, gastritis, etc. Also for galll bladder complaints, asthma, arthritis.

    Twining herbaceous perennial vine, 5m. Woodland herb, prefers good soil, part shade. Sow arial in winter - early spring.

    Echinacea purpurea

    Purple coneflower

    Alterative, antibiotic and antiviral plant used especially for immune system stimulation (for colds and flu, also most infections and inflammations).

    Showy, hardy perennial herb, 1m. Prefers rich moist soil and sun-light shade.

    Propagate by division or seed sown in early spring.

    Eschscholzia californica 

    California poppy

    Sedative, anti-spasmodic plant with pain relieving properties. For nervous tension, anxiety and insomnia. Helps calm overexcited, sleepless children.

    Ornamental annual herb to 60cm. Prefers good garden soil and full sun. Best sown direct - dislikes transplanting - in early spring. Self seeds freely.

    Eupatorium perfoliatum


    Bitter plant used for colds, influenza, bronchitis, etc. Promotes sweating to lower fever, stimulates immune system, expectorant and antispasmodic.

    Upright hardy perennial herb to1m, attractive. Rich moist soil and sun. Propagate by division or seed - sow on surface of flat in spring, keep moist but not wet.

    Filipendula ulmaria 


    Aromatic astringent plant with antacid and pain relieving properties. Used for hyperacidity & heartburn, gastritis, ulcers; also rheumatism and flu.

    Attractive hardy perennial herb to 40cm, bushy . Prefers damp rich soil and light shade. Divide, or sow in flat in spring, do not cover , keep moist.

    Foeniculum vulgare


    Aromatic plant with antispasmodic properties. Seeds promotes digestion and lactation, root used for urinary problems. Relieves colic and griping cramps.

    Hardy perennial plant, 1m, feathery leaves & yellow flowers. Tolerates most soils, sun. Sow direct in spring.

    Geranium robertianum

    Herb Robert

    Astringent, antiseptic plant used for diarrhea (children, elderly),ulcers, colitis, internal bleeding, excessive menstruation. Externally for hemorrhoids.

    Attractive hardy annuall herb/wildflower, 40cm.Prefers mulch, moist soil, part shade, Best sown outdoors in autumn.

    Ginkgo biloba


    Bittersweet, astringent plant, leaves relax blood vessels and promote circulation to brain and extremities; seeds used for asthma, coughs, incontinence.

    Hardy deciduous tree, Huge. Adaptable, prefers moist soil & sun. Sow recent seed in spring, grow in container for 1 or 2 years before setting out.

    Humulus lupulus


    Bitter flowers with sedative properties used for insomnia, anxiety, irritability (but not depression ), nervous indigestion, irritable bowel; contains estrogen.

    High climbing, twining, hardy herbaceous perennial vine. Prefers rich moist soil, sun-part shade. Propagate by division from female plants spring.

    Hypericum perforatum

    StJohn's wort

    Sedative, anti-inflammatory herb, for anxiety,nervous tension, PMS. Oil used esternally for wounds (esp. with nerve damage), sores, burns, earache.

    Hardy perennial herb,20cm, spreading by runners. Well-drained to dry, sandy soil; sun. Divide, or sow on surface (add sand to starting mix) keep moist.

    Hyssopus officinalis


    Bitter, tonic plant primarily used as a sedative & expectorant for colds, flu, bronchitis. Promotes sweating to lower fever, antiviral, aids digestive system.

    Hardy perennial subshrub to 60cm, attractive. Well-drained to dry, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by spring sown seed.

    Inula helenium


    Bitter tonic root with alterative, expectorant, antibacterial, immune stimulating and anti-inflammatory properties. Primarily for cough, lung problems.

    Hardy perennial herb, to 2m, ornamental. Rich, moist, well -drained soil and sun-light shade. Sow in flat in spring, covering shallowly.

    Lavendula angustofolia 


    Fragrant, aromatic, tonic flowers with antispasmodic, antidepressant, circulatory stimulant properties. Used for anxiety, tension headaches, indigestion.

    Hardy perennial subshrub to 30cm. Well-drained, neutral soil, full sun. Propagate by cuttings, or seed sown in flats, early spring (cold aids germination)

    Lycopus Virginicus


    Bitter plant, mild sedative, astringent. Used for excessive menstruation, rapid pulse, chronic lung problemsand, especially, overactive thyroid.

    Hardy perennial herb, 20cm. Prefers good, moist to wet soil, part shade.

    Marrubium vulgare


    Bitter, aromatic plant, with expectorant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Used primarily for lungs: coughs, bronchitis, etc. Hardy perennial plant, 60cm, bushy. Well-drained to dry soil, full sun.

    Propagate by division, or by seed sown direct or in flat in spring. Spacing 12"

    Matricaria recutita

    Chamomile, German

    Aromatic bitter flower, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. For stomach disorders (promotes gastric secretions), common cold, childhood complaints.

    Upright, branching annual herb to 60cm. Good garden soil, full sun. May be sown direct, autumn or spring, or sow in flat & transplant.

    Melissa officinalis

    Lemon balm

    Aromatic plant with sedative, cooling and antibiotic properties. Used for nervous disorders & associated indigestion (adults & children), hyperthyroid.

    Hardy perennial herb, 70cm. Prefers rich, moist soil, sun-light shade. Propagate by division, or seed sown autumn-early spring (cold aids germination).

    Mentha x piperita


    Aromatic plant with stimulant, antispasmodic and antiseptic properties. Used for digestive disorders, colds & flu, nervous headaches; also externally.

    Stoloniferous hardy perennial herb, 60cm. Rich, damp soil, sun-part shade. Propagate from stolons, autumn or spring; or by seed in spring.

    Nepeta cataria


    Bitter astringent plant with sedative properties. Promotes sweating - lowers fever (colds & flu). Also infant colic & diarrhea, irritability.

    Hardy perennial plant, 70cm, bushy. Tolerant, prefers sun to light shade & well-drained to dry soil. Propagate by seed (easy, self-sows), or division.

    Ocimum basilicum


    Warming, aromatic, restorative plant. Lowers fever (colds, flu ), relaxes spasms, improves digestion. For gastrointestinal complaints, headache.

    Tender annual , 80cm. Good garden soil (moist, well drained), full sun. Easily propagated from seed sown in warm soil - direct or transplant.

    Origanum vulgare


    Pungent, aromatic, warming plant - antispasmodic, antiseptic. For colds & flu, stomach upset, cough. Stimulates uterus: for painful menstruation.

    Hardy perennial herb,60cm. Prefers well-drained, neutral soil and full sun. Propagate by division of clumps, cuttings or seed sown in warm soil.

    Passiflora incarnata

    Passion flower

    Bitter, cooling plant with sedative pain-relieving antispasmodic properties. Used for anxiety, nervous & premenstrual tension, insomnia, etc.

    Hardy perennial woody vine to 6m, suckering , ornamental. Prefers sandy soil, sun. Propagate by division, cuttings or seed (heat improves germination)

    Perilla frutescens

    Perilla, shiso, zi su

    Both leaves & fruit (seeds) are used to regulate vital energy. Leaves for colds with chill, headache, mastitis; Fruit for cough, asthma, constipation.

    Tender upright annual, 80cm.Frost tolerant, prefers moist rich soil, sun-light shade. Direct sow in warm soil; will self-sow.

    Petroselinum crispum


    Bitter, aromatic plant which is diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, emmmenagogue. For cystitis, prostratitis, indigestion, menstrual problems.

    Hardy biennial,60cm. Prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil and sun for most of the day. Sow in spring, direct or in flat; slow to germinate.

    Phytolacca americana


    Bitter, pungent plant , alterative & anti-inflammatory, stimulates immune & lymph systems, clears toxins. For swollen glands, rheumatism, arthritis.

    Stout perennial herb to 3m attractive. Rich soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring; self-sows and potentially weedy. Do not overwater.

    Pimpinella anisum


    Sweet, warming plant with stimulant & expectorant properties. Improves digestion, promotes lactation. For coughs, colds, colic, flatulence, etc.

    Slender annual,60cm. Prefers well-drained to sandy, neutral to alkaline soil and sun. Needs heat to ripen seeds. Direct sow in warm soil.

    Plantago major


    Astringent, diuretic herb,antibacterial, expectorant, promotes healing. Internally for bronchitis, cystitis, diarrhea. Externally for wounds, stings, etc.

    Hardy perennial herb, 60cm. For any good soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring, or division. Self-sows very freely, may become weedy.

    Platycodon grandiflorus

    Balloon flower

    Bitter, pungent, tonic root/food with expectorant action. Used primarily for coughs, bronchitis, lung abcess, throat infections, etc.

    Upright, multistalked perennial plant,20cm, ornamental. Rich, well-drained to sandy soil,sun. Propagate by seed - cold period aids germination.

    Polygonum chinense

    Chinese Knotweed

    Bittersweet, tonic root, rejuvenates liver & reproductive systems, supplements blood & vital energy. Menstrual & menopausal complaints, aging.

    Rampant perennial vine, 6m+. Rich, moist, well-drained to sandy soil, sun. Propagate by cuttings or division. Can be invasive when established.

    Prunella vulgaris

    Self-heal, Heal-all

    Astringent, diuretic herb which lowers fever & blood pressure, anti-bacterial. For hemorrhage, excess menstruation. Also used externally.

    Hardy perennial herb, 15cm.Well-drained soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed sown in early spring, or division of clumps. Cannot tolerate overwatering.

    Raphanus sativus


    Pungent seed which improves digestion, also expectorant & antibiotic. Primarily used for indigestion, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, 'food stagnation'.

    Hardy annual, 70cm. Succeeds in any good garden soil, likes full sun. Propagate by seed direct sown in cool season.

    Rosmarinus officinalis 


    Aromatic herb with restorative, antispasmodic and pain relieving properties. For depression, migraine, poor circulation, nervous indigestion, memory.

    Tender evergreen shrub, 1m. Well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by cuttings, or seed (sow in flat in warm soil). Will not take in boggy soil.

    Rubus idaeus


    Astringent leaf used primarily to tone the uterus during pregnancy in preparation for birth. Also used for diarrhea and externally: eyewash & gargle.

    Hardy, spreading shrub, 3m, invasive. For any good soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by division of suckers or seed, sown in spring.

    Salvia miltiorrhiza

    Sage (Red Root)

    Decoction of the root is generally used to treat irregular menstruation, uterine bleeding, and abdominal pain caused by stagnant blood.

    Hardy perennial shrub, 60cm'. Prefers well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by cuttings or seed sown in Autumn.

    Salvia officinalis


    Astringent herb: antiseptic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. Suppresses perspiration and lactation. Indigestion, depression, anxiety, menopause.

    Hardy perennial shrub, 60cm'. Prefers well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by cuttings or seed sown in spring (cold aids germination).

    Sambucus nigra


    Leaves, bark, flowers &fruit used. Treat colds & flu, fever, constipation, rheumatism, arthritis. Externally for injuries & inflammation, mouth, eyes.

    Hardy, suckering shrub/small tree to 3m. Rich, moist soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by division or seed (spring sown in compost-rich soil).

    Sanguisorba officinalis

    Salad Burnet

    Bitter, cooling, astringent herb: controls bleeding, promotes healing, anti-inflammatory , antibiotic. Diarrhea, hemorrhage. Externally; burns, sores.

    Hardy, short lived perennial herb, 60cm, attractive. Prefers rich, moist neutral soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed sown in early spring, or division.

    Satureja hortensis

    Savory, summer

    Warming, astringent herb which is natiseptic and expectorant, improves digestion, stimulates uterus. For indigestion, nausea, menstrual disorders.

    Annual, 50-60cm. Tolerant, prefers well-drained to dry, neutral to alkaline soil and full sun. Direct sow when soil has warmed. Also Autumn if you have had a hot summer.

    Scrophularia nodosa


    Altertive, diuretic root, relieves pain, stimulates liver, heart & circulation. Internally & externally for chronic skin diseases, mastitis, swollen lymph.

    Hardy perennial herb to 60cm, bushy. Good, moist to wet soil, light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring, or division.

    Scutellaria lateriflora


    Bitter, tonic herb with sedative, antispasmodic prooperities, lowers fever. Used for nervous complaints, insomnia, irritability, drug withdrawal.

    Soft perennial herb, 40cm, spreading by rhizomes. Prefers rich, damp-wet soil, light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring, or division.

    Silybum marianum

    St Mary's thistle

    Bitter, tonic, diuretic seed which regenerates liver and aids digestion. Used for liver & gallbladder (cirrhosis, hepatitis), appetite stimulant.

    Hardy annual or biennial (winter annual) to1.5m, ornamental, very prickly. Rich, well-drained soil, sun. Direct sow, autumn or early spring. Collect seed quickly after maturity. Wait, and it's gone.

    Stellaria media


    Soothing, cooling plant which promotes healing and relieves itching. Internally for rheumatism, arthritis; externally for itching skin conditions.

    Winter annual, 25cm, spreading. Prefers rich, moist, cool soil, sun to part shade. Direct sow, autumn or early spring; self-sows, may become weedy for many years afterwards.

    Symphytum officinale


    Mucilaginous, cooling plant: expectorant, astringent, anti-inflammatory, soothing & healing. Used externaly for fractures, skin problems, etc.

    Hardy perennial herb, 1m, multi-stalked. Rich, moist soil, sun to light shade. Propagate by division or root cuttings. Difficult to remove once established.

    Tanacetum parthenium


    Bitter, cooling, tonic herb which relieves pain and lowers fever, anti-spasmodic. Used for headaches (esp. migraine), rheumatism & arthritis, menstrual.

    Hardy, short-lived perennial herb, 50cm. Well-drained to dry soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed sown (on surface) in spring, or division. Self-sows.

    Taraxacum officinale


    Bittersweet, cooling plant, diuretic & laxative, stimulates liver & improves digestion. For gall bladder & urinary disorders, chronic skin problems.

    Hardy perennial herb,25cm. Tolerant, prefers rich, well-drained soil, full sun. Sow direct or in flat, in spring. Self-sowing and frequently weedy.

    Thymus vulgaris


    Aromatic, warming herb; astringent, expectorant, antiseptic & antifungal. For bronchitis & asthma, indigestion & diarrhea; also used externally.

    Hardy perennial, 15cm, attractive groundcover. Prefers well-drained, neutral-alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by division or sow in flat in spring.

    Trifolium pratense

    Red clover

    Sweet, cooling flowers are alterative, expectorant, antispasmodic. Internally for skin complaints (psoriasis, eczema), cancer, cough. Also used externally.

    Hardy perennial herb 40cm. Tolerant, prefers fertile, well-drained soil, full sun. Direct sow, early spring to autumn. Soil builder (fixes nitrogen), improves soil vitality.

    Tussilago farfara


    Soothing, bittersweet herb is expectorant, antispasmodic & anti-inflammatory. Primarily for cough and lung conditions; also in herbal smoking mixtures.

    Stoloniferous, hardy perennial herb to 15cm. Prefers rich, moist to wet soil and sun. Propagate by fresh seed sown on surface in spring, or division.

    Urtica dioica


    Astringent plant is tonic, nutritive, diuretic. Controls bleeding (uterine, menstrual), also for skin complaints (eczema), arthritis, anemia, etc.

    Hardy perennial herb, 1m, spreading by roots. Prefers rich (humus, nitrogen), moist soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by division or seed.

    Valeriana officinalis


    Bittersweet root is sedative, anispasmodic, aids digestion and relieves pain. For insomnia, anxiety, nervous disorders including nervous indigestion, etc.

    Hardy perennial herb, 1m, attractive, fragrant. Prefers rich moist soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by seed sown in flat in spring, or division

    Verbascum thapsus


    Bitter, mucilaginous plant is expectorant, promotes healing. Primarily for cough & lung problems; also externally (sores, earache) and in smoking mixtures

    Stout, upright, hardy biennial to 2m, ornamental. Tolerant, prefers fertile, well-drained soil and sun. Propagate by seed sown in spring - will self-sow. Do not overwater.

    Viola tricolor

    Heart's ease

    Cooling, bittersweet herb is anti-inflammatory, expectorant, promotes healing. Uses include cough, rheumatism, fevers, skin conditions (eczema), etc.

    Hardy annual / short-lived perennial herb, 20cm, attractive. Moist, well-drained soil, sun-part shade; likes cool. Propagate by seed (autumn-spring); self-sows.

    Vitex agnus-castus


    Pungent, bittersweet which regulates hormones. Primarily for gynecological problems including menstrual, menopausal (depression), breasts, etc.

    Deciduous shrub to 5m, ornamental.Quite hardy. Tolerates poor, dry soil, prefers sun. Sow seed in spring, grow in container 1st year.

    Withania somnifera


    Warming, bittersweet root is tonic and sedative. Primary rejuvenative in Ayurvedic medicine: used for aging, debility, convalescence, insomnia,infertlity, etc

    Tender, evergreen shrub to 1m, often grown as annual. Prefers fertile, well-drained soil, sun. Sow seed in spring and set out when soil has warmed.

    Zingiber officinalis


    Pungent, warming root is stimulant, expectorant and antispasmodic. Used for digestive problems (nausea), cough, colds & flu, circulatory problems, etc.

    Tender, rhizomatous perennial herb, 1m. Prefers rich, moist, well-drained, neutral soil; sun to part shade. Divide roots, plant in warm soil.