Hopking's Herbal -DEF- A concise list of herbs, actions and uses

HOPKING'S herbal > D E F <



Go to Hopking's Herbal Materia Medica (herbs and their medicinal action and uses):
A, B-C, D-E-F, G-H, I-J-K, L-M-N, O-P-Q, R-S, T-U, V-W, X-Y-Z

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116. Datura stramonium (Thorn Apple, Jimson Weed, leaves, flowers; D. metel - Yang Jin Hua) 1:10 Chinese Herb - anti-spasmodic, narcotic, anodyne (pain); bronchial asthma, muscular spasms, shortness of breath, Parkinson’s, weeping and laughing, hearing voices, severe insomnia. Ext. apply locally for pain; pungent, warm; LU. NB: Poisonous. Flowers can be smoked in pipe to relieve asthma without phlegm excess; not suitable for children; useful as local anaesthetic (leaves and seeds are used in this way as well). Dose: BP 1973 0.5-2ml

117. Daucus carota (Wild Carrot aerial parts) - diuretic, anti-lithic, carminative; cystitis, prostatitis, kidney stones, gout.

118. Detox Herbs: Arctium (skin). Biota (lung/joints). Cimicifuga foet (Sheng Ma) (general). Ferula (lung/digestive). Phellodendron (general). Rheum (general). Ruscus (kidney/blood). Scut barb. Ban Zhi Lian (liver/lung). Smilax (skin). Terminalia (lung/blood/nerves (mind)). Triticum (general). Verbena (nerves/uterine). Phytolacca (lymphatics). Rumex (blood/skin). Yucca (joints). Stillingia (lymphatic/lung). Podophyllum (general; low dose). Detox

119. Diabetes mellitus: Astragalus. Eleuth. Galega. Gymnema. Panax. Puer. Rehm. Rhus arom. Rubus id. Stevia. Syzygium. Trigonella. Vinca. Chionanthus. Allium. Ginkgo. Swertia. Vaccinium. See Pancreas

120. Digitalis ovata (Foxglove leaves) - heart disease, palpitations, increases urine output (diuretic). (Tinct 1oz:1pt eth/aq: 5-15 drops, use sparingly). NB Progesterone is formed with cardiac glycosides in D. lanata and D. purpura. N/A

121. Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam root) - anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory; anti-rheumatic, cholagogue; intestinal colic, diverticulitis, ovarian pain, RA, muscular rheumatism, cramps, intermittent claudication, cholecystitis, dysmenorrhoea, ovarian pain, uterine pain, bilious colic, progesteronal, menopause. NB Diosgenin obtained by hydrolysis of the saponin dioscin is converted chemically to progesterone (T&E 282). See Menopause

122. Dorema ammoniacum (Dorema gum) - expectorant, spasmolytic, diaphoretic; chronic bronchitis, asthma. Dose 1g (15ml/day or PRN).

123. Dracaena draco (Daemonorops draco or Calamus draco) - (Dragon Tree resin, Dragon’s Blood; family Palmae - Xue Jie) - Part used is the resinous secretion from the fruit and stem. Taste and property: sweet, salty and neutral. HE LIV. To stop bleeding and eliminate blood stasis (hemostatic); to promote the healing of wounds; analgesic. Main use: traumatic wounds and bleeding. Pharm. Action: anti-fungal. It was considered to be a powerful aphrodisiac and was also reputed to possess the power to make an errant lover return. A piece of the plant is often used under the mattress as a cure for impotency.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Doses of 10 to 30 grains were formerly given as an astringent in diarrhoea; severe syphilis; chest pains, post-partum bleeding, internal traumas, and menstrual irregularities. Externally as a wash to promote healing and stop bleeding. An intoxicating drink can be made from it, and it has also been used in dysentery and diarrhea, and as a diaphoretic. Dracaena Draco is a giant tree of the East Indies and Canary Islands, and shares with the baobab tree the distinction of being the oldest living representative of the vegetable kingdom. The trunk cracks and emits a red resin used as 'tear' Dragon's Blood. Dry mouth (saliva flow inadequate) herbs - usually due to drug side effects. Take a tonic of: Ech. Gent lut. Ipec. Poly sen. Xanthox. Tarax fol. Capsic. Lobelia. Take Detox at the same time.

Dryopteris crassirhizoma (Guan Zhong, Wood Fern, Dryopteris, rhizome) – bitter, cool; Liver, Stomach. Function: expels parasites, used for tapeworm and hookworm infestation, especially effective agains Accumulation from parasites. Expels tapeworm, liver flukes, roundworm.

124. Echinacea angustifolia (Purple Cone Flower root) - anti-septic, anti-microbial, alterative; vasodilator (peripheral), bacterial and viral infections, boils, septicaemia, laryngitis, pyorrhoea, tonsillitis, tonsillitis, catarrh, mouthwash. Ext.: anti-septic for cuts, etc. Dose: 1:5 45% 1-2ml.

125. Eclipta prostrata (Han Lian Cao, whole plant) Chinese Herb - tonic to yin; tonic to kidney yin, refrigerant to blood; haemostatic; astringent; tinnitus, neurosis, teeth loss, premature greying hair, spermatorrhoea, bleeding due to yin xu: blood in sputum, urine, bile, menorrhagia; sweet, sour, cold; LIV KI. NB: The fresh herb applied to the scalp promotes hair growth; taken internally it blackens the hair, beard and eyebrows. See Hair

126. Elettaria cardamomum or Amomom villosum (Cardamom seeds, Grains of Paradise, Yi Zhi Ren) - carminative; flatulent dyspepsia, increases appetite and saliva, anorexia, incontinence. (Also known as Alpinia oxyphylla (Black Cardamom seeds, Yi Zhi Ren): - tonic to kidney yang: nutrient to bones and sinew; inhibits excess urination; anti-diarrhoeic; astringent, stomachic; kidney yang deficiency: impotence, premature ejaculation, frequent and profuse urination, urinary incontinence; diarrhoea, profuse salivation, cold and pain in abdomen; pungent, warm; SP, KI.

127. Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng) - adaptogen, circulatory stimulant, vasodilator; stress, depletion, (mental and physical), depression, immune stimulant. Siberian Ginseng belongs to the same family as ginseng from Korea and China. It is a common plant in Siberia, and during the past few years it has been studied extensively in the Soviet Union. The results of this investigation by the Russians have been extraordinary, showing that Siberian Ginseng causes an increase in both physical and intellectual capacities. It has become the anti-fatigue supplement "par excellence" in Russia, and is given to cosmonauts, Olympic athletes and workers doing heavy physical work. One example of the beneficial effects of Siberian Ginseng was reported in the medical literature by German investigators (Bohn) in October 1987. They demonstrated its beneficial effect on the immune system by conducting a double-blind, placebo controlled study on 36 healthy volunteers. Their results showed "a drastic increase in the absolute number of immunocompetent cells" in the blood of those taking the ginseng. Siberian Ginseng, therefor, can be considered useful in conditions of stress, infection, fatigue, healing, improved performance. See Sports Support Tonic

128. Ephedra sinica (Ephedra stems, Ma Huang) Chinese Herb - vasodilator, diaphoretic, hypertensive, circulatory stimulant, anti-allergic, bronchodilator, peripheral vasoconstrictor, cerebral stimulant, cardiac stimulant, diuretic; asthma, whooping cough, common cold, cough, hay fever, low blood pressure, circulatory insufficiency, urticaria, enuresis, narcolepsy, myasthenia gravis, allergies; pungent, bitter, warm; LU BL. Due to beta-2 adrenoreceptors in peripheral tissues ephedrine acts as a stimulant in weight loss - increasing thermogenesis. Weiner.

129. Equisetum arvense (Horsetail sterile stems) - astringent, geneto-urinary astringent, anti-haemorrhagic, diuretic; incontinence, bed wetting, prostatitis, prostatic hypertrophy, osteoporosis, cystitis, haematuria, urethritis. Ext.: styptic, vulnerary. Very rich source of the trace mineral silicon, making it valuable in strengthening hair, skin, nails, bones and blood vessels.

130. Erythrea centaurium (Centaury aerial parts) - bitter, aromatic, stomachic, mild nervine, gastric stimulant; loss of appetite, anorexia nervosa, dyspepsia, sluggish digestion.

131. Erythroxylum catuaba (Trichilla catigua, Catuaba) - aphrodisiac, HIV/AIDS (studies in Japan have confirmed catuaba both inhibits the ability of HIV to destroy cells and protects people with AIDS against infection with E. coli or staph aureus); impotence and prostatitis. HerbalV8 for men

132. Eschscholtzia californica (flowering tops) - hypnotic, sedative, nerve relaxant, anodyne. Uses: insomnia, migraine, stressful conditions, nervous bowel, anxiety, depression, neuralgia, hyperactivity.

133. Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus tuberculosis) - anti-septic, aromatic, stimulant; pulmonary disinfectant, malaria, bronchitis, croup, flu. Ext.: catarrh (steam), gargle.

134. Eugenia caryophyllata (Cloves, Ding Xiang) Chinese Herb - to warm the spleen and stomach, and descend the flow of qi; to warm the kidney and increase the kidney yang; stimulant, carminative; nausea, vomiting, hiccup, impotence, kidney yang xu; pungent, warm; SP ST KI. Pharmacology: stomachic - flatulence, increase digestive function; carminative; anti-emetic; anti-bacterial; anti-parasitic; analgesic - toothache; uterine contractor.

135. Euonymus atropurpureus (Wahoo root bark) - cholagogue, laxative, diuretic, circulatory stimulant; liver tonic (specific), liver & gall bladder problems, skin problems, constipation, cholecystitis. Dose: BPC 1949 0.6-2.6.

136. Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset flowering tops) - diaphoretic, aperient; flu, fever, acute bronchitis, respiratory mucous congestion, naso-pharyngeal catarrh; influenza with deep aching and congestion (specific). Dose: 1:5 45% 1-4ml.

137. Eupatorium purpureum (Gravel root) - diuretic, anti-lithic, anti-rheumatic; kidney stones, RA, gout, cystitis, dysuria, urethritis, prostatitis, rheumatism. Dose: 1:5 40% 1-2ml.

138. Euphorbia hirta (Asthma Weed herb) (= Euphorbia pilulifera, Pill Spurge) - anti-syphilitic, anti-asthmatic, expectorant; subacute and chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, coryza, hay fever, upper respiratory catarrh, laryngeal spasm, intestinal amoebiasis. Dose: BPC 1923 1:5 60% 0.6-2ml.

139. Euphoria longan (Longan aril, Long Yan Rou) Chinese Herb - cardiotonic, sedative, tonic to blood, digestive; heart and spleen deficiency; absent-mindedness, forgetfulness, nourish heart, sedative; fatigue; tonify HE and SP; insomnia, palpitations, dizziness, post partum weakness; sweet, warm; HE, SP. Ext: kernels ground to powder used as styptic to abscesses, sores wounds, ulcers.

140. Euphrasia officinale (Eyebright flowering tops) - anti-catarrhal, astringent, anti-inflammatory; mucous membrane problems, nasal catarrh, sinusitis, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, all eye conditions. Ext.: eye lotion (with Hamamelis Water). Dose: 1:5 45% 2-6ml.

141. Fagopyrum esculentum (Buckwheat leaves and flowers) - anti-haemorrhagic, hypotensive; petechiae due to capillary fragility, retinal haemorrhage, purpura, frostbite and chilblains, hypertension, radiation damage, raised arterial tension with capillary bleeding, astringent, pungent. For heart disease, HBP (due to a rutin-like component), erysipelas; Ext: to increase lactation (milk) (poultice to the breasts).

142. Fertility herbs, to increase: Astragalus, Glycyrrhiza, Rehmannia, Art.vulg, Caulophyllum, Dioscorea, Rubia id, Thuja, Trigonella, Viburnum prunifolium. Pfaffia. Ang.sin. See Fertility

143. Ferula asafoetida (Asafoetida, Devil’s Dung, Food of the Gods) - carminative, spasmolytic, expectorant; digestive - flatulent colic, IBS, indigestion, anthelmintic - worms, parasites; chronic bronchitis, laryngitis, hysteria - nervous disorders (mood swings, depression); detoxification, tumours, high cholesterol, insect repellent (ext); pungent, bitter, warm. LIV SP ST. C/I pregnancy.

144. Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet flowering tops) - anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, stomachic, antacid, anti-emetic, astringent; digestive (specific), excess acidity, nausea; heartburn, hyperacidity, gastritis, peptic ulceration, fever, pain of rheumatism (salicylic acid), acute catarrhal cystitis, rheumatic muscles, joint pains. Dose: 1:5 45% 2-4ml. See Heart burn

145. Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel seeds, Hui Xiang) Chinese Herb - carminative, anti-spasmodic, galactagogue, orexigenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, diuretic; qi - regulates and balances, analgesic, stomachic, flatulence, colic, pain in testes, hernias; cold and pain in abdomen, nausea and vomiting, anorexia. Ext.: conjunctivitis- eyewash, pharyngitis (gargle); pungent, warm; SP ST LIV KI. NB: can cause flatulence and burping.

146. Forsythia suspensa (Forsythia fruit, Lian Qiao) Chinese Herb - colds, fever, all lumps; thirst, irritability, heat rash, lymph gland swelling, erysipelas, breast tumours; bitter, slightly cold; LU HE GB.

147. Fritillaria cirrhosa (Tendrilled Fritillary bulb, Liliaceae, Chuan Bei Mu) - to resolve phlegm and relieve cough; to nourish and moisten the lung; to disperse lumps and hardenings. Uses: dry cough and cough with little phlegm; chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis; lung abscess, breast abscess; goiter and scrofula. Dose 3-9g. Pharm. Action: lowers blood pressure; excitatory action on the uterus; so dilation of the pupil; increase blood sugar. Bitter, Sweet, Slightly Cold; LU HE.

148. Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) - anti-hypothyroid, anti-rheumatic; increases action of thyroid, obesity, RA. See Thyroid

149. Fumaria officinalis (Fumitory flowering tops) - diuretic (weak), laxative, alterative. Skin problems, eczema (specific), acne. Ext.: eyewash for conjunctivitis. Dose: 1:5 45% 1-4ml.


Order tinctures of these herbs for next day delivery, click here

Can't find the herb you want? Email me

Go to Hopking's Herbal materia medica (herbs and their medicinal action and uses):
A, B-C, D-E-F, G-H, I-J-K, L-M-N, O-P-Q, R-S, T-U, V-W, X-Y-Z






Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.

Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.

Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.

MRCHM - see Alan Hopking's statement about renouncing his association with membership of this organisation

HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436

General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.


Pregnant/Breast-feeding mothers

Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Volatile Oils

Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.


A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.

Breast-feeding mothers

A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.

Paediatric Use

Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.

Perioperative use

The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK


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