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Use the alphabetical list or the herb property list to find information on the healing properties and actions of medicinal plants.

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  • Herbs Alphabetical by Common Name

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    See List Herbs by Botanical Name

Africa's Ancient Tradition

african herbs

The beginnings of civilization and the origins of the healing arts can be traced back to Africa and the divine Inmhotep, healer to the Pharaohs. The ancient African healers had an elaborate materia medica, most of the over 5,000 plant species have been used for food and medicine for centuries. There is no clear distinction in traditional African medicine as to when a herb ceases to be a health food and becomes a medicine. The traditions of Africa have not been documented nearly as well as the cultures of India and China, leaving African medicinal plant species underrepresented in modern herbal medicine. Valuable species are in danger of being lost to deforestation before we ever come to understand them, and some such as Pygeum have become an endangered species because of the high demand. Hopefully we will find the wisdom to preserve this ancient and immensely valuable resource for the Earths children.

  • Common Name Botanical Name Other Names
    Acacia Acacia , Acacia senegal : Gum Arabic, Cassie flower, Catechu, Egyptian thorn
    Shrub : Herbalists use acacia gum to bind pills and lozenges and to stabilize emulsions. It is also used in aromatherapy for applying essential oils...
  • Aloe Vera Gel Aloe Vera Gel, Aloe vera :
    Tender Perennial succulent : The leaf juices of the aloe plant have important medicinal uses, making aloe one of the most respected medicinal plants found in many gels, creams and lotions....
  • Argan Oil Argan Oil, Argania spinosa :
    Evergreen Tree : Argan oil softens and soothes, decreasing wrinkles and stretch marks. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, as well...
  • Arrowroot powder Arrowroot powder, Maranta arundinacea : Obedience plant
    perennial herb : Arrowroot is considered a nutritious and easily digested food starch for infants and elderly patients with bowel complaints. ...
  • Buchu Buchu, Agathosma betulina :
    Woody perennial : The leaves of the buchu are an effective diuretic, are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. These medicinal properties make Buchu effective in the treatment of bladder infections, kidney infections, urinary tract infections (UTI). Buchu is also often us...
  • Caralluma Caralluma , Caralluma fimbriata :
    Succulent : Today, most interest is centered on caralluma's use as an appetite suppressant. Caralluma works in much the same way as hoodia, both hoodia and caralluma contain preganane glycosides, thought to aid in weight loss....
  • Castor Oil Castor Oil, Ricinus communis :
    Evergreen shrub/annual : Apply castor oil externally for muscle and arthritis pain, bruising and nerve damage. It is well suited to the slow relief of chronic pain and swelling...
  • Devil's Claw Devil's Claw, Harpagophytum procumbens : grapple plant, wood spider
    perennial vine : Devils claw offers slow but sure relief of joint pain caused by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and it has also been shown to relieve muscle pain and enhance mobility ...
  • Geranium Geranium , Pelargonium graveolens :
    herb : Rose-scented pelargonium oil is commonly know as geranium oil in aromatherapy. Pelargoniums were used in South Africa as a traditional medicine for healing cold sores, sore throats and infections...
  • Ginger Root Ginger Root, Zingiber officinale : Luyang Dilaw
    Perennial Monocot reed : Ginger combines well with many herbs, improving taste and potency. Ginger speeds up the delivery of healthy plant chemicals into the bloodstream while adding a spicy, hot zest to your favorite dishes....
  • Gotu Kola Gotu Kola, Centella asiatica (L.) : Indian Pennywort, Brahmi
    : Gotu kola is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine and TCM to rejuvenate both mind and body. Clinical experiments have shown that the plant does improve memory, and rejuvenate skin and body tissue....
  • HoneyBush HoneyBush, Cyclopia spp :
    Perennial Shrub : Honeybush is a healthy, caffeine-free red tea containing Vitamin C, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium....
  • Hoodia Hoodia, Hoodia Gordonii :
    : Hoodia Gordonii works by mimicking the effect that glucose has on the nerve cells in the brain. The effect on these cells in essence, transmits the feeling of fullness to the brain, diminishing appetite. The problem with this much hyped African plant is t...
  • Kola Nut Kola Nut, Cola acuminata :
    Tree : Kola nuts contain caffeine which may explain their popular use in energy tonics. Native to Africa....
  • Myrrh Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha :
    tree : One of the three gifts of the Three Magi, Myrrh was used in religious rituals in ancient Egypt, Myrrh's antifungal, antiseptic and astringent help treatment of infections...
  • Pygeum Pygeum, Prunus africanum :
    Tree : When taken correctly, pygeum is considered one of the safest herbs used for male health, and often is combined with saw palmetto for maximum results....
  • Rooibos Rooibos, Aspalathus linearis : Redbush Tea, Red tea
    Perennial Woody bush : The distinctive red color and sweet taste of Rooibos makes this African import a healthy, caffeine free drink suitable for the whole family...
  • Sceletium Sceletium, Sceletium tortuosum : kanna
    perennial succulent herb : Sceletium has a long history of use in South African traditional medicine. The herb is used as a mild antidepressant and mood booster. ...
  • Shea Nut Butter Shea Nut Butter, Butyrospermum parkii : Vitellaria, Karité
    tree : Shea butter is rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that rejuvenate and hydrate skin and hair. Use shea butter to treat damaged skin, help heal wounds, or just pamper yourself . ...
  • Yohimbe Yohimbe, Pausinystalia johimbe : johimbe, yumbina
    Evergreen Desert Tree : The bark of this West African tree may be your best natural bet for reversing sexual dysfunction, though at the cost of several side effects....
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