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Main Uses of Individual Herbs

This table indicates some of the main uses of some of the Herbs and is based on scientific studies (human and animal) collated from the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database as referenced below. We are aiming to keep adding and updating it from time to time.


It is intended for information purposes only and not for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for visiting a health professional. The effects indicated may not necessarily occur in all individuals and it is important that these supplements are considered as measures in addition to a healthy diet, positive attitude and regular physical activity.


Main Functions/Actions/Benefits

Works Well With



(Astragalus membranaceus)

Immune function, hay fever56, liver protectant57


Bilberry+Blueberry (Vaccinium spp)

Antioxidant, urinary tract protectant58eye health59


Black cohosh

(Actaea racemosa)

Menopause107, bone health108.

St John’s wort



(Boswellia serrata)

Anti-inflammatory, arthritis60, inflammatory bowel disease61



(Vitex agnus-castus)

PMS109, menopause110, female fertility111



(Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Antioxidant, urinary tract infection62


Dong quai/ Dang gui

(Angelica sinesis)

Anti-inflammatory, anti-septic63,menopause64

Premature ejaculation65



Devils claw

(Harpagophytum procumbens)

Anti-inflammatory, arthritis66, back pain67



(Echinacea purpurea , E.angustifolia, E.pallida)

Immune function, common cold68, respiratory tract infection69, antifungal-candida70



(Sambucus nigra)

Immune function, antiviral-influenza71



(Euphrasia officinalis)

Anti-inflammatory, eye health72



(Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Blood sugar control73 , cholesterol lowering74, gastric reflux75



(Allium sativum)

Antioxidant, immune function, heart health-blood pressure76, atherosclerosis77platelet aggregation81, cholesterol lowering78, antimicrobial79, insect repellent80



(Ginkgo biloba)

Antioxidant, brain function82, memory83, dementia84, vision85, PMS86, peripheral vascular disease87, Raynaud’s88, vertigo89

Korean ginseng

Ginseng (Korean)

(Panax ginseng)

Brain function90, blood sugar control91, erectile dysfunction92, premature ejaculation93, fatigue114


Ginseng (Siberian)

(Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Antioxidant, immune function-common cold94, herpes95, fatigue114



(Crataegus laevigata,)

Heart health-heart failure96, contractive force97, arrthymias + blood pressure98



(Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Anti-inflammatory, digestion-peptic ulcers100, liver health101, anti-viral102


Milk thistle

(Silybum marianum)

Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, blood sugar control103, liver health104


Olive leaf

(Olea europaea)

Antioxidant, antibacterial105


Red clover

(Trifolium pratense)

PMS106, menopause107



(Rhodiola rosea)

Mood-depression112, anxiety113, mental + physical fatigue114, physical endurance115


Saw palmetto

(Serenoa repens)

Anti-inflammatory, male reproductive health-benign prostatic hyperplasia116, alopecia arretta117


St John’s wort

(Hypericum perforatum)

Anti-inflammatory, Mood-depression118, menopause119, wound healing120



(Curcuma longa)

Anti-inflammatory, indigestion121, arthritis122






56. Matkovic Z, Zivkovic V, Korica M, Plavec D, Pecanic S, Tudoric N (2010)Efficacy and safety of Astragalus membranaceus in the treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 24(2):175-81

57. Zhang ZL, Wen QZ, Liu CX. (1990) Hepatoprotective effects of astraglus root. J Ethnopharmacol. 30(2):145-9

58. Kalt W, Howell AB, MacKinnon SL, Goldman IL (2007) Selected bioactivities of Vaccinium berries and other fruit crops in relation to their phenolic contents Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 87(12): 2279–2285

59. Perossini M, Guidi G, Chiellini S, Siravo D. [Diabetic and hypertensive retinopathy therapy with Vaccinium myrtillus anthocyanosides (Tegens). Double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial]. Ann Ottalmol Clin Ocul 1987;113:1173-7

May; Scharrer A, Ober M (1981) [Anthocyanosides in the treatment of retinopathies].[Article in German] Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 178(5):386-9.

60. Abdel-Tawab M, Werz O, Schubert-Zsilavecz M (2011)Boswellia serrata: an overall assessment of in vitro, preclinical, pharmacokinetic and clinical data. Clin Pharmacokinet. 50(6):349-69

Sengupta K, Alluri KV, Satish AR, Mishra S, Golakoti T, Sarma KV, Dey D, Raychaudhuri SP.( 2008) A double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study of the efficacy and safety of 5-Loxin for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Arthritis Res Ther. 10(4):R85

Kimmatkar N, Thawani V, Hingorani L, et al. (2003) Efficacy and tolerability of Boswellia serrata extract in treatment of osteoarthritis of knee--a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Phytomedicine 10:3-7.

61. Gupta I, Parihar A, Malhotra P, et al. (1997) Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with ulcerative colitis. Eur J Med Res 2:37-43

62. Bailey DT, Dalton C, Daugherty FJ, Tempesta MS (2007) Can a concentrated cranberry extract prevent recurrent urinary tract infections in women? A pilot study.

Phytomedicine 14(4): 237-241

Jepson RG, Craig JC. (2008) Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev;(1):CD001321

63. Wang H, Li W, Li J, et al. (2006) The aqueous extract of a popular herbal nutrient supplement, Angelica sinensis, protects mice against lethal endotoxemia and sepsis. J Nutr 136:360-5.

64. Kupfersztain C, Rotem C, Fagot R, Kaplan B (2003) The immediate effect of natural plant extract, Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report. Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol.30(4):203-6.

65. Choi HK, Jung GW, Moon KH, Xin ZC, Choi YD, Lee WH, Rha KH, Choi YJ, Kim DK (2000) Clinical study of SS-cream in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation. Urology. 55(2):257-61.

66. Chantre P, Cappelaere A, Leblan D, Guedon D, Vandermander J, Fournie B. (2000) Efficacy and tolerance of Harpagophytum procumbens versus diacerhein in treatment of osteoarthritis. Phytomedicine.7(3):177-83.

Gagnier JJ, Chrubasik S, Manheimer E. (2004) Harpgophytum procumbens for osteoarthritis and low back pain: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 15(4):13-23

67. Chrubasik S, Thanner J, Künzel O, Conradt C, Black A, Pollak S.(2002)

Comparison of outcome measures during treatment with the proprietary Harpagophytum extract doloteffin in patients with pain in the lower back, knee or hip. Phytomedicine.9(3):181-94.

68. Schoop R, Klein P, Suter A, Johnston SL (2006) Echinacea in the prevention of induced rhinovirus colds: A meta-analysis. Clinical Therapeutics 28(2):174-183

Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, Rinaldi M, Coleman CI (2007) Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. (7):473-80.

69. Barnes J, Anderson LA, Gibbons S, Phillipson JD (2005) Echinacea species (Echinacea angustifolia (DC.) Hell., Echinacea pallida (Nutt.) Nutt.,Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench): a review of their chemistry, pharmacology and clinical properties. J Pharm Pharmacol. 57(8):929-54

70. Coeugniet EG, Kuhnast R. (1986) Recurrent candidiasis: Adjuvant immunotherapy with different formulations of Echinacin. Therapiewoche 36:3352-8

Merali S, Binns S, Paulin-Levasseur M, Ficker C, Smith M, Baum B, Brovelli E and Arnason JT (2003) Antifungal and Anti-inflammatory Activity of the Genus Echinacea. Pharm Biol 41(6):412-420

71. Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. (1995) Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med 1:361-9.
Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. (2004) Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res 32:132-40.

72. Stoss M, Michels C, Peter E, Beutke R, Gorter RW. (2000) Prospective Cohort Trial of Euphrasia Single-Dose Eye Drops in Conjunctivitis. Journal of Altern Complement Med.6(6): 499-508

73. Gupta A, Gupta R, Lal B (2001) Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) seeds on glycaemic control and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a double blind placebo controlled study. Assoc Physicians India 49:1057-61.

Baquer NZ, Kumar P, Taha A, Kale RK, Cowsik SM, McLean P. (2011)

Metabolic and molecular action of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) and trace metals in experimental diabetic tissues. Biosci.36(2):383-96.

74. Sowmya P, Rajyalakshmi P (1999) Hypocholesterolemic effect of germinated fenugreek seeds in human subjects. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 53(4):359-65.

75. DiSilvestro RA, Verbruggen MA, Offutt EJ. (2011) Anti-heartburn effects of a fenugreek fiber product. Phytother Res.25(1):88-91.

76. Silagy CA, Neil HA. (1994) A meta-analysis of the effect of garlic on blood pressure. J Hypertens. 12(4):463-8

Ried K, Frank OR, Stocks NP, et al. (2008) Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovasc Disord 8:13.

77. Siegel G, Klubendorf D. (2000) The anti-atherosclerotic effect of Allium sativum: Statistics re-evaluated. Atherosclerosis 150:437-8.

78. Steiner M, Khan AH, Holbert D, Lin RI. (1996) A double-blind crossover study in moderately hypercholesterolemic men that compared the effect of aged garlic extract and placebo administration on blood lipids. Am J Clin Nutr 64:866-70.

79. Ankri S, Mirelman D. (1999) Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic. Microbes Infect 1:125-9.

80. McHugh CP. (2001) Garlic as a tick repellent. JAMA 285(1):41, 42

81. Rahman K (2007) Effects of garlic on platelet biochemistry and physiology. Mol Nutr Food Res. 51(11):1335-44

Steiner M, Li W (2001)Aged garlic extract, a modulator of cardiovascular risk factors: a dose-finding study on the effects of AGE on platelet functions. J Nutr.131(3s):980S-4S.

82. Rigney U, Kimber S, Hindmarch I.( 1999) The effects of acute doses of standardized Ginkgo biloba extract on memory and psychomotor performance in volunteers. Phytother Res. 13(5):408-15.

83. Rai GS, Shovlin C, Wesnes KA. (1991) A double-blind, placebo controlled study of Ginkgo biloba extract ('tanakan') in elderly outpatients with mild to moderate memory impairment. Curr Med Res Opin. 12(6):350-5

Brautigam MRH, Blommaert FA,  Verleye G, Castermans J, Jansen Steur ENH, Kleijnen J (1998) Treatment of age-related memory complaints with Ginkgo biloba extract: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine 5(6)425-434

84. Le Bars PL, Katz MM, Berman N, Itil TM, Freedman AM, Schatzberg AF (1997)A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. North American EGb Study Group. JAMA. 278(16):1327-32

85. Quaranta L, Bettelli S, Uva MG, et al. (2003) Effect of Ginkgo biloba extract on preexisting visual field damage in normal tension glaucoma. Ophthalmology 110:359-62.

86. Tamborini A, Taurelle R (1993) [Value of standardized Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) in the management of congestive symptoms of premenstrual syndrome].

[Article in French] Rev Fr Gynecol Obstet. 88(7-9):447-57

87. Schweizer J, Hautmann C. (1999)Comparison of two dosages of Ginkgo biloba extract Egb 761 in patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease Fontain's stage llb / a randomised, double-blind, multicentric clinical trial. Arzneimittelforschung 49:900-4.

Pittler MH, Ernst E (2000) Ginkgo biloba extract for the treatment of intermittent claudication: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 108(4):276-81

88. Muir AH, Robb R, McLaren M, Daly F, Belch JJ (2002)The use of Ginkgo biloba in Raynaud's disease: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Vasc Med. 7(4):265-7.

89. Cesarani A, Meloni F, Alpini D, Barozzi S, Verderio L, Boscani PF (1998) Ginkgo biloba (EGb 761) in the treatment of equilibrium disorders. Advances in Therapy 15(5):291-304

90. Sorensen H, Sonne J (1996) A double-masked study of the effects of ginseng on cognitive functions. Curr Ther Res 57:959-68.

91. Sotaniemi EA, Haapakoski E, Rautio A. (1995) Ginseng therapy in non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients. Diabetes 18(10):1373-5.

92. Hong B, Ji YH, Hong JH, Nam KY, Ahn TY (2002) A double-blind crossover study evaluating the efficacy of korean red ginseng in patients with erectile dysfunction: a preliminary report. J Urol. 168(5):2070-3.

93. Choi HK, Jung GW, Moon KH, Xin ZC, Choi YD, Lee WH, Rha KH, Choi YJ, Kim DK. (2000) Clinical study of SS-cream in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation. Urology. 55(2):257-61.

94. Gabrielian ES, Shukarian AK, Goukasova GI, Chandanian GL, Panossian AG, Wikman G, Wagner H (2002) A double blind, placebo-controlled study of Andrographis paniculata fixed combination Kan Jang in the treatment of acute upper respiratory tract infections including sinusitis. Phytomedicine. 9(7):589-97.

95. M Williams (1995) Immuno-protection against herpes simplex type II infection by eleutherococcus root extract. Int J Alt Complement Med 13:9-12

Davydov M, Krikorian AD. (2000) Eleutherococcus senticosus (Rupr. & Maxim.) Maxim. (Araliaceae) as an adaptogen: a closer look. J Ethnopharmacol. 72(3):345-93

96. Pittler MH, Schmidt K, Ernst E (2003) Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 114(8):665-74.

Zapfe jun G.( 2001)Clinical efficacy of crataegus extract WS 1442 in congestive heart failure NYHA class II. Phytomedicine.8(4):262-6.

97. Schwinger RH, Pietsch M, Frank K, Brixius K. (2000) Crataegus special extract WS 1442 increases force of contraction in human myocardium cAMP-independently. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 35:700-7

98. Chang Q, Zuo Z, Harrison F, Chow MS (2002) Hawthorn. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 42(6):605-12

99. Sharma S, Misra CS, Arumugam S, Roy S, Shah V, Davis JA, Shirumalla RK and Ray A(2011) Antidiabetic Activity of Resveratrol, a known SIRT1 Activator in a Genetic Model for type-2 Diabetes. Phytother. Res. 25: 67–73

100. A G Turpie, J Runcie, and T J Thomson. (1969) Clinical trial of deglydyrrhizinized liquorice in gastric ulcer. Gut.10(4): 299–302

101. van Rossum TGJ, Vulto AG, Hop WCJ, Schalm SW( 2001) Glycyrrhizin-induced reduction of alt in european patients with chronic hepatitis C American Journal of Gastroenterology

96(8): 2432–2437

102. Pompei R, Flore O, Marccialis MA, Pani A,Loddo B (1979) Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits virus growth and inactivates virus particles. Nature 281(5733):689-90

103. Huseini HF, Larijani B, Heshmat R, Fakhrzadeh H, Radjabipour B, Toliat T, Raza M. (2006) The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Phytother Res. 20(12):1036-9.

Velussi M, Cernigoi AM, De Monte A, Dapas F, Caffau C, Zilli M. (1997) Long-term (12 months) treatment with an anti-oxidant drug (silymarin) is effective on hyperinsulinemia, exogenous insulin need and malondialdehyde levels in cirrhotic diabetic patients. J Hepatol.(4):871-9.

104. Fehér J, Deák G, Müzes G, Láng I, Niederland V, Nékám K, Kárteszi M. (1989)

[Liver-protective action of silymarin therapy in chronic alcoholic liver diseases].

[Article in Hungarian] Orv Hetil.130(51):2723-7.

Parés A, Planas R, Torres M, Caballería J, Viver JM, Acero D, Panés J, Rigau J, Santos J, Rodés J. (1998) Effects of silymarin in alcoholic patients with cirrhosis of the liver: results of a controlled, double-blind, randomized and multicenter trial. Hepatol. (4):615-21.

105. Ingram DM, Hickling C, West L, et al. (2002) A double-blind randomized controlled trial of isoflavones in the treatment of cyclical mastalgia. The Breast 11:170-4

106. Aziz NH, Farag SE, Mousa LA, et al. (1998) Comparative antibacterial and antifungal effects of some phenolic compounds. Microbios. 93:43-54.

106. van de Weijer P, Barentsen R. (2002) Isoflavones from red clover (Promensil) significantly reduce menopausal hot flush symptoms compared with placebo. Maturitas. 42:18.

Tice JA, Ettinger B, Ensrud K, et al. (2003)Phytoestrogen supplements for the treatment of hot flashes: The Isoflavone Clover Extract (ICE) Study. JAMA . 290:207-214

Coon JT, Pittler MH, Ernst E. (2007) Trifolium pratense isoflavones in the treatment of menopausal hot flushes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytomedicine. (2-3):153-9.

107. Geller SE and Studee L (2005) Botanical and Dietary Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms: What Works, What Doesn’t. Journal of Women's Health 14(7): 634-649

Liske E, Hänggi W, Henneicke-von Zepelin HH, Boblitz N, Wüstenberg P, Rahlfs VW. (2002) Physiological investigation of a unique extract of black cohosh (Cimicifugae racemosae rhizoma): a 6-month clinical study demonstrates no systemic estrogenic effect. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. (2):163-74.

108. Wuttke W, Gorkow C, Seidlová-Wuttke D( 2006) Effects of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) on bone turnover, vaginal mucosa, and various blood parameters in postmenopausal women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, and conjugated estrogens-controlled study. Menopause. (2):185-96.

109. LauritzenCH, Reuter HD, Repges R, Böhnert KJ, Schmidt U (1997)Treatment of premenstrual tension syndrome with Vitex agnus castus controlled, double-blind study versus pyridoxine. Phytomedicine 4(3):183–189

Schellenberg R. (2001) Treatment for the premenstrual syndrome with agnus castus fruit extract: prospective, randomised, placebo controlled study. BMJ 322(7279):134-7.

110. van Die MD, Burger HG, Teede HJ, and Bone KM (2009) Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste-Tree/Berry) in the Treatment of Menopause-Related Complaints. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 15(8): 853-862.

111. Gerhard I I, Patek A, Monga B, Blank A, Gorkow C. (1998) Mastodynon(R) bei weiblicher Sterilität. Forsch Komplementarmed 5(6):272-278

112. Darbinyan G, Aslanyan G, Amroyan E. (2007) Clinical trial of Rhodiola rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nord J Psychiatry 61:343-8

113. Bystritsky A, Kerwin L, Feusner JD. (2008) A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). J Altern Complement Med.14(2):175-80.

114. Panossian A and Wikman G (2009) Evidence-Based Efficacy of Adaptogens in Fatigue, and Molecular Mechanisms Related to their Stress-Protective Activity. Current Clinical Pharmacology 4:198-219

Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G and Wagner H (2000) Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue –A double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine 7(5):365–371

115. De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P (2004) Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.(3):298-307

116. Wilt TJ, Ishani A, Stark G, MacDonald R, Lau J, Mulrow C. (1998) Saw palmetto extracts for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review. JAMA.280(18):1604-9.

Gerber GS. (2000) Saw palmetto for the treatment of men with lower urinary tract symptoms. J Urol.163(5):1408-12

Lopatkin N, Sivkov A, Schläfke S, Funk P, Medvedev A, Engelmann U (2007) Efficacy and safety of a combination of Sabal and Urtica extract in lower urinary tract symptoms--long-term follow-up of a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. Int Urol Nephrol.39(4):1137-46.

117. Prager N, Bickett K, French N, Marcovici G. (2002) A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. J Altern Complement Med.8(2):143-52.

118. Kim HL, Streltzer J, Goebert D (1999) St. John's wort for depression: a meta-analysis of well-defined clinical trials. J Nerv Ment Dis.187(9):532-8.

Linde K, Berner MM, Kriston L. (2008) St John's wort for major depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.(4):CD000448.

119. Uebelhack R, Blohmer J-U, Graubaum H-J, Busch R, Gruenwald J, and Wernecke K-D (2006) Black Cohosh and St. John’s Wort for Climacteric Complaints A Randomized Trial. Obstet Gynecol 107:247–55

120. Süntar IP, Akkol EK, Yılmazer D, Baykal T, Kırmızıbekmez H, Alper M, Yeşilada E (2010)

Investigations on the in vivo wound healing potential of Hypericum perforatum L. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 127(2):468–477

121. Thamlikitkul V, Bunyapraphatsara N, Dechatiwongse T, Theerapong S, Chantrakul C, Thanaveerasuwan T, Nimitnon S, Boonroj P, Punkrut W, Gingsungneon V, et al. (1989)

Randomized double blind study of Curcuma domestica Val. for dyspepsia. J Med Assoc Thai.72(11):613-20.

122. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Pellegrini L, Ledda A, Grossi MG, Togni S, Appendino G. (2010) Efficacy and safety of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Altern Med Rev.15(4):337-44.

Kuptniratsaikul V, Thanakhumtorn S, Chinswangwatanakul P, Wattanamongkonsil L, Thamlikitkul V (2009) Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Altern Complement Med.15(8):891-7.


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