This beautiful tree with its white flowers gives us shiny brown conkers, which have been making themselves useful ever since the tree was imported from Asia in the 16th century.
In modern times, Agnus castus has increasingly become recognised for its beneficial effect on female hormones, boosting the levels of luteinising hormone and therefore the production of progesterone.
Arnica montana (Leopard's bane) applied externally, is a very popular remedy for easing the pain and swelling of bruises as it is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and has healing properties.
Porridge is experiencing a rise in popularity, but how many of us are aware of the benefits of Avena sativa, the oats used to make porridge? This simple cereal has been used as a nerve tonic for generations.
Gall-stones are one of the repercussions of the Western high-fat, low fibre diet. Berberis helps with the formation and movement of bile, getting it out of the gall-bladder and into the digestive tract where it can tackle the fats.
The Native Americans called this ‘Squaw-weed'. The Cherokee used it to stimulate menstrual flow and lessen menstrual pain, whilst the Iroquois used it for pain.
Much of Calendula's healing action derives from its ability to soothe inflammation, making the cream ideal for irritated skin. Internally one of its most useful actions is in clearing congestion from the lymphatic system.
Hawthorn (or Hedge thorn – reflecting its widespread use to mark field boundaries) has always been highly regarded in every age for its medicinal uses.
Investigates Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum) which has grown popular because of its effect on joint and muscle pain which has been proved in recent trials.
Alison Cullen shows that there is plenty of research showing the efficacy of high quality Echinacea purpurea products, containing the aerial parts, and made from freshly harvested herb. Not all Echinaceas are the same.
Frangula, or Alder Buckthorn, sometimes called Purging Buckthorn, which offers an idea of its traditional use. The purging in question is from the lower rather than the upper part of the body, and centres on the bowel.
Many people find that Ginger has a calming, soothing effect on their digestive tract, relieving wind and reducing digestive spasm. The Chinese see it as a ‘blood tonic’, warming the blood and boosting the circulation.
Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally by the Chinese for thousands of years. It is well known as a remedy for improving circulation and memory. It is one of the best-researched herbs.
The Egyptians and the Romans prized Globe Artichoke as a medication as well as a food but, regrettably for those with difficulty in metabolising fats and keeping cholesterol down, it fell into disuse as a medication.
Hypericum, St John's Wort, is suitable for cheering those who are sad and calming those who are anxious, but it should not be used for anything more than minor depression or states of anxiety.
An interesting herb with an interesting name - it is not from Jerusalem, it hails from North America and neither is it an artichoke, but a member of the sunflower family.
Many people find Milk Thistle a useful adjunct to a hectic lifestyle, whether they are taking it once a year as part of a detox, or more regularly to make up for somewhat hopeful expectations of liver function.
Alfred Vogel discovered Papaya whilst travelling in the Amazon area, in Lagunas on the Maranon river, and recommended chewing a leaf of the plant after every meal to prevent parasites and stomach bugs.
The overall effect of Passiflora is as a sedative that calms the central nervous system. Its antispasmodic properties can reduce the spasms that often accompany stress. A useful alternative to Hypericum.
Sage, with its pretty purple leaves which sweat in the sun, was seen by early herbalists to be a sweat-regulator. Sage has been used for this purpose for centuries by generations of menopausal women
Examines the benefits of the oily fruit of Florida dwarf palm, Saw Palmetto (Sabal serrulata) in helping men with an enlarged prostate causing benign prostate hypertrophy (BHP).
Solidago (Golden Rod), a perennial plant that can survive so well, some may consider it a weed. We look at some of its benefits, such as increasing blood flow to the kidneys and promoting urination.
Nettles have a purifying action on the body when used internally. They help to remove uric acid from the system and have therefore been used traditionally for the treatment of gout.
Over two million women in the UK suffer from cystitis every year. Cystitis is an infection of the bladder caused by bacteria from nearby skin travelling up the urinary tract and growing in the bladder.
Here we look at the benefits of the delightful wild pansy (Viola tricolor). While many of us grow them and appreciate their beauty, few of us grasp the importance of such special plants.
Growing freely almost anywhere, Yarrow offered a complete medicine chest in years past. Today it is seen as a natural way of easing digestive discomfort.
For further information on these and other beneficial herbs, browse Herbs for Healthy Living