Classifying Herbs

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Classifying Herbs

In the process of classifying herbs, it is very important that one differentiates between the scientific or botanical name, the constituent(s) of each herb, its properties, and what the usage is. One needs to distinguish specifically between them in order to fully grasp the healing potential of herbs.

The scientific name is the botanical name given to a specific plant to avoid confusion throughout the world as to which plant is being referred to.

The constituents relate to the active ingredients within the herb that enables it to perform certain tasks within the body.

The properties of the herbs are indicative of the key actions that are performed, because of the constituents present within the herb.

The usage includes culinary, medicinal, aromatic and cosmetic uses in general, and also on a more detailed level, the specific applications.

I recommend prospecting herbalists to do an in-depth study of every herb he/she would like to or need to use and to compile a file on each stating all the aspects mentioned above, with a specific focus on the uses. By doing this one creates an invaluable database for future reference. Information on herbs can be gained from the internet, books and experience.

From the following example, you will see the way in which I compiled a file on Nettle. It is clear that I am more concerned with the properties and uses than with the constituents. Personally, I do not need proof, I know they do their work in our bodies. J


Urticaria dioitica

Constituents Leafs

  • Flavonoids
  • Amines
  • Glucoquinone
  • Minerals

Constituents Roots

  • Sterols
  • Phenols


  • Tonic – Improves the functions of the body
  • Diuretic – Increases the flow of urine through the stimulation of the kidneys
  • Astringent – Produces tissue contraction
  • Hemostatic – Slows down or stops bleeding
  • Anti-allergenic
  • Pectoral – Relieves chest problems
  • Styptic – Contracts the blood vessels to stop bleeding & hemorrhaging
  • Rubefacient – Makes the skin red & stimulates blood circulation


  • Helps with asthma & bronchitis
  • Packed with minerals & vitamins – Health booster
  • Useful in coughs & TB
  • Cleansing & detoxifying – Excellent blood purifier & hair tonic
  • It strengthens & supports the whole body
  • Useful in rheumatism, arthritis & gout
  • A useful remedy for itchy skin conditions & insect bites
  • Combine with Burdock for treatment of eczema
  • Good wash for burns & wounds
  • Juice can be used to treat nettle stings
  • Increases production of urine helps poor kidney function & relieves fluid retention
  • Useful for urinary problems, bladder & urinary infections
  • Helps to heal the liver in jaundice
  • Aids in infertility
  • Root – Used to treat enlarged prostate
  • Beneficial in treating hay fever, asthma & allergic rhinitis
  • Anti-allergenic – from pollen to seafood allergies
  • Slows down or stops bleeding from wounds & nose bleeds
  • Slows down or stops internal hemorrhaging (for example in uterine hemorrhage)
  • Helpful for heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Helps to treat growing pains in children
  • Lowers lactic acid, especially formation when training hard
  • Helpful in treating anemia
  • Rich in Iron & Vitamin C & Silica
  • In wine – Remedy for ague (fever)
  • Powdered seeds – Cure for goiter
  • Increases the flow of breast milk during nursing
  • Dissolves bronchial catarrh
  • Rinse for dandruff, stimulates hair growth
  • Reduces enlarged & inflamed prostates

Karen Wolmarans

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