Herbs E-L

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Herb Name  Latin

Sambuccus nigra


The black elder bush/tree is common all over the UK. It has clusters of small white flowers in the spring and black berries in the autumn.

Traditional Uses

It is one third of the traditional ‘flu mix. (Elderflower, peppermint and yarrow). Elderflower was considered the part that worked on the upper respiratory tract.

Euphrasia officinalis

A small bushy herb, with small toothed leaves and colourful flowers at the top of the plant.

As its name implies eyebright has an affinity to the eyes and was commonly used for eye problems. N.B. Do not use with dry eyes.

Fennel seed
Foeniculum vulgare

This green feathery plant has large ‘umbels’ of flowers at the top of the plant.

Used to alleviate wind problems (both up and down)!

Fenugreek seed
Trig. foenum-grecum

A native North African plant that grows to about 80cm. It has trifoliate leaves and yellow pea-like flowers. The pods contain 5-20 seeds.

A herb used to sooth the digestive tract. It is helpful when digestion & nutrition are poor.

Tanacetum parthenium

Originally from south Europe, feverfew is now prevalent all over the UK. It has large daisy like flowers and yellowy-green leaves.

In the 1970’s and 80’s feverfew leaves became popular as a prophylactic herb for migraines.

Zingiber officinale

Native to Asia, the rhizome of the plant is used.

Many of us have experienced the heat from ginger. Dried ginger is hotter then fresh ginger which is sweeter. Was added to a tea during winter to combat colds & chills.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo is believed to have been growing about 190 million years ago. The fan-shaped leaves appear to grow directly off the trunk and branches.

Despite being the most ancient tree still in existence its use as a medical herb was discovered fairly recently. In the mid 20th Century it was shown to improve peripheral circulation.

Solidago virgaurea

Goldenrod grows up to 60cm, with spikes of yellow flowers and narrow toothed leaves.

Gerrards Herbal in 1597 noted that having been rare, it was considered valuable and was commonly used. It lost popularity when it was found growing in Hampstead Wood (London)! It never really recovered its popularity!

Hawthorn flowers
Crataegus oxycantha

A deciduous tree with large thorns over the branches and bunches of pink or white flowers, followed by bright red berries.

Rich in bioflavonoids, it is considered a “food for the heart”. N.B. Do not use with existing heart conditions without consulting a medical professional.

Viola tricolor

Also known as wild pansy, the plant is small and delicate with 3 coloured petals (yellow, purple and white).

The name refers to its colour not its medical use. It was used for skin conditions.

Humulus lupus

A large climber, which can grow up to 6 m high. The flowers are either male or female, and it is the female ‘strobiles’ that are used by herbalists and brewers.

The hops in beer are the part that helps us fall asleep, due to its sedative qualities.

Equisetum arvense

This primitive green plant resembles a brush in the summer, thus its common names of horsetail and bottlebrush.

Rich in silica, a mineral that is an important constituent of connective tissues i.e. hair, skin and nails.

Hyssopus officianalis

A small bushy herb with narrow leaves and small blue and violet flowers.

As far back as the first century Dioscorides recommended Hyssop for respiratory problems and coughs.

Lady’s Mantle
Alchemilla vulgaris

Found in meadows all over Britain, lady’s mantle has large kidney shaped leaves and small green flowers on top of long stalks.

Alchemilla is from the Latin word for alchemy, which translates as “cure all”. As the common name suggests it was used for female conditions.

Lavandula angustifolia

Many people recognise lavender, the silvery/green coloured plant is topped with whorls of purple flowers. The strong scent is well recognised.

Infused as a tea or used as the essential oil to relax, soothe headaches and to calm nerves.                    

Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis

The plant looks similar to the mint plant (it is from the same family), with tiny white flowers and an unmistakable lemony scent.

Lemon balm was traditionally used to uplift the spirits. Luckily it also tastes good.

Lemon Verbena
Lippia citriodora

Native to South America, lemon verbena is a bush which can grow up to 2m. The leaves are long and lemon scented, with pale green to mauve flowers.

Similar qualities to lemon balm.

Tilia europea

Limeflower does not taste of limes. It is the flowers of the Linden tree, often found lining avenues.

It has many uses and is one of the best herbs in herbalists armoury,

Linum usitatissimum

Also known as flaxseed, the plant is a tall annual, with narrow leaves and topped with blue flowers.

Linseed is commonly used as a laxative, as well as being an important source of omega-3 essential fatty acid. N.B. Laxatives are to only be used for occasional constipation.

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Native to south-east Europe and Asia, liquorice is a tall perennial plant with narrow leaves and bluish to white flowers.

Often used as flavouring, it also has many powerful qualities.