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Herbal Dictionary: U, V & W

Updated on July 9, 2015
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DiDi is a healthy food writer who focuses on functional foods. You can read her blog at RXcipes


An herb or compound that can be used to cleanse and stimulate your uterus

  • Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus)
  • Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
  • Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)
  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardiac)
  • Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus)


An herb that acts to expel parasites such as intestinal worms from the body. A vermifuge stuns or kills the worms without causing significant harm to your body. There are two types of vermifuge herbs: a vermifuge that gets rid of worms by stunning them, and one that kills them.

Also called: Anthelmintic

Vermifuge Herbs

  • Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi)
  • Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Pau d’arco (Tabebuia spp)
  • Pumpkin Seed (Cucurbita maxima)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

In this video, Dr Josh Axe discusses worms and how to get rid of them with herbal supplements and other natural remedies


Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.

The most commonly-used volatile (essential) oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree oil and peppermint, are generally extracted by distillation, often by means of steam. The steam is passed through the herb material, working to vaporize the volatile compounds. The volatile oils may be prepared from leaves, flowers, bark, roots, seeds, wood or fruit peel.

Other ways that they may be produced include expression, solvent extraction, cold pressing and dilution.

Essential oils have been used medicinally in history for a broad number of purposes, from skin treatments to remedies for cancer. They can be:

  • Volatilized or diluted in a carrier oil for massage
  • Diffused in the air by a nebulizer
  • Heated over a candle flame
  • Burned as incense.

Popular Votive Oils

  • Angelica Root Oil (Angelica archangelica)
  • Anise oil (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Basil oil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Bergamot oil (Citrus bergamia)
  • Black Pepper Oil (Piper nigrum)
  • Caraway oil (Carum carvi)
  • Cardamom Seed Oil (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • Chamomile Oil (Matricaria recutita)
  • Frankincense Oil (Boswellia carteri)
  • Jasmine Oil (Jasminum sambac)
  • Lavender Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Peppermint Oil (Mentha piperita)
  • Sandalwood Oil (Santalum paniculatum)
  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Ylang-Ylang Oil (Cananga odorata)


A vulnerary is an herb or compound that promotes healing of wounds and inflammation, both externally on the skin, and internally, such as hemorrhoids. The term vulnerary is derived from the Latin “vulnus,” meaning “wound.”

Many astringent, demulcent, and emollient herbs have vulnerary actions .

Vulnerary Herbs

  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

In this video, David Hoffman discusses vulnerary and demulcent herbs:


  1. Ann McIntyre (1995), The Complete Women's Herbal
  2. David Hoffman, 2000. The New Holistic Herbal
  3. Michael Moore. The Medicinal Plants of the Mountain Southwest
  4. Michael Tierra, 1990. The Way of Herbs
  5. Penelope Ody, 1993. The Complete Medicinal Herbal
  6. Rosemary Gladstar, 2014. Herbs for Common Ailments: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies for Home Health Care
  7. Varro E. Tyler. Herbs Affecting the Central Nervous System


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