Elder - The protecting shrub
German name Holunder
English name Elder
French name Sureau
Italian name Sambuco
Stock plant Sambucus nigra L.
Plant family Caprifoliaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The origin of the genus name “Sambucus” is unclear. The species name “nigra” means “black” and refers to the black elderberries.
Used plant parts Flowers and berries
Origin Indigenous in all of Europe, also in Asia Minor, western Siberia and 
 North Africa
Collection time Flowers: June & July
Berries: September & October
Occurrence Edges of forests, fields and paths with nutrient-rich soils
Substances Flowers: Up to 3.5% flavonoids, as glycosides of quercetin, camphor oil and 
isorhamnetin, also tannins, sterols and essential oil with more than 
 63 components.Berries: High content of anthocyanins, sambucyanin = red colorantstuff, which
 improves cell respiration, vitamins C, B1, B2, B6 and minerals 
 (potassium, phosphorous, calcium). The raw berries irritate the 
 stomach owing to their sambunigrin content, but cooking
 neutralises it.
Nasturtium - Sparkling life fire
German name Kapuzinerkresse
English name Nasturtium
French name Capucine majeure
Italian name Crecione indiano
Stock plant Tropaeolum majus L.
Plant family Tropaeolaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name “Tropaeolum” comes from the Greek word “tropaion”, which can be translated as “trophy”. The form of the leaves is associated with the combat shields from old times of war. The Latin species name “majus” means “big” while the German name “Kapuziner” comes from the head cobering of Capuchin monks, the “kresse” from the sharp taste, derived from the old German word “cresso” = sharp.
Used plant parts Herb
Origin Peru
Collection time During the flowering period, lasting from May until autumn
Occurrence Loves sunny meadows, fallow land, edges of fields and paths
Substances Mustard oil glycosides (glucosinolates), from which the active benzyl mustard oil is formed through enzymatic cleavage, 100 g of fresh plant contain up to 320 mg of vitamin C. It also contains carotinoids.
Lime - The peacemaker
German name Linde
English name Lime
French name Tilleul
Italian name Tiglio
Stock plant Tilia spec.
Plant family Malvaceae
Used plant parts Flowers with the bract
Origin Europe to western Siberia and Near East
Collection time The summer linden flowers from the end of May to early July, 
 those of the winter lime in August
Occurrence Mixed forests or selectively on prominent und exposed places
Substances Essential oil, farnesol, saponins, flavone glycosides, flavonoids, tannin, tannic acid, mucins
Thyme - Powerful fragrance dispenser
German name Thymian
English name Herb of thyme
French name Thym
Italian name Timo
Stock plant Thymus vulgaris L.
Plant family Lamiaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The name “thyme” is derived from the Latin word “thymus” which in turn comes from the Greek “thymos”, translated as having the spirit and courage. “Thymos” is also associated with “smoke” since it is related to the Latin “fumus” – smoke in the sense of thymol’s germicidal property.
Used plant parts The herb and the leaves and flowers stripped off the stems
Origin Central and southern Europe
Collection time May to August; immediately when it starts flowering, the stalk is 
 harvested together with the flowers and leaves and dried in the 
 shade below 35 °C (95 °F)
Occurrence Prefers Mediterranean climate, colonises open dry grassland, loves limestone soils and sunny locations
Substances Essential oil with thymol and carvacrol as main substances as well as p-cymol, linalool and other monoterpene flavonoids as well as antioxidative biphenyls
Gentian - The archaic root power
German name Gelber Enzian
English name Gentian
French name Gentiane jaune
Italian name Genziana
Stock plant Gentiana lutea L.
Plant family Gentianaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name comes from Latin and named for Genthios, the last king of the Ilyrian Labeats, who valued the plant as bitter-tasting “medicine”.
Used plant parts Root
Origin Indigenous in all of Europe
Collection time In the spring or autumn; at least 10-year-old plants
Occurrence On mountain meadows at an altitude of 750-2500 m (2460-8200 ft)
Substances Iroid glycosides (bitter compounds) such as amarogentin, gentiopicroside, swertiamarin as well as mono- and oligosaccharides, also pectins, but no starch, in addition yellow-staining xanthone derivatives and traces of essential oil
Lemon balm - Balsam for the heart and abdomen
German name Melisse, Zitronenmelisse
English name Lemon Balm, Melisse
French name Mélisse
Italian name Melissa
Stock plant Melissa officinalis L.
Plant family Lamiaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name “Melissa” is a medieval new formation of the Greek word “melissophyllon”, translated as “bee leaf”. Another explanation relates to the German name “Zitronenmelisse”, derived from the translation of honey from the Greek term “meliteia/ mélitos”. The species name “officinalis” means that this lemon balm species is used at the chemist’s.
Used plant parts Leaves and the essential oil
Origin Especially France and Spain as well as western Asia
Collection time Leaves before the flowering period (March to May)
Occurrence Lemon balm loves nutrient-rich locations, prefers clayey sand without waterlogging and a high humus content
Substances Mostly essential oil with the main components of citral, citronellal, rosmarinic acid and flavonoids
Dandelion - The sunny detoxifier
German name Löwenzahn
English name Dandelion
French name Dent de lion, „pissenlit“
Italian name Tarassaco
Stock plant Taraxacum officinale
Plant family Asteraceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name “Taraxacum” is based on the Greek terms “taraxis = inflammation” and “akéomei = I cure”, which indicate the medicinal use of the plant. Other sources derive “Taraxacum” from the Arabic “Tharakhchakon”, which describes a plant with yellow flowers. The origin of the name “Löwenzahn”, in turn, refers to the shape of the leaf, which resembles a lion’s teeth.
Used plant parts The whole plant or only the herb, leaves and flowers.
Origin Indigenous in all of Europe
Collection time The whole plant, including the root, when it is flowering from May until October; the root in the spring from April to May before it forms flowers or in autumn after flowering: September & October
Occurrence On meadows, edges of paths, fallow land; up to 2800 m (9186 ft)
Substances Sesquiterpene lactone bitter compounds such as taraxacin and triterpenes; also phytosterols and high inulin and potassium content
Artichoke - The liver’s friend
German name Artischocke
English name Artichoke
French name Artichaut
Italian name Carciofo
Stock plant Cynara cardunculus
Plant family Asteraceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name “Cynara” indicates a certain species of artichoke found on the Greek island of Kinara. At most, “kynara” (whose translation means “dog”) could be based on the pointed leaves resembling a dog’s teeth. “Cardunlucus” is the Latin diminutive meaning “little thistle”.
Used plant parts The fleshy bracts, including the receptacles, are eaten as vegetable. The leaves have medicinal applications, especially for digestive symptoms since the substances promote the flow of bile. There are also studies proving a cholesterol-lowering effect.
Origin Southern Europe, North Africa and the Canary Islands
Collection time The flower bud as vegetable in June and July shortly before blossoming, the leaves of the basal rosette after harvesting the flower bud.
Occurrence Mediterranean region, South America and California.
Substances Bitter compounds, like the sesquiterpene lactone cynaropicrin, are present only in the leaves; subsequently flavonoids such as luteolin and cynarosid as well as phenol carboxylic acids such as cynarin and chlorogenic acid
Devil’s claw - The African rheumatism root
German name Teufelskralle
English name Devil’s claw
French name Griffe du diable
Italian name Artiglio del Diavolo, Harpagofito
Stock plant Harpagophytum procumbens DC. Ex Meisn.
Plant family Pedaliaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name “Harpagophytum” is derived from the Greek root word “harpagos”, translated as “grappling hook”, which refers to the barbs on the fruit that becomes woody. The species name “procumbens” indicates the prostrated shrub. The German name “Teufelskralle” relates to the shape of the ripe seed capsules that have sprung open.
Used plant parts The roots or bulbous secondary roots. The harpagosides in the roots are readily used in medications due to their anti-inflammatory, decongestant and pain-relieving effect. Also used frequently in osteoarthritis, as they inhibit the enzymes that break down protein and thus protect the joint cartilage. Numerous studies have proven the efficacy of this medicinal plant.
Origin Namibia, South Africa and western Botswana
Collection time Varies
Occurrence Savanna and grass vegetation, on red, sandy soils or in alluvial land areas
Substances Iridoid glycosides with harpagoside as main component, plus 
 flavonoids such as camphor oil and luteolin, as well as unsaturated 
 fatty acids, cinnamic and chlorogenic acid
Incense - Tears of the gods
German name Weihrauch
English name Olibanum, Incense
French name Encens Boswellia
Italian name Incenso
Stock plant Boswellia serrata Roxb. Ex Colebr.
Plant family Burseraceae
Explanation of the name The resin of the Olibanum tree is highly valued in many cultures and burned in ceremonial acts. Used on the one hand to disseminate a fragrance, but also to drive away “evil spirits” (germs) on the other hand. The Bible mentions that the Three Wise Men brought the aromatic resin frankincense as a gift.
Used plant parts Resin
Origin India; various species also come from Africa
Collection time Extracted by scratching the bark
Occurrence Dry areas and barren landscapes up to 1200 m (3937 ft)
Substances 50 to 70% of the resins have the main component beta-boswellic 
 acid, in addition mucins and essential oil
Peppermint - The cooling plant power
German name Pfefferminze
English name Peppermint
French name Menthe povrée
Italian name Menta piperita
Stock plant Mentha x piperita L.
Plant family Lamiaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name “Mentha” is a borrowing from the Greek “Minthe”. According to a legend pased on by Ovid, the nymph “Minthe” stole the heart of the underworld god Hades. This displeased his wife Persephone, who transformed the nymph into the plant Minthe. The species name “piperita” is derived from the Latin term “piper” or “pepper-like”.
Used plant parts Leaves and the pure, essential peppermint oil
Origin Europe and North America
Collection time March to May before the flowering period
Occurrence Wet, nutrient-rich soils; semi-shady, slightly sunny locations
Substances Essential oil with the main components menthol and menthone
Golden root - Energy for those tired from stress
German name Rosenwurz
English name Golden root
French name Orpin rose
Italian name Legno rodio, rodiola
Stock plant Rhodiola rosea L.
Plant family Crassulaceae
Greek/Latin explanation of the name The genus name “Rhodiola” is derived from the Greek word “rhodos”, translated as rose-coloured, rose-like or also “the odour of the root”. The species name “rosea” comes from the Latin term “rosa” or rose.
Used plant parts Root and root stock (radix and rhizome)
Origin Russia, Scandinavia and Iceland
Collection time Spring and autumn
Vorkommen On wet soils in the mountaineous regions of Eurasia and North America up to 2300 m (7545 ft).
Substances Phenylpropanoids: rosavin, rosin and rosarin as well as various flavonoids, essential oils and organic acids
Purslane - The wondrous vegetable of our ancestors
German name Portulak
English name Purslane
French name Pourpier
Italian name Porcellanna comune
Stock plant Portulaca oleraceae L.
Plant family Portulaceae
Explanation of the name Although the origin of the name purslane is unknown, the plant was known and valued in old Egypt and Europe – not only as vegetable but as vitamin supplier too.
Used plant parts Young branches with leaves
Origin No longer traceable, nowadays wild and cultivated in Europe
Collection time April & May
Occurrence In warm, temperate zones; on nutrient-rich, loose sandy-loamy soils
Substances Omega-3 fatty acids, linolenic acid, vitamin C and alpha-tocopherol as well as potassium and calcium
St John‘s wort – The bright anti-depressant
German name Johanniskraut
English name St John’s wort
French name Millepertuis
Italian name Iperico
Stock plant Hypericum perforatum L.
Plant family Hypericaceae
Explanation of the name The name St John‘s wort comes from the fact that the plant flowers around the day of St John (i.e. 24 June). As soon as summer starts, St John‘s wort starts brightening up the edges of paths and slopes with its bright, intense yellow flowers.
Used plant parts Both the flowering herb and only the flowers. Therefore, St John‘s wort is always associated with sun and – in the figurative sense – with happiness as well. The power of St John‘s wort is capable of brightening up the gloomy and therefore somewhat depressive time of the year. It is therefore not surprising that both Paracelsus and modern orthodox medicine recommend St John‘s wort for boosting the mood.
Origin Namibia, South Africa and western Botswana
Collection time End of June to September
Occurrence Slopes, edges of paths, landfills
Substances Above all hypericin, hyperforin as well as flavonoids and bitter compounds
Hawthorn - The mild heart strengthener
German name Weissdorn
English name Hawthorn
French name Aubépine
Italian name Biancospino
Stock plant Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus laevigata
Plant family Rosaceae
Explanation of the name The name hawthorn can be easily understood after seeing the thorny bush with its magnificent, white flower dress.
Used plant parts Both the flowers, which appear in May and June, and also the leaves or fruits, which ripen in August and September. Hawthorn especially provides a good service for nervous heart symptoms. As mild, heart-strengthening remedy, both low and high blood pressure benefits from the compensatory effect.
Origin Europe
Collection time Entire growing season
Occurrence Edges of paths and hedges
Substances Especially responsible for the pharmacological effect are the polyphenols, crataegus lactone (crataegus acid), oxyacanthin 
 (a glycoside) and essential oil.
Milk thistle seeds - The mild heart strengthener
German name Mariendistel
English name Milk thistle
French name Chardon – marie
Italian name Cardo mariano
Stock plant Carduus Marianus, Silybum marianum
Plant family Asteraceae
Explanation of the name The milk thistle has large, dark green leaves, which closely hug the soil as rosetta. White lines can be seen on it, exactly as if milk had been poured over the leaves. This inspired the legend that a few drops of the milk of the Holy Mother Mary fell on thistle leaves during breastfeeding. They are seen even today in the typical leaf drawing.
Used plant parts Typically, the seeds of the milk thistle are used. They contain the main active ingredient silimarin or silibinin, which has a pronounced liver-protecting effect and is even used successfully in liver poisonings. Numerous scientific studies have impressively demonstrated the efficacy and excellent tolerance of this medicinal plant.
Origin Mediterranean region
Collection time August and September
Occurrence Edges of paths und fallow areas
Substances Above all silibinin, also silybin, the pharmacologically strongest active substance of the active ingredient complex silymarin, but also contains flavonoids, bitter compounds and biogenic amines.

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