North Central Washington

The Herbal Database

A Listing of Herbs & Spices and Medicinal Plants & Some Clues To Their Ethnobotany, 1998+ by George Wooten

Summary: The Herbal Database is a dictionary of botanical products used as herbs, spices, medicinals, dyes, charms, and foods. The database alphabetically lists botanicals in a table by the most commonly used name, followed by fields for parts used, Latin name(s), botanical family, uses, and constituents. The Herbal Database includes a glossary of terms, an index, and a reference bibliography. Copies of the database can be downloaded here.

Contents of the Herbal database

  • Herbal Database: The html version of the Herbal Database.
  • herbal-db.pdf: The pdf version of the Herbal Databhase (181K).
  • Glossary: terms used in the Herbal Database.
  • Index: a list of alternate Latin and common names in the Herbal Database.
  • References: cited references.


Disclaimer: The Herbal Database is a listing of plant products and some of their properties, whether safe or toxic, real or imagined. This database was developed purely for informational purposes only, and does not in any way purport to be a medical or prescriptive guide. As such, the authors and publishers absolve themselves of all responsibility for any accidental or intended harmful effects or illegal activities resulting from the use or abuse of any of these products.


Each herb, spice, medicinal, or botanical is given one line, or record, with six fields to describe some of its properties. Inclusions are not meant to be comprehensive, but to include well-known botanicals based on familiarity, utility, and interest. The listing is in text mode, and is necessarily in a wide format. You may have to adjust the width of your font or screen, or use scrolling to see all of the fields. In this version, each line is listed alphabetically under a single common name. It would have been too difficult to set up a searchable database, however alternate Latin and common names are listed in an index, terms are defined in a glossary, and references are given.

Field 1, common name. This field lists natural products alphabetically, by commonly used names. The products listed were chosen to be representative of commonly available, poisonous, special- interest, or important medicinal plants with a few products representing dyes, animal, insect, or mineral products. Common, generally English, names were used as key fields, rather than scientific names, because most interest in this project appeared to be lay, rather than scientific, however the index cross-references the products by other common names and Latin binomial.

Field 2, parts used. This field contains the part of the natural product normally used.

Field 3, scientific Latin binomial name, including commonly used synonyms (in parentheses when positively out-dated), and closely related species within the genus.

Field 4, plant family, in botanical Latin. The common names of the approximately 90 families represented are given in the glossary.

Field 5, properties and uses. This field summarizes some notable properties, derivatives and uses of the natural product, reputed or actual. Many historical uses are folkloric or based on use of the plant as a talisman, or because of its physical form (the doctrine of signatures, in Old English usage, believed that the shape of a plant was an indicator of the body part it was useful for). Qualities listed are the best fits of literature searches, as data may have been scant, lacking, or ambiguous. Documented unpleasant or dangerous side effects were included if known, however unknown long-term effects or individual allergic effects could not always be anticipated and noted. No medical recommendations or claims are made for any of these plants.

Field 6, chemical constituents. This field lists the names of some of the known chemical constituents. Constituents, when known, were those chemicals responsible for the listed effects, or the most potent chemicals, or those chemicals found in highest quantities in the natural product.