Traditional Research | Alterative Compound

Red Clover blossom (Trifolium pratense)

It has a long history of use in alterative “cancer” formulas.  It contains genistein which inhibits cancer cell growth.  Red Clover is a mild lung, lymphatic and liver remedy indicated for cases of irritable cough, whooping cough, cough from measles, lymphatic congestion and tonsillitis

Burdock dried root (Arctium lappa)

A mild alterative gently increasing lymphatic, kidney and liver functions.  Burdock is indicated for chronic lymphatic swellings, chronic skin diseases with inflammation and irritation of the urinary tract.  Burdock root also has been shown to prevent mutation in cells.

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra or G. uralensis)


Has an ancient history of use in China and the Middle East. This intensly sweet root is an adaptogen, demulcent, expectorant, pectoral, antiviral and antidepressant.  Licorice strengthens endocrine function, especially the adrenals, ovaries, Isles of Langerhans and hypothalamus making it useful for chronic fatigue syndrome, menopause, hypoglycemia and autoimmune disease. The demulcent action heals mucus membrane tissue, especially the stomach (ulcers), large and small intestine (IBS) and lung (dry, irritated cough). Excessive use of Licorice can elevate blood pressure. Licorice also contains genistein as well as other active isoflavones.

Oregon Grape root (Mahonia nervosa)*

A good digestive bitter, liver tonic and cholagogue used to increase digestion and absorption especially of fats & oils.  It is indicated for dyspepsia, dysbiosis, jaundice, elevated bilirubin levels and poor bile formation.  Oregon Grape is also anti-bacterial/fungal/viral so it is indicated for urinary tract infections, strep and staph infections, intestinal viruses and skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne.

Prickly Ash bark (Zanthoxylum americanum)


A pungent carminative, circulatory stimulant and potent anti-viral agent.  It increases the activity of digestion in cases displaying deficient HCl, white coated tongue, gas and malabsorption.  Prickly ash also increases peripheral circulation and is indicated for people with cold extremities and Reynaud's Syndrome. It also increases the absorption and activity of herbs taken with it.

Stillingia root (Stillingia sylvatica)


Has a long history of use for syphilis and other chronic degenerative conditions. It is a powerful alterative that is best used in small doses as a stimulant to liver, lymph and kidney eliminatory functions. It is indicated for croup and spasmodic and irritated coughs with mucous membrane tissue that is red, dry and glistening.

Buckthorn bark (Rhamnus cathartica) *

Primarily used as a tonifying laxative. It contains anthraquinones rhein and emodin, both of which have strong anti-tumor activity.

Phytolacca root (Phytolacca americana) *

A well-known folk medicine used for arthritis and rheumatic conditions, mastitis and other bacterial infections as well as cancer.  It is a strong cleanser of the liver and lymphatic system and is cathartic to the bowel.


Brinker, F. J., ND  The Insecticidal and Therapeutic Activity of Natural Isobutylalamides, British Journal of Phytotherapy vol. 2 #4, 1992, pp. 160-170.

Hocking, G. M.  A Dictionary of Natural Products, Medford, NJ, 1997.

Hobbs>, C.  Usnea: The Herbal Antibiotic, Capitola, CA, 1990.

Leung, A. and Foster, S.  Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, 2nd edition, New York, 1996.

Winston, D.  Herbal Therapeutics - Materia Medica notes, HTSBM, 1980-1999.

Herbal Therapeutics Research Library, David Winston (RH) AHG

©2012 Herbal Therapeutics Research Library. All rights reserved

*Disclaimer: The information on historical, ethnobotanical and phytotherapeutic uses of herbs and traditional formulas contained herein is based on the experience and research of the author. It is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or other health care provider. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should be done under the direction of a health care professional. The publisher and author are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the information discussed. Should you have any questions concerning the appropriateness of any preparation mentioned, the author strongly suggests consulting a professional health care advisor.