An herb or compound that blocks – or suppresses – the cough reflex.

See Also: Antitussive

Cough Suppressant vs. Expectorant

Normally, coughing is the body’s way to clear the airways of mucus. As such, you should only use a cough suppressant for dry, hacking coughs. Say, for example, you need to catch some zzz’s but a nagging cough won’t let you? A cough suppressant would be what you need.

If your cough produces mucus, on the other hand, you would take an expectorant to thin the mucus, making it easier to expel to more easily expel it, look into expectorants.On the other hand, if you need to thin mucus, to make it easier to expel, you would use an expectorant.


A choleretic herb acts to increase the volume of bile that the liver produces. This enhances the body’s ability to release toxins. This also has a laxative effect, which improves the detox capacity of the body’s cell tissue.

Choleretic Herbs

  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa)


An herb or compound that works to prevent, reverse or suppress the progression to of cancer in the body.

Chemopreventive Herbs

  • Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus)
  • Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)
  • Saffron (Crocus sativus)
  • Shiitake Mushrooms (Lentinula edodes)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

In this video, Roy Upton, executive director of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, discusses the importance of integrating herbal medicine as a part of any cancer treatment. Some chemopreventive herbs he includes in his discussion are: Astragalus, Reishi and Shiitake mushrooms.


An herb that causes evacuation of the bowels. Cathartic herbs range from mild laxatives to vigorous purgatives.

Cathartic Herbs:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Castor Oil (Ricinus communis)
  • Figs (Ficus carica)
  • Onion (Allium cepa)
  • Prunes (Prunus domestica)
  • Senna (Cassia senna)


An herb that acts to relieve flatulence (bloating) in the intestinal tract, and helps expel gas. Carminative herbs ease abdominal cramping and help expel gas from the digestive tract.

They also promote normal peristalsis and improve weak digestion resulting from nervousness, anxiety or depression.

Carminative Herbs:

  • Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Caraway (Carum carvi)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

In this video, herbalist David Hoffmann explains the herbal actions of carminative and anti-infective herbs.

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