Table 3.

Selected Common Chemical Constituents of Herbs

COMPOUNDCOMMON PROPERTIESEXAMPLES
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids• BittersBorage
• DemulcentColtsfoot
• ExpectorantComfrey
Note: Potential for hepatotoxicity with chronic consumption
Berberine• Anti-inflammatoryBarberry
• AntimicrobialBlood root
• AntipyreticGoldenseal
Oregon grape
Flavonoids• AntispasmodicBuckwheat
• HepatoprotectiveHawthorne
Licorice roots
Milk thistle
Cardiac glycosides• Decreases heart rateFoxglove
• Positive inotropic effectPleurisy root
• Reduces electrical conductivity through heartLily of the valley
Lectins• AnticancerMistletoe
• CatharticPoke weed
• Immune-stimulating
• Phytohemagglutinin
Saponins• Anti-inflammatoryGolden rod
• ExpectorantChickweed
Wild yam
Sarsaparilla
Tannins• AntidiarrhealWitch hazel
• Anti-inflammatoryGreen or black tea
• AstringentWhite oak bark
• CoagulantUva ursi
Anthraquinones• CatharticRubarb
• PurgativeSenna
Buckthorn
Aloe