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 Herbal Actions: Anti-Spasmodic 
What is an Anti-Spasmodic?
The anti-spasmodics prevent or ease spasms or cramps in the muscles of the body. They will reduce tension in the body, and, as many of the anti-spasmodics are also nervines, they will sometimes ease psychological tension as well. Many of the herbal remedies that are described as nervines, sedatives or hypnotics also act as anti-spasmodics. The term is synonymous with spasmolytic.

How Anti-Spasmodic Work
There are general anti-spasmodics that reduce muscle spasming through out the body, and there are those that specifically work on certain organs or systems. The anti-spasmodics relax the autonomic nervous systems and necessarily the central nervous system. This allows a physical relaxation of muscles without a sedation effect upon consciousness. When this action is needed in the gut, the carminative herbs will often do exceedingly well. The relaxing expectorants have a localized anti-spasmodic effect in the respiratory system, but this might have a broader effect upon the body.

Anti-Spasmodics for Different Parts of the Body

Circulatory system: European Mistletoe, Motherwort, Crampbark, Black Cohosh, Balm, Lavender, Ladies Slipper and Valerian are important here.

Respiratory system: A range of anti-spasmodics are useful for the Respiratory system and include Wild Lettuce, Wild Cherry, Lobelia, Grindelia, Pill Bearing Spurge, Elecampane, Thyme, Aniseed, Angelica root, Oregano, and Garlic.

Digestive system: All the carminative herbs tend to act this way in the gut, and hepaticas can have such an action in gallbladder problems. Specific herbs to consider are Chamomile, Crampbark, Valerian, Hops, Peppermint, Sage, Thyme, Dill, Fennel, Barberry & Wild Yam.

Urinary system: Here we can think of Crampbark, Black Haw, Sea Holly, and Wild Carrot.

Reproductive system: Here Crampbark and Black Haw come into their own. The nervine anti-spasmodics such as Pasque Flower, Valerian, Ladies Slipper and Skullcap are helpful.

Muscles and skeleton: The main muscle relaxant remedies include Crampbark, Black Haw, Valerian and Skullcap. Externally Lobelia can be most helpful.

Nervous system: Consult the section on nervines for more information.

Skin: Anti-Spasmodics are not directly relevant here.

Anti-Spasmodics of All Types

Angelica archangelica
Lavandula officinalis
Pimpinella anisum
Tilia spp.
Melissa officinalis
Glycyrrhiza glabra
Black Cohosh
Cimicifuga racemosa
Lobelia inflata
Black Haw
Viburnum prunifolium
Leonurus cardiaca
Lycopus europaeus
Verbascum thapsis
Californian Poppy
Eschscholzia californica
Petroselinum sativum
Carum carvi
Pasque Flower
Anenome pulsatilla
Elattaria cardamomum
Passion Flower
Passiflora incarnata
Nepeta cateria
Mentha pulegium
Celery Seed Apium graveolens
Mentha piperita
Matricaria recutita
Red Clover
Trifolium pratense
Tussilago farfara
Red Sage
Salvia officinalis var. rubia
Cramp Bark
Viburnum opulus
Rosemarinus officinalis
Turnera diffusa
Scutellaria laterifolia
Anethum graveolens
Skunk Cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus
Sambucus nigra
St.John's Wort
Hypericum perforatum
Foeniculum vulgare
Drosera rotundifolia
Trigonella foenumgraecum
Thymus vulgaris
Tanacetum chrysanthemun
Valeriana officinalis
Zingiber officinale
Verbena officinalis
Ground Ivy
Nepeta hederacea
Wild Carrot
Daucus carrota
Humulus lupulus
Wild Cherry
Prunus serotina
Hyssopus officinalis
Wild Lettuce
Lactuca virosa
Jamaican Dogwood
Piscidia erythrina
Wild Yam
Dioscorea villosa

Anti-Spasmodics & Their Secondary Actions

Alterative: Black Cohosh, Pasque Flower, Red Clover

Analgesic: Black Cohosh, Californian Poppy, Jamaican Dogwood, Passion Flower, Peppermint, St. John's Wort, Valerian, Wild Lettuce, Wild Yam

Anti-Catarrhal: Betony, Catmint, Chamomile, Coltsfoot, Elder, Fenugreek, Ginger, Hyssop, Lavender, Linden, Mullein, Peppermint, Red Sage, Thyme

Anti-inflammatory: Angelica, Balm, Celery Seed, Chamomile, Coltsfoot, Elder, Hyssop, Lavender, Linden, Liquorice, Peppermint, Red Sage, Roman Chamomile, St. John's Wort, Wild Yam

Anti-Microbial: Aniseed, Caraway, Chamomile, Hops, Lavender, Pasque Flower, Peppermint, Rosemary, St. John's Wort, Sundew, Thyme

Astringents: Black Haw, Bugleweed, Cramp Bark, Ground Ivy, Hops, Linden, Red Sage, Rosemary, St. John's Wort, Wild Cherry

Bitter: Chamomile, Hops, Mugwort

Carminative: Angelica, Aniseed, Balm, Caraway, Cardamom, Catnip, Chamomile, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Ginger, Hops, Hyssop, Lavender, Motherwort, Mugwort, Parsley, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Red Sage, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Thyme, Valerian, Vervain, Wild Carrot

Demulcent: Coltsfoot, Fenugreek, Liquorice, Mullein, Sundew

Diaphoretic: Angelica, Black Cohosh, Catnip, Elder, Ginger, Hyssop, Linden, Peppermint, Rosemary, Skunk Cabbage, Vervain

Diuretic: Angelica, Bugleweed, Catnip, Coltsfoot, Damiana, Elder, Linden, Parsley, Wild Carrot

Emmenagogue: Black Cohosh, Black Horehound, Caraway, Motherwort, Mugwort, Pennyroyal

Expectorant: Angelica, Aniseed, Bugleweed, Caraway, Catnip, Coltsfoot, Fennel, Fenugreek, Liquorice, Mullein, Parsley, Skunk Cabbage, Sundew, Thyme, Wild Carrot

Hepatic: Vervain

Hypnotic: Californian Poppy, Chamomile, Hops, Jamaican Dogwood, Linden, Pasque Flower, Passion Flower, Valerian, Wild Lettuce

Hypotensive: Linden, Motherwort, Passion Flower, Scullcap, Valerian

Nervine Relaxant: Balm, Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Bugleweed, Californian Poppy, Catnip, Chamomile, Cramp Bark, Hops, Hyssop, Jamaican Dogwood, Lavender, Linden, Lobelia, Motherwort, Pasque Flower, Passion Flower, Peppermint, Prunus serotina, Scullcap, St. John's Wort, Valerian, Wild Lettuce

Tonic: Coltsfoot, Damiana, Fenugreek, Mugwort, Scullcap, St. John's Wort, Vervain

Vulnerary: Catnip, Chamomile, Elder, Fenugreek, Mullein, St. John's Wort

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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