The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Gossypium herbaceum L.
  • Malvaceae
  • Mallow family

Common Names

  • Cotton plant
  • Ts’ao-mien (Chinese name)

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Parts Usually Used

Inner bark of the root, seeds
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Cotton is a biennial or triennial shrub that grows to about 5 feet high with woody roots and branches. The round, hairy, branching stems grow from a spindle-shaped root and bears hoary, palmate leaves with 5 pointed lobes. The flowers have 5 yellow petals, each with a purple spot near the bottom. The flower opens only for pollination; it withers after one day. The boll grows to golf ball size with a pointed tip, then the boll cracks and splits from the tip showing locks, or 8-10 seeds with fibers attached. The fruit is a 3 or 5 celled capsule, each cell containing a seed buried in cotton fiber. The open dried boll which holds the fluffed-out cotton is called the burr.
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Where Found

Native to Asia, cultivated in many parts of the world. In the United States, the southern portion of the country is more successful in growing cotton.
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Medicinal Properties

Abortifacient, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, parturient, oxytocic

Seeds: mucilaginous
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Biochemical Information

Resinous substance, phenolcarbonic acid, salicylic acid, betaine, sugar, essential oil
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Economically, cotton is one of the most valuable plants. Cotton seeds and cotton seed meal are used for livestock feed and for making and scenting soap.

Needless to say, cloth has been made from this plant since ancient times.

Introduction of the cotton plant into China during the XI century, either by foreigners trading with the Chinese, or by Mongol conquerors of China. Cottonseed oil was formerly used in villages as food and for lamps. Its taste is very unpleasant, which fact is due to the Chinese roasting the seeds before expressing the oil. They used the cotton plant medicinally to treat leprous, scabrous, and other forms of skin diseases.
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Tincture of the fresh inner root bark is used to treat amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea. Used to treat abscess of the labia, causes abortion, sterility, impotence, frigidity, tumors. The seeds are used to treat malaria and to increase nursing mother’s milk. The oil from the seeds has been studied as a male contraceptive. It was observed by the Chinese that there was a noticeable decrease in births in areas where cottonseed oil was used in cooking. The plant is used to check menstrual bleeding in the case of fibroids. The root is used to stop bleeding, especially internally. Leaves crushed to make an extract is used for diarrhea, dysentery, piles, gravel. Externally, used for rheumatism, a dressing for freckles, herpes, scabies, neuralgia, chronic headache, ulcers, sores, swellings, and wounds. Once used as a substitute for Ergot to promote menses. Used for parturient in childbirth: add 1/4 lb of the bark to 1-1/2 quarts of water; reduce to 1 pint by boiling. Take a wineglassful every 1/2 hour. Seeds used as a soothing cough remedy.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: boil 4 oz. of the inner bark of the root in a quart of water, reduce to a pint by boiling. The dose is 1/2 cup every 30 minutes.

Tincture: 1/2 to 1 tsp. in water.
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Nutrient Content

Cotton seeds contain protein, vitamin E, fats
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How Sold

Cottonseed oil and meal
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Avoid during pregnancy since it is a uterine stimulant. May want to take it during labor and delivery.

Do not use without medical supervision.
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Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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