Glossary Of Terms



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Absorbent: Attaches to other substances and either neutralizes or renders harmless

Adaptogen: A plant property that increases the resistance to stress

Alternative: Alters the existing nutritive and excretory processes and gradually restores normal body function

Analgesic: A plant property that relieves pain

Anodyne: Relieves pain externally

Antacid: Corrects acid conditions in the stomach, bowels, and blood

Anthelmintic: Expels or destroys intestinal worms

Anti-abortive: Counteracts abortive tendencies

Anti-arthritic: Relieves and heals arthritic conditions

Anti-asthmatic: Relieves asthma

Anti-bilious: Eliminates a biliary or jaundice condition in the body

Antibiotic: Inhibits growth and destroys viruses and bacteria

Anti-catarrhal: Eliminates mucus conditions

Anti-depressant: Relieves symptoms of depression

Anti-emetic: Relieves stomach sickness; prevents vomiting

Antihistamine: Neutralizes the effects of histamine in an allergic reaction

Anti-hydropic: Eliminates excess body fluids or dropsy

Anti-inflammatory: To counteract and diminish inflammation and its effects on the body

Anti-lithic: Helps prevents the formation of gravel and stones

Antioxidant: A plant property that prevents free radicals of oxidative tissue or cell damage

Anti-periodic: Relieves malarial-type fevers and chills

Anti-phlogistic: Reduces inflammation or swelling

Antipyretic: Reduces temperature in fevers

Anti-rheumatic: Prevents, relieves, and cure rheumatism

Anti-scorbutic: Prevents and cures scurvy

Anti-scrofulus: Heals scrofula (tubular condition of the lymph nodes)

Antiseptic: Prevents the growth of bacteria

Antispasmodic: Relieves nervous irritability and reduces or prevent excessive muscular contractions

Anti-syphilitic: Relieves and cures syphilis or other venereal diseases

Anti-venomous: Use as antidotes to animals, vegetables and mineral poisons

Anti-zymotic: Destroys or arrests the action of bacterial organisms

Aperient: Mild laxative, softens stool without purging

Aphrodisiac: Increases sexual functions and desires. 

Aromatic: Has fragrant smell with a pungent and spicy taste, which stimulates the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane

Astringent: Increases tissue tone and firmness, contracts tissue

Balsamic: Mitigate, soothe and heal inflamed parts

Bitter: The bitter taste on the tongue stimulates bile and digestive juices, preventing indigestion and gas

Blister: Cause blistering on the skin when applied locally

Calefacient: Used as diffusive stimulants and which cause capillary circulation, giving an external sense of warmth

Cardiac Depressant: Lessen and are sedative to the heart’s action

Cardiac Stimulant: Used to increase and give greater power to the heart’s action

Carminative: Contains a volatile oil that expels gas from the stomach, intestines, and bowels

Cathartic: Causes rapid evacuation of the bowels

Caustic: Burn or destroy living tissue

Cell Proliferant: Promote rapid healing and restoration

Cephalic: Particularly healing to cerebral conditions and diseases

Cholagogue: Promotes the flow of bile

Condiment: Used to season or flavor food, increases digestive activity

Coloring Agent: Used for coloring or dyeing purposes

Cordial: Combine the properties of a warm stomach and a cardiac stimulant

Corrective: used to alter and lessen the severity of action of other herbs, especially cathartics or purgatives

Cosmetic: Tonics for the skin and are used to improve the complexion and beautify the skin

Counter-Irritant: Cause irritation by local application in one part and therapeutically relieve pain in another more deep-seated part

Demulcent: Relieves internal inflammation, gives protective coating

Dental Anodyne: Used locally to relieve pain from an exposed nerve filament in the tooth

Deobstruent: Overcomes obstructions, aperients

Deodorant: Eliminates foul odors

Depresso-motors: Diminish muscular movement by action on the spinal centers

Depurant: Removes impurities and cleanses the blood

Desiccant: Able to dry surfaces by absorbing moisture

Detergent: Cleansing to wounds, ulcers, etc. and to the skin itself

Diaphoretic: Increases perspiration, stimulating, neutral, relaxing

Digestant: Contain ferments and acids, that aid in the solution and digestion of food

Diluent: Dilute secretions and excretions

Discutient: Dissolves and removes tumors and abnormal growths

Disinfectant: Eliminate or destroy the noxious properties of decaying organic matter and prevent the spreading or transfer of infection

Diuretic: Increase flow of urine, removes water from the body

Drastic: Hyper-active cathartics, producing violent peristalsis, watery stools and griping pain

Emetic: Induce vomiting

Emmenagogue: Female correctives to the reproduction organs, which stimulate and promote a healthy menstrual function, flow, and discharge

Emollient: Applied externally to soften and soothe the skin

Errhine: Increases nasal secretions from the sinuses

Exanthematous: Healing to skin eruptions or to skin diseases of an eruptive nature

Excito-motor: Increase motor reflex and spinal activity

Expectorant: Removes mucus from nose, throat, lungs and bronchial passages

Febrifuge: Reduces fever

Galactogogue: Increases the secretion of milk

Galactaphyga: Diminishes or stops the secretion of milk

Hemostatic: Internally astringent, stops internal bleeding or hemorrhaging

Hemetic: Rich in iron and manganese, augment and enrich the red blood cells

Hepatic: Used to strengthen, tone and stimulate liver secretions

Herpatic: Healing to skin eruptions and scaling diseases such as ringworm

Hypnotic: Powerful nervine relaxants and sedatives that induce sleep

Hypertensive: Used to increase blood pressure

Hypotensive: Used to lower blood pressure

Iatrogenic: Literally, “physician induced”, conditions, diseases, or other adverse reactions caused as a result of medical treatment

Insecticide: Used to destroy insects

Irritant: Produce a greater or lesser degree of vascular excitement when applied to the skin surface

Laxative: Promotes bowel action, a mild purgative

Lithotriptic: Stimulates and cleanses the lymphatic system

Local Anesthetic: Produce loss of sensation where applied locally to a surface

Maturating: Promote the maturation or ripening of tumors, boils, ulcers, etc.

Mucilage: Soothes inflammation

Mydriatic: Causes dilation of the pupil

Myotic: Causes contraction of the pupil muscles

Narcotic: Powerful anodyne-hypnotics

Nauseant: Produces nausea or an inclination to vomit

Nephritic: Influences the kidneys and are healing in kidney complaints

Nervine: A tonic to the nervous system

Nutritive: Nourishing and building to body tissues

Ophthalmic: Healing to disorders and diseases of the eyes

Oxytocic: Assists labor and promotes easy childbirth

Parasiticide: Kills and removes parasites from the skin

Parturient: Kill or destroy animal and vegetable parasites within the body

Pectoral: Helps relieve chest and respiratory problems

Peristaltic: Stimulates and increases muscular contractions

Protective: Serve as protective coverings to abraded, inflamed or injured parts when applied locally to a surface

Pungent: Cause a sharp, pricking, acrid and penetrating sensation to a sense organ

Purgative: Causes strong bowel movement

Refrigerant: Have cooling properties, lower the body temperature and relieve thirst

Resolvent: Promote the dispersion of inflammatory deposits and their absorption into excretory channels

Rubefacient: Stimulate redness and increased blood supply to the skin

Sedative: Reduces excitement and nervous reactions

Sialagogue: Promotes increased flow of saliva

Soporific: Induces a relaxing sleep, which cause sneezing

Stimulant: Increase energy and quickens the actions of the body system

Stomachic: Gives strength and tone to the stomach

Styptic: Contracts tissues or blood vessels, checks bleeding

Sudorific: Stimulates profuse sweating when taken hot and acts as a tonic when taken cold

Taeniafuge/Taeniacide: Expel or kill tapeworms in the intestinal track

Tonic: Increases energy and systemic tone through nutrition

Vermicide: Expels and destroys worms without expulsion from the bowels

Vermifuge: Expels and destroys worms be expelling from the bowels

Vulnerary: Promotes cellular growth, heals cuts, burns and wounds


Most orthodox medical institutions in America frown upon self-health care and the use of herbs, natural foods and other types of natural healing modalities for the reestablishment and maintenance of health. However it is every Americans inherent right to freely choose for themselves whatever type and source of health care he or she deems appropriate. However it must be emphasized that practicing such medical freedom not only involves the responsibility of acquiring valid health information and skills, but also the wisdom to recognize when health care is needed, and to choose that health care with discretion. This information is not intended to medically prescribe or promote the sale of any herb or supplement over prescription medicines, or to replace qualified medical health care. The author and Health & Herbs assumes no responsibility if you prescribe for yourself. If you have, or think you have, a condition which requires medical attention, you should immediately seek qualified professional care. FDA has not evaluated this statement. These products are not intended for prevention, treatment, cure or mitigation of disease.

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