Get your FREE copy of the '6 Weeks Health Programme'! SHOP NOW
herbs for colic - yarrow

Glossy of Herbal Terms

abortifacient: an agent that can induce abortions.
alkaloid: a nitrogenous, basic, and often medicinal, plant compound.
allergen: a compound that produces an allergic reaction.
alterative: a compound that alters body metabolism.
analeptic: a restorative.
analgesic: an agent that relieves pain.
anodyne: an agent that relieves pain through reducing nerve excitability.
anthelmintic: a preparation to rid the body of worms.
anthraquinones: a ketonic tricyclic anthracenes with laxative action.
anti-: prefix for terms designating amelioration, relief, or removal.
antiacid: an agent to relieve excess stomach, blood or bowel acidity.
antiasthmatic: an agent to dilate bronchioles or break up mucus.
antibiotic: an agent to inhibit the growth of, or destroy bacteria.
anticarcinogen: an agent to counteract cancer.
anticatarrhal: an agent to counteract mucus formation.
antidepressant: an agent that counteracts mental depression.
anti-diarrheal: an agent to relieve diarrhea.
antiemetic: an agent that relieves stomach sickness and vomiting.
antihyperlipidemic: an agent to reduce arterial plaques.
antilithic: an agent to removes stones or gravels; lithotryptic.
antipsychotic: see tranquilizer.
antipyretic: an agent to reduce fever; febrifuge.
antisecretory: an agent that dries the body tissues.
antiseptic: an agent for skin application to destroy bacteria.
antispasmodic: an agent to lessen muscle spasms; spasmolytic.
aperient: a gentle laxative.
aphrodisiac: an agent to awaken sexual desires.
apothecary: a person who formulates and dispenses materia medica. Place where materia medica is prepared and stored.
astringent: an agent that coagulates protein. Astringents constrict tissues. Plant astringent usually contain tannins, which bind proteins, leading to a reduction of secretions or discharge.
balsams: resinous mixtures containing cinnamates and benzoates.
beta-carbolines: tricyclic MAO inhibitors, hallucinogens.
bitter: referring to the bitter taste.
bradycardia: a slowed heartbeat.
C-5, C-10,…: used to denote the number of carbon atoms.
carcinogen: a substance that predisposes cancer development.
carminative: a substance to relieve the body of excess gas.
catalyst: a preparation that makes other remedies more effective.
catarrh: another term for mucus.
cathartic: see purgative.
cholagogue: an agent to promote the flow of bile into the small intestine.
compress: a topical application used to soften tissue and relieve inflammation or pain.
CNS: abbreviation for the central nervous system.
depressant, CNS: a compound that reduces mental function.
coumarins: bicyclic, aromatic molecules that antagonize vitamin K.
cream: a thick liquid or semi-solid preparation for topical use.
CV: abbreviation for cardiovascular.
decoction: a boiled extract, used for the preparation of roots.
decongestant: an agent to relieve nasal congestion.
demulcent: a compound that protects abraded tissues.
depurative: an agent that is detoxifying or purifying.
dextrins: partial hydrolysis products of starch.
diaphoretic: a compound that increases perspiration; sudorific.
diuretic: an agent promoting urination.
dyspepsia: an impairment in digestion.
emetic: an agent to induce vomiting.
emollient: an agent that smooths and protects the skin.
emmenagogue: a preparation that hastens the onset of menses.
emulsion: a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally un-mixable with the aid of an emulsifier.
euphoriant: an agent to stimulate mental or physical pleasure.
expectorant: preparations used to break up phlegm in lungs.
fatty acids: hydrolysis products of fats.
febrifuge: see antipyretic.
flavonoids: a class of tricyclic molecules.
galactogogue: an agent to increase the flow of milk.
GI: abbreviation for gastrointestinal.
glyco-: a prefix indicating the attachment of a sugar to a molecule.
glycosides: sugar esters.
glyceract: tincture made using vegetable glycerine instead of alcohol.
gums: water swellable carbohydrate derivatives.
HCN: hydrogen cyanide, a respiratory poison.
hemolytic: a compound capable of dissolving red blood corpuscles.
hemorrhagic: a compound that leads to internal bleeding.
hemostatic: a compound that retards bleeding; styptic.
hepatic: an agent used in maintenance of liver function.
homeostasis: the healthy tendency to equilibrium between interdependent systems.
hydragogue: a substance that increases water discharge.
hypotensive: an agent to reduce blood pressure.
hypnotic: an agent that induces sleep. They do not cause hypnotic trance.
infusion: a water extract; a tea.
infused oil: an oil that has had plant material infused into it.
laxative: an aid to solid waste elimination of bowel.
liniment: a liquid or lotion made with oil that is used topically to relieve pain.
lithotriptic: see antilithic.
lotion: a thick smooth liquid that is used for application to the skin for medicinal or cosmetic purposes.
MAO: monoamine oxidase, a major brain detoxification enzyme.
materia medica: the body of knowledge collected about materials used for their therapeutic properties. In the case of herbalists, this would be herbs and other plant materials.
inhalation: this refers to the use of steam, which is inhaled
miotic: a compound that dilates the pupils.
mucilage: water-insoluble sugar derivatives.
mydriatic: an agent used to dilate the pupils.
MW: abbreviation for molecular weight.
nervine: an agent that relieves nervousness; mild tranquilizer.
nootropic: these enhance cognition and memory and facilitate learning.
oleoresins: natural mixtures of resins and volatile oils.
organoleptic: being, affecting, or relating to qualities such as taste, colour, odour, and feel.
oxytocic: an agent to promote uterine contractions during childbirth.
parasiticide: an external or internal agent to destroy parasites.
parasympathomimetic: an agent that excites the parasympathetic nervous system, e.g., tobacco.
pectins: partially methoxylated uronic acid sugars.
pectoral: helps to strengthen and aid healing of the respiratory system.
pediculicide: an agent to control lice.
pharmacognosy: the study of medicines that are obtained from natural sources.
PMS: premenstrual syndrome.
purgative: a strong laxative and emetic agent.
refrigerant: an agent to cool the body down.
resins: water-insoluble mixtures of resins, their acids, and alcohols.
rubefacient: an agent applied topically that brings a blush (irritation) to the skin and increases skin circulation. They can often bring relief to deeper (internal) pain.
saponins: glycosides with a soaplike water suspension.
sedative: mild depressant; somnorific. They are calming to the nervous system, they reduce stress and nervousness.
sialogogue: an agent that promotes the flow of saliva.
solar infusion: an infusion made by soaking plant materials in oil, in a sealed jar and allowing it to sit in a sunny location to allow the phytochemicals to be extracted.
soporific: induce sleep. See hypnotics above.
spasmolytic: see antispasmodic.
sp.: abbreviation for species (singular).
spp.: abbreviation for species (plural).
sterols: molecules related to cholesterol and some hormones.
stimulant: an agent to increase body metabolism.
stimulant, CNS: a compound that excites mental function.
stomachic: a preparation for the benefit of the stomach; also a tonic.
styptic: astringents that reduce or stop external bleeding.
sudorific: see diaphoretic.
tachycardia: a raised heartbeat rate.
tannins: bitter principles of plants containing plant polyphenols.
tea: a water extraction of plant material by infusing the material in hot water.
terpenes: hydrocarbon volatile oils, often with a strong smell.
tonic: an agent that restores normal tone to the body.
tranquilizer: an agent that reduces psychotic behaviour.
vermifuge: see anthelmintic.
vulnerary: an agent to increase the healing of wounds.
waxes: esters of fatty acids with high molecular weight alcohols.
xanthines: CNS stimulants with a purine type structure, e.g., caffeine

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.