Herbal Actions



Abortifacient – induces abortion, miscarriage, or premature removal of a fetus

Adaptogen – works through the endocrine system to modulate the physical, mental, and emotional effects of stress and increase resistance to physiological imbalances and disease by strengthening the immune system

adjuvant – aids the action of a medicinal agent

Adrenal Tonic - Boosts the overall activity of the Adrenal Glands


Alkaline -  neutralizes acid levels in the body

Alterant - anything that alters the state of another

Alterative – strengthens and nourishes the body, often through the removal of metabolic wastes

Amphoteric – normalizes function of an organ or body system

Analeptic – restorative or stimulating effect on central nervous system

Analgesic – relieves pain

Anaphrodisiac – reduces capacity for sexual arousal

Anesthetic – induces loss of sensation or consciousness due to the depression of nerve function

Anodyne - reduces or ends pain

Anthelmintic - expels parasites

Antiaging - slowing or preventing the effects of aging

Antiallergic  - counters allergies 

Antianemic – prevents or helps with anemia


Anti-arthitic - relieves arthritic symptoms

Antiashthmatic - prevents or controls spasms and narrows the air passage of lungs. 

Antibacterial – destroys or stops the growth of bacteria


Antibilious – eases stomach stress


Anitibiotic - see Antibacterial

Anticancer - prevents of treats cancer

Anticatarrhal – reduces inflamed mucous membranes of head and throat


Anticariogenic - reduces the effects of dental caries (tooth decay, cavities)

Anticoagulant - thins the blood, reduces coagulation

Antidepressant – acts to prevent, cure, or alleviate mental depression, mood and anxiety


Antidiabetic – prevents or relieves diabetes


Antidiarrheal –prevents or treats diarrhea


Antiemetic – stops vomiting


Antifungal – destroys or inhibits the growth of fungus


Antihypertensive - treats or reduces high blood pressure

Antihemorrhagic – controls hemorrhaging or bleeding


Antihistamine - prevents or reduces an allergic (inflammatory)  reaction

Anti-Infectious – counteracts infection


Anti-inflammatory – controls inflammation, a reaction to injury or infection

Anti-itch - see Antihistamine

Antimalarial – prevents or relieves malaria


Antimicrobial – destroys microbes


Antineuralgic - relieves pain derived from nerves

Antioxidant – prevents or inhibits oxidation


Antipruritic – prevents or relieves itching

Antiparasitic  - see Anthelmintic

Antiphlogistic - reduces fever and/or inflammation

Antipruritic - relieves itching

Antipyretic – reduces fever (febrifuge)


Antirheumatic – eases pain of rheumatism, inflammation of joints and muscles


Antiseborrhoeic  - alleviates and prevents seborrhoea ( excess sebum)

Antiseptic – produces asepsis, removes pus, blood, etc.


Antispasmodic – calms nervous and muscular spasms or convulsions

Antitumor - prevents formations or growths of tumors

Antitussive – controls or prevents cough


Antiviral – opposes the action of a virus (viral infection)


Anxiolytic – reduces anxiety


Aperient – relieves constipation; mild laxative


Aperitive – stimulates the appetite for food


Aphrodisiac – increases the capacity for sexual arousal (simulates libido)


Aromatic – a herb containing volatile oils, fragrant odor and slightly stimulating properties


Asepsis – sterile; free of germs, infection, and any form of life


Astringent – contracts and tones mucous membranes and the skin


Aquaretic – increases blood flow to the kidneys without increasing sodium and chloride resorption, thereby retaining electrolytes while increasing urine output; increases intravascular fluid volume which increases vascular resistance and blood pressure



Bactericidal - kills bacteria

Bitter – stimulates appetite or digestive function

Blood Purifier - removes impurities and toxins from he bloodstream

Brain Enhancer - increases the stamina of the brain and raising the performance of mental activities


Bronchial –relaxes spasms or constriction of the bronchi or upper part of the lungs, thereby improving respiration



Carcinostatic –halts or inhibits the development or continued growth of cancer, carcinomas, or malignant tumors


Cardiotonic – increases strength and tone (normal tension or response to stimuli) of the heart


Carminative - causes the release of stomach or intestinal gas

Catarrhal – pertains to the inflammation of mucous membranes of the head and throat


Cathartic – produces bowel movements


Caustic – contains acidic compounds that have an escharotic or corrosive action that is capable of burning or eating away living tissues


Cholagogue – increases flow of bile from gallbladder


Cicatrizant – aids formation of scar tissue and wound healing


Circulatory - helps proper circulation of blood throughout the body

Counterirritant – produces an inflammatory response for affecting an adjacent area



Decongestant - removes or reduces congestion in the nose

Demulcent – soothes and protects inflamed and irritated mucous membranes both topically and internally


Deobstruent – removes obstructions to clear or open natural ducts of the fluids and secretions of the body

Depurative - removes toxins and waste products from the body also removes impurities from the blood and other body fluids

Dermatitis – inflammation of the skin evidenced my itchiness, redness, and various lesions


Detergent – cleanses wounds and sores of infected or damaged tissue


Detoxicant - diminishes or removes poison from the body

Diaphoretic – induces heavy sweating also know as sudorific


Digestive – promotes or aids the digestion process


Disinfectant – destroys pathogenic microbes, germs, and noxious properties of fermentation


Diuretic – increases urine flow



Ecbolic – tends to increase contractions of uterus, facilitating childbirth


Emetic – produces vomiting and evacuation of stomach contents


Emmenagogue – regulates and induces normal menstruation

Emollient – softens and soothes the skin

Errhine –stimulates sneezing, increasing flow of mucus in nasal passages

Escharotic – a caustic substance that destroys tissue and causes sloughing

Estrogenic – causes the production of estrogen

Euphoriant – produces a sense of bodily comfort; temporary effect and often addictive

Expectorant – facilitates removal of mucus and other materials


Febrifuge – reduces or relieves fever


Galactagogue – promotes the flow of milk


Hemagogue – promotes the flow of blood

Hemostatic – controls or stops the flow of blood

Hepatic – having to do with the liver


Hepatoprotective - prevents or cure liver damage 

Herpetic – treats skin eruptions relating to the herpes virus


Hypertensive – raises blood pressure


Hypnotic – strong-acting nervous system relaxant (nervines) that supports healthy sleep


Hypoglycemic – lowers blood sugar

Hypotensive – lowers blood pressure


Immunity Booster - enhances or boost the immune system

Immunomodulator - stimulates or suppresses the immune system (both innate and adaptive immune responses) 


Lactifuge – reduces the flow of milk

Laxative – loosens bowel contents

Lithotriptic – a substance that causes kidney or bladder stones to dissolve

Liver Tonic - stimulates the liver


Masticatory – increases flow of saliva upon chewing


Mucilaginous – polysaccharide-rich compounds that coat and soothe inflamed mucous membranes



Narcotic – induces drowsiness, sleep, or stupor, and lessons pain

Nephritic – has a beneficial influence on the kidneys


Nervine – a nerve tonic


Nootropic – enhances memory, improves cognitive function and mood, reduces oxidative and ischemic damage to the brain


Nutritive – a herb containing nutrients required to nourish and build the body



Orexigenic – stimulates or increases the appetite



Parturfaciant – induces contractions of labor at childbirth


Purgative – causes the evacuation of intestinal contents; laxative



Recuperative - having the effect of restoring health and strength

Refrigerant – relieves thirst with its cooling properties


Relaxant – tends to relax and relieve tension, especially muscular tension


Renal –strengthens, cleanses or treats imbalance or disease states affecting the kidneys


Resorbent – aids reabsorption of blood from bruises

Rubefacient – reddens skin, dilates the blood vessels, and increases blood supply locally



Sedative – exerts a soothing, tranquilizing effect on the body

Sialagogue – increases the production and flow of saliva


Soporific -- induces sleep


Stimulant – increases body or organ function temporarily


Stomachic – aids the stomach and digestive action


Sudorific – increase perspiration


Tonic – stimulates energy and increases strength and tone

Therapeutic  - relating to the healing of disease

Trophorestorative – nourishes and restores balance to the body. trophorestorative herbs typically have a strong affinity for an organ or organ system and correct deficiency and weakness not only through temporary stimulation but by deeply nourishing that organ or organ system.



Vermifuge – expels worms from the intestines


Vulnerary – aids in healing wounds