Herbal Actions

Dictionary 

A

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

 

B

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

 

C

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

 

D

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

 

E

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

F

Febrifuge – reduces or relieves fever

G

Galactagogue – promotes the flow of milk

H

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

I

Immunity Booster - enhances or boost the immune system

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

L

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

M

Masticatory – increases flow of saliva upon chewing

 

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

 

N

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

 

O

Orexigenic – stimulates or increases the appetite

 

P

Parturfaciant – induces contractions of labor at childbirth

 

Purgative – causes the evacuation of intestinal contents; laxative

 

R

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

 

S

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

T

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.

 

V

Vermifuge – expels worms from the intestines

 

Vulnerary – aids in healing wounds