Terminology: properties

A collection of property definitions.

Term

Meaning

Examples

adaptogens

Substance considered to help the body adapt to stress.

Asian Ginseng, Holy Basil, Milk Thistle, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Ginseng Eleuthero, Rosemary, Aloe Vera, Gotu Kola, Astragalus, Moringa Oleifera, Schisandra, Bacopa, Licorice Root

adjunctives

An additional substance, treatment, or procedure used for increasing the efficacy or safety of the primary substance, treatment, or procedure or for facilitating its performance.

Depends on the primary substance

alkaloids

A very mixed group of plant constituents that contain a nitrogen-bearing molecule; any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant origin which have pronounced physiological actions on humans.

N/A

alteratives

Also known as blood purifiers, these agents gradually and favourably alter the condition of the body. They are used in treating toxicity of the blood, infections, arthritis, cancer and skin eruptions.

Red Clover, Echinacea, Dandelion Root, Alfalfa, Marshmallow Root, Black Walnut Bark, Burdock, Calendula Flower, Ginseng, Licorice, Raspberry Leaf, Wheatgrass Powder, White Willow Bark, Nettle Leaf.

analgesics

pain relieving substances

As: anodyne

anodyne

pain relieving

California Poppy, Wild lettuce, Jamaican Dogwood, Valerian, Deadly Nightshade, Henbane, Thorn Apple, Gelsemium, Echinacea, Chamomile, Ginger, Lemongrass, Noni Fruit, Skullcap, Turmeric, White Willow Bark, Valerian.

anorectic

Used to reduce appetite

Acai, Bladderwrack, Fennel, Guarana, Hoodia, Dandelion, Cinnamon, Psyllium husk

anthelmintic

Of or relating to a substance capable of destroying or eliminating parasitic worms

Aloe Vera, Goldenseal, Thyme, Neem, Garlic, Wormwood, Parsley, Clove, Flax seed, Prickly Ash, Korolla, Black walnut, Calendula

antacid

Used to neutralize excess acids in the stomach and intestines. Many also have demulcent properties to protect the stomach lining.

Dandelion Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Kelp.

antiabortives

Help to inhibit abortive tendencies. The herbs will not interfere with the natural process of miscarriage when the fetus is damaged or improperly secured.

Kelp

antiasthmatics

Relieve the symptoms of asthma.

Black Caraway, Dill Weed, Elecampane, Ephedra, Gotu Kola, Gum Camphor, Indian Oleander, Lobelia, Prickly Ash, Saffron, Wild Cherry, Yerba Santa.

anti-allergenics

not aggravating an allergy; intended or prepared for those suffering from an allergy

Stinging Nettle, Bromelain, Timothy grass, Guduchi.

antibacterials

active against bacteria

Elderberry, Echinacea, Calendula, Garlic, Astragalus Root, Cat’s Claw, Ginger, Licorice Root, Olive leaf, Oregano

antibiotics

Substances that inhibit the growth of, or destroy, bacteria, viruses or amoebas. While many herbal antibiotics have direct germ killing effects, they have as a primary action, the stimulation of the body’s own immune response. Excessive use of antibiotics will eventually destroy the beneficial bacteria of the intestines. In fighting stubborn infections it is a good idea to maintain favorable intestinal flora by eating

Echinacea, Olive Leaf.

anticatarrhals

Herbs that eliminate or counteract the formation of mucus. A treatment for catarrh should also include the use of herbs that aid elimination through sweat (diaphoretics), urine (diuretics), and feces (laxatives).

Cayenne Pepper, Ginkgo Biloba, Sage, Cinnamon, Mullein, Wild Cherry Bark, and Yerba Santa.

antidepressants

Used or tending to relieve or prevent depression

St. John’s Wort, Saffron

antifungals

Active against fungi.

Turmeric, Pau d’Arco, Olive leaf, Garlic, Black walnut, Tea tree, Clove, Goldenseal, Oregano, Calendula, Neem

antihypertensives

Used to lower high blood pressure.

Garlic, King of bitter, Beggar’s tick/black-jack, Camellia sinensis (tea), Goldthread, Cilantro/Coriander

antiinflammatories

Used to reduce inflammation

Clove, Ginger, Rosemary, Turmeric

Antimalarial

Active against the parasite that cause malaria

Quinine, Bitter Gourd, Eucalyptus, Forest pepper

antimicrobials

Active against microbes.

Cinnamon, Clove, Mustard, Allspice, Bay leaf, Caraway, Coriander, Cumin, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

antimutagenics

Agents that interfere with the mutagenicity of a substance. The interference can be in the form of prevention of the transformation of a mutagenic compound into mutagen, inactivation, or otherwise the prevention of Mutagen-DNA reaction.

Depends on the primary substance

antineuralgics

Relieving neuralgia (sharp, severe paroxysmal pain extending along a nerve or group of nerves)

White willow, Arnica, Boswellia, Ginger, Clove, Devil’s Claw, Cayenne, Peppermint

antioxidants

A substance that inhibits oxidation.

Clove, Cinnamon, Oregano, Turmeric, Cocoa, Cumin, Parsley Basil

antiparasitics

Active against parasites.

Garlic, Black walnut, Wormwood, Clove, Thyme, Oregano, Goldenthread,

antipyretics

Used to reduce or prevent fevers. Cooling may refer to neutralizing harmful acids in the blood (excess heat) as well as reducing body temperature.

Alfalfa, Skullcap, Dulse, Rosemary, White Willow Bark, Kelp, Peppermint, Elderberry &  flower, Meadowsweet

antirheumatics

Counteracting rheumatism and rheumatoid disease

Devil’s Claw, Wild Yam, Turmeric, Gotu kola, Celery seed, Arnica

antiscorbutics

Having the effect of preventing or curing scurvy

Coriander leaf, Thyme, Parsley, Dill, Saffron, Cayenne, Rosemary, Marjoram

antiseptics

Preventing the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. This includes the Astringents.

Calendula, Astragalus, Chamomile, Hibiscus Flower, Nettle Leaf, Olive Leaf, Rosehips, Rosemary, Turmeric, White Willow Bark, Yerba Santa, Sage.

antispasmodics

Used to relieve spasms of involuntary muscles. Herbs that prevent or relax muscle spasms. They may be applied either internally or externally for relief. Antispasmodics are included in most herb formulas to relax the body and allow it to use its full energy for healing.

Astragalus, Cayenne Pepper, Chamomile, Eleutherococcus, Skullcap, Hibiscus Flower, Hops, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Licorice, Mullein Leaf, Nettle Leaf, Valerian, Passionflower, Peppermint, Red Clover, Rosehips, Sage, Spearmint Leaf, Yerba Santa, Raspberry Leaf.

antitussives

Used to prevent or relieve a cough.

Angelica, Coltsfoot, Elecampane Root.

antivirals

Effective against viruses

Elderberry, Echinacea, Calendula, Garlic, Astragalus Root, Cat’s Claw, Ginger, Licorice Root.

aperitifs

A drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

N/A

aphrodisiacs

Substances used to improve sexual potency and power.

Astragalus, Burdock, Ginseng, Maca Root.

aseptics

Free from contamination caused by harmful bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms, or preventing infection from bacteria.

As: Antibacterial

astringents

Causing the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues. Herbs that have a constricting or binding effect. They are commonly used to check hemorrhages and secretions, and to treat swollen tonsils and hemorrhoids. The main herbal Astringents contain tannins, which are found in most plants, especially in tree barks.

Aloe Vera, Apple Fiber, Beet Root, Calendula, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Dandelion Root, Eyebright, Fenugreek, Hawthorn Berry, Hibiscus Flower, Mullein Leaf, Olive Leaf, Peppermint, Raspberry Leaf, Rosehips, Rosemary, Sage, St. John’s Wort, White Willow Bark, Wild Cherry Bark, Yucca Root.

asymptomatics

Showing no physical signs of a medical problem.

N/A

autoimmune

Immune responses of an organism against its own healthy cells and tissues.

Chang Shan

bactericides

Killing bacteria.

As: Antibacterial

bacteriostatics

Inhibiting the growth of bacteria.

As: Antibacterial

balsamics

Softens and reduces mucus.

Eucalyptus

bitters (bitter tonic)

A usually alcoholic solution of bitter and often aromatic plant products often used as a mild tonic.

N/A

carminatives

An agent that prevents or relieves flatulence (gas in the gastrointestinal tract) and griping (severe pains in the bowels) and, in infants, may help in the treatment of colic.

Astragalus, Cayenne Pepper, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Ginseng, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Sage, Valerian, Wild Cherry Bark, Yerba Santa.

cholagogues

An agent that promotes an increased flow of bile. These will also be laxatives, as the bile will stimulate elimination.

Aloe Vera, Dandelion Root, Licorice, Red Clover, Wormwood, Yerba mate.

cicatrisantes

Promoting the healing of a wound or the formation of a cicatrix (a scar resulting from new connective tissue over a healing sore).

Aloe Vera, Argon oil, Camilla oil, Sugar palm, Velvet burr

correctives

Counteracting, modifying, or changing what is injurious. A drug that modifies or corrects an undesirable or injurious effect of another drug.

Depends on primary substance

curatives

Refers to substances or practices that treat patients with the intent of curing them, not just reducing their symptoms.

N/A

decongestants

Shrinks the swollen membranes in the nose, making it easier for a person to breathe

Eucalyptus, Garlic, Anise, Thyme, Oregano, Cardamom, Cayenne, Peppermint, Black pepper, Horseradish,

demulcents

A (usually mucilaginous or oily substance ) capable of soothing or protecting an abraded mucous membrane. Usually a demulcent herb will be used along with diuretics to protect the kidney and urinary tract, especially when kidney stones and gravel are present.

Apple Fiber, Burdock, Cinnamon, Dulse, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Kelp, Marshmallow Root, Milk Thistle, Mullein Leaf, Slippery Elm Bark, Licorice, Oat Straw.

deodorants

Removes or conceals unpleasant smells.

Geranium, Lemon, Tea tree, Lavender, Thyme

depuratives

A purifying or detoxifying agent.

Radish, Lingonberry, Ukshi, Four-leaf clover, Paris polyphylla

detoxifying

Remove toxic substances from.  

Dandelion, Red Clover, Stinging Nettle, Burdock Root, Cilantro, Ground Ivy, Milk Thistle

detersives

Relating to or having detergent or cleansing activity.

White turtlehead, Gugal, Queen Anne’s lace, Bogbean, Dog lichen, Chir pine, Indian beech, Blackcurrant, Butcher’s broom, soapnut

diaphoretics

Having the power to increase sweating. To administer diaphoretics effectively, the stomach and bowels should be emptied by fasting and using an enema. However, laxatives should not be used before using these herbs.

Burdock, Calendula, Cayenne Pepper, Chamomile, Elder Berries, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint Leaf.

disinfectants

An agent that frees from infection.

Tea tree, Lavender, Hyssop, Cinnamon, Garlic, Thyme, Grapefruit, Pine, Sage

diuretics

Causing increased passing of urine.

Alfalfa, Astragalus, Beet Root, Elder Berries, Hibiscus Flower, Marshmallow, Nettle Leaf, Burdock, Dandelion, Hops, Oat Straw, Red Clover, Yerba mate, Hawthorn Berry.

emmenagogues

A substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow. These have been used in the past to induce abortions, so extreme caution is advised.

Aloe Vera, Calendula, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Nettle Leaf.

emollients

Substances that are softening, soothing, and protective to the skin.

Aloe Vera, Fenugreek, Kelp, Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark.

expectorant

An agent that promotes the discharge or expulsion of mucus from the respiratory tract.

Eyebright, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Lemongrass, Licorice, Mullein, Nettle Leaf, Red Clover, Slippery Elm Bark, Wild Cherry Bark, Yucca Root, Yerba Santa.

febrifuges

Reduces fever.

as: antipyretics

fibrinolytics (anticoagulants)

Prevents blood clots from growing.

Garlic, Evening primrose, Onion, Ginkgo.

galactagogues

Promotes or increases the flow of a mother’s milk.

Anise Seed, Cumin, Dandelion Root, Fennel.

haemostatics

Substances that arrest hemorrhaging. These include astringents and herbs that affect the coagulation of blood.

Cayenne Pepper, Mullein, Nettle Leaf, Raspberry Leaf.

hydragogue

A cathartic that causes copious watery discharges from the bowels.

Dwarf elder root, Gamboge, Great celandine, Red-berried elder bark, Saltwort, Stinking glad wine root.

hypnotics

An agent that induces hypnosis, trance state, or sleep.

Kava Kava, Passionflower, California Poppy, Wild lettuce, Jamaican Dogwood, Valerian.

hypothermic

Used to cure hypothermia

Andograph, Beetroot, Benincasa, Dotted Hawthorn.

laxatives

Tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels. A strong laxative that causes increased intestinal peristalsis is called a purgative in many texts.

Aloe Vera, Black Walnut Bark, Elder Berries, Licorice, Yerba mate, Yucca Root.

lithotriptics

An agent that effects the dissolution of a calculus (a stone – concretion of material, usually mineral salts – that forms in an organ or duct). Herbs that help to dissolve and eliminate urinary and biliary stones and gravel.

For kidney and bladder stones, use Parsley, Dandelion Root and Nettle Leaf. For the gallbladder, use Wild Cherry Bark and Cascara Sagrada.

lymphagogous

Promotes the flow of lymphatic fluids

Echinacea, Blue Flag, Marigold, Poke weed.

maturant

Used to treat abscesses, boils, and tumours

Banyan, Betel, Bodhi tree.

nervines

Substances that act therapeutically upon the nerves.

Chamomile, Hops, Passionflower, Rooibos African Red Tea, Rosemary, Skullcap, and Valerian.

neuroprotectives

Serving to protect nerve cells from injury or degeneration

Ginseng, Goji berry, Gastrodia, Lion’s Mane, Asparagus, Bergamot, Bilberry, Ginkgo, Milk Thistle, Rosemary.

parasiticides

Destructive to parasites.

Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Black Walnut Bark, Nettle Leaf, Wormwood.

panaceas

A remedy for all ills or difficulties.

Plantain, Samento, Garlic, Self-heal.

prophylactics

A preventive measure; intended to prevent disease or infection.

Depends on ailment.

pulmonary

Relating to the lungs.

Eucalyptus, Lungwort, Oregano, Plantain Leaf, Elecampane, Lobelia, Chaparral, Peppermint.

purgatives

Strongly laxative in effect.

 Senna, Aloe, Rhubarb root.

resolutives

Having the power or ability to dissolve or dispel something.

 Depends on the ailment

restoratives

Serving to restore to consciousness, vigor, or health.

 Rhodiola, Maca, Ashwagandha, Schizandra, Cordyceps, Panax ginseng, Holy basil, Astragalus, Reishi

remedials

Intended as a remedy; intended to treat or cure a condition.

 Depends on the condition

rubefacients

A substance for topical application that produces redness of the skin by causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation. Their function is to draw inflammation and congestion from deeper areas. They are useful for the treatment of joint problems and sprains.

Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Olive Leaf, Wheatgrass Powder.

sedatives

Serves to calm the nervous system. These will include antispasmodics and nervines.

Valerian, Hops, Chamomile, Passionflower, St. John’s Wort, Wild Cherry Bark, Skullcap.

sialogogues

Substances that stimulate the flow of saliva.

Beet Root, Echinacea, Ginger, Licorice, Rooibos African Red Tea, Yerba Santa.

stimulants

An agent that produces a temporary increase of the functional activity or efficiency of an organism or any of its parts.

Bee Pollen, Cloves, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Echinacea, Eleutherococcus, Ginseng, Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint, Raspberry Leaf, Valerian, Yerba Santa, Astragalus.

styptics

Tending to check bleeding. Many astringent herbs when applied externally to stop bleeding are called styptics.

 Cayenne, Geranium, Lady’s Mantle, Lesser Periwinkle, Raspberry Leaf, Shepherd’s Purse, St. John’s Wort, Trillium, Witch hazel, Yarrow.

stomachics

A historic term for a medicine that serves to tone the stomach, improving its function and increase appetite.

 Agrimony, Anise, Barberry, Cayenne, Dandelion, Elecampane, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Hops, Holy thistle, Juniper berry, Mint, Mugwort, Oregano

tonics

Herbs that promote the functions of the systems of the body. Most Tonics have general effects on the whole body, but also have a marked effect on a specific system.

Açai Berry Juice, Alfalfa, Apple Fiber, Burdock, Cayenne Pepper, Dandelion Root, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Hawthorn Berry, Hops, Milk Thistle, Yerba mate.

vasoconstrictors

Causes narrowing of the blood vessels that results from contraction of the muscular walls of the vessels.

Bugleweed, Butcher’s Broom, Chamomile, Camphor Oil, Cypress Oil, Ephedra, Ergot, Goldenseal, Heather, Witch Hazel, Yerba Buena.

vasodilators

Causes the widening of blood vessels.

 Panax ginseng, Maca, Yohimbine, Ginkgo, Mondia whitei.

vermifuges

Destroys or expels parasitic worms

As anthelmintics

vulneraries

Any preparation, plant or drug used in the cure of wounds.

Aloe Vera, Cayenne Pepper, Calendula, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Mullein Leaf, Rosemary, Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark.

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