A B C D E F G H IL K L M N O PR S TV W Q Y Z

A

Alterative

Purifies the blood, cleanses, and induces efficient removal of waste products. With time, substance will help detoxify the spleen, liver, kidneys and bowels. Overall, this results in improved digestion, assimilation, glandular secretions, organ function, skin health, and general well-being.

Anodyne

Relieves pain and reduces nerve excitability.

Aromatic

Has a spicy taste, contains volatile oils which aid digestion and relieve gas.

Astringent

Increases tone and firmness of tissues, reduces swelling and mucous discharge.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ancient Hindu science of health and medicine native to the Indian Subcontinent and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine.

B

Bitter

Stimulates digestive juices and improves appetite. The ‘bitter’ principle was named ‘cnicin’ by Nativelle in 1839. He proposed that bitter foods increased appetite and improved digestion by first stimulating the ‘bitter’ taste buds on the tongue, activating secretion of saliva and digestive juices, thus supporting efficient digestion, protecting digestive tract tissues, and enhancing bile flow and pancreatic functions.

C

Carminative

Brings warmth and circulation, relieves intestinal gas discomfort, and promotes peristaltic movement.

Catalyst

Improves circulation and accelerates the effectiveness of other herbs.

Catarrh

Inflamed and congested mucous membranes, which can result in mucous drainage and discharge.

D

Decoction

An infusion of medicinal properties from roots or bark into a liquid. It takes more time to pull nutrients out of roots and bark than it does leaves. A weak decoction can be made by simmering the herb root for 15-45 minutes in water. A much more effective decoction requires a three-step process:
1) Simmer roots or bark for 15-45 minutes in water (distilled water is preferred).
2) Allow infusion to sit covered, for at least eight hours, or overnight.
3) Simmer again to concentrate nutrients. Discard solids and store decoction in refrigerator.

Demulcent

Softens and soothes inflammation of mucous membranes.

Depurative

Cleanses blood by promoting eliminative functions.

Diaphoretic

Promotes perspiration, increases elimination through the skin.

Dropsy

Older term describing water retention causing swelling to tissues, thought to be due to heart insufficiency in some cases.

E

Eclectic Medicine

Branch of American Medicine popular at the turn of the century. These physicians (called ‘Eclectics’) believed in a philosophy of ‘alignment with nature’. Eclectics made use of botanical plants and other substances, practiced a type of physical therapy, and in general, employed methods and concepts they found to be beneficial to their patients. They opposed the techniques of bleeding, chemical purging and the use of mercury compounds, common among the ‘conventional’ doctors of their time.

Emollient

Softens and soothes skin externally, and mucous membranes when taken internally.

Endometriosis

Condition of having cells which ordinarily line the uterus in unusual places (such as in the bladder or intestinal wall). May produce irregular or painful menstruation and sterility.

Expectorant

Loosens and removes phlegm from the respiratory tract.

Extract

Also known as a tincture. Extracts are concentrated active constituents that are obtained from herbs using a liquid solvent (glycerine, raw apple cider vinegar, or alcohol are commonly used).

F

Fibrositis

Overgrowth of fibrous tissues due to injury or inflammation. Often interferes with normal range-of-motion and may be very painful.

G

German Commission E Monographs

These monographs (plant profiles based on research, experience and medical studies) serve as the basis for recommendations that influence the regulation of herbal medicines in Germany. They were first instituted in 1978, when the Commission (consisting of professionals in pharmacy, medicine, industry, and science, as well as lay persons) was organized. One of the first monographs produced was of hawthorn.

Greens

As referenced in our text, herbs containing chlorophyll, especially found in concentrated form in alfalfa grass and barley grass.

H

Hepatic

Supports and stimulates the liver, gallbladder and spleen, and increases the flow of bile.

Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver caused by a virus.

Hypertrophy

Enlargement of the heart muscle caused by increased workload.

I

Infusion

Process of infusing active constituents into a liquid. For our purposes, this includes teas, decoctions, and infused oils.

L

M

Mucilage

Soft, slippery substance that soothes mucous membrane inflammation.

N

Nutritive

Supplies substantial amount of nutrients and aids in building and toning the body.

O

Oxytocic

Stimulates contractions and accelerates childbirth.

P

Parturient

Stimulates uterine contractions, which induces and assists labor.

Poultice

A moist, hot herb pack applied locally. If using the fresh herb, crush and bruise it. The powdered herb may be used also. Mix with mineral water (or other liquid) to form a thick paste. Spread on a clean cloth and cover the affected area. May be left on for 20 minutes to several hours. –“Herbally Yours” by Penny C. Royal

Prolactin

Pituitary hormone that stimulates development and growth of mammary glands during pregnancy, and is essential for the initiation and maintenance of milk production of nursing mothers.

R

Relaxant

Relaxes nerves and muscles, relieves tension.

S

Salve

 

An ointment that is made from an herbal oil and beeswax. Herbal oils are oils that have been infused with herbs over a period of time and then strained. The oil is heated slightly so that when the beeswax is added it will melt. As the oil and beeswax mixture cools it becomes firm. Salves are used on wounds and burns to facilitate healing.

Scurvy

Vitamin C deficiency disease with common symptoms of weakness, bleeding and anemia.

Sedative

Exerts calming, soothing or tranquilizing effect. May be general, local, nervous, or vascular.

Stimulant

Increases internal heat, dispels internal chill, and strengthens metabolism and circulation.

T

Tea

Infusion of medicinal qualities of herbs into water. Leaves and other plant parts are usually used to make a tea. Thicker roots and bark require a longer infusion time (see decoctions).
A general recipe for herb tea is to pour a cup of boiling water over one to three teaspoons herb, cover with lid and let steep (stand) for twenty minutes. Strain out plant parts and enjoy. Refrigerate unused portion.

Tincture

An extraction of herbs in glycerin, vinegar or alcohol. Apple Cider Vinegar is all right for most herbal tinctures. If the herb is oily or sticky, Everclear Brand 190 Proof alcohol can be used successfully. –”Herbally Yours” by Penny C. Royal

Tonic

Increases energy, strengthens muscular and nervous systems, improves digestion and assimilation, and imparts a general sense of well-being.

V

Vulnerary

Promotes healing of wounds by stimulating cellular growth and warding off infection.