When reading up on herbs, we need to know the definitions of medicinal benefits of herbs. We may have no clue what those big words mean. I have found a handy reference section in Jethro Kloss' book, Back to Eden. It seems wise to share it here with you. I'm taking the liberty to add other definitions as I come across them.
Bookmark this page in your Favourites, so you can check back to this reference page.
Alterative: Producing a healthful change without perceptible evacuation.
Anodyne: Relievers pain.
Anthelmintic: An agent which expels worms.
Aperient: Gently laxative, without purging.
Aromatic: Stimulant, spicy.
Astringent: Causes contration and arrests discharges
[Note, these "Anti-" words represent an action that undoes a bad condition. You might want to look up more details on them].
Antibilious: Acts on the bile, relieving biliousness.
(And biliousness is that yucky taste that comes up when you have heartburn).
Antimetic: Stops vomiting.
Antiepeptic: Relieves fits.
Antiperiodic: Arrests morbid periodical movements
Anthilitic: Prevents the formation of calculi in the urinary organs.
(Calculi are kidney stones made of calcium mostly).
Antirheumatic: Relieves or cures rheumatism.
Antiscorbutic: Cures or prevents scurvy.
(That will mainly be fruit, right?)
Antispetic: Opposed to putrefaction.
(So these herbs help to clean wounds, naturally).
Antispasmodic: Relieves or prevents spasms.
Antisyphititic: Having effect on or curing venereal diseases.
Carminative: Expells wind from the bowels.
(A substitute for Tums!)
Cathartic: Evacuating to the bowels.
Cephalic: Used in diseases of the head.
(That doesn't say what they really do, does it?)
Cholagogue: Increases the flow of bile.
Condiment: Improves flavour of food.
(That's right; lots of spices are really herbs too).
Demulcent: Soothing, relieves inflammation.
(Like aloe vera on your sunburn).
Deobstruent: Removes obstructions.
Depurative: Purifies the blood.
Detergent: Cleansing to boils, ulcers, and wounds.
Diaphoretic: Produces perspiration.
Discutient: Dissolves and removes tumors.
(Oh, let's go hunt for these herbs!)
Diuretic: Increases the secretion and flow of urine.
Emetic: Produces vomiting.
Emmenagogue: Promotes menstruation.
Emoillient: Softening and soothing to inflamed parts.
Esculent: Edible as food.
(Wouldn't the word edible do?)
Exanthematous: Remedy for skin eruptions and diseases.
Expectorant: Facilitates expectoration.
(That is, it brings up phlegm).
Febrifuge: Abates and reduces fevers.
Hepatic: Remedy for diseases of the liver.
Herpatic: Remedy for skin eruptions, ringworm, etc.
Laxative: Promotes bowel action.
Lithontryptic: Dissolves calculi in the urinary organs.
(The answer to kidney stones then!)
Maturating: Ripens or brings boils, tumors, and ulcers to a head.
Mucilaginous: Soothing to inflamed parts.
Nauseant: Produces vomiting.
Nervine: Acts specifically on the nervous system, allaying nervous excitement.
Opthalmicum: A remedy for disease of the eye.
Parturient: Induces and promotes labor at childbirth.
Pectoral: Remedy to relieve chest affections.
(Not love-sickness, I don't think... Physical problems in the chest).
(Oh, herbal teas for a hot day? Maybe to bring down a fever too).
Resolvent: Dissolves and removes tumors.
(More herbs to hunt up for our loved ones with cancer).
Rubifacient: Increases circulation, produces red skin.
Sedative: Tonic effect on nerves, also quieting.
Sialogogue: Increases the secretion of saliva.
Stomachic: Strengthens and gives tone to the stomach.
Styptic: Arrests hemorrhage and bleeding.
Sudorific: Produces profuse perspiration.
Tonic: Remedy which is invigorating and strengthening.
(We can sure use more of these!)
Vermifuge: Expels worms.