Definitions of
Medicinal Properties of Herbs

So often we come across a long or unusual word, when reading up on herbs, we'd like to know the definitions of medicinal properties of herbs. We 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.

Medicinal Properties of Herbs

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: Stop 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).

Refrigerant: Cooling.
(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.