A Dynamic Herbal Dictionary







This herbal dictionary is being compiled as an easy to read and an uncomplicated way of understanding the terminology used in this website.

It is slowly been built up, as and when new terms and words are being used.

Our sources for the simple explanations are given wherever possible.

Now you no longer have to wonder what all these strange looking words and herbal terminologies mean, you can find out for yourself.


Herbal Dictionary - A

absolute

A concentrated, highly aromatic, oily mixture extracted from plants, using solvent techniques or, more traditionally, through enfleurage.

adaptogen

A plant which improves physical energy, and increases the body's immunity to minor infections, stress and anxiety.

alkoloid

A group of naturally occurring chemical compounds which mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms. The best known is probably caffeine". www.wikipedia.org

allergen

An antigenic substance that causes and acute defensive reaction in a person's immune system (an allergy). Common allergens are pet dander, smoke and pollen.

alopecia areata

Is the term used when the hair falls out in patches.

alopecia totalis

Means the loss of all the scalp hair.

alopecia universalis

Means the loss of all body hair, including eyebrows and eyelashes.

androgenetic alopecia (AGA)

A less dramatic, but more prevalent, type of hair loss implies, a genetic or hereditary predisposition to the disorder and the presense of androgens - male sex hormones - are involved in this condition.

alkoloid

"A group of naturally occurring chemical compounds which mostly contain basic nitrogen atoms. The best known is probably caffeine". www.wikipedia.org

alterative

"A medicine or treatment which gradually induces a change and restores health functions".
www.wiktionary.org

anabolic

Strengthens and bulds body tissue and encourges weight gain or anabolism.

analeptic

"An analeptic in medicine is a central nervous system stimulant medication". www.wikipedia.org

analgesic

A medicine that reduces or eliminates pain.

anodyne

"In medicine, before the 20th century an anodyne was a medicine that was believed to relieve or soothe pain by lessening the sensitivy of the brain or nervous system". www.wikipedia.org

antiemetic

"Is a substance that is effective against vomiting and nausea". www.wikipedia.org

anthelmintic

"Are substances that expel parasitic worms from the body, they may also be called vermifuges". www.wikipedia.org

anti-arrhythmic

A drug used to treat abnormal or irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

anti-atherosclerotic

A substance or drug used to treat atherosclerosis, the process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of the heart's arteries from fat deposits on their inner lining.

anti-catarrhal

"Counteracting or supressing catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membranes)". www.wiktionary.org

anticonvulsant

A drug or substance used to treat or prevent convulsions (as in epilepsy).

anti-ecchymotic

A substance to treat ecchymoses, commonly known as bruses, a discoloration and tenderness of the skin due to the leakage of blood from an injured blood vessel into the tissues.

anti-histamine

"A substance that counteracts the effects of histamine, used in treating allergies."The Oxford English Dictionary

antihalitotic

A treatment for bad breath.

anti-inflammatory

"Refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation".
www.wikipedia.org

antimicrobial

A substance that kills or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms suc as bacteria or fungi.

antioxidant

"antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules."
www.wikipedia.org

anti-platelet

A substance that decreases platelet aggregation and inhibits thrombus formation.

anti-pyretic

"Are drugs or herbs that reduce fever."
www.wikipedia.org

antiretrovral

The group of medications used to treat HIV/AIDS.

antitussive

Inhibits the cough reflex.

anti-spasmodic

"One type of antispasmodics is used for smooth muscle contraction, especially in tubular organs of the gastrointestinal tract. The effect is to prevent spasms of the stomach, intestine or urinary bladder".
www.wikipedia.org

antivertigo

Treatment of vertigo - a sensation of dizziness, moving or spinning. It is commonly caused by a problem with the balance mechansms within the inner ear.

antivinous

An anti-oxidant substance that treats addiction to alcohol.

aperient

"A laxative in the form of a medicine or a food". www.wiktionary.org

astringent

"Causing skin or body tissue to contract."
The Oxford English Dictionary

ayurveda The traditional Hindu science of health and medicine, which uses diet, herbal remedies and the power of body, mind and spirit to prevent and treat disease.




antiemetic

"Is a substance that is effective against vomiting and nausea". www.wikipedia.org

anthelmintic

"Are substances that expel parasitic worms from the body, they may also be called vermifuges". www.wikipedia.org

anti-arrhythmic

A drug used to treat abnormal or irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

anti-atherosclerotic

A substance or drug used to treat atherosclerosis, the process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of the heart's arteries from fat deposits on their inner lining.

anti-catarrhal

"Counteracting or supressing catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membranes)". www.wiktionary.org

anticonvulsant

A drug or substance used to treat or prevent convulsions (as in epilepsy).

anti-ecchymotic

A substance to treat ecchymoses, commonly known as bruses, a discoloration and tenderness of the skin due to the leakage of blood from an injured blood vessel into the tissues.

anti-histamine

"A substance that counteracts the effects of histamine, used in treating allergies."The Oxford English Dictionary

antihalitotic

A treatment for bad breath.

anti-inflammatory

"Refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation".
www.wikipedia.org

antimicrobial

A substance that kills or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms suc as bacteria or fungi.

antioxidant

"antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules."
www.wikipedia.org

anti-platelet

A substance that decreases platelet aggregation and inhibits thrombus formation.

anti-pyretic

"Are drugs or herbs that reduce fever."
www.wikipedia.org

antiretrovral

The group of medications used to treat HIV/AIDS.

antitussive

Inhibits the cough reflex.

anti-spasmodic

"One type of antispasmodics is used for smooth muscle contraction, especially in tubular organs of the gastrointestinal tract. The effect is to prevent spasms of the stomach, intestine or urinary bladder".
www.wikipedia.org

antivertigo

Treatment of vertigo - a sensation of dizziness, moving or spinning. It is commonly caused by a problem with the balance mechansms within the inner ear.

antivinous

An anti-oxidant substance that treats addiction to alcohol.

aperient

"A laxative in the form of a medicine or a food". www.wiktionary.org

astringent

"Causing skin or body tissue to contract."
The Oxford English Dictionary

ayurveda The traditional Hindu science of health and medicine, which uses diet, herbal remedies and the power of body, mind and spirit to prevent and treat disease.




Herbal Dictionary - B

balsamic

means "balsam-like" in the sense of "restorative" or "curative".

benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

The increase in size of the prostate gland in middle-agend and elderly men that appears to be part of the natural ageing process; it s a non-cancerous condition".

beta-carotene

the molecule that gives carrots and other fruit and vegetables their colour. It is part of a family of chemicals called the carotenoids".

blepharitis

"Blepharitis is an ocular condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the eyelid."
The www.wikipedia.org.

British National Formulary (BNF)

is a bi-annual publication containing a wide spectrum of information on drugs, drawn from the manufacturers' product literature, medical and pharmaceutical literature, regulatory authorities and professional bodies.




Herbal Dictionary - C.

calcareous

Containing or resembling calcium..

carminative

""Is a herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the gastro-intestinal tract or facilitates the expulsion of said gas, combating flatulence. www.wikipedia.org

cathartic

In medicine, a substance which accelerates defaction.

cholagogue

""Cholagogue is a medicinal agent which promotes the discharge of bile from the system. www.wikipedia.org

choleretic

An agent that stimulates the liver to increase output of bile.

cicatrizant

""Is the term used to describe a product that promotes healing through the promotion of scar tissue. www.wikipedia.org



Herbal Dictionary - D


decoction

"An extract obtained by boiling or digesting in hot water."
www.wikipedia.org.

demulcent

"An agent that forms a soothing film over a mucous membrane relieving pain and inflammation."
www.wikipedia.org.

depurative

"used for or capable of depurating, purifying, purgative."
www.thefreedictionary.com.

diaphoretic

"is the state of sweating profusely commonly associated with shock and other medical emergencies."
The Oxford English Dictionary.

diuretic

"A substance that causes more urine to be secreted."
The Oxford English Dictionary.

DVT

Deep Vein Thrombosis.



Herbal Dictionary - E.

emetic

a substance or agent that induces vomiting.

emmenagogue

"are herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area, some stimulate menstruation". www.wikipedia.org

emollient

A substance that softens and soothes the skin.

enteritis

Inflammation of the intestine (especially the small intestine) usually characterized by diarrhoea.

essential fatty acids (EFA)

These are polyunsaturated dfatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, that cannot be made in the body and must be provided by diet.

eupeptic

Having properties which encourage health, functioning digestion.

exfoliation

"involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin's outermost surface and has been used for many years to help maintain the skin ". www.wikipedia.org

expectorant

"is any agent which dissolves thick mucus and is usuallly used to help respiratory difficulties". www.wikipedia.org



Herbal Dictionary - F.

febrifuge

A medicine that reduces fever; an antipyretic.

flavenoids

"Compounds found in fruits and vegetables that have beneficial anti-oxidant effects"
The Linus Pauling Institute - winner of the Nobel Chemistry prize 1954.

free radicals

Any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell.



Herbal Dictionary - G.

galactogogue

A substance which is used to increase the production of breast milk in humans.

Gingivitis

Inflamed and bleeding gums.

GLA

Gamma-linolenic acid. An essential fatty acid found primarily in vegetable oils

glossitis

Inflammation of the tongue.



Herbal Dictionary - H.


haemostatic

A medicine or application that stops bleeding, serving to arrest haemorrhage.

hallucinogen

A pharmacological agent that amplifies familiar states of mind and induce experiences such as trance, meditation, conversion experiences and dreams.

HDL Cholesterol

High-density lipoprotein is a protective type of cholesterol.

hepatotonic

A substance that is tonic to the liver -usually employed to noromalize liver enzymes and function.

histamine

a naturally occurring substance in the body that causess allergic reactions (redness, itching and swelling) of the nose and eyes.

hypnotic

drugs or substances whose primary function is to induce sleep.

hypoglycaemic

having abnormally low blood sugar, usually resulting from excessive insulin or a poor diet.




Herbal Dictionary - I

Infusion

"A liquid made by steeping (tea or herbs etc) in boiling water".
The Oxford English Dictionary.



Herbal Dictionary - M.

maceration

"A mixture made soft by steeping in a liquid".
The Oxford English Dictionary.




Herbal Dictionary - N.

nervine

"A nervine is a plant remedy that has a beneficial effect on the nervous system in some way.".
www.wikipedia.com.



Herbal Dictionary - O

ointment

"A thick slippery paste rubbed on the skin to heal roughness, injuries or inflammation".
The Oxford English Dictionary.




Herbal Dictionary - P.

parturient

"Pertaining to child birth.

poultice

"A soft heated mass applied to an inflamed or sore area of skin".
The Oxford English Dictionary.



Herbal Dictionary - R.

rubefacient

"is a substance for topical application causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation".
www.wikipedia.org



Herbal Dictionary - S.

salicylates

"Salicylates are derivatives of salicylic acid that occur naturally in plants and serve as a natural immune hormone and preservative, protecting the plants against diseases, insects, fungi, and harmful bacteria. Salicylates can also be found in many medications, perfumes and preservatives. Both natural and synthetic salicylates can cause health problems in anyone when consumed in large doses. But for those who are salicylate intolerant, even small doses of salicylate can cause adverse reactions". www.wikipedia.org.

spasmolytic

"may refer to a type of muscle relaxant.".
www.wikipedia.org.

stomachic

"while many herbs claim stomachic effect, modern pharmacology does not have an equivalent term fo this type of effect".
www.wikipedia.org.

syrup

"A thick sweet liquid".
The Oxford English Dictionary.




Herbal Dictionary - T.


tincture

"A solution consisting of a medicinal substance dissolved in alcohol".
The Oxford English Dictionary.



Herbal Dictionary - V.


vasodilation

"Refers to the widening of blood vessels resulting from relaxing of smooth muscles cells within the vessel walls particularly in the large arteries and large veins.."
www.wikipedia.com.

vulnerary

"A remedy used in healing or treatment of wounds."
www.medterms.com.













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