The Herbalist - theherbalist.com.au - Dipaunka Macrides

Herbal Actions Defined

Here are the definitions for herbal actions:

Abortificant

Herbs which terminate pregnancy or induce premature birth

Acrid

Herbs with a hot, bitter taste or causing heat and irritation when applied to the skin

Adaptogen

Herbs which increase the body's resistance to biological, emotional, envirnomental or physical stressors and promote optimal physiological function

Adjuvant

Herbs added to a mixture to aid the effects of the principal ingredient

Adrenal Tonic

Herbs which improve the tone, histology and function of the adrenal glands

Alexipharmic

Herbs that ward off disease or the effects of poison

Alterative

Herbs that gradually restore the proper function of the body, usually by improving nutrition and increasing health and vitality

Analgesic

Herbs that reduce or diminish pain.

Anaphrodisiac

Herbs that reduce sexual desire or ability

Anesthetic

Herbs that deaden sensation

Anodyne

Herbs which ease or mitigate pain

Antacid

Herbs that counteract or neutralise acidity in the gastrointestinal tract

Anthelmintic

Herbs which expel intestinal worms

Antiallergenic

Herbs that tone down allergic responses, often by stabilising mast cells

Antiandrogenic

Herbs that inhibit or modify the action for androgens (male sex hormones)

Antianemic

Herbs that prevent or correct anemia

Antiarrrhythmic

Herbs that prevent prevent or are effective against arrhythmias (variations from the normal rhythm or rate of the heart beat)

Antiasthmatic

Herbs that prevent or relieve asthma attacks

Antibacterial

Herbs that inhibit the growth of or destroy bacteria

Antibiblious

Herbs which counteract bilousness or excess bile

Antibiotic

Herbs that destroy or arrest the growth of micro-organisms

Anticariogenic

Herbs which reduce the incidence of dental caries (tooth decay)

Anticatarrhal

Herbs which help the body remove excess catarrhal build ups from the sinus cavity area or other areas

Anticoagulant

Herbs that prevent clotting in a liquid, ie. blood

Anticonvulsant

Herbs which prevent or arrest siezures

Antidepressant

Herbs which alleviate depression

Antidiabetic (Hypoglycemic)

Herbs which alleviate diabetes or the symptoms of the disease

Antidiarrheal

Herbs which alleviate diarrhea

Antidotal

Herbs which act as an antidote; counteracting poison or anything noxious

Antiecchymotic

Herbs which prevent bruising

Antiedematous

Herbs which prevent or alleviate edea (fluid retention)

Antiemetic

Herbs which reduce the feeling of nausea and relieve or prevent vomiting

Antifungal

Herbs that destroy or inhibit the growth of fungi

Antihemorrhagic

Herbs which reduce or stop bleeding when taken internally

Antihydrotic

Herbs which reduce or supress excessive perspiration

Antiinflammatory

Herbs which help the body to combat inflammation. Demulcents and emollients can also act in the same way (see section).

Antilithic

Herbs that prevent the formation of stones or gravel in the urinary system, dissolve those already there and assist with their removal

Antimicrobial

Herbs which help the body to resist or destroy pathogenic micro-organisms

Antioxidant:

Herbs that protect against oxidation and free radical damage

Antiparisitic

Herbs that inhibit the activity of or kills parasites

Antiperiodic

Herbs which reduce fever

Antiphlogigistic

Herbs which reduce inflammation and pain

Antiplatelet

Herbs that reduce platelet aggregation

Antiprostatoc

Herbs which reduce symptoms from the prostate gland

Antiprotozoal

Herbs which kill or inhibit the growth or activity of protozoa

Antipsoriatic

Herbs that relieve the symptoms of psoriasis

Antiputrid

Herbs used in states of decay or putrefaction

Antipyretic

Herbs which alleviate fever

Antirheumatic

Herbs which relieve rheumatism

Antiscorbutic

Herbs that prevent scurvy

Antiscrofulous

Herbs which counteract scrofula

Antiseptic

Herbs which prevent putrefaction or infection

Antispasmodic

Herbs that can prevent or ease spasms or cramps in the body

Antithyroid

Herbs which reduce the activity of the thyroid gland

Antitissuive

Herbs that relieve amount or severity of coughing

Antitumor:

Herbs which have action against malignant tumor

Antiulcer

Herbs that relieve ulceration

Antiviral

Herbs that kill or inhibit the growth of viruses

Anxiolytic

Herbs that alleviate anxiety

Aperient

Herbs that promote a mild movement of the bowels

Aphrodisiac

Herbs which stimulate the sexual organs and excite sexual desire

Appetising

Herbs that increase the appetite

Aromatic

Herbs with an agreeable odour and stimulating qualities

Astringent

Herbs which contract tissue by precipitating proteins and can thus reduce secretions and discharges. They contain Tannins

Attenuant

Herbs which attenuate (dilute) humours and secretions

Balsam

A resinous substance obtained from the exudations of vaious trees and used in medicinal preparations

Bitter

Herbs that taste bitter act as stimulating tonics for the digestive system through a reflex via the taste buds

Bladder Tonic

Herbs that improve the tone and function of the bladder

Bradycardic

Herbs which act against abnormal slowness of the heartbeat

Bronchospasmolytic

Herbs which reduce spasm in the lower respiratory tract

Calmative

Herbs that have a mild sedating or tranquilising effect

Cancer Preventative

Herbs which prevent the incidence of cancer

Cardiac

Herbs that have an effect on the heart

Cardioprotective

Herbs which protect cardiac tissue against hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) and decrease the risk of heart damage

Cardiotonic

Herbs that improve the force of contraction of the heart Carminative: Herbs that by their action stimulate peristalsis, relax the stomach and thereby help expel gas from the intestines

Carminative

Herbs which prevent the production and facilitate the expulsion of gas in the gastrointestinal tract

Cathartic

Herbs which produce an evacuation of the bowels; laxitive

Caustic

Corrosive herbs that are capable of burning away tissues

Cephalic

Herbs which act remedially on the head for headache

Cholagouge

Herbs that stimulate the release and secretion of bile from the gall bladder into the intestines. They have a laxative effect

Choleretic

Herbs which prevent excess bile

Circulatory Stimulant

Herbs which improve blood flow through body tissues

Coagulant

Herbs that induce clotting in a liquid ie. blood

Cognition Enhancing

Herbs which facilitate learning or memory

Collagen Stabilising

Herbs that stabilise collagen and thereby improves connective tissue tone

Cordial

Herbs beneficial to the heart

Corrective

Herbs which assist in restoring the body to a healthy state

Counterirritant:

Herbs which produce irritation in one part of the body to counteract irritation or inflammation in another part

Culinary

Herbs used in cooking

Demulcent

Herbs usually rich in mucilage which can soothe and protect irritated or inflamed internal tissue particularly mucous membrane

Deobstruent:

Herbs which clear away obstructions by opening the natural passages or the body

Depressant

Herbs that lessen nervous or functional activity; the opposite of a stimulant

Depurative

Herbs used to purify the blood

Dermatic

Herbs with an action upon the skin

Detergent

Cleansing herbs

Detersive

A herb which has the power of cleansing ulcers or carrying off foul matter

Diaphoretic

Herbs that aid the skin in the elimination of toxins and promote perspiration

Digestive Stimulant

Herbs which stimulate the function of the gastrointestinal organs involved in digestion

Discutient

Herbs which increase the tone of the stomach and aid digestion

Disinfectant

Herbs which cleanse infections by destroying or inhibiting the activity of disease-producing micro-organisms

Diuretic

Herbs that increase and assist with elimination of urine

Dopamine Agonist

Herbs that bind to and activate dopamine receptors

Ecbolic

Herbs which aid childbirth by increasing uterine contractions

Eccoprotic

Herbs with a gentle purgative action

Emetic

Herbs that induce vomiting

Emmenagogue

Herbs that stimulate and normalise menstrual flow. This term can also include herbs that act as tonics on the female reproductive system

Emollient

Herbs which soften, soothe and protect the skin. They act externally as demulcents do internally

Errhine:

Herbs that promote sneezing and nasal discharge

Estrogen Modulating

Herbs which act by subtle mechanisms to promote estrogen production and effects in the body

Euphoriant/ Euphorigen

Herbs that induce an abnormal sense of vigour and buoyancy

Exanthematous

Herbs related to skin diseases or eruptions

Excipient

Herbs employed as a medium for the administration of medicine

Expectorant

Herbs which assist the body to remove excess mucus from the respiratory system

Februfuge

Herbs that reduce or eliminate fevers

Female Tonic

Herbs that improve the tone, vigor and function of the female reproductive system

Galactogogue

Herbs that help stimulate and increase milk flow

Gastric Stimulant

Herbs that stimulate the function of the stomach

Haemostatic

Herbs which stop bleeding

Hallucinogen

Herbs which induce hallucinations

Hepatic

Herbs which aid, tone and strengthen the Liver, and increase the flow of bile

Hepatoprotective

Herbs that protect the hepatocytes (liver cells) against toxic damage

Hepatotrophorestorative

Herbs used to restore the integrity of liver tissue

Hydragogue

Herbs that cause a watery discharge

Hypertensive:

Herbs used in increased blood pressure

Hypnotic

Herbs which promote sleep

Hypocholesterolemic

Herbs that reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood

Hypoglycemic

Herbs that reduce the level of glucose in the blood

Hypolipidemic

Herbs that reduce the lipid level (cholesterol and triglycerides) of the blood

Hypotensive

Herbs which reduce blood pressure

Immune Depressant

A Herb that reduces immune function and is used particularly when part of the immune system is overactive

Immune Enhancing

A Herb that enhances immune function

Immune Modulating

A Herb that modulates and balances the activity of the immune system

Insecticidal

A Herb which kills insects

Irritant

A Herb which causes pain or heat

Laxative

A Herb that promote bowel movement and offer relief from constipation

Liniment

A medicine acting as an embrocation (lotion)

Lithontriptic / Anti Lithic

A Herb having the power of crushing a calculus (abnormal concretion usually in the form of mineral salts) within the bladder

Local Anesthetic

A substance that removes sensation or pain when applied locally

Lymphatic

A Herb that assists detoxification by its effect on lymphatic tissue and often also improves immune function

Male Tonic

A Herb that improves the tone, vigour and function of the male reproductive system

Maturative

A Herb which promotes suppuration (pus)

Mucilaginous

A herb that is characterised by a gummy or gelatinous consistency

Mucolytic

A Herb that helps break up and disperse sticky mucus in the respiratory tract

Mucoprotective

A Herb that protects the mucous membranes, especially in the context of the gastric lining

Mucous Membrane Tonic

A Herb that improves the tone, vigour, and function of the mucous membranes (particularly of the respiratory tract)

Mucous Membrane Trophorestorative

A Herb that restores the integrity of the mucous membranes (e.g. in the respiratory and digestive tracts)

Mydriatic

A Herb which dilates the pupil of the eye

Myotic

A Herb causing an unnatural contraction of the pupil of the eye

Narcotic

A Herb which relieves pain and induces sleep when used in medicinal doses; in large doses narcotics produce convulsions, coma or death

Nauseant

A Herb that produces an inclination to vomit

Nephritic

A Herb applicable to diseases of the kidney

Nervine

Herbs that have a beneficial effect, either calming, soothing or strengthening on the nervous system.

Neuroprotective

A Herb that helps prevent damage to the brain or spinal cord from ischemia, stroke, convulsions or trauma.

Nootropic

See Cognition enhancing

Nutritive

A Herb that nourishes the body.

Odontalgic

A Herb used in a toothache

Ophthalmic

A Herb used on inflammation of the eye or its appendages

Orexigenic

A substance that stimulates the appetite

Ovarian Tonic

A Herb used to enhance the tone, vigour and function of the ovaries

Oxytocic

Herbs that stimulate contractions of the Uterus.

Parasiticide

A Herb, which kills parasites

Parturient

A Herb that induces labour and assists in the efficient delivery of the foetus and the placenta

Partus Preparator

A Herb taken in preparation for labour and childbirth (treatment usually begins in the second trimester)

Pectoral

Herbs that strengthen and heal the respiratory system .

Peripheral Vasodilator

A Herb that dilated or widens the peripheral blood vessels and thereby improves circulation to the peripheral tissues and may assist in reducing blood pressure

Poison

A Herb that has a harmful or destructive effect when in contact with living tissue

Progestrogenic

A Herb that promotes the effect or production of progesterone

Prolactin Inhibitor

A Herb which inhibits the secretion of prolactin

Protozoicidal

A Herb which kills protozoa e.g. amoebae

Pulmonary

A Herb to strengthen the lungs

Pungent

A hot-tasting Herb that acts on a common group of nerve cell receptors having the effect of warming the body and improving digestion and circulation

Purgative

A Herb which purges the body by emesis or via the bowels.

Refrigerant

Herbs that are cooling and /or relieve thirst .

Resolutive

A Herb which resolves

Restorative

A Herb that restores consciousness or normal physiological activity

Rubefacient

Herbs that cause redness of the skin when applied topically which help to increase Blood flow and Circulation.

Sedative

Herbs that calm the nervous system, reduce stress and nervousness.

Sexual Tonic

A Herb that improves the tone, vigour and function of the sexual organs

Sialogogue

A Herb that increases the secretion of the salivary glands

Skeletal Muscle Tonic

A Herb that relaxes skeletal muscle tone

Soporific

A Herb, which induces sleep

Spasmolytic

A Herb that reduces or relieves smooth muscle spasm

Specific

A Herb that cures or alleviates a particular condition or disease

Sternatatory

A Herb which provokes sneezing

Stimulant

Herbs that excite or quicken the activity of the physiological process .

Stomachic

A herb that strengthens, stimulates the stomach.

Stupefying

A Herb which deprives of sensibility

Styptic

A Herb that stops bleeding when applied locally

Sudorific

A Herb, which produces sweating

Taeniacide

A Herb that kills tape worms

Thymoleptic

A Herb that elevates mood

Thyroid Stimulant

A Herb that enhances the activity of the thyroid gland

Tissue Perfusion Enhancing

A Herb that enhances the flow of nutrients into a tissue

Tonic

Herbs that strengthen and enliven specific organs or the whole body.

Toxic

A Herb of a stimulating, narcotic or anaesthetic nature

Trophorestorative

A Herb that has a healing and restorative action on a specific organ or tissue

TSH Antagonist

A Herb that blocks the activity of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)

Urinary Antiseptic

A Herb that inhibits the growth or destroys microorganisms within the urinary tract

Urinary Demulcent

A Herb that has a soothing effect on mucous membranes of the urinary tract

Uterine Sedative

A Herb that reduces the activity of the uterus

Uterine Tonic

A Herb that increases the tone of the uterine muscle

Vasoconstrictor

A Herb that constricts or narrows the blood vessel

Vasodilator

A Herb that dilates or widens the blood vessels

Vasoprotective

A Herb that protects the integrity of the blood vessels

Venotonic

A Herb that improves the tones and function of the veins

Vermicide

A Herb that destroys intestinal worms

Vermifuge

A Herb that expels intestinal worms

Vesicant

A Herb that produces blisters

Vulnerary

Herbs that are applied externally to help heal wounds and cuts.

Weight Reducing

A Herb that assists in the reduction of body weight



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