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Herbalism Glossary

Adjuvant: An ingredient that boosts the effectiveness or rounds out the effectiveness of other ingredients.

Analgesic: Relieves pain.

Anesthetic: Alleviates pain.

Anodyne: Takes the edge off of pain or removes pain.

Anthelmintics: (Also called antihelminthics) Gets rid of intestinal worms.

Antibacterial: Kills or prevents growth and reproduction of bacteria.

Antibiotic: Kills or prevents growth of microorganisms.

Antiemetic: Relieves nausea.

Antihistamine: Combats histamines produced by allergies or colds, thereby relieving the cold-like symptoms.

Anti-inflammatory: Reduces or controls the growth of inflammation to bring down swelling, pain, irritation, and tenderness in the joints.

Antioxidant: Prevents or counters oxidation of the cells (a chemical process caused from toxins, pH levels being too low, or even stress, that causes damage to the cells).

Antiseptic: Destroys or inhibits pathogenic bacteria.

Antispasmodic: Relieves cramps and muscle spasms.

Antiviral: Destroys or reduces viral growth. This reduction may be combined with an immune system booster.

Aperient: Purgative or laxative.

Appetizer: Stimulates desire to eat.

Aromatic: Pleasant smelling and the scent causes a reaction.

Astringent: Contracts organs and pores, reduces secretions or discharges.

Calmative: Sedative and soothing to the nerves.

Carminative: Helps expel gas from the digestive system.

Cholagogue: Increases bile in the digestive system.

Diaphoretic: Increases perspiration to aid the removal of toxins from the skin.

Digestive: Aids digestion.

Diuretic: Increases urine flow.

Emetic: Induces vomiting.

Emmenagogue: Promotes menstruation. Naturally, avoid any herb that lists this if you are pregnant.

Emollient: Softens skin (use externally).

Expectorant: Helps shed mucus from the respiratory system. This helps get out the bacteria that the mucus has trapped, as well as promotes ease of respiration. Only use a cough suppressor when coughing is too extreme, and use an expectorant to make coughing more effective.

Febrifuge: Reduces fever.

Galactagogue: Increases lactation.

Hypnotic: Promotes sleep.

Irritant: Makes organic tissues sensitive, possibly inflamed or painful.

Laxative: Helps purge the bowels.

Mucilaginous: Gelatinous consistency. May aid in some preparations to thicken them.

Nervine: Has a soothing effect on the nerves. More historical information may use this description for an herb that has any effect on the nerves, including stimulants.

Purgative: A strong laxative. The kind of strong where you better be near a toilet. Possibly an herb that induces vomiting, in some sources.

Restorative: Helps aid recovery after illness.

Rubefacient: Irritates the skin mildly, to increase circulation and promote a rosy glow.

Sedative: Calms the nerves.

Sialagogue: Promotes saliva production.

Stimulant: Excites the body and mind.

Stomachic: Promotes the health of the stomach.

Tonic: Strengthens or cleanses the body.

Vasodialator: Increases the diameter of the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.

Vulnerary: Aids the healing of wounds.


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