Herbalist Terminology

Herbalist Terminology

Acrid- gives the feeling of bile in the back of the throat, signals a relaxant effect.

Adjunct- something joined or added to another thing but not essentially a part of it.

Adaptogen- a substance that helps the bodies natural ability to deal with stress. They have the ability to adapt their function based off of the environment and needs in the body.

Alterative– a substance used empirically to alter favorably the course of an ailment.

Angina– condition marked by severe pain in the chest, often also spreading to the shoulders, arms, and neck, caused by an inadequate blood supply to the heart. It can also refer to a condition where there is intense localized pain.

Anodyne- something that eases pain, good for cold, constricting headaches, or tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches.

Anti-inflammatory- used to reduce inflammation.

Anticatarrhal- a substance that helps remove excess mucous from the body mainly used in ear, nose and throat infections.

Antiemetic- a substance that prevents vomiting.

Antimicrobial- destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and especially pathogenic microorganisms.

Antispasmodic- a substance used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.

Arrhythmia- problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. It means that the heart beats too quickly or too slowly. It can also be with an irregular pattern. When the heart beats faster than normal, it is called tachycardia.

Astringent- a substance that causes the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues, and relating to taste or smell being slightly acidic or bitter.

Cardiovascular- relating to the heart and blood vessels.

Carminative- medicine that relieves flatulence.

Cholagogue-  a medicinal agent which promotes the discharge of bile from the system, purging it downward.

Choleretic (choleric)- Choleretics are substances that increase the volume of secretion of bile from the liver as well as the amount of solids secreted.

Cordate: In botany, heart-shaped leaf, with the petiole or stem attached to the notch.

Coumarin- is a colorless crystalline solid with a sweet odor resembling the scent of vanilla and a bitter taste. It is found in many plants, where it may serve as a chemical defense against predators.

Decoction-the liquor resulting from concentrating the essence of a substance by heating or boiling, especially a medicinal preparation made from a plant. “a decoction of a root.” The action or process of extracting the essence of something.

Demulcent- a substance that relieves inflammation or irritation, and one that relieves irritation of the mucus membranes of the mouth by creating a film.

Dentate- Describing a leaf margin that is toothed, with outward-pointing notches. Leaf margins finely toothed in this way are termed denticulate.

Diaphoretic- a medicine that induces perspiration.

Diffusive- relating to or involving the intermingling of substances by the natural movement of their particles.

Diuretic- causing increased passing of urine.

Edema- a condition characterized by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body.

Glucophage- “A drug used to treat diabetes mellitus (a condition in which the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood). It is also being studied in the treatment of cancer. Glucophage decreases the amount of glucose (a type of sugar) released into the bloodstream from the liver and increases the body’s use of the glucose. It is a type of antidiabetic agent. Also called metformin hydrochloride.”

Hepatic- relating to the Liver.

Emmenagogue- a substance that stimulates or increases menstrual flow.

Expectorant- a medicine which promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.

GERD- gastroesophageal reflux disease

Hepatic- relating to the liver.

Hypoglycemic- abnormal decrease of sugar in the blood.

Laxative- substances that loosen stools and increase bowel movements. They are used to treat and prevent constipation.

Menstruate (plural Menstrua)- solvent, the liquid chosen to extract the chemicals, or constituents, from the herb.

Mucilage- a polysaccharide substance extracted as a viscous or gelatinous solution from plant roots, seeds, etc., and used in medicines and adhesives.

Nervine- a substance used for relating to the nerves or nervous system.

Notch- In botany, very coarsely dentate, the upper side of the teeth being nearly horizontal, as in the leaves of Rhus (Sumac)

Nutritive- providing nourishment; nutritious.

Palpitations- a noticeably rapid, strong, or irregular heartbeat due to agitation, exertion, or illness.

Peristalsis- the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine or another canal, creating wave-like movements that push the contents of the canal forward.

Petioled- In botany, the petiole is a stalk that attaches a leaf to the plant stem.

Relaxant- a drug used to promote relaxation or reduce tension.

Rubefacient- is a substance for topical application that produces redness of the skin, e.g. by causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation.

Sedative- promoting calm or inducing sleep

Tachycardia- When the heart beats faster than normal.

Tannin- a yellowish or brownish bitter-tasting organic substance present in some galls, barks, and other plant tissues, consisting of derivatives of gallic acid, used in leather production and ink manufacture. Food sources of condensed tannins are: coffee, tea, wine, grapes, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, apricots, barley, peaches, dry fruits, mint, basil, rosemary, cinnamon etc. In large amounts, tannic acid can cause side effects such as stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, and liver damage. Regular consumption of herbs with high tannin concentrations seems to be associated with an increased chance of developing nose or throat cancer.

Tonify- to tone up. “Tonic herbalism, however, builds your foundation of health– physical as well as mental & emotional. . . When something is classified as a tonic, it implies that it is meant to be taken regularly over the long-term with the purpose of toning and strengthening the body’s systems.  Tonic herbal formulas generally include herbs that are very gentle, safe and nourishing”

Varicosity– the quality or state of being abnormally or markedly swollen or dilated 

Vasodilating- the widening of blood vessels

Vasoconstriction- the narrowing of blood vessels

Vulnerary- of use in the healing of wounds.

Sourced from multiple web dictionaries. 

Keener, Rachael , “What is Tonic Herbalism”, Urban Moonshine, https://www.urbanmoonshine.com/blogs/blog/what-is-tonic-herbalism

Merium Webster



Published by Angel Crow

Neurodivergent, herbalist, artist, writer, poet, horticulturist, musician, student

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