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Herbal Actions

Lesson 1

acrid-action a heating, irritating herb that causes a feeling of warmth in mouth or on skin or mucous membrane stagnation ulcers, feeling of internal coldness, digestive problems, retention of mucous in upper respiratory tract bloodrot, ginger, prickly ash
adaptogen an herb that helps the body adapt to stress, increase endurance, speed recovery from illness & work and strengthen immune function needing balance eleuthero, schisandra, ashwagandha, lemon
adjuvant an herb that is added to a formula or mixture of herbs in order to enhance or change its overall activity reduce side effects of herbs or formulas, enhance activity or taste licorice, ginger
adrenal tonic an herb that supports adrenal function blood sugar swings, bouts of depression, allergies, under stress for extended periods eleuthero
alterative herbs or foods that slowly alter the activity of a tissue, organ system or an organism by enhancing nutrition, energy or vitality; SYN: adaptogen, tonic deficiency states, chronic fatigue syndrome, immune weakness, loss of muscle or organ tone, weak digestion echinacea, eleuthero, yellow dock, sarsparilla, prickly ash
analgesic an herb or procedure (such as hydrotherapy) that relieves or reduces feelings of pain pain jamaica dogwood, opium poppy, passionflower
anaphrodisiac removes sexual interest, reduces libido excessive sexual fantasies, desire skullcap, hops
anesthetic deadens sensation pain (orally) echinacea, prickly ash, clove oil; hydrotherapy (cold)
anodyne an herb that relieves pain; SYN: analgesic pain jamaica dogwood, corydalis
anthelmintic destroys or removes intestinal worms worms wormseed, garlic, tansy, rue, pomegranate
anti-allergic herbs that counteract allergies hay fever nettles
anti-inflammatory herbs that lower inflammation, either by inhibiting prostaglandin synthesis or blocking the production of inflammatory substances by the immune system arthritis, sprains, varicose veins st. john's wort, turmeric, yucca, arnica, butcher's broom, horse chestnut, licorice, devil's claw, chamomile, yarrow
antibacterial an herb that destroys bacteria or retards its growth infections goldenseal, usnea, yerba mansa, cat's claw, tea tree, propolis, garlic, bloodrot
antibiotic destroys bacteria infections - in combination with immune stimulants (acute) or tonics (chronic) usnea, goldenseal
anticholesteremic herbs that have a tendency to lower blood cholesterol with continued use high cholesterol levels (over 180) shepherd's purse, garlic, artichoke leaf, psyllium
anticoagulant prevents clotting of blood (sometimes of milk) abnormal clotting, varicose veins, cardiovascular disease alfalfa, sweet clover, garlic
antidepressant an herb that helps relieve mild depression depression St. John's wort, rosemary, lavender, grapefruit, gingko
antidiarrhetic an herb that slows or stops diarrhea diarrhea blackberry root, black walnut, alum root, rehmannia, self heal, white oak bark
antiemetic counteracts or relieves nausea and vomiting nausea & vomiting associated with car, sea or morning sickness ginger, lavender, peppermint
antifungal an herb that kills pathogenic fungus or retards its growth fungus, athlete's foot black walnut, bloodrot, Pau d'arco, tea tree, garlic, barberry, coptis
anhydratic herbs that dry tissues, removing excess water leukorrea, dysentery chinese skullcap, coptis, gentian
antihydrotic an herb that slows the production of sweat SYN: anhydratic perspiration sage leaf
antilithic dissolves and removes urinary gravel or stones(calculi); helps prevent formation tendency to form gravel or stones in the urinary tract, beneficial for heavy meat eaters stone root, gravel root
antimicrobial an herb that kills microbes of any type, such as bacteria or viruses flu, abscesses, athlete's foot cajuput, plantain, tea tree, garlic, goldenseal, oregon grape root
antinauseant an herb that quells nausea upset stomach ginger, lavender, chamomile
antioxidant compounds that bind with free-radicals and deactivate them hepatitis, cancer prevention, liver protection chaparral, milk thistle, rosemary, ginko, basil, lemon balm(melissa)
antiperiodic an herb or substance that helps relieve cyclic fevers malaria, tropical fevers quinine, sweet annie(artemisia annua)
antiphlogistic an herb or other agent that reduces inflammation inflammation (swelling, redness, heat), infection yarrow, echinacea, arnica (internally), flaxseed (externally)
antipyretic reduces fever by turning down the temperature control in the hypothalamus fever willow bark, honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, meadowsweet, peppermint
antirheumatic an herb that lowers inflammation and helps relieve the pain & swelling associated with rheumatism rheumatism black cohosh, horsereadish, american spikenard, juniper, prickly ash
antiscorbutic relieves and prevents scurvy by supplying vitamin C vitamin C deficiency rose hips, citrus fruits
antiseptic inhibits the growth of harmful organisms, kills on contact exposure to bacteria, cuts, wounds, abrasions bloodrot, usnea, tea tree
antispasmodic relieves or reduces spasms, especially in smooth muscles (uterus, intestine, blood vessels, bronchi) uterine cramping during PMS, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, stranguary wild yam, chamomile, kava, pulsatilla
antitoxin has the ability to help the body remove as well as neutralize toxins from the blood, organs and tissues lung and throat infections, urinary tract infections andrographis, wild indigo, goldenseal, elder, yarrow
antitraumatic an herb that helps the body deal with trauma and speed up the healing process sprain, strain, blow arnica, sweet clover, St. John's wort
antitumor inhibits tumor growth, or prevents its formation tumors castor oil, poke root
antitussive relieves or reduces the urge to cough coughing, throat irritation coltsfoot, mullein, licorice, loquat leaf
antiviral an herb that kills viruses or slows the progression of viral infection in the body viruses lemon balm(melissa), osha, andrographics, licorice, olive leaf, shiitake, St. john's wort, garlic
aperient a gentle stimulant to the digestion; a mild laxative constipation, weak, painful digestion, stress affecting digestion and elimination artichoke leaf, yellow dock, dandelion
aphrodisiac a sexual stimulant lowered sexual desire damiana, muira puama, yohimbe
appetizer stimulates the appetite weak, painful digestion, lowered interest in food artichoke leaf, gentian root, bitter tonics
aquaretic a gentle herbal diuretic that increases the body's output of urine edema cleavers, horsetail, pipsissewa, parsley root, uva ursi
aromatic-action herbs or remedies that are grateful to the digestion; mildly stimulating; usually essential oil containing indigestion, stomachache peppermint, fennel, cumin, dill seed
astringent-action polyphenolic(tannin) containing herbs that contract tissues, removing moisture (drying) burns, urinary tract infections, diarrhea green tea, oak bark, willow bark, myrrh, rhatany, bilberry
azoturic remedy that increases the elimination of nitrogenous waste products from the body through urine or feces gout, people with a high meat intake in their diet sarsparilla
antiplatelet used in prevention of cardiovascular or thrombotic cerebrovascular disease arterial thrombosis garlic, ginger, yarrow
balsam a resinous, aromatic, sticky plant exudate containing phenolic acids (benzoic acid derivatives), having stimulating, warming & anti-microbial properties coldness, blood stagnancy, infections, scabies, respiratory ailments (asthma, bronchitis, coughs, etc.) balsam of Peru, balsam of Tolu, styrax
bitter herbs or foods that taste bitter and activate the appetite & digestion weakness of digestion, chronic illness, nervous system weakness,stress, lowered hydrochloric acid output in stomach, poor protein digestion gentian, artichoke, barberry, goldenseal, oregon grape
blood builder an herb that helps enrich the blood, stimulating the production of new blood cells anemia, general weakness fo-ti(ho shou wu), dong quai, angelica
blood purifier an herb that stimulates the immune system, liver & bowels to increase the removal of waste products from the blood by stimulating phagocytic immune cells, increasing bile output, or releasing toxins through sweat or urine cancer, illness, hangover echinacea, burdock, elder flowers, blue vervain, sarsaparilla, parsley root, red clover, yellow dock
blood moving an herb that stimulates the movement of blood in various arts of the body, dilates blood vessels and directs through a stagnant area, relieving pain blood stagnation yarrow, ginger, sweet clover
bronchodilator an herb that dilates the bronchi, allowing freer movement of air in and out asthma ephedra, tangerine peel, green tea, lobelia
calmative a mild sedative or relaxing herb or activity mild restlessness, nervousness, upset stomach, mild anxiety catnip, linden, lemon balm, chamomile
cardiac beneficial to the heart, sometimes helps relieve a feeling of fullness or discomfort in the cardiac region or near pyloric valve feeling of fullness or oppression over the heart, heart weakness hawthorn, motherwort, hops, cactus
carminative herbs or essential oils that help the bowels release gas, relaxes spasms of the intestine & increases peristalsis to push gas out, help relieve gas pains flatulence, gas pains anise, caraway, cumin, fennel, peppermint
cathartic an herb that helps facilitate the emptying of the bowels, stimulates peristalsis, decreases uptake of water from the fecal mass constipation aloe, rhubarb, senna, cascara
caustic corrosive, destructive to living tissue, stimulates new granulation in stagnant ulcer ulcers that won't heal, warts spurge, buttercup, bloodroot (USE WITH CAUTION)
cholagogue an herb that increases the flow of bile into the duodenum weak digestion, poor fat digestion, gallbladder problems artichoke leaf, dandelion, chicory, gentian, centaury, turmeric, fringetree, boldo
coagulant an herb that promotes the coagulation of blood bleeding nettle, shepherd's purse
counterirritant an irritation produced on one part of the boday, such as the dermatones on the skin, to relieve congestion in another part (such as the liver) sore muscles, aches, pains, congestion in internal organs cayenne, mustard seed plaster, ginger fomentation, camphor oil
decongestant an herb that reduces congestion, especially in the nasal passages nasal congestion cayenne, magnolia buds, ephedra, eucalyptus, eyebright
demulcent mucilagionous herbs which soothe irritated or inflamed tissue or mucous membranes ulcers, sore throat, tonsillitis, bladder infections, inflammation or heat in the upper respiratory tract, bowels marshmallow root, slippery elm, flaxseed, irish moss, comfrey, licorice
deodorant an herb which destroys or lessens body odors strong-smelling sweat or body odor sage
depressant an herb that lowers functional overactivity and tension by reducing nerve impulse transmission anxiety, severe tension california poppy, opium(caution)
depurative a purifying or cleansing agent acne, boils, styes red clover, burdock, wild indigo, sarsaparilla
diaphoretic an herb that promotes perspiration and facilitates the elimination of toxins via the skin fever, flu, colds, general toxemia yarrow, elder, peppermint, boneset, ginger, cayenne
digestant an herb that promotes good digestion weak digestion, painful digestion, bloating, lack of appetite artichoke leaf, genitan, ginger, orange peel, fennel, cardamom, dandelion root, milk thistle seed, anise, cayenne, centaury
diuretic an herb that increase urinary output, stronger than an aquaretic edema, cystisis with difficult urination, high blood pressure cleavers, uva ursi, parsley root, buchu, goldenrod, corn silk, shavegrass
emetic an herb or other agent that causes nausea and vomiting asthma, ingestion of toxic substances lobelia, poke root, ipecac
emmenagogue an herb that stimulates the onset of menstruation late periods (not from pregnancy) blue cohosh, pennyroyal, ginger, rosemary, black cohosh
emollient an herb, usually containing mucilage or gum, applied externally to soothe and soften the skin chapped skin, irritated skin, rashes, sunburn comfrey, chickweed, flaxseed, malva
errhine an herb that stimulates nasal discharge nasal congestion horseradish
expectorant promoting the expulsion of mucous from the respiratory tract bronchial and lung congestion, coughs, asthma grindelia, lobelia(small amounts), licorice, elecampane, anise, poplar buds, yerba santa
febrifuge a cooling herb which lowers fever fever elder, honeysuckle flowers, peppermint, boneset, catnip, chamomile, lavender
galactagogue an herb that increases the flow of breast milk insufficient quantities of breast milk fennel, vitex, blessed thistle, hops, fenugreek
hemostatic stops internal or external bleeding (hemorrhage) bleeding shepherd's purse, yarrow, agrimony, cayenne, goldenseal
hepatic an herb that tonifies and strengthens the liver poor digestion, hepatitis, headaches, PMS milk thistle, centaury, dandelion, artichoke leaf, boldo
hormonal regulator an herb that has a tendency to normalize hormone output from the glands hormone imbalances vitex
hydratic an herb that moisturizes and moistens tissues or organs dry disease kombu, kelp, psyllium, flax, acacia gum
hypnotic herbs that promote sleep insomnia, sleeping disorders valerian, california poppy, hops, wild lettuce
hypotensive an herb that lowers blood pressure high blood pressure garlic, hawthorn, mistletoe
hypothyroidal an herb that reduces the thyroxin output of the thyroid gland hyperthyroidism bugleweed, blue vervain, lemon balm
immune stimulant an herb that has the tendency to activate various immune functions colds, flu echinacea, wild indigo, wild ginger, thuja, osha
irritant an herb that stimulates nerve endings, sends more blood and energy to an area to remove congestion asthma, bronchitis, upper respiratory congestion lobelia
laxative an herb that promotes bowel evacuation by hydrating and softening the fecal mass as it travels through the colon and by stimulating peristalsis constipation psyllium, flax, senna, cascara sagrada, yellow dock, rhubarb root
lymphatic an herb that stimulates the flow of nymph in the lymph vessels, helping to remove waste from the tissues swollen glands, tonsillitis, mumps echinacea, poke root, red clover, red root
metabolic an herb that regulates or stimulates the metabolic process sluggish, slow metabolism ginseng
mucilage large molecular weight polysaccharides that occur in demulcent herbs with a gelatinous, slimy consistency irritation of the mucous membranes and skin, constipation, sore throat, laryngitis, urinary tract infections marshmallow root, flaxseed, slippery elm, Iceland moss, comfrey
mucolytic an herb that dissolves or thins mucous so the body can move it out of the body seborrheic dermatitis(dandruff or cradle-cap), non-malignant swellings and cysts polygala, lemon, elecampane, pine bark, yerba santa
narcotic a pain-relieving herb which can cause sleep in large doses pain, insomnia due to pain wild lettuce, jamaica dogwood, yellow jasmine(gelsemium)
nephritic an herb used to support the health of the kidneys weak kidneys, chronic low-grade infections, kidney stones parsley root, marshmallow root, dandelion root, ginger root, goldenrod
nervine an herb which affects the nervous system, different classes - relaxing, stimulating, tonic, neurotrophic nervousness, anxiety valerian, skullcap, lavender, lemon balm, linden, passionflower, wild oats, cacao, kola nut
oxytocic stimulates uterine contractions, facilitating childbirth prolonged or delayed labor blue cohosh, beth root, black cohosh, partridge berry, goldenseal
pectoral affects diseases of the respiratory tract coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia elecampane, licorice, red clover, marshmallow, horehound, hyssop, sundew, mullein
purgative causes strong bowel evacuation extreme constipation, removal of toxic factors from the body, some traditional cleansing rituals aloe, buckthorn, castor oil, mandrake
refrigerant an herb that relieves fever, internal heat and thirst sunstroke, invasion of the body by summer heat, high fever barberry, gentian, goldenseal, elder, honeysuckle flowers, forsythia fruit, ginseng
restorative an herb or food that restores balance and strength to the body and its systems, roborant convalescence eleuthro, codonopsis, reishi, schisandra, gotu kola, ginseng, dong quai, gentian
rubefacient a local irritant that increases circulation in the skin, relieving pain in the muscles and promoting healing sports injuries, aches and pains of the muscles from inactivity or overactivity ginger, horseradish, cayenne liniment, camphor balms
abortifacient an herb that induces or causes premature expulsion of a fetus unwanted pregnancy tansy, goldenseal
Created by: bebethebutler