Glossary of Technicall Terms

Abortifacient: substance that causes abortion

This information on Herbs is provided 
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Acrid: hot, biting taste, or causing heat or irritation when used on the skin

Adaptogen: substance that may give stress relief and help build strength, stamina and ballance the body

Adventitious roots: appearing in an unusual place, as along the plant stem

Alkaloids: basic organic compounds which contain at least one nitrogen atom in a ring structure molecule; usually insoluble in water, and often found as salts or organic acids

Alterative: herb that produces a gradual beneficial change in the body

Amino acids: the basic constituents of proteins, consisting of organic compounds

Analgesic: an agent that relieves pain

Anaesthetic: action that deadens sensation

Annual: a plant whose life cycle, from germination to maturity and death, lasts only one growing season

Anthelmintic: destroys or expels intestinal worms

Antibiotic: substance that destroys or arrests the growth of micro-organisms

Antidepressant: a substance that prevents or relieves depression

Antidote: substance that counteracts or neutralises poison

Antihemorrhagic: prevents or stops hemorrhaging

Anti-inflammatory: substance that works to contain the inflammatory process

Antipruritic: stops itching

Antipyretic: reduces the heat of sores, reducing or preventing fever

Antiscorbutic: plant considered to have a high source of vitamin C (for treating or preventing scurvy)

Antiseptic: counter acts infection and destroys bacteria or prevents their growth

Antispasmodic: checks or relieves spasms

Aperient: a mild bowel stimulant

Aphrodisiac: arousing or increasing sexual desire

Aromatic: spicy fragrant smelling herb that dispels stomach and intestinal wind and pain

Arteriosclerosis: hardening of the walls of arteries

Astringent: substance that constricts tissue and can be used to reduce bleeding, inflammation and diarrhea. Contracts or firms up the skin, tissue and mucus membranes

Basal: leaves near the base of the stem, or leaves that form as a rosette at ground level

Biennial: plant whose life cycle, from germination to maturity and death, takes two growing seasons

Bitters: saliva and gastric juice stimulant, to improve appetite and aid digestion

Calmative: mild sedative with tranquillising effect

Carminative: promotes expulsion of wind in the stomach and bowels, and eases accompanying pain

Carotenes: yellow-orange-red pigments in plants, which may be converted into vitamin A in the body

Cathartic: strong laxative

Chlorophyll: the green pigment in plants vital to the process of photosynthesis

Cholagogue: substance that stimulates the release of bile from the gall bladder

Choleretic: substance which stimulates the production of bile by the liver

Coagulant: increases the clotting of blood

Coumarin: a compound found in many plants, and responsible for the aroma of new mown hay which some plants possess

Curcumin: substance found in herbs and spices, which can reduce risk of cancer

Deciduous: a plant that looses its leaves for winter

Demulcent: soothes and softens irritated tissue, particularly the mucus membrane; these herbs have mucilaginous, slippery or oleoginous properties, which can coat, shield and lubricate, as well as relieve pain

Depurative: to purify and free of impurities

Diaphoretic: brings about increased perspiration

Digestive: aids digestion

Diuretic: stimulates kidneys to increase the flow of urine

Dysuria: difficulty or pain in discharging urine

Edema: (dropsy) an abnormal collection of fluid in any cavity of the body or in cellular tissue

Emetic: can induce nausea and vomiting

Emmenagogue: brings on and increases the menstrual flow

Emollient: applied externally to soften and soothe inflamed or irritated surfaces

Essential oil: the odorous principles of plants in the form of volatile oil, usually containing esters and terpenes; these oils are obtained by steam distillation of plant material

Expectorant: discharge of mucus from the respiratory passages

Flavonoids: strong anitoxidant substances in some fruit and vegetables, that can reduce risk of heart disease and cancer

Febrifuge: fever reducing, also called antipyretic

Galactagogue: encourages or increases secretion of milk

Glycoside: organic substance which may be broken down into two parts, one of which is always sugar

Hallucinogenic: a substance that produces hallucination

Hemostatic: arrest hemorrhaging

Hepatic: beneficial for the liver

Hyperglycaemia: condition when there is too much sugar in the blood.

Hypoglycaemia: when blood sugar levels are blow normal levels

Inulin: a complex sugar found in several plants, especially in members of the Asteraceae family

Laxative: loosening to the bowels

Lignin: a fibrous like component of some plants; unaffected by digestion, does not absorb moisture, and passes through the intestinal tract unchanged; aids in binding fats and increases their excretion in faeces

Mucilaginous: the state of being moist and viscid, slimy, slippery, of the nature of mucilage

Nervine: relieves pain and nervous irritation and restores nerves to their natural state

Node: point on the stem of a plant where the leaves or lateral branches are attached

Nutrient: components of food used in nourishing the body, eg. proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals.

Nutritive: provides nourishment and effects the nutritive and metabolic processes in the body

Ophthalmic: helper to eyes

Palmate: describing a leaf that has a shape like a hand with fingers radiating from the palm

Pavapinnate: a compound, pinnate leaf with an even number of leaflets, usually in regular pairs, but lacking a terminal leaflet

Pectoral: promotes a healing action on chest and lungs

Peristaltic action: muscles of stomach and intestine, by a series of contractions, move food through the body and gastric juices help to make it available to the body, with the residue and fibre forced out of the body as faeces

Petioles: the stalk of the leaf connecting the blade with the stem; when absent a leaf is sessile

Phlebitis: inflammation of the membrane of veins

Prophylactic: herbs that help prevent disease

Purgative: substance that causes an evacuation of the bowel

Raceme: formation where stalked flowers grow along a main stem, the oldest at the bottom

Reniform: kidney shaped, like the seed of beans

Rhizome: underground root, sometimes bulbous in form, from which new plants grow

Rubefacient: causes reddening, can be used for massage to stimulate blood flow

Saponin: substance that foams in water and has a detergent action

Sedative: relieves nervous tension, anxiety and has a calming effect

Sessile: stalkless in form, with no petiole

Sialagogue: promotes salivary flow

Soporific: tending to cause sleep, marked by lethargy and drowsiness

Stimulant: speeds activity, and increases the general functioning of the body

Stomachic: stimulates gastric activity and appetite

Styptic: contracts tissues, blood stopper

Stratification: when seeds are stored in very cold conditions, such as refrigeration for several

Symptom: manifestation or evidence of a disease or physical or functional body disorder

Syndrome: a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterise a particular abnormality or disease

Therapeutic: treatment of disease or bodily disorders by remedial agents, methods, or modalities

Tonic: to improve the tone of an organ or the body generally, to restore to health

Umbel: a flower formation where all the stalks grow from one point (eg. parsley, dill)

Vermifuge: causes the expulsion of worms

Volatile oil: called volatile oil as it vaporises readily; also referred to as essential oil

Vulnerary: topical application that promotes healing of wounds

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