Abortifacient: A substance which causes or promotes abortion
Adaptogen: Increases the body's ability to adapt to internal or external stress
Alterative: Gradually alters or changes a condition
Analgesic: Relieves pain and discomfort
Anodyne: A medicine that relieves pain.
Antihelminic: Expels worms. Also called vermifuge.
Antibiotic: Kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.
Antidote: Counteracts the action af another substance; usually refers to poisons.
Antipyretic: Reduces or prevents a fever
Antiseptic: Destroys bacteria; usually applied externally
Antispasmodic: Relieves or prevents muscle spasms or cramps
Astringent: Causes dehydration and the tightening and shrinking of tissues. Used to stop bleeding and close pores.
Bitter tonic: Has a bitter taste that stimulates the flow of gastric juices
Calmative: Has a calming effect; usually not as strong as a sedative
Carminative: Dispels or prevents gas catarrh Inflammation of the mucous membranes; especially those of the respiratory system. May be accompanied by gastric upsets or diarrhea.
Cathartic: Causes evacuation of the bowels
Cholagogue Promotes the flow of bile
Demulcent: Oily or mucilaginous substance that soothes and moistens irritated tissues
Diaphoretic: Promotes sweating
Diuretic: Also called "water pills;" promotes the flow of urine emetic induces vomiting
Emmenagogue: Promotes menstruation
Emolient: Softens and soothes the skin
Expectorant: Expels phlegm by inducing coughing, sneezing, or spitting febrifuge Dissipates fever
Flatulence: Gas in the stomach or bowels
Hemostatic: Stops internal bleeding
Hepatic: Affecting the liver
Laxative A gentle cathartic. A laxative may act by stimulating the motion of the bowel, moistening the colon, increasing bile secretion, or relieving cramps. nervine calms nervousness, tension, and excitement
Pectoral: Relieves ailments of the chest and lungs
Physic: A medicinal preparation
Purgative: A strong cathartic
Rheumatism: Stiffness of joints and muscles
Rubefacient: Increases blood circulation to the area to which it is applied
Sedative: Reduces nervous tension; stronger than a calmative
Sialogogue: Increases the flow of saliva
Simple: A herb used solo in treatment of a medical condition
Soporific: Induces sleep
Stimulant: Increases or quickens actions of the body
Styptic: Stops external bleeding; usually an astringent
Sudorific: Promotes sweating
Tonic: Strengthens or invigorates the systems
Vermifuge: Destroys or expels worms
Vesicant: Causes blisters
Vulnerary: Used to treat wounds
Source: The Little Herb Encyclopedia by Jack Ritchason N.D.