Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
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Glossary part 4

This is part 4 and the last of the GLOSSARY that I had started earlier.  I do hope that you enjoy this as much as I do! 


For those who have shown interest in reading all 4 parts of my GLOSSARY,   Thanks, very much!






 GLOSSARY  PART 4    J  through W






JAUNDICE   yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, or whites of the eyes, caused by a buildup of bilirubin ( a bile pigment) in the skin









LEECH  An Anglo-Saxon word for a healer. The art of the leech is leechcraft or leechdom




LEECHBOOK  An Anglo-Saxon book of medicine.





LETHARGY  A feeling of tiredness, drowsiness or lack of energy.




LITER   A metric unit of volume equal to 1,000 cubic centimeters or  1.05 quarts liquid measure




LITHOTRIPTIC  an agent that dissolves urinary calculi  (stones)



LYMPH  fluid contained in lymphatic vessels, which flows through the lymphatic system to be returned to the blood.



LYMPH NODE   one of many rounded structures, ranging from the size of a pinhead to a grape, that filter out bacteria and other toxic substances to stop them from entering the bloodstream and causing infection.  Lyme nodes also produce lymphocytes, a type of blood cell.

















MALABSORPTION   Impaired absorption of nutrients most often a result of diarrhea.



MENORRHAGIA   excessive loss of blood during menstrual periods.



METABOLISM  the sum of all biochemical reactions in the body, including anabolism (building of complex chemicals from less complex ones) and catabolism ( breakdown of complex substances into simpler ones).



METRORRHAGIA   Normal uterine bleeding at an abnormal time.



MICROGRAM  A unit a weight in the metric system that's one-millionth of a gram or one   one-thousandth (0.001) of a milligram



MILILITER  A unit of volume  in the metric system that's one  one-thousandth (0.001) of a liter.



MINIM   a unit of capacity in the British imperial system that's one six - hundredth (0.06) of a milliliter



MUCILAGINOUS  Substance that is slimy, gooey, sticky.  It has the property of moistening, soothing, and helping heal skin and mucous membranes.   Soothing to all inflammation




MUSCLE RELAXANT   a drug that reduces tension in the muscles, commonly used to treat muscle spasms resulting from muscle, bone, or joint injury



MUTATION  an alteration in a cell's DNA caused by a disruption in cell division or by exposure to a cancer-causing substance or certain other substances.



MYELIN SHEATH   a white fatty substance that surrounds nerve cells to aid in nerve impulse transmission










NARCOTIC   Substance that lessens pain by causing depression of the central nervous system.  Causes stupor and numbness.



NATUROPATHY  An alternative system of medical practice that combines a mainstream understanding of human physiology and disease with alternative remedies, such as herbal and nutritional therapies, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and counseling. Naturopathic doctors favor natural treatments aimed at stimulating the body's own healing ability over drugs and surgery



NAUSEANT  produces vomiting




NEPHRITIS   inflammation of the kidney; the glomeruli, tubules and interstitial tissue may be affected.



NERVINE   strengthens functional activity of nervous system; may be stimulants or sedative.



NEURALGIA  pain in and originating along nerve fibers.



NSAID       Non steroidal  anti inflammatory drug       This is a drug that reduces inflammation n and controls pain without the use of steroids. Examples are Advil, Indocin, Orudis and Naprosyn










OPHTHALMICUM  a remedy for eye diseases



OXYTOCIC   agent that stimulates contractions accelerating childbirth.












PARASITICIDE   an agent that kills parasites and worms



PARTURIENT  stimulates uterine contraction which induce and assist labor.



PECTORAL  a remedy for chest affections



PERISTALSIS  the alternate contraction and relaxation of the walls of a tubular structure by means of which its contents are moved onward, characteristic of the intestinal tract, ureter, etc




PHENOTHIAZINE  a drug used to control psychosis or ease vomiting



PHYTOMEDICINE  herbal medicine



PHARMACOPOEIA   a list of drugs and formulas



POULTICE   A warm, damp pack of herbs applied to a wound or sprain to draw the blood and relieve pain.




PRECURSOR  starts a chain reaction which accelerates growth.



PROPHYLACTIC   any agent or regimen that contributes to the prevention of infection and disease.



PROSTAGLANDIN    hormone like substance that has a wide range of functions including acting as chemical messenger and causing uterine contractions.


PRURITUS  itching; an inflammation of the skin that produces itching



PSYCHOACTIVE   a consciousness-altering herb, often hallucinogenic or narcotic



PULMONARY EDEMA  a condition in which fluid builds up in the spaces outside the lung's blood vessels.



PUNGENT    penetrating or sharp to the taste



PURGATIVE   Laxative       Causes watery evacuation of intestinal contents



PUTREFACTION  decomposition of organic matter, especially proteins, by the action of bacteria, resulting in the formation of foul smelling compounds.




PSA  TEST   PROTATE SPECIFIC ANTIGEN  TEST   a blood test that measures the level of protein produced by prostate gland cells.  The PSA  test is used to help detect prostate diseases.










REFRIGERANT   an herb that cools the blood and thus reduces fever



RELAXANT   relaxes nerves and muscles; relieves tension



RESOLVENT   that which reduces inflammation or swelling.



RESTORATIVE   an agent that is effective in the regaining of health and strength; restores normal physiological activity



RHINITIS   inflammation of the sinus membranes beginning in the mucous membranes of the nose (rhino means  “nose”)



RUBEFACIENT  stimulates blood flow to the skin thus  producing redness of the skin

















SEDATIVE   an herb that calms or tranquilizes  specific organs or systems; cardiac, nervous, cerebral, spinal



SIALAGOGUE  an agent that stimulates the secretion of saliva



SOPORIFIC  inducing sleep



SIMPLE   A single herb given as a remedy



SPASMOLYTIC    antispasmodic



STILL ROOM  BOOK  An eighteenth century privately kept book f herbal recipes.



STIMULANT   increases internal heat, dispels internal chill and strengthens metabolism and circulation  ( can produce a sense of well being)



STOMACHIC   an herb that aids  and strengthens the stomach function



STYPTIC  a blood staunching herb  ( stops hemorrhage)




SUDORIFIC  produces sweat



SUFFUMIGATION  An application of smoke or fumes.        Incense



SYSTEMIC  relating to or affecting the entire body









TAENIFUGE  agent that expels tapeworms



TANNIN   active plant constituents that combined with proteins; stringent .  Astringent compounds in plants that protect the plant from yeasts, being eaten, and bacterial decay.



TAPEWORM   any of several ribbon like worms that infest the intestines




TINCTURE  A mixture of herbal extract and alcohol.  Useful  because of the preservative and extractive properties of alcohol on herbs.



TISANE  a French word for an herb tea.



TONIC   restoring, nourishing and supporting for the entire body; a substance that exerts a gentle strengthening effect on the body. 



TOPICAL USE   application of a drug or an herbal product to the skin and surface tissues of the body.  (Ointments,  solutions, dusting powders, nasal drops, rectal and vaginal suppositories, ear and eye drops )



TOXIN   a poisonous substance of animal or plant origin



TRITURATION  a process of rubbing herbs and spices down to a fine powder and blending them.










UNGUENT   An archaic term for ointment or salves.



UREMIA    toxic condition associating  the renal insufficiency produced by the retention in the blood of nitrogenous substances normally excreted by the kidney.



URINARY ANTISEPTIC  substance that is antiseptic to the urinary tract.



UTERINE TONIFIER  substance that has a strengthening activity on the tissues of the uterus.










VAGINITIS   inflammation of the vagina, from irritation or infection



VASOCONSTRICTOR   an agent that narrows blood vessel openings, restricting the flow of blood through them



VASODILATOR  cases relaxation of blood vessels



VERMIFUGE  worm expellant




VERTIGO  the sensation of spinning or dizziness



VOLATILE  quickly evaporating



VULNERARY  assists in healing f wounds by protecting against infection and stimulating cell growth








WORT   from the Old English  wyrt,  meaning a root or plant. In herbalism, an herb, usually used as a combined term.   e.g  St John's wort,   liverwort.





Here is part three of my glossary that I would like to share with you:



ECZEMA             chronic skin inflammation

EDEMA                     accumulation of fluid in tissues (swelling)

EMETIC                  produces vomiting

EMMENAGOGUE                induces monthly

EMOLLIENT                  softens and soothes inflamed parts

(when used internally it is called a demulcent)

ENTERITIS                 inflammation of the small intestine

ENTERVATE                      to deprive of strength, vigor; to weaken physically and mentally

EPSTEIN-BARR VIRUS                  the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis and that is associated with Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal cancer.

ESCULENT                     edible

ESTROGEN              hormone that exert female characteristics

EXANTHEMATOUS              remedy for skin eruptions and diseases

EXPECTORANT            substance that causes mucus in the lungs and bronchial passages to come out more easily, usually through coughing ( or encourages the loosening and removal of phlegm from the respiratory tract.)


FEBRIFUGE         reduces fevers

FISTULA                    an abnormal passage between two internal organs, or from an organ to the surface of the body

FLACCID                 not firm or stiff; limp; lacking in force or vigor

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION            The U.S federal agency that protects the public against health hazards from food and food additives and ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs, medical devices, and dietary supplements.

FORMULATION                  a drug product prepared according to a specific composition

FREE RADICAL               A molecule containing an odd number of electrons. Some researchers believe free radicals may play a role in cancer development by interacting with DNA and impairing normal cell function


CALACTOGOGUE                  agent that promotes the flow of milk


GALLBLADDER                the pear-shaped organ located just under the liver that acts as a bile reservoir.

GASTRITIS inflammation of the stomach lining ( intestinal tract)

GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE               Inflammation of the esophagus caused by back-flow of acid from the stomach. Its main symptom is chronic heartburn

GIARDIA                    a genus of flagellate protozoa some of which are parasitic in the intestinal tract of man and domestic animal; transmitted by ingestion of cysts in fecal contaminated water and food; interfere with the absorption of facts; boiling water inactivates them

GINGIVITIS                       inflammation of the gums

GLAUCOMA                a condition in which the pressure of the fluid in the eye is so high that it causes damage


GOITER                   an enlargement of the thyroid gland that causes swelling in the front of the neck

GOUT                   inflammation of joints caused by uric acid crystals lodging in them.

GRAIN                   the smallest unit of weight in the apothecary system, equivalent to 0.06 gram

GRAM                       the basic unit of weight in the metric system, equivalent to 1/1000 of a kilogram or three one hundredths (0.03) of an ounce


HEART ATTACK                sudden blockage of one or more of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle

HEMATURIA                  blood in the urine

HEMOLYTIC                      a substance which destroys red blood cells

HEMORRHAGE                  bleeding, usually rapid and significant

HEMORRHOID                an abnormally swollen vein beneath the lining of the anal canal or near the anus that may cause itching, pain or bleeding

HEMOSTATIC                    stop bleeding

HEPATIC              herbs that support and stimulate the liver, gall bladder and spleen and increase the flow of bile.

HEPATITIS                         inflammation of the liver

HERPETIC                   a remedy for skin diseases of all types

HERNIA                the projection or out pouching of an organ or a part of an organ through the wall that normally contains it.

HISTAMINE              a chemical found in all tissues that causes tiny arteries called capillaries to widen, makes smooth muscles contract, increases the heart rate, causes blood pressure to drop, and promotes secretion of stomach acids. Histamine is formed and released during allergic reactions.

HIVES        Itchy, raised, red areas of inflamed skin caused by an allergic reaction

HOMEOSTASIS                      equilibrium of internal environment

HYDRAGOGUE                   promotes watery evacuation of the bowels

HYPERTENSIVE                    used to increase blood pressure

HYPNOTIC                   induces sleep

HYPOGLYCEMIA           abnormal concentration of sugar in the blood ( low blood sugar)

HYPOTENSIVE                     used to reduce blood pressure



IMMUNOSTIMULANT              a substance that stimulates the immune system's health and ability to respond to disease either gradually or quickly

INCONTINENCE                 the inability to control urination or defecation

INDOLENT                           sluggish; casing little or no pain

INFUSION               An extremely strong tea made with either hot or cold water and and herb

IRRITANT                  induces a local inflammation

INTERFERON                   a potent immune enhancing substance that is produced by the body's cells to fight off viral infection and cancer


GLOSSARY Part 2 B thro D



Here is the second series of my glossary regarding the meanings of the words used.

Starting with THE LETTER B

BACTERICIDE destroys bacteria

BARBITURATE A drug that causes sedation, a hypnotic state, or both. Barbiturates can be addictive.

BENZODIAZEPINE A drug used to treat anxiety or sleeping disorders, to relax muscles, or to control seizures.

BETA BLOCKER A drug that decreases the rate and force of heart contractions and widens blood vessels, helping to reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers typically are prescribed for people with coronary artery disease, angina ( (chest pains caused by heart problems), irregular heartbeats, or a history of heart attacks.

BILIRUBIN the breakdown product of the hemoglobin molecule of red blood cells

BINDER A substance added to a drug or herbal product to hold together the product's ingredients.

BIOFLAVONOID One of a group of naturally occurring plant compounds needed to strengthen tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Some researches believe bioflavonoids may help protect against cancer and infection.

BIOMEDICINE A system of medicine based on the principles of natural sciences.

BITTER TONIC an herb or a group of herbs that stimulates the digestive processes.

BLOOD CLEANSER an agent that cleanses the blood

BLOOD PURIFIER an agent that cleanses the blood as well as enhancing the blood by increasing the nutrient value.

BLOOD PURIFIER An herb that stimulates the digestive and excretory processes of the body to aid in the elimination of waste products.

BLOOD THINNER A drug tat prevents blood clotting ( heparin, coumadin, warfarin)

BRONCHITIS Inflammation of bronchial mucous membranes.


CALMATIVE gently clams nerves

CANDIDA yeast-like fungi

CANDIDA ALBICANS the fungus responsible for monilial infections, such as thrush, vaginitis and sometimes systemic infections

CANDIDIASIS any disease condition caused by the yeast CANDIDA ALBICANS. It is commonly found on the skin and in the mouth, vagina, and rectum. Overuse of antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs, which interfere with the normal metabolic checks and balances of the body, has caused many people to suffer from candidiasis and allowed the once rare disease to become something of a national celebrity.

CARDIAC heart tonic or restorative

CARDIOACTIVE a substance that acts directly on the muscles of the heart

CARDIOTONIC substance that regulates or strengthens heart action and metabolism; whatever the condition of the heart, a cardiotonic brings it back to a normal range of action.

CARMINATIVE relieves intestinal gas pain and distension; promotes peristalsis

CARBUNCLE painful infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues with production and discharge of pus and dead tissue, similar to a boil (faruncle) but more severe and with multiple sinus formation; usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

CATAPLASM another name for poultice

CATARRH inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the nose and throat, with discharge

CATHARTIC a strong laxative which causes rapid evacuation

CELL PROLIFERATOR enhances the formation of new tissue to speed the healing process

CEPHALIC remedies used in diseases of the head

CHOLAGOGUE stimulates bile flow from the gall bladder and bile ducts into the duodenum

( induces gall bladder contraction)

CHOLERETIC substance that encourages the liver to produce bile

CHRONIC designating a disease showing little change or of slow progression; opposite of acute

CIMCIFUGA to drive away bugs, neutralizes rattlesnake bites, scorpion stings

COLIC spasmodic pain effecting smooth muscle, such a the intestines, gall bladder or urinary tract

COLITIS inflammation of the colon

COLON the main part of the large intestine, which connects the small intestine with the rectum. It converts what's left of consumed food into stool by removing water and salts.

COMPOUND a substance made up or two or more ingredients

COMPRESS a soft pad usually mad of cloth, that's used to apply heat, cold, or drugs or herbs to the surface of a body area.

COUNTERIRRITANT causing irritation in one part to relieve pain in another part

CYST an abnormal lump or swelling, filled with fluid or semi solid cheesy material in any body organ or tissue

CYSTITIS inflammation of the inner lining of the bladder. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection


DEBILITY weakness of tonicity in functions or organs of the body.

DECOCTION a substance prepared by boiling

DECONGESTANT a substance that acts to break up congestion

DEHYDRATION deficient in fluids

DEMENTIA an organic mental syndrome marked by general loss of intellectual abilities, with chronic personality disintegration confusion, disorientation and stupor.

DEMULCENT soothing to mucous membranes ( lubricates and coats the stomach and intestine linings.)

DEOBSTRUENT removes obstruction

DEPURANT stimulates excretions

DEPURATIVE purifies the blood

DETERGENT cleansing to boils, ulcers, and wounds

DISCUTIENT dissolves and heals tumors

DIAPHORETIC stimulates sweating


DIURETIC acts to increase the flow of urine.

DIVERTICULI pathological sac like out pouchings of the wall of the colon

DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES in herbal medicine, the primitive method of determining which plants should be used for which aliments, based on the plant's resemblance to the ailment. For example, the heart shaped leaves for heart conditions and plants with red flowers for bleeding disorders.

DRAM a unit of weigh equivalent to 1/8 ounce or 60 grains

DRASTIC a very active cathartic which produces a violent peristalsis

DUODENUM the beginning of the small intestine; lies just below the stomach.

DYSMENORRHEA painful menstruation

DYSPEPSIA poor digestion, often with heart burn and stomach acid reflux

DYSPNEA sense of difficulty in breathing, often associated with lung or heart disease.




I thought I would share with you friends some of the meanings to words that we herbalists often throw around when describing some of our products . So, I've compiled a list of words in the “ A” section and their meanings. I'll continue to add more starting with “B' in the next couple of days. I hope that this list is helpful.


ABORTIFACIENT: A substance that induces abortion, premature expulsion of the fetus

ACE INHIBITOR a drug that blocks the formation of natural body chemical, thus relaxing blood vessels and decreasing water and salt retention. It's used to lower blood pressure or manage heart failure.

ACUTE an illness that comes on quickly, has severe symptoms and a generally short duration. e.g., measles or colds. The opposite of chronic

ADAPTOGEN an agent that increases resistance to stress

ADRENALINE a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that produce the “fight or flight” response. A/k/a epinephrine.

ALTERATIVE: cleansing, stimulating, efficient removal of waste products

AMENORRHEA absence or suppression of menstruation

ANALGESIC: relieves pain

ANAPHRODISIAC subdues sexual desire

ANAPHYLAXIS a severe, life threatening allergic reaction marked by flushing, hives, itching, swelling of the lips and eyelids, throat tightening, sudden hoarseness, nausea and vomiting. It can start within seconds of exposure to an allergy causing substance and can cause death within minutes unless treated immediately.

ANDROGEN hormones that stimulate male characteristics

ANESTHETIC deadens sensation and reduces pain

ANODYNE reduces pain

ANTAGONIST opposes the action of other medicines

ANTHELMINTIC A substance that can help to destroy and expel intestinal parasites

ANTI BACTERIAL destroys or stops the growth of bacterial infections

ANTI BILIOUS reduces biliary or jaundice condition

ANTIBIOTIC kills disease causing bacteria or prevents bacteria from reproducing.

ANTI CATARRHAL eliminates mucus conditions

ANTICOAGULANT slowing or stopping the clotting of blood

ANTI DEPRESSANT prevents or relieves symptoms of mental depression

ANTIDOTE a substance used to counteract a poison

ANTI EMETIC lessons nausea and prevents or relieves vomiting.

ANTI FUNGAL destroying or preventing the growth of fungi

ANTI GALACTAGOGUE prevents or decreases secretion of milk

ANTI HEMORRHAGIC stops bleeding and hemorrhaging

ANTI HEPATOXIC prevents toxins from negatively affecting the liver

ANTI HISTAMINE a drug that blocks the action of histamine, a body chemical released by the immune system, by binding to histamine receptors in various body tissues. In the nose, it stops histamines from making the nasal blood vessels expand ( the cause of runny nose)

ANTI HYPERTENSIVE lowers the blood pressure

ANTI INFLAMMATORY reduces inflammation and associated symptoms such as pain and swelling.

ANTI LITHIC prevents or relieves stones in the urinary organs

ANTI MICROBIAL destroys or prevents the growth of micro organisms

ANTI MUTAGENIC reduces or interferes with mutagenic activity of other substances

ANTI NEOPLASTIC prevents the growth of abnormal or cancerous cells

ANTI OXIDANT a substance such as vitamin E, that works alone or in a group to destroy disease causing substances called free radicals.

ANTI PERIODIC preventing regular recurrences of a disease or symptoms.

ANTI PHLOGISTIC reduces inflammation

ANTI PYRETIC reduces fever

ANTI RHEUMATIC prevents or relieves rheumatism

ANTI SEPTIC a substance used to destroy harmful microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa) or to inhibit their growth.

ANTI SPASMODIC relieves or prevents spasms of muscles and associated tissues

ANTI SYPHILITIC cures or relieves syphilis or venereal diseases.

ANTI THROMBOTIC prevents blood clots

ANTI TOXIC neutralizes a poison form the system

ANTI TUSSIVE: reduces or relieves coughs

ANTI VIRAL opposes the action of a virus

APERIENT mild laxative without purging

APERITIVE herbs that stimulate the appetite

APHRODISIAC stimulates sexual arousal

AROMATIC A substance containing volatile oils that have a strong and stimulating scent

ASTRINGENT has constricting or binding effect ; checks hemorrhages

ATONIC without normal tension or tone

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