Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
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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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