Medical Terms


Adaptogen: Offers general help to the body and increase its ability to adapt to stress.

Alterative: Causes a gradual beneficial change in the body, usually through improved nutrition and elimination, without having any marked specific action.

An: Reduces sexual desire.

Anesthetic: Numbs the feeling in a local or general area of the body.

Analgesic: Relieves pain.

Anodyne:   Relieves pain, it is milder than an analgesic.

Anthelmintic: Expels parasites from the gut.

Antianxiety:   Helps relieve anxiety. See also Nervine and Sedative.

Antiarthritic:  Treats arthritis.

Antiasthmatic:   Treats asthma.

Antibacterial:   Kills bacteria.

Antibilious: Corrects the secretions of bile.

Antibiotic:  An agent that inhibits or destroys a living organism. It usually refers to bacteria or other micro-organisms and is probably synonymous with Antibacterial.

Anticholesterolemic:  Prevents the buildup of cholesterol.

Antidandruff:  Treats dandruff.

Antidepressant: Used to alleviate mood disorders, such as major depression and dysthymia and anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder.

Antidiarrhoeal: Provides symptomatic relief for diarrhea. Also see Astringent.

Antidote: Counters poisoning.

Antiemetic:  Prevents vomiting.

Antifungal:  An agent that inhibits or destroys fungi. Used in the treatment of various fungal problems such as Candida.

Antihaemorrhoidal: Treats hemorrhoids (piles). This would probably be best added to another heading.

Antihalitosis:  Treats bad breath

Antihydrotic: Reduces perspiration.

Antiinflammatory:  Reduces inflammation of joints, injuries etc.

Antiperiodic: Counteracts recurring illnesses such as malaria.

Antiphlogistic:  Reduces inflammation.

Antipruritic: Treats itching of the skin.

Antipsoriatic:  Used to treat psoriasis (an autoimmune disease that affects the skin).

Antipyretic:  Treats fevers. See Febrifuge.

Antirheumatic: Treats rheumatism.

Antiscorbutic:  A plant rich in vitamin C that is used to counteract scurvy.

Antiseptic: Preventing sepsis, decay or putrefaction, it destroys or arrests the growth of micro-organisms.

Antispasmodic:  Relaxes muscular spasms and cramps, calming nervous irritation.

Antitumor: Preventing, or effective against, tumors, it is used in the treatment of cancer.

Antitussive:   Prevents or relieves coughing.

Antivinous: Treats addiction to alcohol

Antiviral: Treats virus diseases

Aperient:  A mild laxative.

Aphrodisiac:  Increases the sexual appetite.

Appetizer:  Improves the appetite

Aromatherapy:  Plants whose essential oils are used in Aromatherapy.  

Aromatic:  Having an agreeable odor and stimulant qualities.

Astringent: Produces contraction in living tissue, reducing the flow of secretions and discharges of blood, mucus, diarrhea etc.



Bach:  Plants used in the Bach flower remedies.

Birthing aid: Used in facilitating birth, but not just to cause uterine contractions.

Blood purifier: Purifies the blood.



Cancer:    Used in the treatment of cancer.

Cardiac:  Used in the treatment of heart problems.

Cardio: A tonic for the heart.

Carminative: Reduces flatulence and expels gas from the intestines.

Cathartic: A strong laxative but less violent than a purgative.

Cholagogue:  Increases the flow of bile and its discharge from the body.

Contraceptive: Prevents fertilization occurring in females.



Demulcent:   Soothes, lubricates and softens irritated tissues, especially the mucous membranes.

Deobstruent: Clears obstructions from the natural ducts of the body.

Deodorant: Masks smells.

Depurative:    Eliminates toxins and purifies the system, especially the blood.

Diaphoretic:  Induces perspiration.

Digestive: Aids digestion.

Disinfectant: Used for cleaning wounds.

Diuretic: Acts on the kidneys, promoting the flow of urine. 



Emetic:  Induces vomiting. 

Emmenagogue: Promotes or increases the menstrual flow. In early stages of pregnancy it can induce an abortion. 

Emollient:   Softens the skin, causing warmth and moisture.

Enuresis:   Treats bed wetting.

Expectorant:  Clears phlegm from the chest by inducing coughing.



Febrifuge:  Reduces fevers.



Galactofuge:  Stops or reduces the flow of milk in a nursing mother.

Galactogogue: Promotes the flow of milk in a nursing mother.



Hemostatic: Controls internal bleeding.

Hallucinogenic: Causes the mind to hallucinate.

Homeopathy:  A plant used in homeopathic treatments.

Hypnotic:  Induces sleep.

Hypoglycaemic: Reduces the levels of sugar in the blood. 

Hypotensive: Reduces blood pressure, it is used in the treatment of high blood pressure 



Irritant: Causes irritation or abnormal sensitivity in living tissue.



Kidney:  Used in the treatment of kidney diseases



Laxative: Stimulates bowel movements in a fairly gentle manner.

Lenitive: Soothing, palliative.

Lithontripic:  Removes stones from the kidney, bladder etc. 



Narcotic:  Relieves pain, induces drowsiness and gives a sense of well-being.

Nervine: Stimulates and calms the nerves.



Odontalgic:   Treats toothache (temporary measure only) and other problems of the teeth and gums.

Ophthalmic:   Treats eye complaints.



Parasiticide: Treats external parasites such as ringworm.

Pectoral:   Relieves respiratory diseases, a remedy for chest diseases.

Poultice: A moist, usually warm or hot, mass of plant material applied to the skin in the treatment of burns etc.

Purgative: A drastic laxative causing a cleansing or watery evacuation of the bowels, usually with a griping pain.



Refrigerant: Cools the Body

Resolvent: Breaks down tumors. This might be placed under antitumor.

Rubefacient:  A counter-irritant and external stimulant, it produces inflammation and redness of the skin.



Salve: Soothes and heals damaged skin.

Sedative: Gently calms, reducing nervousness, distress and irritation.

Sialagogue: Stimulates the secretion of saliva.

Skin:  Plants used in miscellaneous treatments for the skin.

Stimulant:  Excites or quickens activity of the physiological processes. Faster acting than a tonic but differing from a narcotic in that it does not give a false sense of well-being.

Stings:  Used in the treatment of stings and insect bites

Stomachic: Aids and improves the action of the stomach.



Tonic: Improves general health. Slower acting than a stimulant, it brings steady improvement.



Vasodilator: Widens the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure.

VD: Used in the treatment of venereal disease

Vermifuge: Expels and kills internal parasites.

Vesicant: A blistering agent.

Vulnerary: Promotes the healing of wounds.



Warts:  Used in the treatment of warts, corns etc.