The Herbal Terminology includes the definition of herbal followed by examples of herbs typically placed in that category. All herbs have multiple actions therefore if an herb is listed in one category it does not mean that is the only property of that herb. Please e-mail questions if you need further information.

Absorbents: Herbs used to produce absorption of exudates or as an application of diseased tissues. (Slippery Elm, Mullein, Black Elm)

Alternative: Gradually restore proper function of the body by increasing health and vitality. Also used as blood cleansers. (Burdock, Chickweed, Cleavers, Echinacea Garlic, Golden Seal, Nettles, Plantain, Red Clover, Yarrow)

Analgesic/Anodyne: Herbs to reduce pain either by topical application or internal use. (Catnip, Chamomile, Clove, Comfrey, Hops , Passion Flower, Peppermint, Pansy, Skullcap, St. Johnís Wort, Valerian, White Willow)

Anthelmintic: Herbs that destroy or expel intestinal worms (Cascara Sagrada, Cloves, Wormwood)

Anti-Abortives: Herbs used to counteract abortive tendencies ( Cramp Bark, Red Raspberry, Wild Yam, Witch Hazel)

Anti-Catarrhal: Herbs that help the body remove excess congestion in the sinus passages and other mucous membrane based areas (Cayenne, Coltsfoot, Echinacea, Garlic, Hyssop, Marshmallow, Mullein, Mint, Sage, Thyme, Yarrow)

Anti-Emetic: Help reduce nausea and relieve or prevent vomiting (Cayenne, Clove, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Meadowsweet, Mint)

Anti-Hydropics/Diuretics: Herbs used to eliminate excess body fluids ( Dandelion, Uva Ursa, Buchu Leaves)

Anti-Inflammatory: Soothes and relieves inflammation (Calendula, Chamomile, Fennel, Meadowsweet, St Johns Wort)

Anti-Microbial: Help the body destroy or resist pathogenic microorganisms (Anise Seed, Cayenne, Clove, Coriander, Echinacea, Garlic, Oregano, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Southernwood, Thyme, Wormwood)

Anti-Rheumatic: Used for rheumatoid difficulties (Cayenne, Chickweed, Juniper Berry)

Anti-Septic: Destroy or inhibit pathogenic or putrefactive bacteria (Bilberry, Clove, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Lavender, Myrrh, Olive, Onion, Willow, Wormwood, Yarrow)

Anti-Spasmodic: Relieve or prevent spasms or cramps. May also ease psychological tension (Anise, Basil, Black Cohosh, Nettle, Caraway, Catnip, Chamomile, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Hawthorn, Hyssop, Lavender, Motherwort, Mullein, Oregano, Passion Flower, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Skullcap, ST Johns wort, Thyme, Valerian, Wormwood, Yarrow)

Aperient: Mild laxative (Burdock, Elder, Blackthorn, Mustard Seed)

Appetizer: Stimulate the appetite (Alfalfa, Angelica, Basil, Caraway, Cardamon, Cayenne, Ginger, Ginseng, Nutmeg)

Aromatics: Herbs that are odoriferous, having a fragrant pungent and spicy taste. Stimulate the gastrointestinal mucous membranes. Often used to add aroma and taste to other herbals. (Basil, Chamomile, Caraway, Catnip, Cinnamon, Cloves, Dill, Mint, Vanilla, Wild Marjoram)

Astringent: Herbs with a binding property on mucous membranes, skin and other tissues. Causing contraction of organic tissue, reducing secretions, or discharges. (Bayberry, Bilberry, Birch, Blackberry, Black Cohosh, Nettle, Catnip, Comfrey, Eyebright, Golden Seal, Meadowsweet, Myrrh, Willow, Witch Hazel, Yarrow)

Catactophyga: Reduce or stop the production of milk (Bilberry, Cassia Bark, Sage, Parsley)

Calefacients: Diffuse stimulation which results in capillary circulation for an external sense of warmth (cayenne)

Carminitives: Contains volatile oils that help release gas from the intestines and support digestion ( Allspice, Anise, Basil, Catnip, Caraway, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Chamomile, Fennel, Garlic, Lavender, Motherwort, Oregano, Mint, Star Anise, Valerian, Wormwood, Yarrow)

Chalogogue: Herbs that stimulate the release and secretion of bile from the gallbladder. Also have a laxative effect ( Aloe, Burdock, Barberry, Dandelion, Fumitory, Garlic, GoldenSeal, Milk Thistle, Wormwood, Yarrow)

Demulcent: Herbs that soothe and protect irritated or inflamed internal tissue, particularly mucous membranes (Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Fenugreek, Licorice, Mallow, Mullein, Oats, Pumpkin)

Diaphoretic: Promote perspiration and aid the skin in the elimination of toxins. (Arnica, Bayberry, Blackthorn, Burdock, Buchu, Catnip, Cayenne, Chamomile, Dill, Elder, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Meadowsweet, Passion Flower, Willow, Wormwood, Yarrow)

Digestive: Promote or aid in digestion. (Anise, Chicory, Chives, Echinacea, Fennel, Garlic, Mugwort, Mustard, Papaya)

Discutients: Herbs that dispel or hinder abnormal growth and tumors (Arnica, Bladderwrack, Burdock, Chickweed, Garlic, Golden Seal, Plantain, Red Clover, Slippery Elm, Witch Hazel, Wormwood)

Diuretic: Increase secretion/elimination of urine. (Alfalfa, Dandelion, Fennel, Marshmallow, Red Clover, Mints, Uva Ursa and numerous other herbs have mild diuretic benefits)

Emmenagogue: Stimulate and normalize menstrual flow. Also includes general female tonics. (Black Cohosh, Chamomile, Fenugreek, Ginger, Motherwort, Mugwort, Red Raspberry, Rosemary, Wormwood, Yarrow)

Emollient: Used to expel excess mucous from the lungs and respiratory passages (Anise, Arnica, Black Coshosh, Fenugreek, Fennel, Golden Seal, Mullein, Oregano, Parsley, Savory)

Febrifuge: Used to bring down fevers. (Angelica, Borage, Cayenne, Garlic, Hops, Hyssop, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Sage, Valerian, Willow)

Galactagogue: Herbs that encourage the production of milk during lactation. ( Anise Seed, Basil, Blessed Thistle, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Milk Thistle, Nettles, Red Raspberry)

Hemostatic: Herbs that stop bleeding or hemorrhaging (Black Berry Leaf, Mullein, Nettles, Turkish Rhubarb, Yarrow, White Oak Bark)

Hepatic: Herbs that aid the liver by toning and strengthening. (Blessed Thistle, Cleavers, Dandelion, Fennel, Wild Yam, Milk Thistle)

Hypnotic: Herbs that relax, sedate and induce sleep. (Passion Flower, Valerian, Hops, California Poppy)

Laxative: Herbs that stimulate bowel movements (Burdock, Cascara, Senna)

Nephritics: Herbs that are healing to the kidneys. (Aloe, Black Cohosh, Blessed Thistle, Chamomile, Dandelion, Golden Seal, Parsley, Uva Ursa, White Oak Bark)

Nervine: Strengthen, relaxes, or stimulates the nervous system. (Chamomile, Catmint, Damiana, Foxglove, Peppermint)

Ophthalmics: Beneficial for disorders of the eye (Angelica, Chamomile, Chickweed, Mullein, Plantain, WhiteWillow) For washes (Goldenseal & Marshmallow Root)

Parasticides: Destroys parasites in the body (Blackberry leaf, Cinnamon oil, Cloves, Mullein, Wormwood)

Parturients: Strengthen the respiratory system (Alfalfa, Angelica, Anise Seed, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Fennel, Garlic, Golden Seal, Mullein)

Rubefacient: Produces a gentle stimulation that results in a reddening of the skin. (Black Pepper, Cayenne, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Nettles, Wild Marjoram)

Sedative: Soothe the nervous system, reduces stress (Black Cohosh, Catnip, Chamomile, Hops, Passion Flower, Lavender, Valerian, Skullcap, St Johnís Wort)

Sialogogue: Stimulate the secretion of saliva (Cayenne, Ginger, Lemon, Prickly Ash)

Stomachic: Strengthen and stimulate the stomach function. (Aloe, Anise seed, Caraway, Cardamon, Dandelion, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Ginseng, Mint, Oregano, Star Anise, Valerian)

Tonic: Invigorate the entire body. (Calendula, Cayenne, Chamomile, Comfrey, Dandelion, Golden Seal, Licorice, Nettles, Oats, Red Clover, Thyme, Yarrow)

Vulnerary: Herbs that are applied externally to aid in the healing of wounds and external injury. (Aloe, Arnica, Comfrey, Fenugreek, Garlic, Slippery Elm, Yarrow)

This list is of course not all inclusive but simply a place to begin your studies. Special thanks to the Global College of Natural Medicine.

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