Homeopathic and Herbal Terms List

Below is a list of traditional historical terms used to describe herbal and homeopathic properties, common to western herbalism.  While these homeopathic and herbal terms often differ in definition from the same term used in modern allopathic western medicine, this is an excellent quick resource list to help catch you up to speed on the terms we use on our website.



Abortifacient: Capable of inducing labor or abortion.

Adaptogenic: Helps us adapt to stress by supporting the adrenal glands, organs, systems, and whole being.

Alterative: Corrects long standing dysfunctions in the body by gradually cleansing tissues and organs of toxic accumulation. Also known as blood cleansers, they also clear the skin of toxic accumulation.

Analgesic: Relieves general pain.

Anaphrodisiac: Reduces sexual feelings and desire.

Anesthetic: Relieves local pain by reducing nerve sensation.

Anodyne:  Pain reliever.

Anthelmintic: Expels worms form the intestines–same as vermifuge.

Anti-allergenic: Relieves symptoms of allergies.

Anti-bacterial: Inhibits growth of bacteria.

Anti-cancer: Herbs that have been used historically to treat cancer; or have been scientifically studied and known to contain anti-cancer properties

Anti-carcinogenic:  Inhibits growth of cancer cells or tumors

Anti-catarrh: Expectorant; reduces or relieves excess mucus secretion in sinuses or any other body location

Anti-coagulant: Delays or prevents blood coagulation, or thins the blood.

Anti-convulsive: Prevents or reduces convulsions.

Anti-depressant: Reduces and prevents depression.

Anti-emetic: Relieves nausea and vomiting.

Anti-flatulent: Reduces intestinal gas.

Anti-fungal: Inhibits the growth of fungal infections.

Anti-hemorrhagic: Prevents or arrests hemorrhage or bleeding.

Anti-histamine: Counteracts hystamine in the body.

Anti-inflammatory: Reduces or eliminates inflammation (same as antiphlogistic).

Anti-lithic: Dissolves and prevents formation of stones.

Anti-neuralgic: Alleviates nerve pain.

Anti-oxidant: Inhibits or prevents oxidation (molecular deterioration).

Anti-parasitic: Kills or inhibits growth of parasites.

Anti-perspirant: Reduces or eliminates perspiration.

Anti-pruritic: Relieves itching.

Anti-putrifactive or anti-putrescent: Prevents or delays decomposition or decay.

Anti-pyretic:  Reduces fever

Anti-sclerotic: Removes circulatory deposits and plaque build-up, prevents hardening of tissue due to chronic inflammation.

Anti-scorbutic:  Relieves symptoms of scurvy, and improves absorption of vitamin C.

Anti-seborrhic: Relieves seborrhea, dandruff, and/or dermatitis.

Anti-septic: Kills or inhibits growth of bacteria. Prevents decay or putrefaction.

Anti-spasmodic: Relieves and prevents cramps, spasms, convulsions.

Anti-sudorific: Stops perspiration.

Anti-thrombotic: Prevents the formation of clots.

Anti-toxic: Counteracts poisons or toxic substances.

Anti-tussive: Relieves coughing.

Anti-viral: Inhibits viral infection.

Aperient: Very mild laxative.

Aperitive or aperitif: Stimulates apatite.

Aphrodisiac: Enhances sexual sensation and desire. Tonic aphrodisiacs build reproductive system health. Stimulants increase the functioning of sexual organs. Aromatic aphrodisiacs act on the hypothalamus to increase sexual desire.

Astringent: Contracts tissue, reduces secretions, constricts blood vessels, tightens and binds tissue.


Balsamic: Softens or liquifies mucus; heals and soothes tissues.

Bradycardic: Slows the heartbeat.

Bronchodilator: Dilates bronchial tubes, reduces spasm.


Cardiotonic: Tones the heart muscle.

Carminative: Relieves flatulence, reduces gas, helps to stop the formation of gas and expel gas from intestines.

Cathartic: Causes the bowels to evacuate. It may be mild (Laxative) or strong (Purgative).

Cephalic: Regenerative to the brain and head. Contains memory enhancement properties.

Cholagogue: Increases the flow of bile into the intestines.

Choleretic: Stimulates production of bile.

Counter-irritant: Applied locally to produce inflammation, to affect adjacent tissues. The intention is to stimulate the acute stage in order to get the body to heal itself. These include 3 degrees of counterirritant; Rubifacients redden the skin; Vesicants produce blisters; and Escharotics form an eschar or slough, or cause death of tissue.

Cicatrizant: Enhances formation of scar tissue and stimulates cellular healing.

Cytophylactic:  Protects cells against injury and aging.  Increases leucocytes to fight infection.


Decongestant: Reduces congestion, dissolves mucus.

Demulcent: Soothes, softens, or protects mucus membranes, tissues, and linings.

Deodorant: Masks or destroys odor.

Depurative: Cleanses, purifies, and detoxifies tissues, organs or circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Diaphoretic: Increases or stimulates perspiration.

Digestive: Promotes and aids digestion.

Disinfectant: Kills micro-organisms such as germs, bacteria, viruses.

Diuretic: Increases elimination of excess water from tissues, skin, and lymphatic system through increased urine production.


Estrogenic: Produces an estrogen-like action.

Emetic: Causes vomiting.

Emollient: Softens, moisturizes, and heals skin.

Emmenogogue: Regulates menstruation.

Escharotic: Produces eschars (draws toxic or necrotic tissue out of the body). See Counterirritant.

Expectorant: Increases discharge and elimination of mucus from sinuses, lungs, bronchial tubes, etc.

Euphoric:  Produces an intense feeling of happiness and well-being.


Febrifuge: Reduces fever.

Fungicide: Destroys fungi and their spores.

Galactogogue: Increases milk secretion in nursing mothers.


Hallucinogenic: Causes visions, dreams, or altered state of consciousness.

Hemostatic: Stops bleeding.

Hepatic: Liver tonic or stimulant.

Hepatotoxic: Toxic to liver.

Hypnotic: Induces sleep (or state of altered consciousness).

Hypoglycemic: Lowers abnormally high blood sugar.

Hypotensive: Reduces blood pressure.

Insecticide: Kills or repels insects.


Laxative: Promotes bowl movement.

Lipolytic: Enhances or promotes the dissolution of fats.

Litholytic: Dissolves stones in bladder.

Mucolytic: Dissolves or thins mucus.

Myotonic:  Tones muscles.

Narcotic: Induces sleep.

Nervine: Soothing and calming to the nervous system.


Parasiticide: Kills or inhibits the growth of parasites.

Parturient: Induces or enhances labor.

Purgative: Promotes vigorous evacuation of the bowels.


Refrigerant: Herbs that reduce body heat externally through evaporation, by increasing perspiration.

Regenerator: Promotes regrowth and repair of tissues.

Rejuvenator: Increases youthful vitality.

Relaxant: Produces relaxation, reduces tension.

Resolvent: Reduces swelling; dissolves abnormal growths, boils, or tumors.

Restorative: Restores and strengthens body systems in convalescence after illness.

Rubefacient: Reddens the skin, causes inflammation in adjacent tissues (See counter-irritant).


Sedative: Promotes drowsiness, calms anxiety and tension.

Sialogogue: Increases the production of saliva.

Stimulant: Increases activity in blood, organs, glandular secretion, etc..

Stomachic: Strengthens and tones the stomach, enhances digestion.

Styptic: Stops bleeding or hemorrhage.

Sudorific: Increases perspiration.


Tonic: Strengthens the entire body and energy field, or that of a specific organ.

Tranquilizer: Calming without producing drowsiness.

Vasoconstrictor: Constricts or narrows blood vessels.

Vasodilator: Relaxes or opens blood vessels.

Vermifuge: Expels intestinal worms.

Vesicant: Causes blistering.

Vulnerary: Applied externally to fresh cuts or wounds to heal tissue.


None at this time.

None of our products are recognized or approved by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. This information is anecdotal, and is provided for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as medical advice. See a health care professional for medical advice.

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