Glossary of Medicinal Properties used in Herbal and Plant Medicine
Produces gradual beneficial change in body, usually improvement through nutrition/metabolism. Examples: red clover, nettle, sarsaparilla, dandelion, yellow dock root, burdock root, alfalfa.
Deadens sensation, often contains salicin. Examples: rosemary, willow bark, poplar buds, kava-kava.
Soothes or relieves pain. Examples: St.-John’s-Wort, valerian, wild poppy, calendula, plantain.
Destroys or expels intestinal worms. Examples: wormwood, quassia chips, black walnut hulls, garlic.
Counteracts nausea and relieves vomiting. Examples: peppermint, chamomile, fennel.
Destroys or inhibits bacteria. Examples: goldenseal, ginger, tea tree, echinacea and many other herbs.
Destroys or inhibits pathogenic or putrefactive bacteria. Examples: usnea, echinacea, sage, lemon, goldenseal.
Relieves or checks spasms or cramps. Examples: St. John’s wort, rosemary, chamomile, lavender.
Excites the appetite. Examples: gentian, ginger, angelica, cardamom, fennel, chamomile, Oregon grape root.
Having an agreeable odour and stimulating qualities. Examples: mint, fennel, chamomile, lavender.
Contracts and lightens tissue, reducing secretions or discharges. Examples: black tea, chamomile, yarrow, lemon.
Expels gas from the intestines. Examples: fennel, peppermint, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, chamomile.
Empties the bowels, laxative. Examples: senna, coffee berry, cascara sagrada.
A cholagogue is a medicinal agent which promotes the discharge of bile from the system, purging it downward.
Stimulates the liver to increase the output of bile. E.g. gentian, yarrow and any bitter herb.
Soothes/protects/heals irritated tissue. Examples: plantain, chickweed, mullein, calendula.
Depuratives are herbs that are considered to have purifying and detoxifying effects.
Promotes perspiration. Examples: elder, yarrow, peppermint, ginger.
Increases the secretion and expulsion of urine. Examples: dandelion, nettle, parsley, burdock, chickweed.
Causes vomiting. Examples: lobelia, ipecac, goldenseal, salt water.
Promotes menstrual flow. Examples: angelica, ginger, blue/black cohosh, pennyroyal, motherwort.
Used externally to soften and soothe. Examples: malva, calendula, borage, primrose and violet flowers.
Promotes discharge of mucus from respiratory passages. Examples: ginger, cayenne, yerba santa.
Reduces or eliminates fever. Examples: elderflower, yarrow, rosemary, lemon water.
Stops bleeding. Examples: shepherd’s purse, beth root, nettle, goldenseal, yarrow (external as well).
Having a calming or soothing effect on the nerves. Examples: valerian, wild oat, St. John’s Wort, chamomile.
Promotes vigorous emptying of the bowels. Examples: senna, coffee berry, cascara sagrada.
Soothing agent, reducing nervousness. Examples: wild lettuce, passiflora, valerian, chamomile, hops.
Excites or quickens activity or physiological processes. Examples: yerba mate, guarana, green tea, mint.
Strengths or invigorates organs or entire body. Examples: nettle, red clover, wild oat, burdock, dandelion.