69 terms

Herbal Actions

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Adaptogen
increase resistance and resilience to stress
makes qi in the body
Adrenergic
sympathetic nervous system response of "fight or flight" triggered by epinephrine
Alterative
stimulate favorable changes of a defensive nature in metabolism and tissue function in the presence of disease - acute, subacute, chronic; build and strengthen the constitution
Anodyne
relieves pain w/sedation
Antacid
neutralize excess acid in stomach and intestines; demulcent properties w/out changing stomch pH
Analgesic
relieves pain and irritation without causing loss of consciousness
Anesthetic
decreases sensitivity to pain
Anthelmintic
vermicides and vermifuges; used against intestinal worms
Antiabortive
inhibits abortive tendencies
Anticatarrhal
helps the body remove excess mucus in response to infection
Anticholinergic
impedes the impulses or actions of the nerves or fibers of the parasympathetic ganglia and block release of acetylcholine, primarily to the GI or uterus
Anticoagulant
slows or prevents the formation of blood clots
Antidepressant
MAO inhibitor, opposes sadness
Antifungal
kills or inhibits fungi
Antihydrotic
prevents or controls excess sweating
Antiinflammatory
soothe inflammation or reduce inflammatory response of the tissues directly; they do not inhibit the natural inflammatory reaction
Antilithic
prevents formation of urinary or biliary stones and gravel
Antimicrobial
helps the body destroy patogens and mircroorganisms and aid the body's natural immunity
Antioxidant
prevents oxidation, slows the formation of lipid peroxides and other free radical oxygen forms, preventing rancidity of oils or blocking damage from peroxides to the cells and cell membranes
Antipyretic
(aka febrifuge) cooling herbs used to reduce or prevent fever; may neutralize harmful acids in the blood (excess heat) or reduce body temperature via 1) depress heat center, 2)heat dispersal through peripheral circulation (diaphoretics); will not affect a healthy person's temperature
Antiseptic
prevents sepsis or retards microorganism growth
Antispasmotic
ease cramping in muscles, usu smooth muscles of the GI or uterus, alleviates muscular tension, has nervine properties
Antitussive
inhibits coughing either as a nervine, analgesic, or mucilage
Antiviral
inhibits infectious viruses working best with respiratory and entero-viruses
Aperient
gentle and non-irritating purgative, mild peristaltic and produces soft stools
Aphrodisiac
improve sexual potency and power
Astringent
a shrinking, binding action on mucous membranes, skin, and other tissues; check hemorrhages and secretions, tightening edemic tissues, releases excess fluids which accompany swelling; plants w/tannins precipitate protein molecules, thus reducing irritation and inflammation, creating a protective barrier against infection which is helpful in wounds and burns
Bitter Tonic
increases a deficient appetite, improves acidity of stomach secretions, and slightly speeds up the orderly emptying of the stomach; taste triggers a sensory response in the central nervous system, secreting digestive enzymes and aiding the liver to increase bile flow and stimulate gut self-repair mechanisms; will not affect normal digestive function
Cardioglycoside
increases efficiency of heart muscle without increasing the need for oxygen; strengthens heart contractions insuring more blood is pumped; toxic in large doses
Cardiotonic
strengthens, regulates, and stabilizes the heart beat, either by increasing coronary blood supply ennervation, softening rigid argeries, or aiding in tissue renewal
Carminative
rich in aromatic oils; they relieve gas and griping, soothing the gut wall, prevents fermentation and eases spasms
Cathartic
(aka purgative) energetic laxative; may cause accompanying cramps and need antispasmodics w/them
Cholagogue
stimulates teh flow of bile from the liver and the evacuation from the gallbladder, this would include most bitters and hepatics, all needed to stimulate fat digestion; acts as a natural laxative and cleanses the whole system
Corrigent
favorably modifies the action of harsh herbs
Counterirritant
applied externally to the skin as an irritating, heating or vasodilating substance to increase circulation in order to speed healing locally, radiating heat inward to inflamed tissues deep below the skin, or induce reflex stimulation of internal organs; desired in a poultice to aid congestive inflammations
Demulcent
rich in mucilage that internally protects irritated or inflamed tissue, sometimes useful w/diuretics, relaxing painful spasms in the bladder or GI tract reducing irritation down the whole length of the bowel; respiratory herbs used to ease coughing and bronchial tension - an internal remedy
Diaphoretic
promotes perspiration; helps skin eliminate toxins and gases from the body either by dilation of surface capillaries or directly stimulating the nerves that affect the sweat glands or introducing volatile oils to the blood that does both tasks
Diuretic
increases the flow of urine either by increasing permeability of kidney nephrons, increasing blood supply to the nephrons by renal artery vasodilation, sometimes by direct stimulation/irritation via volatile oil plants; used to treat water retention, lymphatic swellings, and infections of the urinary tract (used w/demulcents); skin eruptions
Emetic
induce vomiting and cause stomach to empty, and may provide an effection reflex action of congested lung mucus
Emmenagogue
Blood movers that can be applied to anywhere ther eis stuck blood;
stimulates menses flow and activity, usu causing it to occur earlier and sometimes w/increased flow;
the term is often used to mean it normalizes and regulates the female reproductive system; may cause abortion in larger doses and caution is advised, Preg Cat X; great for first day spotting and cramping or delayed cycle due to illness or stress
Emollient
a mucilaginous plant that creates a soothing ointment or skin dressing, softening and protecting the skin; used externally
Escharotic
causative/corrosive agent producing an eschar (slough), the 3rd degree of counterirritant
Expectorant
stimulates outflow of mucus from bronchials, lungs, and throat, either by exciting bronchial cilia when they are excreted as waste products by mucous mmbranes dilating bronchial muscles and loosening mucus or by acting as an astringent or demulcent, decreasing osmotic pressure and drawing moisture outwards, increasing secretions and softening mucus. Using a mucociliary escalator action, with either drying, moistening, stimulating or relaxing actions
febrifuge
lowers a fever
galactagogue
increases the quality and quantity of secretion of breast milk, promoting lactation
Hemostatic
aka styptic; will slow or stop bleeding by affecting blood coagulation, internally or externally
Hepatic
aids the liver, tone, strengthen, and increase bile flow; stimulate catabolic liver functions, increasing its ability to break down metabolites into reusable and excretable substances; also increases production of certain liver enzymes which in turn are able to speed up further cleansing
Hypotensive
lower abnormally elevated blood pressure
Hypnotic
induces sleep, stimulating normal slumber
Immunostimulant
stimulates either innate or acquired immunity, increasing native resistance and supporting the system to run its course, drainging the lymph and sometimes constricting the nodes to stimulate movement of intercellular fluid
Laxative
promotes bowel movement; stimulating laxatives cause increased intestinal peristalsis producing a purgative or cathartic effect, and should not be used long term
Lithotripic
helps to dissolve and eliminate urinary and biliary stones and gravel
Lymphatic
increases general function of the lymph system as well as lymph tissue present in the thymus, adenoids, tonsils, and spleen; sometimes works by slightly decreasing blood viscosity or increasing permeability of blood capillaries, thereby increasing its volume and speeding cleansing and hemolitic function; includes immunostimulants
Nervine
calms nervous tension and irritability, sometimes nourishing the system, sometimes depressing or stimulating CNS
Oxytocic
stimulate uterine contractions to assist and induce labor, thus hastening childbirth or miscarriage
Parturient
used in childbirth to improve effective contractions and reduce complications
Purgative
see cathartic
Rubifacient
increase the blood flow at the skin's surface, dilating blood vessels and produces redness, bringing heat where it is applied; their function is for the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, and other joint problems, or for sprains and slow healing wounds
Sedative
strongly quiet the nervous system; including antispasmodics and nervines
Sialagogue
stimulates the flow of saliva and aid in carbohydrate digestion
Soporific
hypnotic, producing sleep by depressing brain function
Stimulant
increases activity of functional tissues
Styptic
see hemostatic
Sudorific
causes active droplet perspiration
Tonic
promote functions of body systems, strengthening and preventative, usu w/a marked effect on a particular system but a general effect on the whole body; includes heart, nerve, stomach, sexual, biliary, liver
Vermicide
see anthelmintic
Vermifuge
causes the expulsion of intestinal worms
Vesicants
an agent that produces blisters
Vulnerary
encourages wound healing by promoting cell growth and repair, used for skin lesions and mucous membrane ulceration