A to Z Guide toTerms Used in Herbal Medicine D



Decongestant: Used for relieving congestion.




These herbs soothe, protect and relieve the irritation of inflamed mucous membranes. (i.e. protects stomach and urinary bladder lining).


Examples are barley, licorice, linseed, almond and olive oils.



Dentifrice: Can be used as a toothpaste.



Depurative: Purifies and cleanses the blood.



Detergent: Cleanses boils, ulcers, wounds, etc.




These herbs promote perspiration, particularly excessive perspiration. They will promote circulation, dispelling fever and chills. Diaphoretics are often prescribed to eliminate surface toxins, to relieve muscle tension, aching joints and inflammatory skin conditions.


They also have an action on the kidneys, liver, urinary tract and can be used to treat gall bladder disorders; dispelling kidney, gall and urinary bladder stones.


Practitioners also prescribe these herbs for genitourinary disease (including herpes), oedema; painful, difficult or burning urination or infections. See sudorific.


Examples are basil, barley, ajwan, cardamom, parsley, cinnamon, eucalyptus, spearmint, chrysanthemum, juniper berries, asparagus, marshmallow, burdock, dandelion, chamomile coriander, fennel and ginger .




Promote normal digestion in the stomach and intestines.


Examples are coriander, cumin, rock salt, and turmeric.




Herb that dissolves or causes something such as a tumour, to disappear. Also called discussive.




These herbs destroy pathogenic microbes that cause infectious diseases.


Examples are apamarga, arka, gudachi, katuka, sandalwood.




These herbs promote the production and secretion of urine.


Examples are gokshura, apamarga, ashwagandha, barberry, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger,sandalwood gotu kola, parsley gudachi and licorice



Drastic: An aggressive purgative.



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