Glossary

Medical System/State

Ageing

Includes problems of memory, longevity etc.

Cancer

All forms of cancer

Cardiovascular system

Heart & vascular problems including heart pain (angina), hypertension,varicose veins, athersclerosis etc.

Child health

Complaints/uses in babies (neonates) infants & children

Dermatological

Skin & hair conditions/uses including inflammation, infections, eczma, psoriasis, baldness etc

Ear, Nose &Throat (ENT)

Conditions including inflammation, infections, deafness etc

Endocrine/ Metabolic

Includes diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol.

Gastrointestinal system

Complaints of the gastrointestinal tract and organs including infections, inflammation etc.

General

Complaints of the body in general including weakness, coldness, fever, swellings, oedema etc.

Genito-urinary system

Complaints/ conditions of male & female reproductive & urinary systems.(NOTE: Some complaints/uses may be seperately listed in other systems including Women`s Health, Men`s Health, Reproductive Health, Kidney & Urinery tract).

Haematology

Conditions/complaints of blood & spleen e.g. anaemia, spleen diseases etc

Infectious Diseases

Specific infectious diseases e.g.tuberculois, leprosy, measles, elephantiasis, diptheria, typhoid, mumps, chicken pox, herpes, cholera etc. (NOTE Helminthic (worm) infections are listed seperately as Helminth Infections and Common microbial infections caused by bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi (e.g.Tinea capitis or ring worm which despite its name is a fungus),are listed accoding in the body system affected e.g.Gastrointestinal, Respiratory,Dermatology,ENT, Wound Healing etc.)

Helminth Infections

Parasitic worms residing particularly in the gastrointestinal tract including ascaris, pinworms, tapeworm (taenia) etc.

Kidney & Urinary Tract

Conditions/ complaints of kidneys, ureter, bladder including infections, inflammation,stones diuretic use etc. (NOTE: Some complaints/uses may be seperately listed in other systems including: Women`s Health, Men`s Health, Reproductive Health) .

Men`s Health

Male related problems including prostate, scrotum, impotence etc. (NOTE: some complaints/uses are listed in other systems including Reproductive Health and /or Sexuality).

Mental Health

Conditions caused by variou mental states e.g. depression, anxiety, psychosis, stressful states (often described as nervousness),etc.

Musculoskeletal / joints

Complaints/uses affecting bones, muscles, tendons, joints, connective tissue including local pain, inflammation, rheumatism, arthritis, fractures etc.

Nervous system

Complaints caused by neurological conitions including nerve damage, paralysis headaches, migraines etc.

Ophthalmic

Problems/conditions relating to the eyes including inflammation, infection,cataracts, vision etc

Oral health

Conditions of teeth, gums & mouth including gum disease, dental caries, bad breath, mouth ulcers & uses as mouth fresheners, strenghtening teeth etc

Pain Relief

General relief of pain in the body. (NOTE: More specific uses are listed according to the body system affected)

Medical Preparations

Preparing plasters/ poultices compress for application to the body & hand and foot baths for immersion

Poisoning

Treatment of poisons

Respiratory system

Complaints affecting nasopharynx, trachea, bronchi & lungs including coughs, colds, pneumonia, asthma etc.

Reproductive Health

Conditions affecting male and female reproductive systems mainly infertility. (Some complaints/uses may be seperately listed in other systems including: Women`s Health, Men`s Health, Urogenital system & Sexuality)

Sexuality

Use of sexual stimulants (aphrodisiacs) and anti-libido agents for males & females.

Surgical/ Trauma

Injuries, accidents & conditions requiring surgery eg hernia

Venoms/ Bites/Stings

Caused by animals, insects, scorpions, snakes etc

Women`s Health

Conditions/uses in pregnancy, labour, childbirth & menstrual, uterine and other problems.(Some complaints/uses may be seperately listed in other systems including: Genito-urinary system, Reproductive Health & Sexuality)

Wound Healing

Skin & internal wounds including burns, bleeding haemorrage, infections etc

Non Medical Other Uses

Cosmetic

Includes skin care, soap products, hair dyes etc.

Culinary

Includes use as foods, spices, seasoning, beverages etc.

Industrial

Includes making dyes, cleaning products, preparing solvents for herbal formulas, preservatives for food etc.

Ritual/ Ceremonial

Includes uses for traditional & religious reasons including incense etc.

Repellent

External use against insects e.g. mosquitos, moths etc.

Smoking

Used to flavour tobacco for smoking or as an alternative to it.

Veterinary

Includes diseases/conditions in livestock (cattle,sheep goats donkeys chickens etc

Medical Activity

Abortifacient

Causes abortion

Alterative

Restores body functions by renewal of tissues or changing processes in the body to a state of health

Analgesic

Pain-relieving

Antacid

Against gastric acidity/acid reflux

Anti-tumor

Prevents or inhibits tumor formation (used here when its unclear if tumor is maligant or benign)

Anti-abortive

Prevents abortive tendancies

Anti-allergy

Treats allergic conditions

Anti-anaemic

Prevent or corrects anemic conditions

Anti-arthritic

Relieves & heals arthritic conditions

Anti-asthmatic

Relieves & prevents asthma attacks

Anti-atherosclerotic

Treats atheromatous conditions of arteries

Anti-carcinogenic

Counteracts effects of a carcinogen or inhibits development of cancer

Anti-caries

Strengthens teeth/ prevents dental caries/decay

Anti-catarrhal

Clears excessive mucous usually in upper respiratory tract /relieves congested sinuses/ears/nose/ throat

Anti-coagulant

Removes blood clots

Anti-convulsant

Prevents & treats convulsions

Anti-dandruff

Prevents & treats dandruff

Anti-depressant

Improves mood and alleviate depression

Anti-diarrheal

Prevents and relieves diarrhea

Antidote

Counteracts effects of poisons

Anti-emetic

Reduces nausea or stops vomiting

Anti-enuresis

Prevents enuresis (bed wetting) in children

Anti-fungal

Inhibits or kills fungi

Anti-gum disease

Prevents & treats inflammed & bleeding gums

Anti-haemorrhoidal

Prevents & treats haemorrhoids

Anthelmintic

Causes death and/or expusion of worms in the body

Anti-herpetic

Prevents & treats herpes infection

Anti-hydropic

Eliminates excess body fluids (dropsy)

Anti-infective

Treats microbial infections caused by bacteria, viruses, protozoa etc.

Anti-inflammatory

Reduces inflammation

Anti-intoxicant

Counteracts effects of intoxicants e.g. alcohol

Anti-libido

Reduces sexual energy

Anti-lithic

Prevents formation of stones /calculi in renal / biliary tract or destroys them when formed

Anti-malarial

Treats malarial infections caused by Plasmodium parasite normally spread through infected mosquitoes.

Anti-obesity

Used to reduce/control weight

Anti-pruritic

Prevents or relieves itching

Anti-psychotic

Used to treat psychosis (including delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, disordered thought)

Anti-pyretic

Reduces fever

Anti-scorbutic

Prevents & cures scurvy (Vit C deficiency)

Anti-septic

Antimicrobial substances applied to skin/ tissue reduces possibility of infection/sepsis/ putrefaction by killing or inhibiting growth of organisms

Anti-spasmodic

Relieves or prevents muscle spasm especially of involuntary (smooth muscle) in gut, renal tract etc. & also skeletal muscle spasm

Anti-tearing

Stops/prevents excess tearing from eyes

Anti-tinnitus

Treats ringing or sounds in the ears

Anti-tubercular

Treats infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Anti-tumor

Treats growths (benign &/or malignant)

Anti-tussive

Controls/ prevents cough

Anti-ulcer

Treat or prevent ulcer of intestine or stomach

Anti-venom

Treat venomous bites from snakes/ scorpions/ insects etc.

Anxiolytic

Reduces anxiety

Aphrodisiac

Treats sexual dysfunction by increasing sexual pleasure, libido (arousal, desire) and /or potency (erection effectiveness)

Bitter

Bitter tasting beneficial to digestive process & general health etc

Blood purifier

Remove impurities & toxins from blood

Cardiac

Having an effect on the heart

Carminative

Relieves flatulence/ abdominal pain / distension in gastrointestinal tract by expelling gas from stomach/intestines

Cholagogue

Increases bile flow from gall bladder

Contraceptive

Prevents pregnancy

Decongestant

Decongests nasal /aural passages

Dentifrice

Paste/ powder or other substance that cleans teeth

Demulcent

Soothes inflammed or irritated mucous membranes in respiratory /gastrointestinal /urinary tracts

Deobstruent

Removes obstruction in the body; clears or opens natural ducts of fluids and secretions

Deoderant

Removes unpleasant smells

Depurative

Purifying & detoxifying effects

Diaphoretic

Promotes/ increases perspiration

Digestive

Promotes/aids digestive process

Diuretic

Increases urine flow

Emetic

Induces vomiting & stomach evacuation

Emmenagogue

Regulates & induces normal menstruation

Emollient

Softens/ soothes skin/improves texture/quality

Expectorant

Promotes expulsion of mucus from respiratory tract

Eye drops

Liquid medication applied in small amounts to eyeball

Fertility

Improves fertility in males & females

Freckle remover

Removes freckles

Galactagogue

Promotes /increases maternal milk flow in lactation

Haemostatic

Controls /stops bleeding

Hair inhibitor

Inhibits hair growth

Hair restorer

Promotes hair growth, prevents hair loss

Hepatic

Used to treat liver & gall bladder problems

Hernia reduction

Reduces hernia by local application of herbs

Hypnotic

Induces sleep

Hypoglycemic

Reduces blood sugar

Hypocholesterolemic

Reduces cholesterol in the blood

Hypotensive

Reduces blood pressure

Induce Burn

Causing a burn by application of heated plant material to skin.Used to treat various problems especially chronic ones.Widely used in traditional medical systems including Chinese Medicine as “moxibustion”

Laxative

Stimulates/ facilitates bowel evacuation

Lubricant

Reduces skin friction by providing smooth, covering film over parts moving against each other

Mouth wash

Cleans /freshens mouth/improves oral hygiene/ bad breath (halitosis)

Muscle relaxant

Cause muscles to become less tense or stiff

Narcotic

A susbtance that in moderate doses dulls senses, relieves pain,induces profound sleep but in excessive doses causes stupor, coma, convulsions & addiction .

Nervine

Effecting the nerves including nervine relaxants, nutritive tonics & nervine stimulants

Non-specific

Refers to a general problem lacking a specific action e.g skin diseases, spleen conditions, deafness, gall bladder problem etc.

Nootropic

Enhances memory, improves cognitive function & mood

Nutritive

Containing nutrients needed to nourish/build the body e.g Iron

Other

When action/activity unclear is unclear

Oxytocic

Increases uterine contractions in labor

Panacea

Treats all /many diseases

Parturient

Facilitates labor/ childbirth

Pectoral

Strengthens respiratory tract & lungs

Prostate health

Improves prostate function/ reduces inflammation etc

Purgative

A strong laxative

Renal

Generally used for kidney conditions including strengthening/cleansing/regulating/treating diseases/ problems

Refrigerant

Cools the body and relieves thirst

Rubefacient

Topically applied produces redness of the skin by dilation of capillaries increasing blood circulation.

Scabicide

Kills scabies mites and/or eggs.

Sedative

A nervine that has a soothing or calming effect.

Stimulant

A nervine that excites or stimulates the brain /central nervous producing alertness, elevated mood, wakefulness etc.

Stomachic

Aids the stomach/assists digestion /promotes appetite

Tocolytic

Decreases uterine contractions in labor

Tonic

Helps to restore, tone & invigorate body systems & promote general health and well-being.

Uricolytic

Breaks down uric acid in gout

Vasoprotective

Alleviates/ prevent conditions/diseases affecting the blood vessels

Vermifuge

Destroys/ expels parasitic worms

Visual Health

Improves impaired vision from conditions e.g. cataracts

Vulnerary

Promotes wound healing

Non Medical Activity

Cleansing product

soaps, laundery products etc

Dye

Substance used to add or change color of a substrate e.g. hair (cosmetic) or various products e.g. textiles (industrial)

Hatching

Hastens hatching proces in poultry

Incense

Substance burned for the sweet smell it produces.

Cigarette

Used as flavouring or alternative to tobacco

Beverage

Includes fermented drinks etc.

Seasoning

Adding favour to food & drinks

Preservative/solvent

Preparing solvents for herbal formulas, preservatives for food etc.

Plant Parts Used

Aerial Parts

All parts of the plant above ground including leaves, stems, flowers etc

Bark

Outermost layers of stems & roots of woody plants found in trees, woody vines shrubs. Refers to all tissues outside vascular cambium, overlaying wood and consisting of inner and outer bark.

Bulb

Underground bud (specialized stem structure) of a plant from which shoot & roots may extend.

Essential oil

Highly concentrated aromatic volatile oils extracted by steam distillation from leaves, flowers, bark, and other plant parts containing high amounts of highly concentrated essential oils.

Flower

Composed of petals, sepals, stamen & carpel (sometimes known as a pistil). Flowers with all parts are known as complete. In herbal preapartions may consist of single flower or entire inflorescences (head, umbel, panicle, spike, etc.)

Fruit

Fleshy or dry ripened ovary of a flowering plant enclosing seed or seeds.

Inflorescens

Complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers.

Latex

Milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants (angiosperms) consisting of complex emulsion of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins, and gums that coagulate on exposure to air. Usually exuded after tissue injury.

Leaf

Usually flattened green outgrowth from stem of a vascular plant & primary sites of photosynthesis

Resin

Solid or highly viscous substance secreted by a plant for protective benefits in response to injury. Resin protects plant from insects and pathogens.

Rhizome

Continuously growing horizontal underground stem which puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals.

Root

Normally underground part of vascular plants used as anchorage, for absorption of water & dissolved minerals, conducting these to stem, and as a reserve food storage.

Seed

An embryonic plant enclosed in protective outer covering whose formation is part of the process of reproduction in seed plants.

Stem

A structural axis of vascular plants (the other being the root) that supports leaves, flowers and fruits, transports water and dissolved substances between the roots & shoots, stores nutrients & produces new living tissue.

Branch/ Twig

  A branch is the woody part of a tree arising from the trunk usually dividing; a small thin branch of a tree or bush is a twig

Whole plant

In BERC (B) and Zaitschek (Z) preparations this refers to all parts of the plant including above ground aerial parts and below ground roots, rhizomes, bulbs etc.

Life Form

Chamaephyte or dwarf-shrub 

Plants that bears hibernating buds on persistent shoots near the ground – usually woody plants with perennating buds usually less than 25 centimetres (9.8 in) above soil surface.

Hemicryptophytes

Typically herbaceous perennials e.g. grasses, which produce perennating buds at the soil surface, where the buds are protected by leaf or stem bases.

Phanerophyte

Woody plant that carries its dormant buds openly on branches above the ground.

Climber

Plants which climb up trees & other tall objects.

Geophyte

Plants with underground storage organs, where energy or water stored. May be in the form of a bulb, corm or rhizome

Habitat

Ruderal

Plant growing on waste ground or among refuse.

Thermophilous

Species, genus, or family characteristic of warmer environments than those otherwise indicated by the pollen record.

Batha

Local name for naturally occurring Mediterranean scrublands found in Mediterranean forests, woodlands & scrub biomes. Also known as “garrigue” (France),” phrygana” (Greece) etc.

Maquis

Scrubland vegetation of the Mediterranean region, composed primarily of leathery, broad-leaved evergreen shrubs or small trees.

Shrub-steppe

Low-rainfall natural grassland, arid but with sufficient moisture to support cover of perennial grasses or shrubs, distinguishing them from deserts.

Types of Preparations

Carrier oil

Vegetable oil derived from seeds, kernels, or nuts of a plant e.g olive seeds used to dilute concentrated essential oils so they can be “carried” safely into the skin for therapeutic use

Cooking

Used mainly in Zaitschek (Z) data, this process involves heating the plant, often in combination with other ingredients, usually but not always in water, over a prolonged period (e.g. 1-2 hrs)

Cream

Semi-solid oil emulsion (often herb-infused) and water (often infusion or decoction)

Decoction

An extract made by simmering plant material (usually bark, rhizomes, roots, seeds) in water. In both Zaitschek (Z) and BERC (B) data decoctions are also used for extracting less dense plant material including leaves, stems & aerial parts. Occasionally some terms e.g. “boiling” given in the original descriptions are used interchangeably with the more standard term “decoction”.

Essential Oil 

Highly concentrated aromatic volatile oils extracted by steam distillation from leaves, flowers, bark, and other plant parts containing high amounts of highly concentrated essential oils. Therapeutically usually diluted in a carrier oil.

Eyebath/eyewash

Infused plants used as a dilute, cool preparation to bathe tissues surrounding the eye in order to reduce itchiness, redness, infection etc. Care must be taken to ensure that no plant material remains in the eyewash.

Gargle

Liquid herbal preparation used as a mouthwash by swilling around mouth, throat and gums

Compress

Herbal infusion or decoction, strained & used to soak a clean soft cloth which is held in place over the affected area to alleviate pain or reduce inflammation.

Infusion 

An extract, often referred to as a tea made by pouring boiling water over fresh or dried plant material (usually flowers, fruit, or leaves), which is allowed to steep for 10-20 minutes before drinking. Both Zaitschek (Z) and BERC (B) data also use more dense plant material e.g. roots & rhizomes in infusions

Plaster

Medicated or protective dressing prepared by spreading powdered, slightly moistened herbs onto cloth and covered with plastic to protect clothing and trap body heat

Poultice

Topical/ local application of soft, moist mass of plant material (bruised fresh herbs), usually wrapped in a fine woven cloth & applied to affected area.

Salve

Semi-solid medicinal ointment prepared by combining herb infused oil with beeswax.

Suppository

Solid, conical or cigarette shaped medicinal substance designed to place within rectum or vagina to deliver localized herbal treatment. Rectally commonly used to treat haemerroids.

 Syrup

Herbal preparation combining infusion or decoction with equal amount of syrup (e.g. concentrated sugar solution) or honey.

Tincture

Plant extract made by soaking (macerating) herbs in alcohol solution or specific ratio of alcohol to water, leaving to macerate for two to six weeks in a dark place, after which liquid extract is strained from plant material and used therapeutically.