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Self Help Glossary

  • Astringent An agent with a drawing together or binding effect. Used to stop hemorrhages, mucous or infectious discharges.
  • Antispasmodic Relieves or prevents muscle spasms
  • Anodyne Relieves pain
  • Antiseptic Cleansing agent. Inhibits the growth of bacteria.
  • Counterirritant An agent applied to skin (usually in poultice form) that produces irritation (redness, stinging, and finally blistering). The irritation usually affects the area underneath the skin. Use counterirritant with caution and remove when skin begins to sting or bum.
  • Decoction Herb tea made by simmering a root or bark in water
  • Emmenagogue Promotes or induces menstruation Herb Whole plant, stem, leaves and flowers.
  • Infusion Herb tea made by steeping leaves or flowers in boiling water.
  • Leukorrhea White or yellowish discharge from the vagina. Can be healthy or infectious.
  • Nervine Plants that relax and sooth nerves. The stronger ones are sedatives and will induce sleep.
  • Parturient Induces and promotes labor contractions
  • Poultice Hot, moist herbs placed between two layers of cloth (cotton or flannel) laid on body to soothe or draw out infection. Keep it hot and change when it cools.
  • Tonic Strengthens or tones body. Usually tonics contain many minerals, vitamins and/or hormones.

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