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Classes Of Healing Herbs

2 September 2008

Herbs have long been classified according to their healing properties (see table below). Although there are many thousands of different herbs – they are generally classed into only 30 or so classifications. Choosing the right herb, therefore, is a relatively simple matter when we are aware of these classifications, and we know what it is that we need to help our systems to achieve.

Classification Healing Property
Alterative Gradually altering or changing a condition, also a blood purifier.
Anodyne Relieving pain.
Antiperiodic Preventing the periodic return of certain diseases.
Antiseptic Destroying infection-causing micro-organisms.
Antispasmodic Relieving or preventing involuntary muscle spasms or cramps.
Aperient Mild and gently acting laxative.
Aromatic Substance with a spicy scent and a pungent but pleasing taste. Useful for fragrance, and often added to medicines to improve their palatability.
Astringent Temporarily tightening or contracting the skin or tissues. Checks the discharge of mucus and blood, etc.
Carminative Checking formation of gas and helping to dispel whatever gas has already formed.
Cholagogue Promoting the discharge of bile from the system.
Demulcent Mucilaginous Substance That Soothes the Intestinal Tract.
Deobstruent Clearing Obstruction From the Natural Ducts of the Body.
Depurative Removing Wastes From Body, Purifying Blood.
Detergent A Cleansing Action.
Diaphoretic Promoting Sweating. Commonly Used As An Aid for Relief of the Common Cold.
Diuretic Promoting Flow of Urine.
Emmenagogue Promoting Menstruation.
Emollient Softening and Soothing Skin When Applied Externally.
Expectorant Loosening Phlegm in the Mucous Membrane of the Bronchial and Nasal Passages, Thus Facilitating its Expulsion.
Haemostatic Checking Internal Bleeding.
Hepatic Affecting the Liver.
Laxative A Gentle Cathartic That Helps to Promote Bowel Movements.
Mucilaginous A Soothing Quality for Inflamed Parts.
Nervine Calming Nervous Irritation From Excitement, Strain, Or Fatigue.
Pectoral Relieving Ailments of the Chest and Lungs.
Refrigerant Generally Cooling in Effect, Also Reduces Fevers.
Sedative Calming the Nerves.
Stimulant Increasing Or Quickening Various Functions of the Body, Such As Digestion and Appetite. It Does this Quickly, Whereas A Tonic Stimulates General Health Over A Period of Time.
Stomachic Strengthening and Toning the Stomach and Stimulating the Appetite.
Tonic- Invigorating Or Strengthening the System.
Vasodilator Widening Blood Vessels.
Vermifuge Destroying and Helping to Expel Intestinal Worms.
Vulnerary Application for External Wounds.
The above information was gleaned from the Nutrition Almanac, by Lavon J. Dunne, P.237 and from various other sources.


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