Glossary of Therapeutic Terms

These definitions are abbreviations intended for everyday understanding.

If you require more thorough explanations, please consult a medical dictionary.

Abortifacient produces abortion

Acidosis excess acid

Aciduria excess acid in the urine

Alterative gradually restores healthy bodily functions

Analgesic relieves pain

Anaphrodisiac sexual depressant

Angina cramplike, choking feeling in the chest

Anodyne lessens pain

Anthelmintic kills or expels intestinal worms

Anti-anaemic agent to restore red blood cell count

Antibiotic kills bacteria

Anticatarrhal soothes the mucous membranes

Antidepressant battles depression

Antidote counteracting the effect of poison

Anti-emetic stops vomiting

Antihaemorrhagic stops bleeding

Anti-inflammatory counters inflammation

Antilithic stops stones building up in urinary tract

Antiperiodic agent to battle certain fevers

Antirheumatic relieves or cures rheumatism

Antiscorbutic counteracts scurvy

Antiseptic prevents infection

Antispasmodic prevents or cures spasms

Antisyphilitic fights venereal disease

Antiviral counters viruses

Aperient very mild laxative

Aphrodisiac excites sexual organs

Appetizer stimulates the appetite

Aromatic pleasant aroma

Arteriosclerosis narrowing of the arteries

Astringent causes tissues to contract

Bactericidal destroys bacteria

Balsamic healing or soothing agent

Bitter tonic increases appetite and improves digestion

Calminative calms the nerves

Cardiac pertaining to the heart

Cardioactive affecting the heart

Cardiotonic supporting the heart

Carminative relieves flatulence or wind

Cataplasm mixture applied to wounds and sores

Catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membrane

Cathartic middling laxative

Cordial invigorating and stimulating

Corroborant invigorating tonic

Counterirritant battles inflammation

Cystitis inflammation of the bladder

Decongestant relieves lung congestion

Demulcent soothes and protects the digestive tract

Deobstruent removes bowel obstructions

Depurative purifying agent

Dermatonic helpful to the skin

Detergent cleansing agent

Diaphoretic promotes perspiration

Digestive aids digestion

Diuretic promotes the flow of urine

Dysmenorrhoea painful menstruation

Emetic causes vomiting

Emmenagogue facilitates menstrual flow

Emollient soothes the skin


Escharotic abrasive agent

Excoriated surface with outer covering removed

Expectorant encourages discharge of phlegm or spitting

Febrifuge reduces fever

Flux bloody discharge from the bowel

Fungicide kills fungi

Gastric pertaining to the stomach

Germicide destroys germs

Gravel fine stones in the bladder

Haematuria blood in the urine

Haemostatic controls bleeding

Hallucinatory producing mental illusion

Hepatic pertaining to the liver

Hypertensive agent to increase blood pressure

Hypnotic sleep inducing

Hypotensive agent to decrease blood pressure

Indigenous native or original

Infusion liquid poured on herbs

Invigorant strength-stimulating

Laxative bowel stimulant

Leucorrhoea white discharge from the vagina

Lithotriptic dissolves stones in the urinary tract

Mastitis inflammation of the breasts

Menorrhagic excessive or prolonged menstruation

Mucilaginous soothes inflamed parts

Nephritis kidney inflammation

Nervine calms the nervous system

Neurasthenia nervous exhaustion

Neuritis inflammation of the nerves

Nutrient nourishment

Oedema fluid retention

Pectoral battles chest and lung infections

Poultice moistened herbs applied to wounds or sores

Prostatelium mixture to eliminate prostate disorders

Purgative strong laxative

Putrefaction rots or goes bad

Pyelitis inflammation of the pelvis of the kidney

Refrigerant relieves thirst, cools the body

Remedial has a healing effect

Resolvent reduces swelling

Restorative restores health and strength

Rubefacient irritates skin

Scrofula disease of the lymphatic gland

Sedative calms the nervous system

Sialagogue stimulates saliva flow

Soporific promotes sleep

Spasmolytic lessens spasms

Spermatorrhoea excess sperm production

Staphylococcus pus-producing bacteria

Sternutatory initiates sneezing

Stimulant increases vital energy

Stomachic settles upset stomachs

Stomatitis sore mouth

Styptic stops bleeding

Sudorific produces ample sweating

Tonic promotes general well being

Vasodilator widens blood vessels

Vermifuge expels worms from the body

Vulnerary useful in healing wounds


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