Glossary of health related terms

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  • Abortifactent
    A substance that causes pregnancy to end prematurely and causes an abortion and premature expulsion of the fetus.
  • Abscess
    A localized collection of pus and liquefied tissue in a cavity anywhere in the body.
  • Absorb
    To take in as through pores; liquid or gas into the bulk of another material, to neutralize an acid.      
  • Acidophilus
    Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria are
    fermented bacterial cultures that thrive in dilute acid also called 'friendly colonic flora'.
  • Adaptogen
    An agent that increases,
    invigorates resistance to stress.
  • Adrenaline
    A hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that produces the 'fight or flight response,
    allows the body to react to physical and psychological stress.  Also called epinephrine.
  • Adsorb
    Attachment of a substance to the surface of another material
    by physical bonds.
  • Alkaloid
    Chemicals that are made by plants, highly active, contain nitrogen atoms.
  • Alterative
    Cleansing, stimulating efficient removal of waste products, chemistry.  P
    roduces a gradual, beneficial change in the body
  • Amenorrhea
    Absence or suppression of menstruation.  M
    ay occur as a side effect of some antidepressants and antipsychotic medications.
  • Amino Acids
    A group of small molecules used by cells to make proteins.  Nitrogen-containing chemical compounds that form the basic structural units of life.
  • Analgesic
    An agent that alleviates pain without causing loss of consciousness.              
  • Anaphrodisiac
    Subdues or blunts the libido to reduce sexual desire.
  • Androgen
    Hormones such as testosterone that stimulate male characteristics.
  • Anesthetic
    Deadens by dulling sensation thus reduces pain.
  • Anodyne
    Any medicine which allays mitigates or reduces pain.
  • Antagonist
    Oppose action of other medicines; binds to a receptor and prevents a response.
  • Anthelmintic
    Capable of expelling or destroying parasitic worms (also see parasiticide)
  • Antacid
    Aids in protecting the digestive system and relieves heartburn and digestive discomfort, especially in the stomach and duodenum.
  • Anti-bacterial
    A substance that stops the progress of one or more kinds of bacterial organisms resulting in their death or stopping their growth.
  • Anti-bilious
    Reduces biliary or jaundice condition of the liver.
  • Antibiotic
    Substance produced by bacteria or fungi that destroys or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms.
  • Anti-catarrhal
    Reduces or eliminates the formation of mucous conditions.
  • Anti-depressant
    A substance taken to alleviate the symptoms of depression or dysthymia.
  • Antidote
    A substance that neutralizes or counteracts the harmful effects of a poison or drug.
  • Anti-emetic
    Alleviates nausea and prevents or relieves vomiting.
  • Anti-fungal
    Inhibits or kills fungi preventing its growth.
  • Anti-galactagogue
    Prevents or decreases flow of breast milk.
  • Anti-hemorrhagic
    Substance that stops bleeding and hemorrhaging.
  • Anti-histamine
    Serves to reduce or neutralize the effects of histamine in an allergic response.
  • Anti-inflammatory
    Counteracting or diminishing the irritation, inflammation, swelling or its effects.
  • Anti-lithic
    Agent that prevents or relieves the formation of calculi (stones).  
  • Anti-microbial
    Destroys or prevents the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites.
  • Anti-neoplastic
    Preventing the development, growth or proliferation of malignant cells.
  • Anti-oxidant
    An agent that slows down, or neutralizes free radical, oxidative damage to body tissue and cells.   
  • Anti-periodic
    Preventing regular recurrences of a disease or symptoms, as in malaria.
  • Anti-phlogistic
    An agent that counteracts or reduces inflammation.
  • Anti-pyretic
    From the Greek word pyresis (fire).  An agent that reduces fever.   
  • Anti-rheumatic
    Agent that prevents or relieves the musculoskeletal pain and inflammation of rheumatism.  
  • Antiscorbutic
    Preventing or relieving scurvy.
  • Antiseptic
    An agent that combats and neutralizes pathogentic bacteria, and prevents infection.
  • Anti-spasmodic
    Agent that prevents or relieves spasms.
  • Anti-syphilitic
    Agent that cures or relieves syphilis or venereal disease.
  • Anti-thrombotic
    Cures or prevents scurvy.
    Anti-scorbutic: cures or prevents scurvy.
  • Anti-toxic
    Neutralizes a poison from the system.
  • Anti-tussive
    Inhibits the cough reflex helping to stop coughing.
  • Anti-viral
    Opposing the action of a virus.
  • Aperient
    Mild laxative without purging;
  • Aperitive
    Herbs that stimulate the appetite.
  • Aromatic
    Agent that contains volatile, essential oils which aids digestion and relieves gas.
  • Astringent
    An agent that has a constricting or binding effect, i.e. one that checks hemorrhages or secretions by coagulation of proteins on a soft surface.
  • Atherosclerosis
    Aprocessin which fatty substances (cholesterol and triglycerides) are deposited in the walls of medium to large arteries, eventually leading to blockage of the artery.
  • Atonic
    Without normal tension or tone.
  • Ayurvedic
    A traditional medicine system of India, which literally means 'a science of life'.



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