Tonic? Adaptogen? Superfood? Elixir? A List of Medical & Health Terms Demystified!

Here is a small list of key words to help you understand the herbal worlds terminology about specific qualities of Plant’s and Fungi. This list will be added to often as it is a great reference for learning and teaching. I hope you benefit from this!

Ton•ic (ˈtɒn ɪk) – a medicine that invigorates or strengthens, a medicinal preparation intended to improve and strengthen the functioning of the body or increase the feeling of wellbeing, anything that enlivens or strengthens

Tonic Herbs – Herbs that work to boost and nourish deep energy that is long lasting and life supporting. They are not “Stimulants” in the traditional sense of the word, as they do not contain caffeine.

E·lix·ir [əˈliksər] from Arabic : الإكسير – al-‘iksīr –
1.) magical or medicinal potion
2.) a preparation supposedly able to prolong life indefinitely

Superfoods – A nutrient rich food considered to be especially benificial for optimum health and well being
Adaptogen – Increases resistance to stress.
Rejuvenative – Renews body, mind & spirit; slows aging process.
Nervine – Calms/nourishes the nerves; relieves tension.
Nutritive – Supplies multitude of nutrients that build & tone.
Sedative – Promotes soothing, quieting, tranquilizing effect.
Antioxidant – Protects cells, tissues, organs from free radical damage.
Anti-inflammatory – Protects cells, tissues, organs from free radical damage.
Immune stimulant – Enhances body’s ability to fight illness & disease.
Liver tonic – Strengthens/nourishes the liver.
Vasodilator – Expands blood vessels/lowers blood pressure.
Detoxifier – Removes toxins from tissues, organs & blood.
Anti-Aging– Promotes longevity and youthfulness.
Antiviral – Inhibits viral replication.
Astringent – Tightens/tones tissues and dries secretions.
Neutral – Can be used by anyone suffering from excessive heat or coldness.
Analgesic – Relieves pain.
Antibacterial – Suppresses/combats growth of bacteria.
Hepatoprotective – Protects liver from dietary/environmental toxins.
Liver tonic – Strengthens/nourishes the liver.
Kidney tonic – Strengthens/nourishes the kidneys.
Blood tonic – Strengthen/nourishes the blood.
Blood cleanser – Cleanses/purifies the blood.
Heart tonic – Strengthens/nourishes the heart.
Cardiotonic – Strengthens and protects the heart.
Beauty tonic – Restores beauty; promotes youthfulness
Brain tonic – Strengthens/nourishes the brain.
Antispasmodic – Eases/prevents muscle spasms & cramps.
Diuretic – Decreases excess water/increases urine output.
Emmenagogue – Stimulates menstruation.
Hypotensive – Lowers blood pressure.
Antineoplastic – Reduces growth/proliferation of malignant cells.
Cooling – Balances conditions associated with excessive heat.
Expectorant – Promotes discharge of mucous from respiratory passages
Antiseptic – Prevents bacterial growth; inhibits pathogens.
Demulcent – Softens & soothes inflamed/irritated tissues.
Hemostatic – Arrests bleeding or hemorrhaging.
Hypoglycemic – Lowers blood sugar levels.
Hypotensive – Lowers blood pressure.
Laxative – Stimulates bowel function & elimination.
Warm – Balances conditions associated with excessive coldness.
Decongestant – Decreases swelling and congestion.
Magnesium – is known to support healthy digestion and detoxification, as well as a healthy cardiovascular system.


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