From Adaptogen to Vulnerary, here's an explanation of what all these medical terms mean.
NB. This is a general listing, and by no means exhaustive, and some herbs listed below may not be suitable for horses.
* Under EU, DEFRA and VMD rulings, and because I'm not a qualified vet, I'm not permitted in any way to imply any medical claim (by presentation) that a herb can treat, heal, cure, prevent, relieve or support any equine disease, illness or condition.
Adaptogen Herbs that normalise and restore body functions and increase the body's nonspecific resistance to stress:
~ i.e. ginseng, liquorice, nettle and astragalus
Alterative Also known as blood purifiers. Herbs that gradually restore health and vitality to the body:
~ i.e. burdock, red clover, nettle, oregon grape, alfalfa, gota kola, marshmallow, dong quai, and ginseng
Analgesic/Anodyne A substance that relieves pain:
~ i.e. scullcap, valerian, passion flower, catnip and chamomile
Anaphrodisiac The opposite of aphrodisiac, a substance that decreases or delays sexual desires:
~ i.e.valerian, hops
Antacid A substance that neutralises excess acid in the stomach and intestinal tract:
~ i.e. dandelion, fennel, slippery elm, catnip, mullein and meadowsweet
Anthelmintic Herbs that expel or kill worms:
~ i.e. garlic, wormwood, turmeric, sage and thyme
Antibiotic A substance that inhibits the growth of or destroy bacteria, viruses or amoebas:
~ i.e. echinacea, goldenseal, myrrh, pau d'arco, juniper berries, thyme and garlic
Anticatarrhal A substance that eliminates or counteracts the formation of mucous:
~ i.e. cayenne, ginger, sage, cinnamon, anise, gota kola, mullein, comfrey and wild cherry bark
Anti-inflammatory Herbs that reduce inflammation:
~ i.e. St. John's wort, calendula, arnica, licorice, chamomile and turmeric
Antilithic Herbs that prevent or dissolve and discharge urinary/biliary stones and gravel:
~ i.e. dandelion, cleavers, corn silk, uva ursi. For gallbladder: Oregon grape and chaparral.
Antiphlogistic Reduces localized inflammations, itching and swelling
Antipyretic Cooling herbs used to reduce fevers:
~ i.e. basil, gota kola, skullcap, chickweed, yarrow
Antiseptic Substances that can be applied to the skin to prevent the growth of bacteria:
~ i.e. goldenseal, calendula, chaparral, myrrh and the oils of thyme, garlic, pine, juniper berries and sage
Antispasmodic Herbs that prevent or relax muscle spasms:
~ dong quai, black cohosh, valerian, raspberry leaves
Antitussive Herbs that calm the coughing spasm
~ coltsfoot, plantain
Aphrodisiac Substances used to improve sexual potency and power:
~ ginseng, burdock
Aromatic A pleasant smelling and tasting herb that stimulates the gastro-intestinal system, and improves the taste of medicines and foods:
~ i.e. lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, citrus peel
Astringent Herb causing constriction of tissues:
~ i.e. witch hazel, yellow dock, uva ursi, calendula, myrrh, blackberry root
Bitter Stimulates gastric function:
~ i.e. hops, dandelion.
Carminative Promotes digestion, expels gas, and relieves gripping:
~ i.e. anise, fennel, chamomile, peppermint, ginger.
Cholagogue Herbs taken to promote the flow and discharge of bile into the small intestine:
~ i.e. goldenseal, oregon grape, dandelion, wild yam.
Demulcent Soothing substances taken internally that protect and sooth the digestive, respiratory and urinary systems by triggering reflex mechanisms that travel through the spinal nerves effectively reducing inflammation and irritation:
~ i.e. comfrey, marshmallow, slippery elm.
Diaphoretic Substances that promote perspiration:
~ i.e. elder, yarrow, ginger.
Diuretic Substances that increase the flow of urine:
~ i.e. dandelion, couch grass, uva ursi, plantain.
Emmenagogue Herbs that promote menstruation:
~ i.e. juniper berries, myrrh, black cohosh.
Emollients Substances that sooth and soften the skin:
~ marshmallow, comfrey root, slippery elm, chickweed, plantain.
Expectorant Herbs that help expel mucus from the lungs and throat.
~ Stimulating Expectorant: Herbs that stimulate the nerves and muscles of the respiratory system to manifest a cough: elecampane
~ Relaxing Expectorant: Herbs that reduce tension in lung tissue, often easing tightness, allowing natural coughing and flow of mucus to occur: coltsfoot, liquorice
~ Amphoteric Expectorant: Herbs that stimulate or relax the respiratory systems, using the body's choice which is necessary: mullein, horehound, garlic
Febrifuge Herbs that assist the body in reducing fevers:
~ i.e. catnip, elder, peppermint
Galactogogue Substance that increase the secretion of milk:
~ anise, fenugreek, blessed thistle, fennel and vervain
Hemostatic Herbs that are internal astringents that arrest internal hemorrhaging:
~ blackberry, cayenne, mullein, goldenseal, uva ursi, yellow dock, witch hazel
Hepatic Herbs that strengthen and tone the liver:
~ oregon grape, agrimony, dandelion, goldenseal, wild yam
Hypnotic Herbs that have a powerful relaxant and sedative action, and help induce sleep:
~ hops, valerian
Hypotensive Herbs that reduce elevated blood pressure:
~ crampbark, garlic, yarrow, hawthorn berries
Laxative Substances that stimulate bowel movement:
~ cascara sagrada, psyllium, yellow dock
Lymphagogue Herbs that support the health and activity of the lymphatic system:
~ cleaver, calendula, echinacea
Nervine Herbs that calm nervous tension and nourish the nerves:
~ chamomile, hops, scullcap
Oxytocic Substances that stimulate uterine contractions to assist and induce labour:
~ black cohosh, uva ursi
Pectoral Herbs that generally strengthen and heal the respiratory system:
~ elecampane, coltsfoot, comfrey, mullein
Rubefacient Substances that increase the flow of blood to the surface of the skin and produce redness. They draw inflammation and congestions from deeper areas:
~ nettle, cayenne, black pepper
Sedative Herbs that quiet the nervous system:
~ valerian, passion flower, chamomile, catnip
Sialogogue Herbs that promote the secretion and flow of saliva:
~ echinacea, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, liquorice
Stimulants Herbs that increase the energy of the body, quicken circulation, break up obstructions and congestion:
~ cayenne, ginger, wormwood
Styptic Herbs that arrest or reduce external bleeding due to astringent action on blood vessels:
~ yarrow, cayenne, plantain
Tonic Herbs that stimulate nutrition by improving the assimilation of essential nutrients by the organs, they improve systemic tone giving increased vigour, energy and strength to the tissues of either specific organs or to the whole body. Most tonics have an affinity for a particular system.
~ Nerve tonics: valerian
~ Heart tonics: hawthorn, ginseng
~ Stomach tonics: elecampane
~ Liver tonics: dandelion
Vasodilator Herbs that expand blood vessels and allow increased circulation:
~ ginkgo, Siberian ginseng, ginger, cayenne
Vulnerary Herbs that help the body to heal wounds by promoting cell growth and repair:
~ comfrey, calendula, chickweed, marshmallow, aloe vera, rosemary, thyme and slippery elm