Tonight, I will be teaching a class about botanical (or herbal) medicine. This area of study comes with its own set of terminology. Some of the terms make sense at first glance, such as anti-diarrheal, antibacterial. Some terms may be recognized from our local pharmacies, such as antitussive or sedative. However, many of the terms are older and out of common use these days.
For today's post, I would like to share three botanical terms--carminative, demulcent, and diaphoretic. Many more herbal terms can be found at the American Botanical Council's website.
A carminative refers to a plant that can help relieve gas from the digestive tract. A great example would include fennel. Many Indian restaurants put out candied fennel seeds, and fennel's carminative action can be helpful.
A demulcent refers to a plant that provides soothing to mucous membranes and is often mucilaginous in quality. An example is slippery elm bark or ground flax seed. If you soak ground flax seed in hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes or so, you can quickly see it become mucilaginous in quality. Slippery elm bark powder is similar.
A diaphoretic is a substance that promotes perspiration. Imagine a nice whooping dose of horseradish. This plant can definitely make you sweat! (I personally find Oklahoma summers to have a diaphoretic effect on me.)
Stay cool and enjoy your day!
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