Herbal Medicine 101: Herbal Actions

When you first start to learn about herbal medicine it may be overwhelming to learn so many new words. Some of these words may be botanical (from botany) like rhizomes and stomata. Others may be different kinds herbal preparations like liniments and poultices. Then you will start to see different herbal actions, how the herb is actually working in the body. Some of these you may have heard before such as anti-inflammatory or diuretic. Others are not quite as familiar such as antihelmentic and styptic.

Now that we are in a new year, The Dancing Herbalist blog is going to be taking a greater portion of this year and go through these many herbal actions. Each week on Tuesdays, our blog has posts on herbs. There, where we will now be spending each week discussing in more detail what each herbal action means, some of the herbs that have the associated actions in the body, and how they can help us to create a state of wellness in our bodies. We will continue to share about a variety of wellness topics on our blog every Thursday as normal.

In preparation for learning more about herbal actions, I recommend you first look back at some of our posts from 2016 on our physiology:tooth_pain_and_sinus_infections

Immune System Basics and Causes of Inflammation

These two blog posts focus on inflammation and the immune system. So much of acute internal herbal medicine has to do with our immune system so it is important to understand how the immune system works when under attack.

Herbal Medicine 101: Fancy Words (Herbal Preparations)

This series looks at the different kinds of herbal preparations that you can make and how to make them. This will be very helpful in learning more about herbal actions as different herbs may have different actions when made with different preparations.book-cover

Your Body Your Wellness

This 5 part series is an introduction to paying attention to your own body so you can learn how it works in different situations. This is key in determining which herbs, that all have the same herbal action, are right for you.



I do also recommend you take some time and look through our excerpts from A Beginner’s Guide to Wellness. The first of which can be found here and discusses hydration. Each of these excerpts will continue your exploration of your own body and how you can change your physical state through changing your wellness practices. The full book can be purchased here. The first chapter as well as the accompanying worksheets can be downloaded for free at www.thedancingherbalist.com.

Here is a list of some of the actions we will be looking at over the next few months:

  • Adaptogen
  • Alteratives
  • Analgesic
  • Anticatharral
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-rheumatic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Astringent
  • Antihelmintic
  • Anxiolytic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Aromatic Digestive
  • Astringent
  • Bitter
  • Cholagogue
  • Choleretic
  • Demulcent
  • Depurative
  • Diaphoretic
  • Emetic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Expectorant
  • Febrifuge
  • Galactagogue
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Laxative
  • Lymphatic
  • Mucolytic
  • Neuroprotective
  • Nervine
  • Parturifacient
  • Pungent
  • Purgative
  • Refrigerant
  • Sedative
  • Sialagogue
  • Spasmolytic
  • Stimulant
  • Styptic
  • Trophorestorative
  • Vasodilator
  • Vasoprotective
  • Venotonic
  • Vulnerary

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