Ayurvedic Herbology East & West ~ Glossary of Terms



AgniFire element, digestive fire.
Agni dipanaIncreases digestive fire.
AhamkaraSense of separate self or ego. Literally, “I former.”
Alochaka PittaSub-type of pitta which governs visual perception.
AlterativeBlood purifying substances that gradually restores healthy bodily functions.
AmaToxic residue of improperly digested food that can become the source of disease.
Ama pachanaPromotes digestion and the destruction of toxins
AmenorrheaAbsence or suppression of menstruation.
AnabolicConstructive or building phase of metabolism.
AnalgesicA substance that relieves pain.
AnthelminticDestroying and dispelling parasites (including bacteria, yeasts and fungus).
AntibacterialInhibits or destroys bacteria.
AntibioticInhibits or destroys bacteria and other microorganisms.
AntiemeticA substance that prevents or relieves nausea and vomiting.
AntifungalA substance that prevents and inhibits the growth of fungi.
AntipyreticDispels heat and reduces fever.
AntispasmodicRelieves muscle spasms and cramping.
AntiviralA substance that inhibits viruses.
AnupanaA Substance that serves as a medium of intake for herbs, such as honey, aloe vera juice, etc.
Apana VayuDownward moving sub-type of vata, responsible for elimination of waste products, gas, menstruation and child birth.
AphrodisiacSubstances that stimulate and/or revitalize the reproductive system.
Arishta/AsavaTraditional medicated herbal wines used in Ayurveda.
AromaticHerbs containing volatile, essential oils that aid digestion and relieve gas.
Artava Female reproductive tissue.
Asthi dhatuBone tissue.
AstringentSubstances that firm tissues and reduce discharges and secretions.
Avalambaka KaphaA sub-type of kapha located in the chest region, mainly in the lungs.
Ayurveda“Science of Life.” The ancient medical system of India.
BastiTherapeutic enema, one of the five main cleansing measures of Panchakarma.
BhasmaIncinerated and purified substance such as a mineral, gem, shell, coral, etc., with potent healing properties.
Bhedaniya Substances that break down accumulated tissues and waste products.
Bhrajaka pittaA subtype of pitta located in the in the skin and governs complexion.
BhutagniDigestive fire located in the liver that governs the metabolism of the five elements.
Bodhaka kaphaA subtype of kapha located in the mouth and tongue and is responsible for taste and digestion.
BuddhiIntellect (individual form).
CarminativeA substance that relieves gas and promotes digestion and peristalsis.
CatabolicDestructive phase of metabolism.
Cathartic Strong laxatives that cause powerful evacuation.
CharakaAuthor of the ancient Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita.
ChikitsaTherapy or treatment.
CholagoguePromotes flow of bile from the gall bladder.
CystitisInflammation of the urinary bladder.
DemulcentSoothes, protects and nurtures internal membranes.
DhatuThe seven main bodily tissues.
Dhatu agniSpecialized digestive fires located in the membranes of each of the seven bodily tissues.
DiaphoreticInduces sweating and increases the release of toxins through the skin.
DiureticPromotes kidney and bladder activity and increases urination.
DoshaThree basic energetic principles, which determine individual constitution.
DrasticA strong laxative.
DysmenorrheaPainful or difficult menstruation.
DyspneaDifficulty in breath, often associated with respiratory and cardiac disease.
Edema Swelling caused by fluid retention in the bodily tissues.
EmeticA substance that inducing vomiting.
EmmenagogueA substance that aids in promoting and regulating menstruation.
EmollientSoothes, softens and protects the skin.
EnteritisInflammation of the small intestine.
ExpectorantA substance that encourages the clearing of phlegm from the lungs and throat.
GalactagogueA substance that promotes the secretion of breast milk.
GastritisInflammation of the stomach.
GheeClarified butter.
GunaAttributes, modes of nature that influence creation.
HematemesisVomiting blood.
HemoptysisSpitting up blood from the lungs.
HemostaicA type of astringent that stops bleeding and internal hemorrhaging.
Kapha One of three basic energetic principles composed of water and earth.
Kledaka kapha A subtype of kapha located mainly in the stomach, which is associated with gastric and other mucous membrane.
KundaliniSerpent like spiritual energy that rises from below the base of the spine when awakened.
Laxative Substances that promote mild bowel movements.
Lechaniya Scraping or reducing action.
Lithotriptic A substance that dissolves and dispels gall bladder and urinary stones and gravel.
MahatCosmic mind, cosmic consciousness.
Majja dhatuNervous tissue, bone marrow.
MalaBodily waste products.
MalabsorptionAbnormality in the absorption of nutrients across the intestinal tract.
Mamsa dhatu Muscle tissue.
ManasRecording or conditioned mind.
Mandagni Slow or sluggish digestive fire.
MantraSacred sounds, sacred syllables.
Meda dhatuAdipose tissue.
MenorrhagiaExcess menstrual bleeding.
NasyaAdministration of medication through the nose.
NephritisInflammation of the kidney.
NervineSubstances that improve the function of the nervous system; may be stimulants or sedatives.
Nirama Without toxins.
Nutritive tonicIncreases weight and strength and nourishes all the bodily tissues.
OjasRefined essence of all bodily tissues, which maintains immunity, strength and vitality.
Pachaka pittaSubtype of pitta located in the stomach region governing digestion.
Pachana Digestion; that which promotes digestion
PanchakarmaFive cleansing measures for eliminating ama and dosha from the body (emesis, purgation, enema, bloodletting and nasal medications).
PittaOne of three basic energetic principles composed of fire and water.
PrabhavaThe special potency or action of a substance that cannot be explained by the logic of its taste, energy or post digestive effect.
PrakrutiEternal principle of matter, primordial energy of creation.
PranaVital life force, a subtype of vata governing inward movement.
PranayamaExpansion of vital energy (prana), a term commonly used for yogic breathing practices.
PurgativeA strong laxative that often causes multiple loose bowel movements.
PurushaThe eternal Self, pure consciousness.
RajasActive principle.
Rakta dhatuBlood tissue.
Ranjaka pittaA subtype of pitta rooted in the liver and spleen and is responsible the color and formation of blood.
Rasa Taste; plasma.
Rasa dhatuPlasma, lymph, white blood cells.
RasayanaRejuvenation, rejuvenating therapies and substances.
RejuvenativePrevents decay, slows the aging process and revitalizes the organs.
RhinitisSinus inflammation.
RishisAn enlightened seer or sage.
Sadhaka pittaA subtype of pitta located in the brain and heart responsible for mental and higher mind functions.
SamaWith toxins.
Sama agniBalanced digestive fire.
Samana vayuA subtype of vata present in the small intestine and navel region that governs the digestive system.
SamkhyaThe System of Indian philosophy, which deals with cosmic evolution.
SattwicPurity, clarity, light, essence.
SedativeA substance that calms or tranquilizes.
SedativeCalms or tranquilizes.
ShaktiDivine creative energy, cosmic feminine energy.
Shleshaka kaphaA subtype of kapha present in the joints, which provides lubrication and freedom of movement.
ShukraSexual fluid.
SpermatorrheaAbnormal loss of semen without ejaculation.
SrotasBodily channels or pathways.
StimulantImproves physical and mental function, increases heat and circulation, dispels chills, and strengthens digestion and metabolism.
StomachicA substance that strengthens stomach function
SuppurationPus formation and discharge.
TamasInertia, darkness, stability.
Tarpaka kaphaA subtype of kapha associated with the white matter of the brain, cerebral spinal fluid and protective membranes in the nervous system.
TejasSuperfine essence of pitta, flame of intelligence in the body.
Tikshna agniSharp digestion, excessive appetite.
TiktaBitter taste.
TinnitisRinging in the ear.
TridoshicBalance of the three doshas, balancing to all three doshas.
UdanaA subtype of vata that governs speech, energy, will power and exhalation
UrticariaA skin condition characterized by itching or hives.
VajikaranaA substances that enhance sexual energy and function.
VasodilatorA substance that causes relaxation of the blood vessels.
Vata One of three basic energetic principles composed of air and space.
VedasAncient scriptures of India.
VikrutiDisease, deviation from nature, imbalanced state of the doshas.
VipakaPost-digestive effect.
ViryaEnergy of a substance such as heating and cooling.
VulneraryA substance that heals wounds and prevents infection by stimulating cell regeneration.
Vyana vayuA subtype of vata governing the circulatory system and the movement of the musculoskeletal system.
YogaUnion with God, the practical science of self or god realization

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