Active Ingredients & Scientific Names

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary: How Doth Your Garden Grow?

Unto each herb: There are several different components that make up the "oomph" in herbs.
These are called "Active Ingredients" or chemical compounds that help to:
regulate, stimulate or relax the bodily functions.


Active Ingredients include:

Alkaloids: Active organic compounds that contain at least one nitrogen atom.

Bitters: Diverse compounds with a bitter taste that stimulate both the appetite & aid in the digestion of proteins.
Enzymes: Organic catalysts which are essential to biochemical functions. They are found in all plants.

Essential Oils: aromatic plant essences extracted via distillation.

Gums: Sticky substances used as fixatives, blending with other substances to provide plasters, ointments & other salves. They are produced by cutting into the plant or tree.

Glycosides:Substances that can be broken down into various sugars.

Mucilage: Viscous gum that swells into a gel in water.

Sapoinins: Soap like emulsifying particulate akin to steriods which yield sex hormones.

Tannins: Astringent compounds that cause proteins the the blood flow to coagulate.

Vitamins & Minerals: Required for metabolic function.


Scientific Names & how to Read them:

Well. Nobody ever said that it was going to be EASY.

Actually once you learn how to read the things; its like folding a map. Doesn't always make it easier to do but at least you have some IDEA of how the thing is SUPPOSED to work!

In the future; we will have an alphabetical listing of Scientific Names listed & linked to the common names so that the more medically minded person can cross reference the herbs.


A family contains a single genus or several related genera.


A genus contains one species or several related species The name appears in italics.


Species members are similar. The name consists of the genus & the species particular also printed in italics.


When two species cross together you get a hybrid. It is shown with an x or multiplication symbol between them {ie mr x mrs}.

Variety {var.}, Form {f} & Subspecies {subsp.}:

minor variations within a species.


Type of plant that has been artificially produced; much like cross breeding.


A Note about Groupings:

Herbs tend to fall into categories which describe general attributes. I have tried to keep these general attributes close to the front of each definition. Note The herbs themselves may treat something in exact opposite of their general category...such as a Stimulant that is also a Nervine due to its Diuretic nature. As this formulary continues to evolve; I will try to go back & do a color link & have this "glossary" on every alphabatized page so that you can easily refer back to it without having to back track the pages.

Stimulants:   Stimulants increase stimulus to the whole body's system. Increases blood circulation.

Diuretics:   Diuretics Increase the output of urine; removing harmful substances from the system.

Expectorants:   Expectorants They cause the expulsion of mucus & help to break up congestion

Astringents:   Astringents Natural cleansers. Antibiotic in nature.

Nervines/ Calmatives:  Nervines Relieve nervous irriation caused by strain & tension

Tonics:   Tonics Benefit the whole body by strengthening the organs that are affected by the action of the digestive system.

Chinese or Asian Herbs  Will include the Chinese/Asian names plus our latin name plus where & what it benefits -No Asian Herbs should be taken without the advice of either a registered TCM or Asian Herbal Pharmacist's advice. These herbs treat the whole body in a completely different medical mindset. See TCM for more details on this truely Alternate Therapy.