Medical terms glossary





Our medical terms glossary will help you make sense of product and drug lables and terms which doctors and health professionals use ...



abortifacient
A substance that induces or causes an abortion.
acrid
With a hot caustic taste or causing irritation and inflamation on the skin
adjuvant
A substance which aids another ingredient to be more effective.
alterative
A substance which gradually benefits the body but which doesn't have any specific noticeable effect.
analgesic
A substance which aleviates or removes pain.
anaphrodisiac
A substance which lowers sexual appetite or potency.
anesthetic
A substance which lessens feeling or sensation.
anodyne
A substance which is soothing and lessens pain.
anthelmintic
A substance which eliminates or destroys worms in the intestines.
antibiotic
A substance which kills or impedes the growth of micro-organisms.
antibody
A substance produced in the blood or tissues in response to a specific antigen, such as a bacterium or a toxin. Antibodies destroy or weaken bacteria and neutralize organic poisons, thus forming the basis of immunity.
anticoagulant
A substance which stops blood clotting.
antiemetic
A substance which stops nausea and vomiting.
antihydrotic
A substance which stops or diminishes sweating.
antilithic
A substance which stops or diminishes calculi, or stones in the urinary tract and aids in decomposing ones which exist.
antioxidant
A substance contained in foods which significantly decreases the adverse effects of free radicals and/or environmental pollutants.
antiperiodic
A substance which cancels out periodic or sporatic diseases (eg. malaria).
antiphlogistic
A substance which  dimishes inflammation.
antipyretic
A substance which stops or diminshes fever.
antiscorbutic
A substance which cures or prevents scurvy providing vitamin C.
antiscrofulous
A substance which cancels out scrofula.
antiseptic
A substance which kills or impeads the growth of bacteria.
antispasmodic
A substance which stops or diminishes cramps or spasms.



antitussive
A substance which diminishes coughing.
antitoxin
An antibody formed in response to and capable of neutralizing a specific toxin of biological origin.
aperient
A gentle bowel stimulant or mild laxitive.
aphrodisiac
A substance which stimulates or increases sexual appetite or potency.
appetizer
A substance which increases the appetite.
aromatic
Something which has a pleasant smell.
astringent
A substance which shrinks tissues and lowers secretions and discharges.
balsam
a) A substance which is soothing. b) A viscous substance obtained from trees or plants for use in medicinal remedies.
bioavailable
Available to being assimilated by the body.
bitter
A substance which has a sharp unpleasant taste that stimulates the mucous membranes in the mouth and stomach to stimulate appetite and improve digestion.
calmative
A substance which acts as a tranquilizer or gentle sedative.
Calorie free
Less than 5 calories for each serving
cardiac
A substance which has an effect on the heart -- usually as a stimulant.
carminative
A substance which causes intestinal gas to be expelled.
cathartic
A substance which acts as a laxative.
caustic
A substance which is corrosive or burning to tissues.
cholagogue
A substance which augments the flow of bile into the intestines.
coagulant
A substance which causes blood clotting.
counterirritant
A substance which causes irritation in one part of the body to offset inflamation which is in a different part.



demulcent
A substance which comforts irritation especially mucosa.
desodorant
A substance which eliminates or hides odors.
depressant
A substance which calms or lowers nervous activity (opposite of a stimulant).
depurative
A substance which cleans up and eliminates impurities.
detergent
A substance which is used to clean injuries, lesions, ulcers.
diaphoretic
A substance which causes or increases sweating.
digestive
A substance which enhances or stimulates digestion.
disinfectant
A substance which kills or slows the growth of micro-organisms that can cause disease.
diuretic
A substance which stimulates urination.
emetic
A substance which produces nausea or vomiting.
emmenagogue
A substance which increases or stimulates menstration.
emollient
A substance which softens and soothes external irritation.
errhine
A substance which causes sneezing and nasal discharges.
euphoriant
A substance which stimulates an exaggerated feeling of well-being.
expectorant
A substance which stimulates the excretion of mucus from respiratory passages.
Fat free
Less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving
febrifuge
A substance which lowers or stops fever.
galactagogue
A substance which prpmotes or augments milk secretion.
hallucinogen
A substance which causes hallucinations.
hemostatic
A substance which stops bleeding.
herb
Any plant or part of a plant which is used for medicinal purposes, or nutritional value. (Also may be used for food seasoning, coloring and dyeing--these are not generally considered in this website. -ed.)
High fiber
Contains 5 grams of more of fiber per serving
hypnotic
A substance which encourages or causes sleep.
irritant
A substance which produces inflammation or unusually high sensitivity.
laxitive
A substance which encourages bowel movements.
Low calorie
With 1/3 less calories than similar products
Low fat
Less than 3 grams of fat in each serving
mineral
An inorganic element, such as calcium, iron, potassium, sodium, or zinc, that is essential for human nutrition.
mucilaginous
Describes something which has a sticky or jelly-like nature.
narcotic
A substance which lowers pain while causing sleep in small amounts but which can produce convultions, cpma, or death in large doses.
nervine
A substance which calms and tranquilizes nerves.
No preservatives
Chemical and natural preservatives are not present in the product
No salt
Less than 5 milligrams per serving
nutrition
The process by which a living human assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissues.
oxytocic
A substance which aids or hastens childbirth by encouraging uterine muscle contractions.
purgative
Strong laxitive; A substance which causes strong bowel movements.
refrigerant
A substance which cools excessive body temperature.
restorative
A substance which revives consciousness.
rubefacient
A substance which is mildly irritating causing redness when applied to the skin.
sedative
A substance which calms nerves, lowers stress, diminishes irritation.
sialagogue
A substance which promotes salivation or drooling.
stimulant
A substance which encourages or increases physiological activity.
stomachic
A substance which fortifies or enhances the stomach.
Sugar free
Less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving
supplement
Any of various different foods or products added to a habitual diet to make up for a deficiency, to enhance growth, improve health or compensate for toxic influences on the body.
tonic
A substance which fortifies or stimulates the body or specific areas or organs.
toxin
A substance which is poisonous and capable of causing disease but which also may neutralize antibodies or antitoxins.
vasoconstrictor
A substance which causes increased blood pressure by shrinking blood vessels.
vasodilator
A substance which lowers blood pressure by enlarging blood vessels.
verminfuge
A substance which expells worms from the intestine.
vesicant
A substance which causes blistering.
vitamin
An organic substance essential for normal growth and activity of the body.
vulnerary
A substance which helps wounds to heal.

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