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Herbal Dictionary: H

Updated on February 7, 2016
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DiDi is a healthy food writer who focuses on functional foods. You can read her blog at RXcipes



Hair tonic herbs nourish and moisturize hair, helping to tone and strengthen hair, promoting growth.

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Henna (Lawsonia inermis)
  • Hibiscus Flowers (Rosa Sinensis)
  • Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
  • Onion (Allium cepa)
  • Tamarind (Tamarindus Indica)

This video shows how hibiscus, a popular hair tonic herb, can be prepared to as a medicated hair oil.


A hallucinogenic herb distorts the senses, usually producing disturbances of consciousness ~ experiences that depart from reality. While hallucinations are usually visual, they may also involve the sense of hearing, smell, touch or taste as well.

Syn: Delirifacient, Hallucinogen, Psychoactive

Hallucinogenic Herbs

  • Khat (Catha edulis)
  • Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa)
  • Seer’s Sage (Salvia divinorum)
  • Thujone (Artemisia vulgaris)


Heat Therapy is the application of heat to specific body areas for therapeutic purposes, including pain relief and muscle relaxation. It can take the form of a hot cloth, heating pad, hot water or heat wrap. The thermal effect of the heat can not only provide pain relief but also healing benefits for many types of muscular pain and spasms.

Studies show that a heat wrap can be used to alleviate muscle pain and muscle strain, such as that caused by strenuous exercise. It can, for example, be used as preventative therapy by people who suffer back pain, helping relieve post-exercise pain intensity. A heat wrap, when worn for several hours, increases its thermal effects on muscle, exceeding the benefit of a conventional heating pad.

Heat therapy works by a number of mechanisms:

  • It dilates the blood vessels of the targeted muscles, which serves to increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to these muscles. In addition to alleviating the pain, they help to heal the damaged tissue.
  • Heat stimulates sensory receptors in the skin, which helps to decrease the transmissions of pain signals to the brain, partially relieving the discomfort.
  • The application of heat facilitates stretching of muscle and connective tissue. As a result, heat therapy helps decrease stiffness as well as injury.

Synonym: Thermotherapy

In this video, Kaye & Peter Sehm discuss the benefits of a heat compress, and demonstrate how to prepare and use one.


Hematopoietic herbs promote the formation of blood cells. The term hematopoietic literally means “related to the formation of blood cells.”

Hematopoietic Herbs

  • Amli (Phyllanthus niruri)
  • Curry Tree (Bergera koenigii )
  • Custard Apple (Annona muricata)
  • Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)
  • Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)


Herbalism is an age-old practice of preparing and prescribing herbs to prevent and treat illness, as well as promote health.

Science has modernized the system using analytical and pharmaceutical testing. The science-based practice of herbal medicine is now called phytomedicine or phytotherapy, which is a system of therapeutics in which diseases and disorders are treated with medicinal plants and preparations made from them using scientific principles.

Herbal remedies may be prepared from single herbs, or as formulas that combine synergistic herbs. They are administered as teas, tinctures, capsules or powders.

Although, medicinally speaking, an herb is a plant that is valued for its therapeutic benefits, most herbal traditions also include animal and mineral substances in their material medica.

In this video, A Call to Herbs, herbalist and author David Hoffman discusses the origins of herbal wisdom as well as the pitfalls of commercial herbalism.

A Call to Herbs


A hepatic herb protects and promotes the well-being of the liver. The liver is the primary organ that's responsible for expelling and breaking down toxins that enter the body. It works by producing bile, a naturally detoxifying compound that breaks down fats from food.

Hepatic Herbs

  • Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Burdock (Arctium lappa)
  • Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Imagine a fish tank with a motorized water filter. If the filter is clogged with toxins from the tank, the entire tank becomes filled with the same contaminants. In our system, the filter is the liver, the tank is the body, and the fish that has to live in it is you. Thankfully, a number of herbs for liver cleansing do exist.

— Dr. Edward Group DC/NP, Global Healing Center

This video gives an overview of three hepatic herbs that not only help protect the liver burt also treat liver conditions such as cirrhosis.

Top 3 Hepatic Herbs


Hyperglycemic herbs act to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Synonym: Anti-diabetic

  • Acai Berry (Euterpe oleracea)
  • Banana (Musa sapientum)
  • Beetroot Juice (Beta vulgaris)
  • Bitter melon (Gymnema sylvestre)
  • Celery (Apium graveolens)
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)

This video gives an overview of 10 home remedies for high blood pressure, including hyperglycemic herbs such as garlic, beetroot juice, bananas and acai berry.


An herb that acts to induce a deep, healing state of sleep

Hypnotic herbs:

  • California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Hops (Humulus lupulu)
  • Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)


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    • poetryman6969 profile image


      3 years ago

      This is a very interesting take on herb lore. I definitely never herd of using onion as a hair tonic.


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