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Herbal Dictionary: O, P & Q

Updated on July 9, 2015
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DiDi is a healthy food writer who focuses on functional foods. You can read her blog at RXcipes



An occlusive remedy is one that is designed to seal a wound from air and infective microorganisms, while retaining moisture, medication, body fluids and heat.

An occlusive dressing, for example, is prepared from a waxy coating, so as to create a total seal. It lacks the absorbent properties of a gauze pad. Alternatively, it the dressing consist of a sheet of thin plastic that is affixed with transparent tape.

Occlusive dressings serve to create and maintain a moist environment around the wound, and are believed to provide optimal conditions for wound healing. The moisture under the dressing not only increases the rate of epithelialization but also serves to promote healing through the initial presence of a low oxygen tension (which promotes the inflammatory phase).

This video discusses occlusive dressings and how to apply one:


An oil infusion is a method for extracting oil-soluble compounds from herbal material, by soaking it in a mineral or vegetable oil. An oil menstruum such as Olive oil, Coconut Oil or Jojoba Oil is used for this purpose.

Herbal oil infusions are commonly applied topically in ointments, creams and massage oils.

In this video, Kimberley Snachez of Nature’s garden shows you step-by-step how to prepare your own oil infusion


A soft, semi-solid preparation that is prepared from solid fat and beeswax. It is usually prepared from an herbal infusion or decoction that is heated with oil to evaporate the water, and then combined with lanolin or lard, and then beeswax. A little tincture of Benzoin is often added as a preservative.

This video gives an overview of calendula (Calendula officinalis), its properties and benefits. It also provides a step-by-step demonbstration on how to prepare calendula herbal ointment.


An aromatic fluid obtained by extracting resinous materials from the secretions of various trees and plants using organic solvents.

Examples of Oleoresins

  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Paprika (Capsicum annuum)



A pectoral is an herb or compound that acts to relieve respiratory conditions, by promoting expectoration or relieving coughing

See Also: Antitussive, Expectorant

  • Blood Root (Sanguinaria canadensis)
  • Elder (Sambucus nigra)
  • Elecampane (Inula helenium)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)
  • Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis)
  • Mullein (Verbascum thapus)
  • Pleurisy Root (Asclepias tuberosa)


A topical herbal preparation that is applied directly onto an infection or wound, and held in place with a wet dressing. A poultice is used to speed the healing of wounds, soothe sore muscles and prevent infection.

In this video, Barbara O'Neill discusses the benefits of a poultice, and demonstrates how to prepare and use one.


A purgative herb promotes a vigorous evacuation of the bowels. Purgative herbs are usually used to alleviate severe constipation

Purgative Herbs:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Castor Oil (Ricinus communis)
  • Epsom salt
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)
  • Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
  • Senna (Cassia senna)


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