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close this bookEthnoveterinary Medicine in Asia - General Information (IIRR, 1994, 145 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCollaborating organizations
View the documentIntroduction to the workshop process
View the documentHow to use these manuals
View the documentIdentification, collection and preparation of medicinal plants
View the documentApplication of herbal medicine
View the documentCommon units of measurement
View the documentEstimating live weight
View the documentSimple surgical techniques
View the documentTreating castration wounds
View the documentGlossary of english and botanical names
View the documentGlossary of medicinal plants
View the documentEthnoveterinary question list
View the documentGlossary of technical terms
View the documentParticipants' profile
View the documentReferences

Glossary of technical terms

These manuals avoid using technical terms if at all possible. Sometimes, however, using a technical word is unavoidable. This glossary contains such words and other terms found in books on veterinary medicine.


Abortifacient. Causes abortion or miscarriage.

Abscess. A collection of pus in the tissue.

Acaricide. Chemical used for tick (external parasite) control.

Active principle. Ingredient or the chemical component of a crude drug which has a therapeutic effect.

Acute. Condition which is critical, sudden and of short duration.

After birth. Placenta and other membranes expelled after birth.

Allergen. Substance capable of inducing an allergic response.

Allergy. Hypersensitivity of the body cells to specific substances such as antigens and allergens, resulting in various types of reactions.

Alterative. A substance which alters a condition by a gradual change toward restoration of health.

Analgesic. Pain-reliever or pain-killer.

Anaphrodisiac. A drug that represses sexual desire.

Anemia. Number of red blood cells and quantity of hemoglobin in blood reduced below normal.

Anesthetic. An agent which causes total or partial loss of sensation.

Anhidrotic. An agent that suppresses perspiration.

Anodyne. A soothing agent which eases pain.

Anthelmintic. An agent that removes intestinal worms from the host animal.

Antibiotic. A chemical substance produced by a microorganism that has the capacity to kill or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms.

Antibody. Immunoglobulin molecule that is found normally in the body but is elicited after contact with an antigen.

Anticoagulant. Agent preventing or retarding blood clotting.

Anticolic. Agent that relieves abdominal pain by expelling gas from the stomach and intestines.

Antidote. A treatment which counteracts or destroys the effect of poisons or other medicines.

Antidyspeptic. Acts against nausea due to indigestion.

Antiemetic. An agent that relieves vomiting.

Antigen. A substance capable of inducing an immune response.

Antiherpetic. Drug for skin inflammations.

Antipyretic. Substance that lowers body temperature to the normal level; used against fever.

Antirheumatic. Medicine for rheumatism.

Antiseptic. An agent for destroying or inhibiting diseasecausing bacteria.

Antisialic. Checking the flow of saliva.

Antispasmodic. Prevents or relieves muscular spasms or cramps.

Antitussive. An agent that relieves coughing.

Aphrodisiac. A drug that arouses sexual desire.

Aperient. A gentle purgative.

Aromatic. Emits fragrant odor; used to make medicinal preparations more palatable.

Ascariasis. Infestation by the intestinal parasite Ascaris.

Ascarid. A roundworm (nematode parasite) found in the intestine of pigs, birds, ruminants, horses and humans.

Astringent. Shrinks tissues and prevents secretion of fluids from wounds.


Bacteria. Microscopic organisms.

Balm. A soothing or healing medicine.

Balsam. A semifluid, resinous vegetable juice.

Balsamic. Healing or soothing agent.

Bladder. The organ which is reservoir for urine, or gall, in body.

Boil. Infected, painful, hard swelling of the skin.


Carminative. An agent that relieves flatulence.

Catarrh. Inflammation of nose and mucous membranes.

Cathartic. Causes cleansing of the bowels.

Chronic. Condition which is recurring and of long duration.

Colic. Gas pain.

Collyrium. An eyewash or lotion for the eyes.

Colostrum. Viscid yellow milk, high in protein and micro-nutrients, produced by mothers after birth.

Compress. A wet, folded cloth soaked in a solution and applied firmly to a part of the body.

Congestion. Abnormal accumulation of blood in a part.

Concoction. A preparation from crude materials, made by combining different ingredients.

Constipation. Infrequent or difficult bowel movement with hard stools caused by functional or organic disorders or improper diet.

Contagious. Diseases which are readily passed on to others.

Contamination. The soiling or making inferior by contact, as by introduction of organisms into a wound.

Contusion. Injury to tissues caused by blunt force which did not disrupt or lacerate the skin.

Convulsion. A violent involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles.

Costive. An agent that produces constipation.


Decoctions. Solutions representing the water-soluble constituents of plant drugs prepared by boiling the drug in water.

Decongestant. An agent that reduces congestion or swelling.

Demulcent. A soothing medicine or application.

Depressant. Agent that reduces functional activity.

Depurative. Purifying agent; normally applied to bloodpurifiers.

Dermatitis. Inflammation of the skin.

Detergent. Cleansing agent.

Diagnosis. The determination of the nature of a case of disease. Includes: (1) the name, (2) the cause and (3) the prognosis.

Diaphoretic. An agent that promotes profuse perspiration.

Diarrhea. Abnormal frequency and fluidity of stool discharges.

Digestant. Aids or promotes digestion.

Disease. Any departure from a state of health.

Diuretic. A drug or preparation that promotes urine production.

Dosage. The determination and regulation of the size, frequency and number of doses.

Dose. The quantity of a specified medication to be administered at one time that cures or mitigates illness.

Drench. Giving medicines in liquid form by mouth and forcing the animal to drink.

Dysentery. Inflammation of the large intestines with evacuation of liquid and bloody stool and painful straining.

Dyspepsia. Indigestion characterized by nausea.

Dysuria. Difficult discharge of urine.


Eczema. Inflammatory skin disease characterized by redness, itching and formation of scales and crusts.

Edema. Abnormal accumulation of fluids in the tissues.

Emetic. Causes vomiting

Emollient. An agent that softens or soothes the skin, or soothes an irritated internal surface.

Encephalitis. Inflammation of the brain.

Enema. Any liquid preparation introduced into the rectum.

Enteritis. Inflammation of the intestines.

Epidemic. A sudden outbreak of disease in a relatively small area.

Estrus. Heat, the condition of being receptive to breeding.

Etiology. The study or theory of the cause(s) of any disease; the sum of knowledge regarding causes.

Eupeptic. Promotes good digestion.

Expectorant. Promotes ejection of fluid from the lungs and trachea.


Febrifuge. A remedy for fever.

Fever. Increase in the body temperature; an abnormally high body temperature.

Flatulence. Gas formation in the alimentary canal.

Fluid extract. Liquid preparation of vegetable drug containing alcohol as a solvent or as a preservative or both.

Fomentation. Application of warm, moist substances such as wet cloth to ease pain and inflammation.

Fracture. Breaking of a bone.


Galactagogue. An agent that promotes milk flow.

Gastroenteritis. Inflammation of the stomach and intestines characterized by pain, nausea and disease germs.

Germicide. Destroy disease germs.

Gestation. Period of pregnancy term of life of offspring within womb.


Health. A normal condition of body and mind.

Hematoma. A swelling filled with blood.

Hemorrhage. Excessive bleeding.

Hemorrhoid. Painful swelling formed by dilation of a vein in the anus; usually accompanied by bleeding and constipation; piles.

Hygiene. The science of health and its preservation.

Hypnotic. Induces sleep.


Immune. Resistant to a disease due to the formation of antibodies.

Immunity. The body is defense against disease; can be passed on to offspring through colostrum, or through exposure and naturally developed defenses (vaccinations/inoculations).

Infectious. Disease conditions which can be passed on to others (see Contagious).

Inflammation. The reaction of living tissues to injury infection or irritation; characterized by pain swelling, redness and heat.

Infusion. Herbal remedy preparation which involves adding hot or cold water to plant part(s) and allowing to stand (with cover), usually for about 15 minutes; an infusion can be either hot or cold.

Internal medicine. Branch of medicine not involving surgery.

Invigorant. Strengthening, energy-giving agent.


Larva. An independent, immature stage in the life cycle of an animal or insect in which it is unlike the parent and must undergo changes in form and size to reach the adult stage.

Laxative. Encourages defecation.

Lesions. Alterations of skin due to skin disease.

Liniment. A medicated liquid, usually containing alcohol, camphor and an oil, applied to the skin to relieve pain or stiffness.


Macerate. Cold water extract of a plant or crude drug, also, to soften or separate by soaking.

Massage. Rubbing or kneading the muscles.

Mastitis. Inflammation of the udder due to infection.

Medicine. (1) any drug or remedy (2) the art or science of healing diseases—the diagnosis and treatment of a case of disease.

Milk fever. Critical condition after calving when cow cannot stand and may quickly die unless given calcium therapy.

Mixture. A combination of different elements or ingredients.


Narcotic. A drug, which, in moderate doses, alleviates pain, reduces sensibility, produces sleep; in large amounts, induces stupor, coma or convulsions.

Nausea. Upset stomach, with the inclination to vomit.

Nervine. Soothing to the nerves; provides nervous relaxation.

Nutrient. Nourishing substance.


Obstuent. Any agent that causes obstruction (e.g., in the wind pipe or intestine).

Ointment. Combination of juice or plant part with oil (e.g., coconut oil) and starch.


Pandemic. An outbreak of disease occurring over a very wide area, affecting a large percentage of the population.

Paralysis. Inability to move a muscle or group of muscles, often coupled with loss of sensation in the affected area.

Parasites. Any organisms which have a harmful effect or cause a disease condition; usually refers to worms, ticks, fleas' mites, lice, leeches, etc.

Parturient. Giving birth or pertaining to birth.

Parturition. The act of giving birth; calving.

Pathology. The science that deals with the study of disease.

Pelvic. The area around the anus and the hips.

Pharmacognosy. The study of the biology, chemistry and pharmacology of plant drugs and species.

Pharmacology. The study of the action of chemicals and drugs in the body.

Placenta. The sac inside which the fetus grows and is attached to the mother's womb through which it is nourished.

Plaster. A mixture of materials that hardens; used for immobilizing body parts.

Preventive medicine. Branch of study and practice which aims at prevention of disease.

Poison. A substance that, in relatively small amounts, may cause structural damage or functional disturbance.

Post partum. After a birth.

Poultice. A soft, usually heated preparation spread on a cloth and applied to a sore or inflammation.

Prognosis. A forecast as to the probable result of a case of disease; the prospect as to recovery from a disease afforded by the nature and symptoms of the case; may be: (1) favorable, (2) guarded, (3) unfavorable.

Prolapsed rectum. The lower portion of the intestinal tract comes out of the anus.

Prolapsed uterus. The uterus descends into the vagina and may be seen at the vaginal opening.

Prophylactic. Preventing against disease.

Pulmonary. Pertaining to the lungs.

Purgative. Causing evacuation from the intestines.


Refrigerant. Relieving fever and thirst. Rejuvenator. Causes renewed vitality. Repellent. An agent that repels or drives off other organisms.

Resolvent. An agent that promotes the subsidence of an inflammation or the softening and disappearance of a swelling.

Restorative. Aids in regaining normal vigor.

Retained placenta. A disease condition in which the placenta is not expelled after calving, requiring treatment.

Revulsive. Diverts disease from one part of the body to another.

Rinse. To wash out with water.

Rubefacient. An external skin application causing redness of the skin.

Ruminant. An animal that has a stomach with four complete cavities and regurgitates undigested food from the rumen and masticates it when at rest (e.g., cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat).


Secretion. The liquid products of glands.

Sedative. An agent that calms the nerves.

Sign. Any objective evidence of a disease.

Soak. To thoroughly wet or saturate with liquid.

Soporific. An agent that induces sleep.

Specific agent. Remedy that has a special effect on a particular disease.

Sporadic. An outbreak of disease in a single or scattered location.

Sprain. A violent and sudden twist of a joint.

Starchy water. Water full of starch.

Steam. The vapor which rises from boiling water

Sterile. Free from living germs or bacteria.

Stimulant. Increases or hastens body activity.

Stomachic. Stimulates activity of the stomach.

Stomatitis. Inflammation of the mouth.

Styptic. Stops bleeding with an astringent.

Sudorific. An agent that causes sweating.

Symptom. Any functional evidence of disease or of a patient's condition.

Syndrome. The aggregate of symptoms associated with a particular disease.


Therapeutics. Branch of medicine associated with the use of remedies and the treatment of diseases.

Tincture. Alcoholic extract of a plant drug.

Tonic. Produces healthy muscular condition and reaction.

Treatment. Application of therapeutic measures.


Ulcer. A superficial inflammation or sore of the skin or mucus membrane discharging pus.


Vagina. The portion of the female reproductive tract through which the baby animal must pass. It is separated from the uterus by the cervix.

Vermicide. An agent lethal to worms or intestinal animal parasites.

Vermifuge. An agent that expels the worms or intestinal animal parasites; anthelmintic.

Vesicant. An agent that produces blisters.

Virus. A minute organism which causes disease.

Vulnerably. An agent that promotes the healing of wounds.

Vulva. The opening below a female animal's tailhead to which the urinary and reproductive tracts are attached, which swells at time of estrus and more so at calving time.


Agravante, et al. (1985)
Blood and Studdert (1988)
Co (1989)
GuzmanLadion (1985)
Jensen and Kaeberle (1975)
Lewis (1977)
Nadkarni (1992)
Padua, et al. (1978)