This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
Every herb employed in the cure of diseases, whether in its natural state or after having undergone various preparations, belongs to the Herbal Materia Medica, in the extended acceptation of the term. It shall, however, be our purpose only to describe each separate herb in the living state, or the medicinal part thereof, and not dwell much upon the forms usually prepared by the apothecary or physician. In this portion of our work we propose to give an account of all the most important medicinal herbs necessary for the cure of diseases. No herb, however, is to be despised or regarded as worthless because of its not finding mention in this work; but, as previusly stated, that each and every plant has its virtues, though to describe all recognized as medicinal would make the work too voluminous, and in price, far exceed the reach of the million. The various properties of medicinal agents have been designated as follows:
ABSORBENTS or ANTACIDS are such medicines that counteract acidity of the stomach and bowels.
ALTERATIVES are medicines which, in certain doses, work a gradual cure by restoring the healthy functions of different organs.