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What information is available in an herb dictionary?

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Quick Answer

The information typically provided in herb dictionaries includes a description of each herb, its uses and history, though information varies by the type of herbal dictionary, and there are also dictionaries that define herbal terminology. A medicinally-focused herbal dictionary provides basil's botanical name, its active compounds, its history and remedial applications and dosages. While a botanically-focused dictionary also includes basil's history, it only briefly describes its uses, and a cooking-focused dictionary provides an even briefer description and adds food pairings.

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Full Answer

Historical references to various herbs in such dictionaries usually describe the herb's uses and significance across cultures and time.

The botanical herbal dictionary includes medicinal uses for figwort as a detergent and also as a poultice and notes its prior use as a cure for toothaches. The medicinal dictionary describes how to infuse it by pouring a cup of boiling water on 2 to 3 tablespoons of dried leaves for drinking three times a day. Historical references to various herbs usually describe the herbs uses and significance across cultures and time. Figwort is not in the dictionary of cooking herbs, but fennel finds it way into all three herbal dictionaries.

The cooking herbal dictionary reports the edibility of the entire fennel plant and the fennel seed's similarity to anise. The medicinal herb dictionary explains that the main active ingredients of fennel's volatile oil include terpenoid anethole and other terpenoids that inhibit spasms in intestinal tract, making it a good choice for colic, indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. The botanical dictionary also describes its cultivation, adulteration and various types.

The American Botanical Council's dictionary of herbal terminology includes general herbal terms, plant parts and herbal preparations and defines the various health care systems that employ herbal therapies.

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