: tending or used to cure disease or relieve pain : medicinal
Did You Know?
Officinal is a word applied in medicine to plants and herbs that are used in medicinal preparations. For most of the 19th century, it was the standard word used by the United States Pharmacopeia to refer to the drugs, chemicals, and medicinal preparations that they recognized, but by the 1870s it was replaced by official in this context. Despite this supersession, you still can find a healthy dose of officinal in the pharmaceutical field, where it is used today as a word describing preparations that are regularly kept in stock at pharmacies. Officinal was derived from the Medieval Latin noun officina, a word for the storeroom of a monastery in which provisions and medicines were kept. In Latin, officina means "workshop."
The plant turned out to have officinal properties and could be used to make an anti-itch ointment.
"Europe's mania for rhubarb in the second half of the eighteenth century energized the drive to find the plant in its native habitat. Was this plant … the very same one that for so long had provided the officinal root for European pharmacies? — Clifford M. Foust, Rhubarb: The Wondrous Drug, 1992
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