Aromatherapy Glossary

abortifacient     An agent capable of inducing abortion.

absolute           Products obtained from a concrete, a pomade or a resinoid by extraction with ethanol at room temperature. The resulting ethanol solution is generally cooled and filtered to eliminate the waxes. The ethanol is then eliminated by distillation.

alterative          An agent which cleanses the blood and corrects impure blood conditions.

anaerobic         A type of organic respiration which does not require oxygen. Many bacteria are anaerobic.

anaesthetic       Loss of sensation, pain relieving

analgesic          Loss of sensation - pain relieving.

anaphrodisiac Diminishing sexual desire.

anosmic           Complete loss of sense of smell. May be temporary or permanent.

anthelmintic     A vermifuge, destroying or expelling intestinal worms.

anti-allergenic Reduces sweating.

anti-arthritic     An agent which combats arthritis.

anti-emetic       Reduces the incidence and severity of vomiting.

anti-inflammatory        Alleviates inflammation.

anti-oxidant     Prevents or delays oxidation

antibacterial     Helps control bacteria

anticonvulsive             Helps arrest or control convulsions.

antidepressant Uplifting, counteracting melancholy.

antimicrobial    An agent which resists or destroys pathogenic organisms.

antineuralgic    Reducing nerve pain

antiphlogistic   Reduces inflammation.

antipuritic        Relieve itching

antipyretic        fever reducing

antirheumatic   Relieves rheumatism

antiseborrheic Helps control the products of sebum

antiseptic         Helps control infection.

antispasmodic Prevents and eases spasms and relieves cramps.

antisudorific    Reduced swelling.

antiviral           Controlling virus organisms

aperitif             Encouraging appetite

aphrodisiac      Exciting sexual desire.

aromatic water             Aqueous distillates, remaining from water or steam distillation after essential oils have been separated.

arrhythmia       Irregular or loss of rhythm of the heartbeat.

arteriosclerosis            A loss of elasticity of the arteries.

astringent         Contracts, tightens and binds tissues.

astringent         Contracts, tightens and binds tissue

atherosclerosis             An accumulation of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the arteries.

bactericide       An agent that destroys bacteria.

balsam             An oily resinous substance exuded by a plant in response to injury to its tissues.

balsamic          A soothing substance having the qualities of a balsam.

bechic Eases coughs.

cardiac             Stimulating effect on the heart.

carminative      Settles the digestive system, expulsion of gas from the intestines.

cephalic           Stimulating and clearing the mind.

chemotype       Variation in chemical composition of an essential oil produced from two or more plants of the same species.

cholagogue      Increases production and flow of bile

choleretic         Aids excretion of bile by the liver, so that there is a greater flow of bile.

cicatrisant        Helps formation of scar tissue.

colonoscopy    Examination of the upper portion of the rectum with an elongated speculum.

concrete           Extracts obtained with non-aqueous solvents from fresh, natural raw materials. A concrete consists mainly of waxy components of plant materials. Mainly prepared for the production of absolutes.

cordial             A stimulant and tonic for the heart.

cytophylactic   Encouraging growth of skin cells.

decongestant    An agent which relieves or reduces congestion.

demulcent        Soothes, softens and allays irritation of mucus membranes.

deodorant        Destroying odor.

depurative        Helps to purify the blood, detoxifying.

detoxicant        Neutralizing toxic substances

diaphoretic       Promotes perspiration.

digestive          A substance that aids the digestion of food.

disinfectant      Prevents and combats the spread of germs.

diuretic            Increases urine flow.

emetic Induces vomiting.

emmenagogue             Promotes and regulates menstrual flow.

emollient          Soothes and softens skin.

endocrine         A gland without a duct.

essential oil      A product obtained from natural raw materials by distillation or expression.

exocrine           A gland, with a duct, which secretes directly onto the outside surface of an organism.

expectorant      Helps to expel mucus from the respiratory system.

febrifuge          Cooling and reducing high body temperature.

functional group          The smallest part of an organic molecule consisting of a singe atom or group of atoms that substitutes for a hydrogen atom and has a profound effect upon the properties of the molecule as a whole.

fungicide         Destroying fungal infections

galactagogue    Increasing secretion of milk.

germicidal        Destroys germs or micro-organisms.

haemostatic      Arrests bleeding haemorrhage.

hepatic             Stimulates and aids function of liver and gall bladder.

hepatotoxicity Having a harmful or toxic effect on the liver.

hydrating         To supply water in order to restore or maintain fluid balance

hypertensive    Increased blood pressure.

hypoglycaemiant         Lowers blood sugar levels.

hypotensive     Lowers blood pressure.

hypoxia           Deficiency of oxygen.

insecticidal       Killing insect pests

insecticide        Kills insects.

isomers            Compounds that have the same molecular formula but different structures and hence different properties.

laxative            Aiding bowl evacuation.

lichenification Cutaneous thickening and hardening from continued irritation.

menarche         Onset of menses.

mucolytic         Dissolves or breaks down mucus.

myelin             A fatty material enveloping the majority of nerve cells.

nervine            Strengthening or toning to the nerves and nervous system.

neurotoxic       Having a harmful or toxic effect on the nervous system.

occlusions       The covering of the skin with an impermeable material which prevents evaporation of a volatile substance from the skin.

oxidation         The addition of oxygen to, or the removal of electrons or hydrogen from, an organic molecule.

parturient         Helping delivery in childbirth.

pectoral            Helpful for chest infections.

pheromone      A chemical messenger used as a signal between individuals.

polar                A term used to describe a molecule which has a partial positive and negative charge. Polar molecules are generally water-soluble.

pomade            Perfumed fat obtained as a result of enfleurage.

prophylactic     Helping prevent disease.

rectification      The process in which an essential oil is distilled a second time to remove unwanted constituents (also known as redistillation).

relaxant            Soothing, causing relaxation, relieving strain or tension.

resinoid           An extract obtained from dried, natural, raw materials by use of non-aqueous solvents.

resolvent          Dissolves boils and swelling

restorative        Restoring and reviving health

rubefacient       Warming and increasing blood flow.

sedative           An agent that reduces functional activity; calming.

soporific          A substance which induces sleep.

spasmolytic     See antispasmodic.

splenetic          A tonic to the spleen.

stimulant          An agent which increases the physiological functions of the body.

stomachic        Digestive aid and tonic, improving appetite.

styptic             Arrests external bleeding.

sudorific          Increases perspiration.

Term    Description

terpeneless oil Essential oils from which the monoterpene hydrocarbons have been removed.

terpenoid         Essential oil constituents based on the isoprene skeleton, but containing a functional group.

tincture            Solutions obtained by maceration of natural raw materials in ethanol. Such products are commonly used in herbal medicine.

tonic    Strengthens and improves bodily performance.

uterine             Tonic to the uterus.

vaso-constrictor           Contraction of blood vessel walls

vasoconstrictor            Contraction of blood vessels walls.

vasodilator       Dilation of blood vessels.

vermifuge        Expulsion of worms.

vulnerary         Prevents tissue degeneration and arrests bleeding in wounds.

viscosity          A measure of the resistance to flow in a liquid. Water is "thin" having a lower viscosity. Vegetalbe Oil is "thick" having a higher viscosity.


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