ESSENTIAL OIL GLOSSARY

AbortifacientCapable of inducing abortion
AbsoluteThe most concentrated form of fragrance obtained when distilling a concrete
AdulterateThis is when unscrupulous companies mix pure essential oils with a base oil – thereby watering down the essential oil – but then still sell the ‘watered down’ oil as 100% pure essential oil. This is a huge problem in the essential oil market, as people are tempted to adulterate their oils for higher profit margins.
AcetylcholineIs a fluid used in the transmission of information from one nerve ending to another
AllergyHypersensitivity caused by a foreign substance
AlopeciaBaldness – can be temporary or permanent
AlterativeCorrecting disordered bodily functions
AmenorrhoeaThe absence of menstruation
AnaerobicType of organism that does not require oxygen
AnalgesicRelieving or deadening pain
AnaphrodisiacLessening sexual desire
AnemiaDeficiency of either quantity or quality of red corpuscles in the blood
AnestheticPain relieving by loss of sensation
AnnualPlant that completes its life cycle in one year
AnodyneStills pain and quieten disturbed feelings
AnosmicLoss of smell
AnthelminticA vermifuge, destroying or expelling intestinal worms
Anti-acidCombats acid in the body
Anti-arthriticAn agent which helps to combat arthritis
Anti-allergenicReduces symptoms of allergies
AntibacterialFights bacterial growth
AntibioticFights infection in the body by preventing the growth or destroying bacteria
Anti-convulsantHelps control convulsions
Anti-depressantHelps to counteract depression and lifts the mood
Anti-dontalgicRelieves toothache
Anti-emeticReduces the severity or incidence of vomiting
Anti-fungalPrevents the growth of fungi
Anti-galactagogueImpedes or lessens the flow of milk
Anti-hemorrhagicA substance preventing or combating bleeding
AntihistamineCounteracts allergic reaction
Anti-infectiousPrevents against infection
Anti-microbialA substance reducing or resisting microbes
AntioxidantA substance to prevent or delay oxidation
Anti-parasiticActs against parasites
Anti-phlogisticCounteracts inflammation
Anti-pruriticRelieves or prevents sensation of itching
Anti-pyreticReduces fever
Anti-rheumaticAn agent which helps to combat rheumatism
Anti-scleroticHelps to prevent hardening of arteries
Anti-seborrheicHelps control the oily secretion from sweat glands
AntisepticA substance helping to control infection
Anti-spasmodicA substance to help prevent and ease spasms and relieve cramps
Anti-sudorificA substance to help lessen sweating
Anti-toxicAntidote or treatment to counteract the effects of poison
Anti-tussiveRelieves coughing
AperientMild laxative
AphoniaLoss of voice
AphrodisiacIncreasing sexual desire and sexual functioning
ApoplexySudden loss of consciousness, a stroke or sudden hemorrhage
AromatherapyThe therapeutic use of essential oils
ArrhythmiaIrregular or loss of heartbeat rhythm
ArteriosclerosisHardening of the arteries
AstringentCausing contraction of organic tissue
AtherosclerosisAccumulation of fatty deposits on the inside walls of arteries
AtonyLack of muscle tone
BactericidalAn agent destroying bacteria
BalsamWater soluble, semi-solid or viscous resinous exudate similar to that of gum
BalsamicSoothing medicine or application having the qualities of balsam
BechicAnything referring to coughing, or an agent relieving cough
BiennialA plant completing its life cycle in two years, without flowering the first year
BiliousA condition caused by an excessive secretion of bile
BlepharitisInflammation of the eyelids
CalmativeA sedative
CarcinogenicA substance that promotes cancer or cancerous growths
CardiacPertaining to the heart
CarminativeSettles the digestive system and relieves flatulence
Carrier oilAn oil which is used to dilute essential oils for the purpose of massage – see fixed oils
CelluliteAn “orange peel” effect caused by local accumulation of fat and waste products
CephalicA substance stimulating and clearing the mind
ChemotypesThe same botanical species occurring in other forms due to different growth conditions
Chi / QiChinese term referring to the essential life force
CholagogueStimulating the secretion of bile into the duodenum
CholecystokeneticAgent that stimulates the contraction of the gall bladder
CholereticHelps the liver to excrete bile, leading to greater bile flow
CholesterolIs a steroid alcohol found in red blood cells, bile, nervous tissue and animal fat
CicatrisationFormation of scar tissue
CicatrisantAgent promoting healing by scar tissue formation
CirrhosisChronic inflammation and degeneration of any organ (normally in the liver)
Clinical trialA controlled study to look at the effectiveness of a specific ingredient or application
CohobationIs a process in the extraction method of especially rose essential oil, to ensure a “complete” oil
Cold pressedRefers to a method of extraction where no external heat is applied during the process
ColicPain due to contraction of the muscle of the abdominal organs
ColitisInflammation of the colon
ConcreteA waxy concentrate semi-solid essential oil extract, made from plant material, and is used to make an absolute
ConstipationA state where normal bowel functions are not present
CutaneousPertaining to the skin
CystitisBladder inflammation
CytophylacticAction of increasing the leukocyte activity to defend the body against infection
CytotoxicToxic to all cells
DecoctionA herbal preparation made by boiling the material and reducing it to a concentration
DecongestantA substance which helps to relieve congestion
DemulcentAn agent protecting mucus membranes and helps stop irritation
DepurativeHelps to detoxify and to combat impurities in the blood and body
DermatitisInflammation of the skin
DetoxifierHelps to detoxify and to combat impurities in the blood and body
DiaphoreticA substance which helps to promote perspiration
DiffuserA device which helps to release the fragrance molecules into the air
DistillationA method of extraction used in the manufacture of essential oils
DiureticHelps to produce urine and remove water from the body
DysmenorrhoeaPainful menstruation
DysuriaPain or difficulty in urinating
EdemaWater retention
EmeticInducing vomiting
EmmenagogueInducing or assisting menstruation
EmollientSoftening and soothing to the skin
EmphysemaDegenerative disease of the lungs where the air sacs become enlarged
EndocrinePertaining to the ductless glands
EngorgementCongestion or fullness of the tissue
EnteritisInflammation of the mucus membranes of the intestine
EnuresisInvoluntary urinating
EnzymeProtein produced by living cells which catalyze biochemical reactions
ErethismAbnormal state of irritation or excitement
Essential oilVolatile aromatic liquid constituting the odorous principles of botanical matter
ExocrinePertaining to a gland with a duct, secreting directly onto outside surface of organism
ExpectorantA substance that helps to expel mucus from the lungs
ExpressionIs an extraction method where essential oils are pressed to obtain the oil
ExudatesNatural material secreted by plants – can be spontaneous or after damage to plant
FebrifugeHelps to combat fever
FibrillationRapid twitching of muscle fiber
FixativeMaterial that slows evaporation of volatile components in perfume
Fixed oilsVegetable oils obtained from plants that are fatty and non-volatile
Flower waterThe water resulting from the distillation of essential oils, which still contains some of the properties of the plant material used in the extraction
FoldRefers to the percentage of terpenes removed by re-distillation – single fold to fivefold
Fractionated oilsRefers to oils that have been re-distilled, either to have terpenes removed or to remove other substances
FungicideA substance which destroys fungal infections
GalactagogueHelps to increase milk secretion
GemicidalAn agent that destroys micro-organisms
GingivitisInflammation of the gums
GlossitisInflammation of the tongue
HalitosisBad breath
Hematuria / HaematuriaPresence of blood in the urine
HemorrhoidsPiles which are dilated rectal veins
HemostaticHelps to stop bleeding
HepaticPertaining to the liver
HepatoxicAn agent having a toxic or harmful effect on the liver
HerpesInflammation of the skin or mucus membranes
HormoneA product from living cells that produces a specific activity of cells remote from its point of origin
HybridA plant created by fertilization of one species by another
HydrodiffusionIs a distillation method of essential oil extraction where the steam is produced above the botanical material and then percolates down
HydrosolFloral water
Hyperglycemia / HyperglycaemiaExcess of sugar in the blood
HypertensionHigh blood pressure
HypocholesterolemiaLowering of the cholesterol content of the blood
HypoglycemiaLowered blood sugar levels
HypotensionAbnormally low blood pressure
HypoxiaA shortage of oxygen
In vitroIn a test tube
In vivoIn a living body
Infused oilAn oil produced by steeping the macerated botanical material in oil until the oil has taken on some of the material’s properties
InfusionHerbal remedy made by steeping the plant material in water
LaxativeA substance that helps with bowel movements
LeukocyteWhite blood cells responsible for fighting disease
LeucocytosisRaises number of white blood cells in the blood
LeucorrhoeaWhitish vaginal discharge
LipolyticCausing lipolysis which is the chemical disintegration of fats
MacerateTo soak until soft
Massage therapistA person qualified to perform therapeutic massage on people
Massage therapyThe manipulation of soft tissue to enhance health and general well-being
MenopauseThe normal cessation of menstruation
MenorrhagiaExcessive blood loss during menstruation
MetrorrhagiaUterine bleeding outside the normal menstrual cycle
MicrobeMinute living organism such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses
MucilageSubstance containing demulcent gelatinous constituents
MucolyticBreaking down mucus
MyelinFatty material enveloping the majority of nerve cells
NarcoticSubstance inducing sleep
NephritisInflammation of the kidneys
NervineSubstance that strengthens and tones the nerves and nervous system
NeuralgiaStabbing pain along a nerve pathway
NeurastheniaNervous exhaustion
NeurotoxinA substance having a toxic or harmful effect on the nervous system
OedemaWater retention
Oleo gum resinOdoriferous exudation from botanical material consisting of essential oil, gum and resin
OleoresinNatural resinous exudation from plants or aromatic liquid preparation extracted from botanical material
OlfactionSense of smell
Olfactory bulbThe center where the processing of smell is started and is then passed onto other areas of the brain
OliguriaLow volume of urine
OphthalmiaInflammation of the eye
OstitisInflammation of the ear
OxidationRelated to the addition of oxygen to an organic molecule, or the removal of electrons or hydrogen from the molecule
PalpitationsUndue awareness of heartbeat, or rapid heartbeat or abnormal rhythm of the heart
ParturientAssisting and helping childbirth
PathogenicAn agent causing or producing disease
PepticPertaining to gastric secretions as well as areas affected by them
PerennialA plant living for more than two years
PharmacologyMedical science pertaining to drugs
PharmacopoeiaOfficial book of drugs
PheromoneChemical messenger used between people
PhytohormonesPlant substances mimicking the actions of human hormones
PhytotherapyTreatment of disease with plant material, including herbal medicine
PolypusNon-malignant type of growth
PomadePerfumed fat obtained during the enfleurage extraction method
ProphylacticPreventative of disease or infection
ProstatitisInflammation of the prostate gland
PruritisItching
PsoriasisA chronic skin disease characterized by red patches and silver scaling
PsychosomaticPertaining to the mind and body
PulmonaryPertaining to the lungs
PyelitisInflammation of the kidneys
Pyorrhea / PyorrhoeaDischarge of puss from the gums
PyrosisHeartburn
RectificationProcess of re-distilling essential oils to rid them of certain constituents
RenalPertaining to the kidneys
ResinNatural or prepared product – natural resins are exudations from trees, prepared resins are oleoresins from which the essential oil has been removed
ResinoidsPerfumed material extracted from natural resinous material by solvent extraction
ResolventAn agent that helps disperse swelling, or that helps absorption of new growth
RhizomeUnderground stem that lasts for more than one season
RubefacientSubstance causing redness and possible irritation to the skin
SciaticaPain down the back of the legs in the area serviced by the sciatic nerve
SclerosisHardening of tissue due to inflammation
ScrofulaTuberculosis of the lymphatic glands
SeborrheaIncreased secretion of sebum
SialogogueAn agent stimulating the secretion of saliva
SoporificA substance which helps to induce sleep
SpermatorrhoeaInvoluntary emission of sperm without orgasm
SplenicPertaining to the spleen
StomachicA substance which helps with the digestion and helps to improve appetite
StomatitisInflammation of the mucus membranes of the mouth
StypticAn agent that stops external bleeding
SudorificAn agent causing sweating
SynergyAgents working together and in harmony to produce an effect greater than the sum of the two separate agents
SyntheticRefers to anything not of organic source
TachycardiaAbnormally increased heartbeat
TanninAn astringent substance that helps seal tissues
TerpenelessEssential oil from which monoterpene hydrocarbons have been removed
ThrombosisThe formation of a blood clot
ThrushA fungal infection in the mouth or vaginal area
TicRepetitive twitching
TinctureReferring to either a herbal or perfume material prepared in an alcohol base
TracheitisInflammation of the windpipe
TuberSwollen part of underground stem of one year’s duration and capable of new growth
UnguentA soothing or healing salve or balm
UrticariaWeal on the skin
VasoconstrictorAn agent causing the contraction of blood vessel walls
VasodilatorAn agent causing the dilation of blood vessel walls
VermifugeAn agent expelling intestinal worms
VolatileSubstance that is unstable and evaporates easily, like an essential oil
VulneraryAn agent applied externally which helps to heal wounds and sores and helps to prevent tissue degeneration