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.