Glossary of Terminologies

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Absolute - A concentrated semi-solid aromatic oil usually obtained by alcohol extraction.

Analgesic - Inability to feel pain, or pain relieving.

Anaphrodisiac - Reduces sexual desire.

Anti-bacterial - Inhibits bacterial growth.

Antibiotic - Destroys bacteria.

Anti-depressant - Improves the mood.

Anti-fungal - Inhibits the growth of mold and fungi.

Anti-inflammatory - Prevents or reduces inflammation.

Anti-neuralgic - Lessens nerve pain.

Anti-oxidant - Any substance such as fats or oils which reduces deterioration in the body by oxidation.

Anti-phlogistic - Lessens inflammation.

Antiseptic - An agent which inhibits the growth of disease causing micro-organisms.

Anti-viral - An agent that destroys certain viruses.

Aphrodisiac - Increases sexual desire.

Aromatherapy - The art and science of using essential oils to promote health and well being, often by relaxing or stimulate the mind or enhancing the mood.

Aromatic - A substance which has a pleasant odour or scent.

Astringent - Contracts and tightens blood vessels and body tissue.

back to top

Bactericide - Something which combats bacteria.

Base Oil - See Carrier Oil.

Botanical Name - The Latin name given to a species of plant or tree to clearly distinguish it from other species that share the same common name.

back to top

Carrier Oil - Often referred to also as a base oil used to dilute pure essential oils before application to the skin. Usually a vegetable oil, however, different carrier oils offer different properties, therefore, the choice of carrier oil is very much dependant upon the therapeutic effect required.

Cephalic - Stimulates and clears the mind.

Chemotype - Plants of the same genus which appear externally identical but have a variation in the chemical constituents, often due to climatic, altitude, or soil conditions.

Cold Pressed - A natural physical process used to extract vegetable oils and essential oils from the rinds or seeds of citrus fruit. The seeds or rinds of the fruit areground, then "pressed" which releases their oil. No heat is used in this process, therfore the oils retain their essential fatty acid content, however, they have a relatively short shelf life.

Cytophyletic or Cytogenetic - Encourages growth of skin cells.

back to top

Deodorizing - The removal of an unpleasant odour.

Detoxifying - The removal of poisons and waste from the body.

Dilution - The process of making a liquid less concentrated. Pure essential oils require dilution due to their potentcy.

Dispersant - When used in aromatherapy; it is refering to distributing or disolving essential oils evenly into the surface of water.

back to top

Emollient - Softening and soothing when applied to the skin.

Essential Oil - An essential oil is a liquid that is generally steam or hydro-distilled from flowers, leaves, bark and roots of plants and trees. Whilst steam distillation has the advantage of no solvent residues, it can be a destructive process since heat is used and the oil does go through some chemical change. Other extraction methods are cold pressing and solvent extraction. Mostly, essential oils are clear, however there are some exceptions.

Exfoliate - To peel off layers, referring mainly to dead skin.

back to top

Floral water - Hydrosols are produced by water or steam distillation of the flower or herb, and contain most of the hydrophillic molecules from the plant or flower material that failed to distil. Also known as hydrolat, hydrolate or floral water.

Fragrance oils - Artificially created fragrances which do not offer the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.

Fungicide - An agent that destroys fungal infection.

back to top

Gum - Any of various sticky substances that exude from certain plants and trees which harden on exposure to air and dissolve or form viscous masses in water.

back to top

Hydrolats (Floral Water) - Hydrolats are the final water by-product left over after the steam distillation of a plant has been completed.

Hydrosol - Hydrosols are produced by water or steam distillation of the flower or herb, and contain most of the hydrophillic molecules from the plant or flower material that failed to distil. Also known as hydrolat, hydrolate or floral water.

back to top

Infusion - An extract obtained by soaking, often a process of soaking plants in a carrier oil, which would create an infusion.

Infused Oil - A carrier oil that has been infused with one or several herbs. A distinct advantage by using infused oil against ordinary carrier oil is that the infused oil will contain both the therapeutic quality of the carrier oil and the herbs which were infused into the oil.

back to top

Loofah - the fibrous interior of a fruit, which is dried, bleached and used as a bath sponge or for scrubbing.

Lymphatic system - A system of lymph nodes linked by lymph vessels to carry the lymph fluid around the body, which collects waste from the tissues and returns it to the blood after it has been purified.

back to top

Oleoresin - A semi-solid mixture of resin and essential oil obtained from certain plants and trees. Such an example is from the Pine tree.

Olfaction - Relating to the sense of smell.

back to top

Photo-toxicity - Pigmentation or a sensitising reaction on the skin when exposed to ultra-violet light, due to a naturally occurring component in an essential oil.

Pipette - A disposable plastic dropper used in dispensing essential oils.

Phototoxic - Sun exposure causing skin pigmentation

back to top

Resin - Various solid, or semisolid substances which derive from certain plants as exudations.

back to top

Sedative - A soothing or calming effect.

Stimulant - A substance that increases physiological activity and the flow of adrenaline; having an uplifting effect on the body.

Synergy - In aromatherapy, meaning, the combination of two or more essential oils.

back to top

Tonic - Improves and strengthens the functioning of the body.

Viscosity - In aromatherapy, this term is used to describe the thickness or density of essential oil. The higher the viscosity, the more liquid that is contained.

Volatile - A substance capable of readily changing from a solid or liquid form to a vapour at normal temperatures.

back to top