Essential Oil Terminology and Glossary


Essential Oil Terminology

Below is a list of common terminology used to describe essential oils or herbs. It makes a handy glossary for you to reference.

essential oil terminologyAnalgesic: pain relieving.

Antibacterial: destorys bacteria and inhibits growth.

Anti-fungal: destroys fungus and molds and inhibits growth.

Anti-Inflammatory: reduces inflammation.

Anti-parasitic: inhibits or repels insects and parasites.

Antiseptic: prevents or arrests the growth of microorganisms.

Antispasmodic: relieves spasms and cramping.

Antitussive: prevents or relieves coughs.

Antiviral: destorys viruses and inhibits growth.

Aphrodisiac: arouses sexual desire.

Carminative: aids in expelling gas from the intestines, reducing abdominal discomfort and
bloating.

Cholagogue: aids in the elimination of bile from the gall bladder and bile ducts.

Cicatrizant: promotes scar formation and tissue.

Cytophylactic: refers to cytophylaxis which is a process that increases the activity of
leucocytes which helps in the defense of the body against infection.

Decongestant: expels excess fluid build up in sinuses, tissues and membranes.

Deodorant: eliminates body odors.

Depurative: an agent that fights impurities in the blood or organs.

Diaphoretic: increases sweating and perspiration.

Diuretic: promotes the elimination of excess water from the body via the urinary system.

Emmenagogue: promotes menstruation.

Emollient: soothes and softens the skin.

Expectorant: promotes the removal of mucus.

Febrifuge: fever reducing.

Galactagogue: encourages the flow of breast milk.

Hemostatic: reduces or stops bleeding.

Hepatic: relating or associated with the liver.

Immunostimulant: stimulates the immune system.

Mucolytic: dissolves and breaks down mucus.

Nervine: supports the nervous system and nerves.

Purgative: produces the movement of bowels.

Relaxant: clams or relaxes nerves, an organ, the body and/or mind.

Rubefacient: reduces redness of the skin.

Sedative: reduces mental excitement and encourages calmness.

Stimulant: increases circulation and the movement of the body and mind.

Stomachic: enhances the function of the stomach.

Tonic: strengthens the body, helps to restore and preserve the mind and body.

Vasoconstrictor: reduces blood flow.

Vasodilator: increases blood flow.

Vermifuge: destroys or expels worms.

Vulnerary: heals wounds by topical application.

References: Jennifer Hochell; Aromatherapy for Body Mind and Soul by Larissa
Jones; Passport to Aromatherapy by Joel Wallach, Aromatherapy Guide by Joie Power, Ph.D

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