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Essential Oils - Glossary of Terms

**Glossary definitions taken from The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy by Chrissie Wildwood.

Abortifacient

Causes abortion.

Analgesic

Pain relieving.

Anaphrodisiac

Reduces sexual desire.

Anti-allergenic

Prevents allergic reactions.

Anti-anaemic

Prevents or combats anaemia.

Antibiotic

Destroys or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms, especially bacteria.

Anticonvulsive

Helps prevent or arrest convulsions.

Antidepressant

Helps alleviate depression.

Anti-emetic

Helps prevent vomiting.

Antigalactagoguic

Decreases the secretion of milk.

Antihaemorrhagic

Prevents or combats bleeding.

Antihistaminic

Counteracts the effects of histamine. (Histamine is released in the body as part of an allergic response, triggering symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing or Skin irritation.

Anti-inflammatory

Also antiphologistic. Counteracts inflammation.

Antimicrobial

Destroys, or hinders the proliferation of, micro-organisms, especially bacteria.

Antineuralgic

Counteracts neuralgia.

Antioxidant

Prevents or delays oxidation or deterioration, especially with exposure to air.

Antiputrescent

Prevents or combats decay or putrefaction.

Antireheumatic

Relieves rheumatism.

Antiseptic

Destroys mico-organisms.

Antispasmodic

Prevents or eases spasms or cramps.

Antitoxic

Counteracts the effects of poison.

Anti-tumor

Prevents or retards the growth of tumours.

Antiviral

Inhibits the proliferation of viruses.

Aperitif

Stimulates the appetite,

Aphrodisiac

Increases or stimulates sexual desire.

Astringent

Causes contraction of tissues and thus reduces secretions and discharges.

Bactericidal

Destroys bacteria or inhibits their growth.

Balsamic

A soothing medicine, especially for the respiratory system.

Bechic

Soothes or relieves coughs.

Cardiac

Pertaining to the heart.

Cardiotinic

Strengthens the heart.

Carminative

Stimulates the digestive system and relaxes the stomach, thereby preventing flatulence.

Cephalic

A remedy for disorders of the head.

Cholagogic

Stimulates the secretion and release of bile from the gall bladder into the Duodenum.

Choleretic

Stimulates the production of bile in the liver.

Cicatrisant

Promotes healing by increasing the regeneration of skin cells and the formation of scar tissue.

Cordial

A stimulant and tonic.

Cytophylactic

Increases the production of white blood cells (which help defend the body Against infection).

Deodorant

Masks or removes unpleasant odours.

Depurative

Detoxifying, helps to combat impurities in the blood and organs.

Digestive

Aids the digestion of food.

Diuretic

Increases the flow and excretion of urine.

Emmenagoguic

Stimulates and/or normalizes menstruation.

Expectorant

Helps in the removal of excess mucus from the respiratory system.

Febrifugal

Reduces or combats fever. (Also, known as anti-pyretic).

Fungicidal

Destroys fungi or prevents their growth.

Galactagoguic

Increases the secretion of milk.

Genito-urinary

Pertaining to the reproductive organs and urinary tract.

Haemostatic

Arrests bleeding.

Hepatic

Relating to the liver; aids liver functioning.

Hypnotic

Promotes sleep (not hypnotic trance).

Hypoglycaemic

Lowers blood sugar levels.

Hypotensive

Lowers high blood pressure.

Immunostimulant

Strengthens the immune system.

Larvicidal

Destroys larvae.

Laxative

Promotes evacuation of the bowels. (Also known as aperient).

Nervine

Tones and strengthens the nervous system.

Parasiticidal

Destroys parasites such as fleas and lice.

Parturient

Promotes and eases labour (childbirth).

Prophylactic

Preventative.

Pulmonary

Pertaining to the lungs.

Restorative

Strengthens and revives the mind/body complex.

Rubefacient

When rubbed into the skin, causes the superficial blood vessels (capillaries) to dilate.

Sedative

Calms the nervous system and reduces stress.

Stimulant

Quickens and enlivens the mind/body complex.

Stomachic

Stimulates digestive secretions in the stomach and improves appetite.

Sudorific

Induces or increases perspiration. (Also known as diaphoretic).

Tonic

Strengthens and enlivens either specific organs or the whole body.

Uterine

Pertaining to the uterus; a substance which strengthens and tones the uterus.

Vasoconstrictive

Causes narrowing of the blood vessels.

Vasodilating

Dilates or relaxes the blood vessels.

Vermifugal

Destroys and expels worms.

Vulnerary

Aids the healing of wounds and cuts.