Glossary of Aromatherapy Terms

Understanding Essential Oil Properties....

Why include a glossary....?

To make life a whole lot easier.......I hope!!

It can be a minefield trying to understand all the properties of the different essential oils, especially when all you want to do is get going and make that aromatherapy massage blend or simple aromatherapy recipe.

When I first discovered aromatherapy I certainly hadn't heard of some of the words used to describe essential oils......you just don't come across them in everyday life.

However, it is important to get to 'know' your aromatherapy oils, so understanding some of the technical terms really is necessary, and this glossary is here to help you.

So what exactly is a glossary?

It is an alphabetical list of terms, in this case aromatherapy terms, with their definitions.

I have tried to include as many of the more common terms that you are likely to come across as I can, but please be sure to contact me if you find that I have left any out.....and that way we can ensure that the glossary is as comprehensive as possible.

I have also included some essential oils that have the following properties......but the list is not exhaustive!

Let's get started..........

Aromatherapy Glossary

  • Analgesic - Pain relieving - usually applied locally                                             bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, marjoram, peppermint, rosemary
  • Anaphrodisiac - Diminishes sexual desire                                                      marjoram
  • Anticonvulsive - Stops convulsions                                                                 chamomile, clary sage, lavender
  • Antidepressant - Uplifting to the mind and spirit, alleviates depression               basil, bergamot, chamomile, geranium, jasmine, lavender, patchouli, rose, ylang-ylang
  • Anti-fungal - Helps destroy fungus                                                        lavender, myrrh, tea-tree
  • Anti-inflammatory - Reduces inflammation                                                   basil, chamomile, frankincense
  • Antiseptic - Helps prevent the growth of bacteria                                              All essential oils are antiseptic to a certain degree, with probably the most effective being bergamot, eucalyptus, juniper
  • Antispasmodic - Calms down muscle spasms                                                 basil, bergamot, black pepper, chamomile, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, peppermint, rose, rosemary
  • Antitoxic - Works against poisoning                                                                black pepper, juniper, lavender
  • Antiviral - Counteracts the effects of viruses                                                    cinnamon, eucalyptus, lavender, tea-tree
  • Aphrodisiac - Stimulates sexual desire                                                           black pepper, jasmine, juniper, patchouli, rose, ylang-ylang
  • Astringent - Causes skin tissue to contract, so good for toning skin                    frankincense, geranium, juniper, peppermint, rose, rosemary 
  • Bactericidal - Helps destroy bacteria                                                               clary sage, clove, lemon, oregano, tea-tree
  • Carminative - Helps ease griping pains and gets rid of gas from the digestive tract                                                                                                               basil, benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, clary sage, fennel, juniper, lavender, peppermint, lavender, rosemary
  • Cephalic - Stimulating for the head and mind                                                    basil, peppermint, rosemary
  • Cicatrisant - Promotes the formation of scar tissue, so good for helping wounds to heal                                                                                                            bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, juniper, lavender, rosemary
  • Cordial - This is a heart tonic                                                                          benzoin, lavender, melissa, neroli, peppermint, rose, rosemary
  • Decongestant - Relieves congestion - especially from mucous                           black pepper, eucalyptus, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, tea-tree, thyme
  • Deodorant - Works against and masks body odour                                           benzoin, bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, patchouli
  • Detoxicant - Helps eliminate or reduce toxic substances                                    black pepper, juniper
  • Digestive - Helps digestion                                                                             basil, bergamot, black pepper, chamomile, fennel, frankincense, peppermint, rosemary
  • Diuretic - Helps increase the production of urine                                               black pepper, chamomile, eucalyptus, geranium, juniper, lavender, rosemary
  • Emmenagogue - Increases the flow of blood and assists menstruation               basil, chamomile, clary sage, fennel, hyssop, juniper, lavender, marjoram, myrrh, peppermint, rose, rosemary
  • Expectorant - Helps get rid of catarrah, phlegm and mucous                            basil, bergamot, eucalyptus, peppermint
  • Febrifuge - Cools and reduces fever                                                                black pepper, chamomile, eucalyptus, peppermint
  • Haemostatic - Helps stop bleeding from wounds                                      geranium, rose
  • Hepatic - A tonic for the liver                                                                       chamomile, peppermint, rose, rosemary
  • Hypertensor - Raises blood pressure                                                              rosemary
  • Hypotensor - Lowers blood pressure                                                               clary sage, lavender, melissa, ylang-ylang
  • Laxative - Mildly promotes evacuation of the bowels                                       black pepper, fennel, peppermint, ginger, rosemary
  • Nervine - Acts on the nervous system - often as a tonic, so good for nervous disorders                                                                                                       basil, chamomile, clary sage, juniper, lavender, peppermint, rosemary
  • Regulating - Balances the body's systems                                                      geranium, lavender, ylang-ylang
  • Rubefacient - Stimulates circulation locally and so causes redness of the skin     black pepper, eucalyptus, juniper, rosemary
  • Sedative - Has a soothing and calming effect                                                    bergamot, chamomile, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, juniper, lavender, patchouli, rose, ylang-ylang
  • Splenetic - A tonic for the spleen                                                                  black pepper, chamomile, fennel, lavender, fennel, rose
  • Stimulant - Has a invigorating action on the body and circulation                        black pepper, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, tea-tree
  • Stomachic - A tonic of the stomach - helps digestion and improves appetite        basil, black pepper, chamomile, fennel, juniper, peppermint, rose, rosemary
  • Sudorific - Causes or increases perspiration                                                    basil, chamomile, ginger, hyssop, juniper, lavender, melissa, peppermint, rosemary
  • Tonic - Tones the body generally, or in one area. Can be mildly stimulating and has a restorative effect                                                                                   black pepper, chamomile, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, juniper, lavender, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosemary, tea-tree
  • Uterine - A tonic of the uterus                                                                        clary sage, frankincense, jasmine, rose
  • Vascoconstrictor - When applied locally causes constriction of the blood vessels                                                                                                         chamomile, peppermint
  • Vulnerary - When applied externally heals cuts, sores and open wounds.            benzoin, bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, juniper, lavender, rosemary, tea-tree

Remember, please contact me if you think of another word that should be added to this glossary.

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