How many times have you come across a description of a specific essential oil you are interested in only to find that the language used to describe its effects are just as foreign as its uses.
I’ve compiled a list that should help decipher any of those terms you should come across.
Glossary of Aromatherapy Terms
ABORTIFACIENT: Induces childbirth or premature labor.
AEROPHAGY. An excess of air in the alimentary canal that is relieved through burping or flatulence.
ALTERATIVE: Gradually improves the nutritional state of the body.
ANALGESIC: Relieves or reduces pain.
ANAPHRODISIAC: Reduces sexual desire.
ANESTHETIC: Numbs the nerves and causes a loss of sensation.
ANTHELMINTIC: Expels or kills intestinal worms.
ANTIBACTERIAL: Kills bacteria.
ANTIDEPRESSANT: Reduces or prevents depression.
ANTIDIARRHOEIC: Relieves diarrhea.
ANTIDOTE: Counteracts a poison.
ANTIEMETIC: Counteracts nausea and stops vomiting.
ANTIFUNGAL: Kills fungal infections.
ANTIGALACTAGOGUE: Reduces the production of milk secretion of nursing mothers.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. Reduces inflammation.
ANTILITHIC: Prevents formation of stones or calculus.
ANTINEURALGIC: Stops nerve pain.
ANTIPHLOGISTIC: Counteracts, reduces, or prevents inflammation.
ANTIPRURITIC: Relieves or prevents itching.
ANTIPUTRID: Stops putrefaction.
ANTISCLEROTIC: Removes deposits from circulatory vessels.
ANTISCORBUTIC: Preventative for scurvy.
ANTISEPTIC: Inhibits the growth of and kills bacteria.
ANTISPASMODIC: Relieves or prevents spasms, cramps, and convulsions.
ANTISUDORIFIC: Reduces perspiration.
ANTITOXIC: Counteracts poisons.
ANTITUSSIVE: Relieves coughs.
ANTIVIRAL: Weakens or kills viruses.
APERIENT: A gentle purgative of the bowels.
APERITIF: Appitite stimulant.
APHRODISIAC: Arouses sexual desires.
BALSAMIC: Softens phlegm.
BRONCHODILATOR: Expands the spastic bronchial tube.
CALMATIVE: Mild sedative or tranquilizer.
CARDIAC: Stimulates or affects the heart.
CARDIOTONIC: Tones the heart muscle.
CARMINATIVE: Expels gas from the intestines.
CEPHALIC: Problems relating to the head.
CHOLAGOGUE: Increases the flow of bile.
CHOLERETIC: Stimulates the production of bile.
CICATRIZANT: Helps the formation of scar tissue; healing.
COAGULANT: Clots the blood.
CYTOPHYLACTIC: Protects the cells of the organism.
DECONGESTANT: Relieves congestion.
DEMULCENT: Soothes irritated tissue, particularly mucous membranes.
DEPURATIVE: Cleanses and purifies the blood and internal organs.
DETERSIVE: Detergent. Cleanses wounds and sores, and promotes the formation of scar tissue.
DIAPHORETIC: Causes perspiration.
DISINFECTANT: Kills infections and disease producing microorganisms.
DIURETIC: Increases the secretion and elimination of urine.
EMETIC: Induces vomiting.
EMMENAGOGUE: Promotes and regulates menstruation.
EMOLLIENT: Softens the skin, and soothes inflamed and irritated tissues.
ESTROGENIC: Similar to estrogen.
EUPHORIANT: Brings on an exaggerated sense of physical and emotional well-being.
EXPECTORANT: Promotes the discharge of mucous from the lungs and bronchial tubes.
FEBRIFUGE: Reduces or prevents fevers.
FIXATIVE: Holds the scent of a fragrance.
GALACTAGOGUE: Promotes or increases the secretion of milk in nursing mothers.
GERMICIDE: Kills germs.
HALLUCINOGEN: Induces hallucinations-an imagined or false sense of perception.
HEMOSTATIC: Stops hemorrhaging.
HEPATIC: That which acts on the liver.
HYPERTENSOR: Raises the blood pressure.
HYPNOTIC: Induces sleep.
HYPOTENSOR: Lowers the blood pressure.
INSECTICIDE: Kills insects.
LARVICIDE: Kills the larvae of insects.
LAXATIVE: Promotes the elimination from the bowels; a mild purgative.
NERVINE: Calming and soothing to the nervous system.
PARASITICIDE: Kills parasites.
PECTORAL: Affecting the respiratory system.
PURGATIVE: Promotes vigorous elimination from the bowels.
REGENERATOR: Promotes new growth or repair of structures or tissues.
REJUVENATOR: Assists in promoting a youthful appearance.
RELAXANT: Lessens or reduces tension, and produces relaxation.
RESOLVENT: Reduces swellings.
RESTORATIVE: Restores consciousness and/or normal physiological activity.
RUBEFACIENT: A local irritant that reddens the skin.
SEDATIVE: Calms anxiety and promotes drowsiness.
STIMULANT: Excites or quickens an activity in the body.
STOMACHIC: Strengthens, stimulates, and tones the stomach.
SUDORIFIC: Promotes or increases perspiration.
TONIC: Strengthens and revitalizes the body or specific organs.
TRANQUILIZER: Calms the nerves.
VASOCONSTRICTOR: Constricts the blood vessels.
VASODILATOR: Dilates the blood vessels.
VERMIFUGE: Expels intestinal worms.
VULNERARY: Assists healing of wounds and sores by external application