Essential Oil Key Terms

When learning about essential oils it helps to know some basic terms. Here is a quick list with oil related terms and what they mean. If you have any questions feel free to ask, my main goal is to spread awareness about oils.

Adulterant — a substance, artificial or natural, added to an essential oil, which was not originally present in the oil at the time of distillation.

Carrier Oil — vegetable or nut oils, e.g., jojoba, coconut, avocado.

Diffuser — a device that disperses essential oils into an area. The three basic types are clay, candle and electric.

Dilute — adding a small amount of essential oil to a larger amount of base oil to make it safe for use on the skin.

Distillation — method used to extract essential oil from the plant. Steam distillation is the most common form of distillation.

GC/MS Report (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) — the report given by analytic chemists to determine the precise components of a product (in this case essential oils).

Essential oil — highly aromatic substance distilled from certain plants.

Neat — the use of an undiluted essential oil on the skin.

Notes — 3 main types top, middle, and base notes. A type of classification based on aroma to identify certain oils

Orifice reducer — a device used to reduce the size of the opening of a bottle, making dispensing easier and more accurate.

Oxidation — the deterioration of the essential oil due to oxygen being added to the chemical components.

Phototoxic — the use of the oil makes one’s skin more prone to damage from the sun’s UV rays.

Volatile — describes how quickly a substance disperses itself into the air. 

Therapeutic Property Terms

Analgesic — numbs pain.

Antibacterial — destructive to bacteria.

Antifungal — inhibits growth of fungus.

Anti-infectious — helps the body strengthen its own resistance to infective organisms and rid the body of illness.

Anti-inflammatory — alleviates inflammation.

Antipyretic — dispels heat, fire and fever.

Antiseptic — assists in fighting germs and infections.

Antispasmodic — relieves spasms of voluntary and involuntary muscles.

Anti-tumeral — preventing the initiation, promotion and progression of cancer cells.

Antirheumatic — prevents and/or relieves rheumatic pain and swelling.

Antiviral — inhibits growth of viruses.

Astringent — firms tissue and organs; reduces discharges and secretions.

Carminative — relieves intestinal gas pain and distention; promotes peristalsis.

Cephalic — remedy for the head, usually clearing and stimulating.

Cicatrisant — cell-regenerative for skin, healing for scars.

Decongestant — reduces nasal mucus production and swelling.

Diaphoretic — causes perspiration and increased elimination through the skin.

Diuretic — promotes activity of kidney and bladder and increases urination.

Emmenagogue — helps promote and regulate menstruation.

Expectorant — promotes discharge of phlegm and mucus from the lungs and throat.

Hypotensive — lowers high blood pressure.

Immune stimulant — stimulates functioning of the immune system.

Mucolytic — breaks down mucus in the lungs.

Rubifacient — oil increases local blood circulation and can cause minor skin irritation, vasodilatation and local analgesic effect.

Sedative — calms and tranquilizes.

Stimulant — increases functional activity of specific organ or system.

Tonic — strengthens and restores vitality.

Sudorific — increases sweating.

Vasodilator — helps to dilate blood vessels.

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