The Essential Oil Glossary: Common Aromatherapy Terms & Their Meanings (A-D)

One of the first things I noticed when I started getting hot and heavy with my research on aromatherapy and essential oils is that there is an entire jargon that surrounds the industry and can get pretty confusing to the average reader. If you’ve ever done any research on the benefits or history of essential terms, you’ve probably seen these terms and asked yourself, “What in the world does that mean?”

Now you can know!

If you’re thinking about investing in your own kit of aromatherapy inhalers and have started looking into all of the benefits, here’s some of the lingo you’re likely to encounter.

Anti-Fungal

This just means that the essential oil in question has been heralded for an ability to treat or prevent fungal growth or infections. Be sure to check these facts against credible studies before buying what you read hook, like and sinker.

Anti-Inflammatory

Reducing inflammation.

Antineuralagic

Inhibiting or preventing the occurrence of sharp pains along the course of a nerve or nerves.

Antiplogistic

Another word for anti-inflammatory, but can also include fever relieving properties.

Antiseptic

Indicates that an ingredient is clean and pure and that it prevents growth of disease-inducing agents or other microbials.

Antispasmodic

Something that works to relieve spasms that occur in involuntary muscles (like the intestines or the heart, that you can’t start or stop at will).

Apertif

An essential oil that works to stimulate your appetite.

Aphrodisiac

Something that stimulates or titillates sexual desire, attraction or excitement.

Aromatherapy

A branch of holistic medicines that utilizes plant materials and oils (including essential oils and compounds) in an endeavor to alter mood, mental prowess, psychological and/or physical well being of enthusiasts. For centuries, aromatherapy was the cutting edge of chemistry. Today, it is viewed as an alternative medicine, though new scientific studies emerge on a consistent basis showing that aromatherapy can have powerful applications.

Astringent

A solution that causes contractions in the tissues of the body in general, but is almost universally used in conjunction with the skin in health and wellness applications.

Bactericidal

This is a rather broad term that indicates a myriad of agents that kill bacteria, including disinfectants, antiseptics and antibiotics.

Carminative

A rather polite term for something that helps to relieve gas, specifically flatulence. Think Bean-o.

Cholagogue

Bile is a digestive fluid that is produced by the liver and measured out by the gall bladder. Cholagogues are items that promote the discharge of bile through and out of the system.

Cicatrisant

A pretty archaic term that basically translates into the process of being healed through the formation of scar tissue.

Cordial

Since this is also a pretty popular foodie term, ferreting out details on this one was pretty tough. As far as I could gather, it’s something that is reviving and invigorating. It’s also synonymous with medicine, specifically a stimulant or a tonic. The good news is that cordials, as the earlier association implies, are said to have a comforting or pleasant taste.

Cytophylactic

Certainly not a term that pops up over the typical dinner conversation, a cytophylactic is believed to protect cells and fight infections. They are thought to increase something known as leucocytes, which are responsible for stimulating cellular regeneration and repair.

Depurative

Those who are into detoxing and cleansing are all about the depurative, a term that means something has purifying and detoxifying properties, cleansing away wastes and toxins from the system.

Digestive

Something that aids in digestion.

Disinfectant

This means that the solution has anti-microbial properties or agents.

Diuretic

If you look to the very center of the word, “ure”, you’ll get a hint. Diuretics cause your body to increase the production and passage of urine.

That’s all for the A-D aromatherapy glossary.