Aromatherapy & Essential Oils

"Because your Nose Knows" TM

Essential Oil Properties

Terminology and Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of common essential oil properties and the terminology used to describe the therapeutic benefits of essential oils or herbs. It makes a handy glossary for you to reference. It can be helpful when reading or learning about the benefits of aromtherapy products.

essential oil terminology

Analgesic: pain relieving.

Antibacterial: destroys bacteria and inhibits growth.

Anti-fungal: destroys fungus and molds and inhibits growth.

Anti-Inflammatory: reduces inflammation.

Anti-parasitic: inhibits or repels insects and parasites.

Antiseptic: prevents or arrests the growth of microorganisms.

Antispasmodic: relieves spasms and cramping.

Antitussive: prevents or relieves coughs.

Antiviral: destroys viruses and inhibits growth.

Aphrodisiac: arouses sexual desire.

Carminative: aids in expelling gas from the intestines, reducing abdominal discomfort and bloating.

Cholagogue: aids in the elimination of bile from the gall bladder and bile ducts.

Cicatrizant: promotes scar formation and tissue.

Cytophylactic: refers to cytophylaxis which is a process that increases the activity of leucocytes which helps in the defense of the body against infection.

Decongestant: expels excess fluid build up in sinuses, tissues and membranes.

Deodorant: eliminates body odors.

Depurative: an agent that fights impurities in the blood or organs.

Diaphoretic: increases sweating and perspiration.

Diuretic: promotes the elimination of excess water from the body via the urinary system.

Emmenagogue: promotes menstruation.

Emollient: soothes and softens the skin.

Expectorant: promotes the removal of mucus.

Febrifuge: fever reducing.

Galactagogue: encourages the flow of breast milk.

Hemostatic: reduces or stops bleeding.

Hepatic: relating or associated with the liver.

Immunostimulant: stimulates the immune system.

Mucolytic: dissolves and breaks down mucus.

Nervine: supports the nervous system and nerves.

Purgative: produces the movement of bowels.

Relaxant: clams or relaxes nerves, an organ, the body and/or mind.

Rubefacient: reduces redness of the skin.

Sedative: reduces mental excitement and encourages calmness.

Stimulant: increases circulation and the movement of the body and mind.

Stomachic: enhances the function of the stomach.

Tonic: strengthens the body, helps to restore and preserve the mind and body.

Vasoconstrictor: reduces blood flow.

Vasodilator: increases blood flow.

Vermifuge: destroys or expels worms.

Vulnerary: heals wounds by topical application.

Becoming aware of these essential oil properties can help you when creating your own blends or purchasing your own blends. Being familiar with these properties will help you better determine if the oils will fit your needs. Aromatics International offers great information on essential oil properties for each individual oil, that you can access as a reference.

References: Jennifer Hochell; Aromatherapy for Body Mind and Soul by Larissa Jones;
Passport to Aromatherapy by Joel Wallach
Aromatherapy Guide by Joie Power, Ph.D