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Herbal Aromatherapy™ Words to Know

There are a lot of words that you learn when you start studying herbs and essential oils and, at first, sorting out what each of them means can feel a little bit daunting. I’ve put together a list of a lot of the words you’ll need to know here for you so you can reference it as needed when you’re studying.

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herbal aromatherapy words to know

Adaptogenic: brings balance, helps the body to normalize function

Alterative: blood cleanser

Analgesic / anodyne: relieves pain

Anthelmintic: causes expulsion of intestinal worms

Anti-anxiety: calms anxiety

Antibacterial: inhibits or destroys bacteria

Anticatarrhal: calms inflammation of the mucous membrane associated with excess mucus

Anti-emetic: relieves nausea and vomiting

Anti-inflammatory: relieves inflammation and associated discomfort

Antilithic: helps prevent and/or dissolve stones (gall, kidney, etc.)

Antimicrobial: inhibits/destroys the spread or growth of microorganisms

Antipyretic: reduces fever

Antirheumatic: relieves pain associated with rheumatic conditions

Antiseptic: destroys / inhibits spread of bacteria

Antispasmodic: relaxes muscles and muscle spasms

Antitussive: relieves coughing

Antiviral: inhibits/prevents the spread of viruses

Astringent: causes a drying/tightening of the tissues

Carminative: relieves gas / indigestion

CNS sedative: calms the central nervous system

CNS stimulant: stimulates the central nervous system

Cholagogue: stimulates bile flow

Circulatory Stimulant: increases circulation (locally or throughout the body, depending on how it’s used)

Compress: a topical application of an herbal formula, usually applied to the body via a cloth soaked in the formula (most of the time, a strong tea)

Contraindication: a warning indicating that the botanical should not be used in such cases

Cooling: reduces heat in the body/mind

Decoction: a water extraction of a root or woody herb

Decongestant: helps relieve congestion in the upper respiratory tract

Demulcent: soothing, especially to mucous membranes; mucilaginous

Diaphoretic: causes sweating

Diffuse: to disperse aromatic substances into the air, usually via an aromatherapy diffuser, cotton ball or tissue

Diffusive: disperses energy

Distillation: a process used to separate a plant’s essential oils from the plant material

Diuretic: increases urination

Emmenagogue: promotes menstruation

Emollient: softens and soothes the skin

Expectorant: causes mucus / phlegm to be discharged from the respiratory tract

Febrifuge: reduces fever

Galactagogue: increases milk production

Grounding: brings one back down to earth, promotes feelings of calm, clarity and safety

Glycerite: an herbal extract using glycerin as a base

Hemostatic: stops bleeding

Hepatic: assists the liver

Homeostasis: a state of balance in the body, with everything working together as it should

Hypotensive: lowers blood pressure

Laxative: relieves constipation; promotes excretion

Mucilaginous: contains mucilage and is therefore soothing, softening and moistening

Nervine: calms and strengthens the nervous system

Oxymel: a vinegar extraction of an herb combined with honey

Poultice: a topical application of herbs, sometimes covered with a dry, warm cloth

Purgative: causes the bowels to empty

Relaxant: causes relaxation

Rubefacient: increases circulation to an area (topical application)

Salve: an herbal preparation made with a carrier oil infused with herbs, then melted together with beeswax to form a semi-hard product for topical application

Sedative: calming

Shrub: an herbal extract of vinegar and honey

Sialagogue: induces salivation

Stomachic: supports digestion

Suppository: a clinical application of botanical ingredients meant for rectal or vaginal insertion

Tincture: an herbal extract, usually made with alcohol, but sometimes made with vinegar or glycerin

Tisane: herbal tea

Tonic: strengthens and tones the body, bodily system, or organ with which it has an affiliation

Uplifting: lifts the spirits, dispels sadness, hopelessness and grief; instills hopefulness and lightness of mind

Vasodilator: causes vasodilation of blood vessels

Vermifuge: expels parasites and worms from the intestines

Volatile oils: aromatic compounds (essential oils)

Vulnerary: wound healing

Warming: brings heat, enhances circulation and function

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I hope this resource was helpful for you!

Much love,
Erin


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Essential Oil Therapeutic Properties: Cicatrisant [Skin Healing]

Cicatrisant essential oils are some of my very favorites because they tend to be quite versatile. Cicatrisant means skin-healing, wound healing or cell regenerative. When an oil contains cicatrisant properties, we know that it will usually be gentle on the skin [when properly diluted] and useful in topical preparations. It will work on a cellular level to help repair damage to the skin and stimulate healthy new skin cell growth. Are you ready to take a deeper look at which oils are cicatrisant and how best to use them?

PHYSICALLY

On a physical level, cicatrisant oils are especially helpful when used for skin issues or surface wounds. Can you think of an example that would fall into this category? Cuts, scrapes, bruises, minor wounds, scars, rashes, acne and the like would all be issues that we could turn to a cicatrisant oil for. Many of the cicatrisant oils are also analgesic [pain relieving] and antimicrobial or antibacterial, further adding to their therapeutic effect. I like to pair my cicatrisant essential oils with carrier oils that I've infused with skin healing herbs to create a stronger, more effective healing synergy and a layer of depth that I don't achieve from a plain EO + Jojoba type blend. Calendula infused oil is one of my absolute favorite carriers for skin healing blends. I like to use it to make a Calendula salve that is a great all-purpose remedy for any kind of skin issue. I even use it as a hand lotion - it's wonderful when applied just after washing your hands. It soaks right in and leaves your hands super soft without leaving any greasiness. It also smells lovely, which is always a bonus. St. John's Wort infused oil would also be an effective carrier in blends for skin-related issues.

If you're up for a little extra study, take a look at this study that was done on the skin healing effect of Opoponax [related to Myrrh]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26283230

ENERGETICALLY

In what ways do you think cicatrisant oils would benefit energetic or emotional issues? Think of situations in which emotional healing is needed, where there has been an emotional wound or scar. Grief and loss, hurt and betrayal, guilt, anger and jealousy could all be included in this arena. Some emotional wounds take much longer to heal than others - for example, the loss of a loved one would be a slower healing emotional wound than being hurt by an unkind word spoken by a stranger. Both situations, though, could be benefited by using oils with cicatrisant properties. One of the classic examples of a cicatrisant oil that is used in blends for emotional wounds is the employment of Rose essential oil in formulas made to support those who are going through a grieving process. A comforting, supportive oil, Rose opens up the heart to allow love and healing in while bolstering up the person who is hurting. I think of Rose as a bit of an emotional hug when life's wounds are hurting the heart. It's incredibly effective in that way. Obviously it does not magically remove the pain of losing a loved one, but it can be a gentle, helpful, supportive oil to use in such cases. Can you think of another instance in which a cicatrisant oil could be helpful for supporting emotional issues? Personally, I tend to use Sweet Marjoram, Neroli and Cypress often when addressing emotional wounds. They work especially well together for this purpose.

Here is a pin-able reference list of some of the more common oils with cicatrisant properties:

If you'd like a printable reference sheet you can keep in your aromatherapy notebook, click here. I've created a lovely one just for you!

HOMEWORK

Leave a comment below with the following:

  • either a physical or emotional issue that could fall into a category that would be benefited by using a cicatrisant oil
  • the cicatrisant essential oil you would use to bring relief and/or support
  • what kind of blend you would make to address the issue

Much love,
Erin

The information in this study was compiled for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any illness or symptom. All photos and graphics are copyright Erin Stewart. Information provided was gathered from personal experience and from 50+ books from my personal aromatic/herbal library. May not be distributed, copied, or published without express prior written permission from me.

OTHER BLOG POSTS

Essential Oil Therapeutic Properties: Analgesic

Essential oils that contain analgesic properties are those that help to relieve or numb pain. I've found in my own practice that almost every blend I make for clients has some sort of analgesic component included in it. After all, the most common reason people look to natural remedies [outside of preventive care] is to find a natural way to assist in managing whatever level of pain they're feeling, whether emotionally or physically. Let's take a look at how these oils work to help us, shall we?

PHYSICALLY

On a physical level, oils with analgesic properties can help with relieving or numbing physical pain. A muscle sprain, bug bite, or general aches and pains would all fall into this category. Can you think of some other physical issues that would be included? Recovering from an injury, an aching back, headaches, sore muscles after a tough workout... they all involve some kind of pain. Analgesic oils work to help numb that pain so we can find relief and continue to function as best we can in our situation. Take a few moments to study each of your oils with analgesic properties before choosing to include one in a blend. You'll find that some of them will be best suited for use on the skin while others will be better utilized via inhalation. Some are best suited for muscle pain while others will be indicated for nerve-related pain. Studying your oils helps you connect with them and get to know them better so you'll know which one to use and when. This extra study time will also help you become more familiar with the safety considerations, contraindications and proper dilution percentages related to each oil - some are so strong that only 1 or 2 drops should be used in an ounce of carrier oil!

ENERGETICALLY

Within the emotional or energetic spectrum, analgesic oils can be suitable for issues that involve non-physical pain. What are some of the situations that would be included in this area? An obvious one would be loss of a loved one or close friend - the grieving process involves an incredible and sometimes crippling amount of pain. Betrayal, anger, disappointment, upset, sadness, distress, shock and guilt are also emotions that can be painful to work through. Many times analgesic oils are paired with nervous system supportive oils when dealing with emotional or energetic issues. The two together can create a stronger synergy that supports the person by loosening pain and supporting the mind at the same time. Can you think of a specific instance in which an analgesic oil would be helpful on an emotional level?

Here is a pin-able reference list of some of the more common oils with analgesic properties:

If you'd like a printable reference sheet you can keep in your aromatherapy notebook, click here. I've created a lovely one just for you!

HOMEWORK

Leave a comment below with the following:

  • either a physical or emotional/energetic condition that involves some level of pain
  • the analgesic essential oil you would use to relieve it
  • what kind of blend you would make to address the issue

Talk to you soon! Much love,
Erin

The information in this study was compiled for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any illness or symptom. All photos and graphics are copyright Erin Stewart. Information provided was gathered from personal experience and from 50+ books from my personal aromatic/herbal library. May not be distributed, copied, or published without express prior written permission from me.

OTHER BLOG POSTS

Essential Oil Therapeutic Properties: Antispasmodic

Welcome to AromaCulture! Today I'm starting a new blog series all about the different therapeutic properties of essential oils. Over the next several weeks, I'll be posting a collection of intensive reference posts that you can save and look back on as you continue to grow in your own knowledge of aromatherapy. I'm kicking off the series with a study of antispasmodic oils. Ready to dive in?

Antispasmodic essential oils can be utilized to support us both energetically and physically. Physically, they are used to help relieve muscle spasms and cramps of both voluntary and involuntary muscles. Physical issues that would be considered spasmodic could include things like menstrual cramps, tight muscles after a work out or a spasmodic cough. Many of the oils in this category tend to be especially effective when used to support the particular organ or system each oil has an affinity for. For example, one oil could be specifically indicated for the reproductive system (think menstrual cramps) while another would be better suited to supporting the respiratory system. When choosing which oils to use for spasmodic conditions, take a few extra minutes to study the different oils you're considering. This little bit of extra research will help you get to know your oils better over time and it will also give you the tools you need to choose the oil(s) that will be most effective for your particular situation.

Oils with antispasmodic properties can also be useful when dealing with emotions or energetic work. Take a moment to try to think of an emotion that an antispasmodic oil could help with. Generally, the emotions that involve a feeling of squeezing, pressure, tightness, tension, or feeling cramped in the inner being are the ones that you would want to choose an antispasmodic oil for. Can you think of any? Anger, frustration and fear are a few that come to mind. Using antispasmodic oils to help release that energetic tension and get the energy flowing freely there again can be quite therapeutic when dealing with emotional support.

Here is a pin-able reference list of the most common essential oils with antispasmodic properties:

If you'd like a printable reference sheet you can keep in your aromatherapy notebook, click here. I've created a lovely one just for you!

HOMEWORK

Leave a comment below with the following:

  • either a physical or emotional/energetic spasmodic condition
  • the antispasmodic essential oil you would use to relieve it
  • what kind of blend you would make to address the issue

Talk to you soon! Much love,
Erin
 

The information in this study was compiled for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any illness or symptom. All photos and graphics are copyright Erin Stewart. Information provided was gathered from personal experience and from 50+ books from my personal aromatic/herbal library. May not be distributed, copied, or published without express prior written permission from me.

OTHER BLOG POSTS