Aromatherapy101: 24 common aromatherapy terms you MUST know


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Aromatherapy is a vast medicinal system comprising of many terminologies, extraction procedures and blending methodologies. Though not everyone can know everything about aromatherapy (but for an expert and licensed aromatherapist), as a beginner, you may need to know certain things about the science. This article will explain in brief the common terms used in the world of aromatherapy and essential oils.

Aromatherapy is a science of essential oils. As you know, there are many different kinds of essential oils in vogue right from the ancient times. Most of these oils are extracted by several types of methods. Some oils are called by unique names based on their properties or components. Here’s a glimpse of all of them:

1. Absolutes or concretes: Absolutes are essential oils in their pure form. They have strong aromas and are highly concentrated.

2. Botanical Names: A botanical name is the Latin name given to a plant species. Since there are  millions of species, botanists use botanical names to identify one species from another.

3. Common Name: The name in which an oil is addressed in common practice. Lavender, Basil, Bay, Hyssop etc. are common names.


4. Carrier Oils: Carrier oils or base oils or fixed oils are vegetable or plant oils that are used to dilute pure essential oils.

5. Hydrosols or Flora waters: These are by-products during extraction of essential oils. They too have medicinal properties and are used for general, less-severe treatments.

6. Dram: Unit of measurement which equals 1/8 of an ounce, used in aromatherapy.

7. Fragrance oils: Called perfume or potpourri oils, Fragrance Oils contain artificial fragrant substances, whereas essential oils contain only the pure essences of plants.

8. Infused oils: Carrier oils into which few medicinal herbs are infused (for extra therapeutic effects) are called infused oils.

9. CO2s: Oils which are extracted by using carbon dioxide are called CO2s.

10. Orifice reducer: A small, clear insert-like dropper used in essential oil bottles for easy dispensation of oil.

Essential oils are often referred to as stimulants, analgesic agents and ones with diuretic properties. Though these are medicinal terms and can be guessed by most of you, when it comes to aromatherapy, it is better not to make assumptions. Here are a few terms that describe the properties of essential oils:

11. Abortifacient: An oil which can cause abortion in a pregnant woman. Toxic oils are often abortifacients.

12. Analgesic: Oils that relieve pain and cause a soothing effect are analgesic

13. Anodyne: Oils that calm restless mind and iron out disturbed feelings or emotions and also offer pain relief are said to have anodyne properties.

14. Aphrodisiacs: Certain oils are used to arouse sexual desires. Such oils are referred to as aphrodisiacs.

15. Carminative: Carminative oils relieve gas in the digestive tract and also reduce bloating of stomach

16. Cicatrisant: Is an agent for healing wounds, cuts, gashes etc.

17. Depurative:
Depurative oils are highly efficient in cleansing the blood. They combat and eliminate impure elements and toxins in the blood.

18. Diuretics: Used in people who have problems with urination. Diuretic essential oils increase discharge of urine.

19. Emmenagogue: Essential oils that assist with PMS, menstruation or menopausal symptoms are referred this way.

20. Expectorant: These expel phlegm and mucous from the body

21. Febrifuge: Some oils are successful in combating fevers and are referred to have febrifuge properties.

22. Parturients: Oils which ease symptoms of pain in pregnant mothers and also aid in childbirth are said to have parturient properties.

23. Stimulants:
Essential oils that invigorate or energize a body are called as stimulants.

24. Tonics:
Essential oils which have a restorative and replenishing effect on the body are called tonics.