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Small lexicon of essential oils

A reading of technical sheets on essential oils, it may have happened to you not understand certain technical terms and specific to the aromatherapy jargon. this little lexicon will help you better understand their meanings.

To save time, click directly on the letter that interests you:



Spicy, bitter.


Essential oils exert direct action on our cells (cutaneous, liver, immune, etc.). as well as the pathogenic micro-organisms that they destroy (fats, viruses, mushrooms). They exercise indirect action by modifying the field by stimulating emonctories, enzymatic detoxification systems, and by raising through olfactory receptors psychosomatic responses.

Aerosol: see spray


Dry fruit containing only one seed and not opening at maturity


Azotated organic substances of vegetable origin (nicotin, caffeine, etc.). plants synthesize hundreds of them.


Alcohols present in essential oils (terronic alcohols) share the anti-infectious properties of phenols, but less powerful and non-toxic.


Substance causing allergy


Is said of the leaves inserted one by an alternative on the stem


Restores and restores the forces. tonic and stimulating


Which causes any neurological sensitivity to pain to be lost for a moment


Is said of a substance used in the treatment of diseases caused by an intestinal parasite

Antialgic or antalgic

Who fights pain


A molecule that kills bacteria or blocks their growth is called antibiotic. Some essential oils are considered "natural antibiotics." compared to synthetic antibiotics, they offer the advantage of not making their bacterial targets resistant and better respect the intestinal flora.


Which fights against mycosic infections


Who fights inflammation. many molecules present in essential oils possess this property holding to the presence of sesquiterpenes, oxides or aldehydes. the 1-8 filmmaker of ravintsara allows to inhibit mediators of inflammation.

Antioxidant: see oxidation


Which destroys various sources of infection, bacteria and others. in aromatherapy, the tea tree (tea tree) is a remarkable antiseptic.


Fighting a benign or malignant tumor


That soothes anxiety


Aromachology is the science of breathed aromas. experiments show that we react to odors by emitting cnv waves (contingent negative variation). by measuring these waves, we see that rose emanations lower heart pulsations and that lemon scent reduces cortisol levels (stress hormone).


Vegetal odor


Natural medical technique of care by essential oils. in the 19th century, the apothicaries, pharmacists of the time, bore the name of aromaterii. aromatherapy concerns the application and use of essential oils for natural medicine. its potential is based on its ability to promote the relaxation of the body and mind and to generate a feeling of joy and well-being in the person.


The aromatogram allows to study the sensitivity of germs to essential oils and thus determine the one that best suits the treated case. it is, in aromatherapy, the equivalent of the antibiotic.


Born at the base of a sheet


Traditional Indian medicine


Fleshy fruit usually containing several scattered seeds in the pulp like orange.


Balsamic odor


Provided with two lips per incomplete weld of sepals or petals.


Piece of a plant intended to be replanted to produce a new identical plant.


Atrophyed leaf on floral or modified leaflets between flower and leaf


Small bract

Mist: see Aroma fountain


Flower envelope consisting of sepals usually green


Which promotes the expulsion of intestinal gases and reduces their production.


Organic compound present in aromatic plants. Cétones are primarily mucolytic. They have the property to curb abnormal conjunctive proliferations (targets). It must be used with caution because they are abortive and neurotoxic.


The chmotype of an essential oil is a specific reference that indicates the majority or distinctive biochemical component, present in essential oil. it is the element that allows to distinguish essential oils extracted from the same botanical variety but from a different biochemical composition. It's like a cartography. This capital classification allows to select H.E. for more precise, safer and more efficient use. For example, we know under the same botanical name, two large thyme families, subdivided themselves by the definition of their respective chmotypes.

Thymus vulgaris ct thymol: cooked on the mediterranean coastline, thyme odors a strong and phenoline characteristic (predominance of phenols in its composition);
Thymus vulgaris ct linaiol: in high provence, the smell of thyme is totally different : soft and suave. are the aromatic alcohol compounds that predominate in this thyme.


Active bile transport (example: menthone, carvone, verbénone)


Active bile secretion


Following the chromatography analysis of essential oil, one obtains a chromatogram, a diagram listing the different chemical components and their concentration.

Aromatic components

Known aromatic components of essential oils are more than 10,000. which explains the magnitude of their therapeutic arsenal.


"pigne" in the moorings and "coat" at quebec, the cone or strobile is the reproductive organ of coniferous or resinous (gymnosperms). It's made of stews. male cones are smaller than female cones.


The aromatic components of essential oils are very numerous, up to more than 1000 for the true lavender. they belong mainly to 2 chemical types:

  • Terpenic compounds (mono, sesqui and diterpenes, i.e. c10, c15 and c20): alcohol, cetones, esthers, aldehydes, oxides.

  • Aromatic compounds derived from phenylpropane: cinnamic acid and aldehyde, eugenol, anethol, anisic aldehyde, safrole.


An essential oil called cortison-like will act like cortisone. it will then stimulate the activity of the renals, which can be counter-indicated in some pathologies, and necessary in others. it will have an anti-inflammatory action and will act in the event of a drop in energy, short or chronic fatigue, minor depressions, decrease in organic resistance, repeated infections. They are therefore to be banned in cases of cortisone-dependent pathologies. Please request a medical notice. a list of essential oils called Cortison-like: ciste, lemon, cedar coriander, marine cypress, censor, black epinette, eucalyptus globulus, eucalyptus smithii, galbanum, juniper, madagascar helichryso, Italian helichryso, Greenland lentisque.


Organic natural substance. all essential oils from the zests of the citrus contain: bergamote, lemon, tangerine, orange, grapefruit, as well as lavender, verbena, angioelic, ivory. the names of the coumarins usually end in " -ene" (bergaptene, psolarene) and they are powerful sedatives and sedatives of the nervous system. oils containing furocoumarines are phototoxic and intervene in blood clotting.


Cultivated variety of plant


Protecting the cell.


It consists of throwing plant material into the water and then bringing it to a boil for a few minutes.


The essential oils are lighter than the water and therefore have a density of less than 1 (on average of 0.9), with the exception of cinnamon, clove, sassafras and carrot which, not overnage at the end of the distillation, are collected at the bottom of thessenger.


The daily use of a body deodorant has spread considerably. Still have to choose it. essential oils are excellent antifungal and antiseptic agents allowing a natural deodorant effect, without the need to use the salts of aluminum which the use is described.

Dermocaustity or dermotoxicity

A dermocaustic substance attacks the skin and mucous membranes. terpenes and phenols are irritant, and the oils that contain it (compact oregano, giroflier, thyme, sariette,) as well as the essential oils to aldehydes (correct cinnamon, lemongrass, lemongrass) must be used with caution as they can cause skin reactions


Which inhibits abnormal proliferation (cisors, cellulite).


Which eliminates pathogenic germs. are disinfectant by diffusion in the atmosphere the essential oils of black thorn, radiate eucalyptus, marjoram, niaouli, ravintsara, cinole rosemary and fir.


An essential oil is said to be deterpened when it is partially or completely deprived of the monoterpenic hydrocarbons it contains.


Apparatus used to diffuse (nebulize) in the atmosphere an essential oil. Due to the lack of availability, a few drops of essential oil can be deposited on a saucer near a heat source.


Operation that consists of passing a liquid mixture to the vapour state, so as to separate its various components.


Underground stem ensuring the spread of the plant.


Kernel fleshy fruit (e.g. cherry, apricot). the drupes are not all edible (e.g. noble laurel).


Makes you throw up.


Which causes or facilitates the appearance of the rules.


Extraction process by placing in the presence of plant substances with fat.

Floral water: see Hydrolat


Essences are, in the aromatic plant, chemical substances that allow it to control and regulate its environment by attraction of pollinator insects, repulsive action on predators, inhibition of seed germination, see communication between plants (e.g., chemical signals indicating the presence of herbivorous animals). They also have a defensive role: protection of wood against insects and fungi, repulsive action against herbivorous animals. in aromatherapy and perfumery, the essence is the product obtained by breaking the fresh zests of citrus fruit (poches à essence). they can also be called essential expression oil.


Thessenger – or Florentine vase – is the container that collects the essential oil and water from which it separates from the sory of the alambic. it also collects distilled water from the plant (hydrolat).


Organ containing or carrying the pollen.


Chemical components that have antalgic properties (anti-inflammatory), sedative and antispasmodic.


Which facilitates the removal, by cough, of the mucus secreted by the upper (sinus) or lower (trachea, bronches).


A plant (e.g., cist leaf).


A systematic classification of species with common morphological characteristics. carnivorous plants are not a family but a group of plants with similar adaptations.

Intestinal flora

The intestinal bacterial population represents 10 times the number of cells in the body. essential oils help to restore the delicate balances of this complex environment and to control possible dangerous proliferations.


Is said of a product used for the treatment of diseases caused by mushrooms (cryptogamics).

Aroma fountain

Air humidifier that can diffuse essential oils with the water vapour it releases.


Type in general clear, often sporadic, appearing in populations of a species with a single deviant character.


Has the sweet and pleasant smell.


Phototoxic molecules present in citrus essences in particular.


Classification unit grouping a number of species with common characteristics subordinate to the family.


Without hair.


With glands

Gum: See exsudat


Has a strong smell.


Axis bearing flowers (floor)


Botanically defined essential oil


Which concerns liver cells (e.g., hepatocytary reconstituting).


Like a grass, as opposed to woody as a tree.


Since the herbalist's degree was abolished in 1941, the sale of medicinal plants is entrusted to pharmacists, except by decree.


Which considers its object as a whole. Aromatherapy is a holistic medicine.


There is no incompatibility between homeopathy and aromatherapy. However, it will be limited to a minimum period of one hour between taking homeopathic medicine and essential oil (in this order). However, as a precaution, it will be avoided by oral absorption of essential oils to phenol (e.g. compact oregano, giroflier, bark cinnamon, etc.). at the same time as homeopathic treatment.


Substance produced by plants that trigger the development of their organs. synthetic hormones have been developed to facilitate the recovery of plant cuttings.


An essential oil known to effect Hormon-like exerts an action similar to that of a hormone. This is mainly due to chamazulene (action on hypophysis). They are therefore to be banned in cases of hormone-dependent diseases. Please request a medical notice. the main essential oils called Hormon-Like are as follows: ciste, cypress de provence, juniper, red myrtle, thujanol thyme, odorant verveine.

Essential oil

Product obtained from a first aromatic plant material by water vapour training, mechanical processes or dry distillation. Global production of essential oils is estimated at about 60,000 tonnes. their largest market is the dry and food industry, that of essential therapeutic oils being by comparison almost negligible, which explains the difficulty of finding essential oils 100% pure and natural and hebbd criteria.


Cross between 2 different species of the same family. hybrid is often sterile.


It's the water we collect in thessenger. This water is loaded with soluble aromas and mineral elements present in the plant. floral waters are remarkable natural cosmetic products and their subtle properties give them a gentle and secure approach to baby aromatherapy. It contains less than 5% essential oil.


Decomposition of a body by fixation of h- and oh+ ions from water dissociation.


Which reduces blood pressure.


Which reduces the body temperature.


That stimulates and strengthens immune defences.

Refraction index

Relationship between the celebrity of light in the vacuum to the celebrity of light in the medium in question. this report indicates the ability of this environment to reflect light.


Floral part of the plant.


The infusion consists of pouring hot water on the plant material and letting it soak (infuse) for a few minutes.


Which prevents a process from taking place.

Inversion of effects

Changes in the opposite direction of the effects of a remedy if the dose is too high.


Latones are a very developed chemical family. present in some oils (e.g. dry, camomile, laurel, etc.). laces are particularly psychoactive, expectorant and often allergic.


In the form of a narrow lance iron and narrows in the tip.


Monoterpenic alcohol with immunostimulant action present in essential oils from many botanical families (apiaceae, lauraceae, blueberry, rutacea, burseraceae).


Which has a particular affinity with fats. essential oils are lipophiles.


Action to soak plant material in water to transmit some properties to it. more generally exhausting odorous substances contained in a body by contact with a solvent.

Fragrant molecules

Only one in ten plants developed over the evolution of odorous molecules. There are 25,000 to 30,000 types that modern aromatherapy distributes, depending on the electrical loads of which they are carrying, by positiating or negativating. are "negative", aldehydes, cetones, esthers, sesquiterpenes. positivant molecules - terpenes, phenols, oxides, alcohols, ethers - are toning and stimulating.


Mummoterpenes, the most common molecules in essential oils, abound in citrus zests and conifer leaves. they are antiseptic, decongestant of the airways and analgesics.


Which dissolves the mucosities in the respiratory system or the female genital sphere.


Which reads the kidney.


Some essential oils are neurotoxic. They will cause dysfunction in the central nervous system, peripheral nerves or sensory organs. This results in a disorder of sight or other senses, convulsions and paralysis.

Risk is high by oral but lower by skin. Never use essential neurotoxic oils in children under 7 years of age, pregnant women and epilepsy people. in adults, prefer skin. Oral path is prohibited.

Do not use over too long (over 3 weeks) and overdose station. respect the doses indicated. the molecules responsible for this neurotoxicity are the cetones ( trigger a degradation of the neuronal tissue and convulsions), monoterpenes (alpha-pinene; beta-pinene; alpha-terpinene: these molecules can also cause convulsions but only at high dose. Avoid oral lane,) or 1.8 carols.


Characteristic of an odor.


Oestrogen-like action (prochee of oestrogen) of some essential oils is due to the presence of molecules such as the sclared sage skeletal or niaouli viridiflorol. They are therefore to be banned in case of estrogen-dependent pathologies. Please request a medical notice. Here is a list of essential oils called Oestrogen-like: basil, cade, wild camomile, matrical camomile, atlas cedar, ciste, marine crist, provence cypress, soft fennel, juniper, madagascar helichrysos, peppermint, green mint, muskade, red myrugelang, choulial.


Spontaneous or obtained after incision or perforation of the trunk of certain trees. some oleoresins are called balms (balm of tolu, peru). they are distilled to remove the non-volatile resinous part.


Inflorescence in which flower peduncles are all inserted at the same point of the stem.


Mixture of a fat body and a fragrance, to be used in friction.


Organ that serves as a lid to close the urn of certain plants.


Reaction during which a body loses electrons. It is a biochemical process of combination with oxygen.


Essential oils play a key role in the manufacture of perfumes.

Per cent

Which lasts all year. We're talking about a perennial culture.


Small stem bearing a flower or more generally an organ.


Primary stem or axis of the floral hampe.


Lower part of the leaf that connects the limb to the stem.


Phenols (monoterpenes) are the most antibacterial molecules in the plant world because more than 92% of pathogenic bacteria are susceptible to it. The most common are thymol, carvacol, australol and eugenol. These include essential oils of ceylan cinnamon, giroflier, laurel, oregano, sarriette, etc. phenols are dermocaustic


Odorous substances emitted by animals and plants (phytohormones,) chemical messengers used to create a favourable environment, for example, by removing harmful insects or by attracting pollinators.


Which activates the venous circulation.


Which increases the sensitivity of the skin to sunlight to the point of causing skin spots.


Molecules characteristic of the apiaceae family. they detox the liver and stimulate the elimative function of the kidneys.


Treatment of certain conditions by plant extracts. Compared to aromatherapy, phytotherapy requires less plant material (a few milligrams to a few grams) against sometimes several dozen kilos to get some grams of essential oils.


Female organ of the flower with ovary, style and stigma.


Young plant intended to be replanted

Aromatic plant

Plant containing in one of its organs sufficient odorous molecules so that an essential oil or essence can be extracted. Aromatic plants represent about 10% of the species identified.

Glandular hair

Hair on the leaves or petals supporting a gland containing a gasoline pocket.


Because they are composed of many different aromatic molecules, essential oils are versatile. Thus, lavender acts as effectively on sleep as on skin infections or pain. Essential oils may, unlike conventional medicines, be both antibacterial and antiviral. For example, essential oils containing beta-caryophyllen are, at varying degrees, depending on the percentage, ati-inflammatory, immunostimulating, etc.


That stimulates the body.


The quality of an essential oil depends on very many factors: plant chmotype, harvest and extraction conditions, including the quality of the water used vaporized, pressure and duration of the distillation.


With 10 million olfactory receptors, some human beings can identify up to 1000 odours. olfactory mucous membrane receptors are renewed in 30 to 40 days throughout life.


An essential oil is said to be restored when some undesired components have been removed. so they can be deterpened or demented.


The yields of aromatic plants in essential oils are very variable. Thus, 1 kg of essential oil requires 7 to 8 kg of clove and 4 tons of damas rose petals. These differences remain within a species: thus, a linalol thyme produces 30 to 40% less leaves on 1 ha than a thyme on thymol.


That makes the insects run away. Some molecules have this repulsive property: cinnamic aldehyde of ceylan cinnamon bark, camphor of ravintsara, lemonnal of lemony eucalyptus and lemongrass or eugenol of the clove.

Roller roller roller

Cylinder equipped with a massing ball to apply on the skin by pressure or massage a mixture of essential oils with precise therapeutic indication.


Plant that feeds on organic matter in putrefaction.


Calm and calm.


Subdivision of the species forming a number of individuals occupying within the species their own range and having a number of common characters by which they differ from the species' typical subjects. subspecies abbreviation is as follows: ssp.


Spatula shaped, expanded to the top.

Botanical specification

The Latin name of a plant defined by the international botanical nomenclature is only to allow for precise identification. Thus, there are 500 species of eucalyptus in australia with very different chemical compositions and properties. Now it is essential to distinguish them. Thus, the essence of sage, sold without any other precision, was able to cause seizures of epilepsy, since the slaughtered sage was confused with the official sage. the botanical specification inherited from the linen includes the indication of the genus (citrus, mentha, eucalyptus,) of the species and possibly of the subspecies, and is supplemented by details: var. for cultivated or cultivar, hybrid often represented by a "x", if there is a cross between cultivated varieties and/or species. example lavandins: lavendula x intermedia clone abrialis, or lavandula intermedia clone grosso.

Biochemical specificity : see chémo


Projection in the air of a liquid in fine droplets. by extension, atomizer or thruster. the propellant gases being harmful to bronchial are not recommended in aromatherapy.


Upper part of the pistil that receives pollen grains during fertilization.




Which contains a lot of juice: succulent fruit.


Sometimes very hard envelope of seeds. Vesicle of cell protoplasma.


Composed only of carbon and hydrogen, terpenes are divided into monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes. they play a very important role in the overall stimulation of the body. Container oils must be used with caution as they are revulsive, aggressive for the skin. conifers are a major source of terpenic compounds whose natural diffusion in forest to antiseptic action.


Curative intended liquid resulting from the extraction of the active principles of a plant by decoction, maceration or infusion.


What is natural is not harmless. essential oils are never dangerous at usual doses but a certain toxicity, for example for phenol oils, can occur in long treatment or at high doses.


With three lobes. Trilobed leaves.


Affinity with a particular organ and ability to treat a particular affection.


Plant different from the individuals of its species by one or more characteristics of shape or colour (in abbreviated: var)


Which activates circulation.


The virus, which the pastor called "infrabacterial" holds its name from the Latin virus "vincible" because it uses the constituents of a host cell to multiply and deny it. scientific experiments have shown that many essential oils have antiviral action (e.g. ravintsara).


Plant that lives several years.

(sources : dictionary of French, hachette)