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eOil.co.za Infographics essential oils and hydrosols steam distillation process
eOil.co.za infographics, what is an essential, carrier oil or Hydrosol ?



Allergy                                  Hypersensitivity caused by a foreign substance

Acaricide                              who kills mites

Amenorrhea                       Not having your period. 

Analgesic                             Relieving pain

Anaesthetic                        Pain relieving by loss of sensation

Anti-allergenic                   Reduces symptoms of allergies

Anti-Asthenic                    Fighting Fatigue, weakness states

Antibacterial                      Fights bacterial growth

Antibiotic                             Fights infection in the body by preventing the growth or destroying bacteria.

Anti-catarrhal                    Anti-catarrhal herbs are herbs which help dissolve and eliminate, as well prevent the formation of mucus and inflammation of the mucus membrane. It is a symptom usually associated with the common cold and chesty coughs but can also be found in patients with infections of the adenoids, middle ear, sinus or tonsils.

Anticoagulant                    which helps to smooth the blood and limit its clotting; this prevents blood clots from developing

Anti-emetic                        who has an action against nausea

Anti-fungal                         Prevents the growth of fungi

Anti-haemorrhagic          A substance preventing or combating bleeding


Anti-haemorrhagic          A substance preventing or combating bleeding

Antihistamine                    Counteracts allergic reaction

Anti-infectious                  Prevents against infection

Anti-inflammatory           fighting inflammation

Anti-microbial                    A substance reducing or resisting microbes

Antioxidant                        A substance to prevent or delay oxidation

Anti-parasitic                     Acts against parasites, which kills parasites of all kinds (lice, fleas, moths, etc...)

Antiprotozoal                    which kills parasites called protozoans responsible for various diseases such as malaria, sleeping sickness, etc.

Antipruritic                         which calms and eliminates pruritus, i.e. a skin itch

Anti-seborrheic                 Helps control the oily secretion from sweat glands

Antiseptic                            A substance helping to control infection

Anti-spasmodic                 A substance to help prevent and ease spasms and relieve cramps

Anti-sudorific                     A substance to help lessen sweating

Anti-toxic                            Antidote or treatment to counteract the effects of poison

Anti-tussive                        Relieves coughing

Antiviral                               Kills Viruses

Aromatherapy                  The therapeutic use of essential oils

Anxiolytic                            calm and soothes anxiety

Aperitif                                 which stimulates appetite

Aphrodisiac                        which stimulates sexual desire

Astringent                           that tones and tightens skin tissue




Bactericidal                         An agent destroying bacteria

Bacteriostatic                     which prevents the development and proliferation of bacteria

Balsamic                               which calms the inflamed mucous membranes




Carminative                        Settles the digestive system and relieves flatulence

Carrier oil                             An oil which is used to dilute essential oils for the purpose of massage - see fixed oils

Cellulite                                An "orange peel" effect caused by local accumulation of fat and waste products

Chemotypes                      The same botanical species occurring in other forms due to different growth conditions

Cicatrisation                       Formation of scar tissue

Cicatrising                            Agent promoting healing by scar tissue formation

Cold pressed                      Refers to a method of extraction where no external heat is applied during the process

Constipation                      A state where normal bowel functions are not present

Cortisone-like                    which mimics the action of cortisone in the body

Comedogenic                    which tends to clog pores especially by the formation of blackheads.

Comedo                               (plural- Comedones) dilated pore or hair follicle filled with skin debris, bacteria, and sebum (oil). Commonly called Blackheads (open Comedones) and whiteheads (closed Comedones).               

Cutaneous                          Pertaining to the skin

Cystitis                                  Bladder inflammation




Decongestant                    A substance which helps to relieve congestion

Dermatitis                           Inflammation of the skin

Detoxifier                            Helps to detoxify and to combat impurities in the blood and body

Diffuser                                 A device which helps to release the fragrance molecules into the air

Digestive                            which promotes digestion

Distillation                           A method of extraction used in the manufacture of essential oils

Diuretics                              which increases the secretion of a liquid

Draining                               making it easier for liquids to flow

Dysmenorrhoea                               Painful menstruation

Oedema                              Water retention




Emollient                             Softening and soothing to the skin

Eupeptic                              which promotes digestion

Essential oil                         Volatile aromatic liquid constituting the odorous principles of botanical matter

Expectorant                       A substance that helps to expel mucus from the lungs





Fixative                                 Material that slows evaporation of volatile components in perfume


Fixed oils                              Vegetable oils obtained from plants that are fatty and non-volatile

Flower water                     the water resulting from the distillation of essential oils, which still contains some of the properties of the plant material used in the extraction

Fold                                       Refers to the percentage of terpenes removed by re-distillation - single fold to fivefold

Fractionated oils               Refers to oils that have been re-distilled, either to have terpenes removed or to remove other substances

Fungicide                             A substance which destroys fungal infections




Germicidal                          An agent that destroys micro-organisms




Halitosis                               Bad breath

Haemostatic                       Helps to stop bleeding

Hormonal Action              has an action at the level of the hormonal system (regulation, stimulation, inhibition...)

Hormone-like                    which mimics the action of hormones in the body

Hydrosol                              Floral water




Infused oil                           An oil produced by steeping the macerated botanical material in oil until the oil has taken on some of the material's properties

Infusion                               Herbal remedy made by steeping the plant material in water

Immunostimulant            which stimulates the immune system

Insect repellent                keeping insects away

Insecticide                          who kills insects




Laxative                               which accelerates intestinal transit

Lipolytic                                which promotes degradation of fats




Macerate                            To soak until soft

Mucolytic                            which fluidizes and promotes the evacuation of respiratory secretions (mucus, …)



Neurotronic                       which stimulates the nervous system and calms an anxiety state




Oedema                              Water retention

Oleo gum resin                  Odoriferous exudation from botanical material consisting of essential oil, gum and resin

Oleoresin                            Natural resinous exudation from plants or aromatic liquid preparation extracted from botanical material

Oestrogen-like                 which mimics the action of estrogen in the body

Oxidation                            Related to the addition of oxygen to an organic molecule, or the removal of electrons or hydrogen from the molecule




Painkiller                              inhibiting the sensation of pain

Phyto therapy                   Treatment of disease with plant material, including herbal medicine




Rectification                       Process of re-distilling essential oils to rid them of certain constituents

Resin                                     Natural or prepared product - natural resins are exudations from trees, prepared resins are oleoresins from which the essential oil has been removed

Resinoids                             Perfumed material extracted from natural resinous material by solvent extraction

Rhizome                              Underground stem that lasts for more than one season




Skin regenerator              which protects the skin and promotes the synthesis of skin cells

Sedative                              which soothes, relaxes and promotes sleep

Spasmolytic                        (or antispasmodic) which suppresses spasms, involuntary muscle contractions

Stomachic                           which promotes digestion

Synergy                                Agents working together and in harmony to produce and effect greater than the sum of the two separate agents

Synthetic                             Refers to anything not of organic source




Vasodilator                         which promotes the dilation of the vessels i.e. the increase in their diameter and thus better blood circulation

Vermifuge                                          An agent expelling intestinal worms

Volatile Substance                           that is unstable and evaporates easily, like an essential oil