Herbal Glossary of Terms
Algae - Algae is a seaweed full of trace elements, calcium,
and magnesium. In skincare products, it helps the skin store moisture to improve
Alfalfa - High in vitamin K, A, D and minerals. Good for conditioning
and strengthening the hair.
Allantoin - A botanical extract said to heal and soothe. Used
in creams and topical preparations for the skin.
Almond, Sweet Oil - Emollient used in lotions and creams.
Known for its mildness.
Aloe Vera - Plant from which aloe gel is extracted. Known
for its soothing, gentle properties. Especially good for burns and moisturizing
skin. Promotes healing and cellular
Althea Root - Originally used to provide marshmallow with its pillowy consistency.
Althea is an extract that softens and soothes.
Anise Seed - Anise seeds are aromatic (smells of licorice)
and may be used in facial saunas (to open/medicate pores) or hair rinses.
Apricot - A skin softener and toner, apricot acts as a brilliantine adding
sheen without an oily film.
Arnica - A botanical with antiseptic, astringent, antimicrobial
properties. Used in homeopathy to reduce bruising and swelling.
Aromatherapy - Use of essential oils fragrance for therapeutic benefits.
Aromatic - Herbs with a strong pleasant odor that can help contribute
to a sense of comfort or well being.
Avocado - Oil from seed and pulp used in creams, lotions,
and hair preparations. Found to signigicantly increase the water soluble collagen
content in the dermis.
Awapuhi - Actiphyte of the Hawaiian white ginger root. A natural
comes from the white ginger root.
Bergamot - An antiseptic and bacterial growth-inhibitor
known for its toning, antiseptic and deodorizing qualities.
Beeswax - A long standing cosmetic ingredient used as a thickener,
emulsifier, and stiffing agent in ointments, cold creams, lotions, lipsticks,
etc. It is
now being used as a hair removing wax.
Birch Bark - American Indians used birch bark extensively for many purposes,
it acts as a tonic, refreshes the skin and has anti - inflammatory qualities.
Bladderwrack - Beneficial to scalp.
Borage - An emollient herb that has a cooling and soothing effect, allaying
Burdock - A root extract credited with antibacterial properties. May also reduce
inflammations such as rashes, redness, acne, eczema.
Butcher's Broom - Botanical extract used to improve circulation
and reduce facial redness. Also believed to have anti-cellulite effects.
Calendula (aka Marigold) - Used in fresheners, soothing creams,
and sensitive skin products.
Camphor - Used as an antiseptic, stimulant,
and anti-inflammatory ingredient in toners, aftershaves, lipbalms, and after
Castor Oil - Used in lipsticks, concealers, hair pomade, ointments,
creams and lotions.
Chamomile - A daisy - like plant. Extract from its white and
yellow heads impart luster. An essential source of vital minerals for hair. Used
in many products for blonde hair to enhance colour.
Clary Sage - Relieves
sore or injured muscles and menstrual cramping when used in massage.
Antiseptic for oily skin and dandruff.
Cinnamon Bark - One of the spices
that spurred world exploration, cinnamon bark is a natural astringent known
to suspend excess oil on oily skin or scalp.
Citronella oil - Antiseptic widely used in soaps and deodorizers.
Also has insect-repelling properties.
Clove - An antiseptic, flavoring and stimulant. It is up to 85% eugenol - regarded
as an excellent water absorber.
Clover Blossom - Beneficial in the treatment of acne.
Coconut Oil - Used as an emollient in soaps and as a shine
enhancer in some hair products.
Coltsfoot - A healing herb with emollient properties that is soothing to the
Comfrey Root - Comfrey Root extract is rich in allantoin, known for its ability
to heal wounds and stimulate the growth of healthy tissue.
Cornflower - Used in toners, astringents, and healing creams. Can cause photosensitivity
in some people.
Cucumber - Used in facial creams, lotions, and cleansers. Known for its astringent
and soothing properties. Also an anti-inflammatory agent (slices placed over
puffy eyes can reduce swelling).
Dandelion - A vegetable source of protein that is high in
Echinacea - Assists immune function, anti-inflammatory.
Elder Flower - Used in eye and skin creams for its astringent
Eucalyptus - Antiseptic, cooling and stimulating, eucalyptus oil has blood
stimulation properties, beneficial for the treatment of hair loss.
Evening primrose - Used as an astringent and helpful for reducing skin irritation.
Also beneficial for dehydrated skin.
Farnesol - Natural ingredient found throughout the plant
world which regulates developmental processes and is a natural bioactivator
in human skin.
Fir Needle Oil - A natural cleanser obtained from the needle
of various cone-bearing evergreen trees.
Geranium - A mild astringent with antiseptic properties;
Ginger - Ginger
is effective as an antioxidant
and antimicrobial. In humid climates it is used to help preserve food and as
a mouth rinse it can relieve sore throats.
Ginseng - Considered a tonic. Believed to be nourishing due
to its vitamin and hormone content. It is taken orally and is also felt to
have energy boosting
Golden seal - herb used as a mild antiseptic.
Grape seed oil - has moisturizing
and nourishing properties due to its high linoleic acid content.
Hemp seed oil - Is one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids, essential
amino acids and other nutrients responsible for strong, healthy keratin formation.
Henna - A natural dye obtained from the ground dried leaves
of a shrub found in North Africa and the Near East.
Honey - Humectant for skin and hair (Helps the skin or hair attract
and retain moisture).
Horsetail - Beneficial for the treatment of acne, horsetail
has a high silica content providing texture.
Hops - Herb with moisturizing
and astringent properties.
Horsechestnut - Refreshes, improves circulation. Also used as an anti-inflammatory.
Ivy - A mild irritant botanical believed to stimulate blood
circulation to the areas on which it is applied and known for its toning and
Jasmine - Essential oil extracted from plants and used in
Jojoba Oil - Contains superior properties to keep skin soft.
It is beneficial to acne prone skin and dry hair.
Juniper - A fragrance considered a mild skin stimulant.
Kaolin - A white clay used for absorbing impurities from
Kiwi Extract - Extract of the tropical kiwi fruit. Natural additive.
Kukui Nut Oil - Easily absorbed by the skin, it is reported to benefit acne,
and chapped skin.
Lavender - Its name derived from the Latin verb "to wash" lavender
is a relaxing, cleansing herb that is also a circulation stimulant.
Lemongrass - Used for sheen and cleansing. Also used as an elasticizer in hairsprays.
Lecithin - Naturally occuring phospholipid derived from soybeans.
Both water and oil loving, lecithin helps protect the skin and replenish the
mantle as well as improve the skin's feel after application.
Lemon - Natural purifier, astringent and tonic, prevents skin discoloration.
Licorice - treats acne, calms allergic skin.
Lichen Extract - Highly concentrated extract of alpine linchen
(usnea barbata). It is a bactericide, fungicide and is also effective against
yeast. Used in
deodorants, foot care products, mouth hygiene, and anti-microbial washes.
Malic Acid - A glycolic acid derived from apples.
Mallow -An anti-inflammatory that helps prevent age lines and reduce eye
Matricaria - Also known as Chamomile.
Menthol - A crystalline alcohol that occurs especially in mint oils. Has the
fragrance and cooling properties of peppermint.
Nettle - Rich in minerals and plant hormones, nettle extract is cleansing
and astringent. Used in folk medicine to stimulate hair growth, it also acts
as a glossifier.
Oat - Extract of oat has cleansing and soothing properties.
Powerful antioxidant and emollient; provides deep antioxidant activity.
Oatmeal- Oatmeal is known for its soothing properties in
cosmetics. In soap, it adds texture for gentle exfoliation.
Olive Oil - Extract of olive. Emollient. Superior penetrating
ability. Used in lipsticks, hairdressings, shampoos, soaps and conditioners.
Orange Flower - Used for emmoliency and to impart luster.
Parsley - Infusions of parsley are known to be cleansing and soothing also
having high vitamin and mineral content.
Peppermint - Emolient herb that is astringent, stimulating, cleansing, restorative
Quince seed - A creamy, gummy plant-derived extract of the quince
tree. Used in skin and hair care products as a treatment for dry, chapped hands
or damaged hair.
Raspberry - Stimulating and astringent.
Rose - Rose water has been used as early as the tenth century for its cleansing
and astringent benefits.
Rosemary - Very rich in natural minerals, rosemary is soothing, cleansing,
stimulating and astringent. It also brightens and adds high gloss to the hair.
Safflower - Safflower oil is an unsaturated vegetable oil derived from safflower.
It is used for its moisturizing and softening properties.
Sage - Calming, cleansing, soothing and astringent, sage was associated with
longevity in ancient times.
Sea Kelp - The ashes of seaweeds, from which iodine is obtained;
a large, coarse seaweed or wrack. Skin soother.
Sea Wrack - Seaweed cast ashore.
Sesame Oil - A light, emollient oil obtained from sesame seeds.
Slippery Elm - Used for its emollient properties.
Squalene - Shark-liver oil.
Sweet Almond Oil - A natural "non - oily" oil that
Tangerine - Balances dry scalp
and dandruff conditions while
moisturizing hair and skin. Sedative and tonic.
Tea Tree Oil- A natural preservative with antiseptic and
germicidal properties used in soaps, shampoos, and skin-care products.
Thyme - A calming cleanser, thyme tones and refreshes while also having antiseptic
Vitamin A - A fat soluble vitamin. A lack of vitamin A can
cause skin to become dry and hardened.
Vitamin C - A water soluble vitamin. A preservative and antioxidant
used in cosmetic creams.
Vitamin D - A fat soluble vitamin. Necessary for bone and
tooth structure. Formed in the skin on exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin E - An antioxidant often used in deodorants and hair
Walnut Extract - bronzing agent that creates a natural-looking
Wheat Germ Oil - An oily extract from wheat germ that is very rich in natural
Witch Hazel - Used as an astringent, and an aid in setting hair.
Yarrow - An extract for cleansing and astringency.
Yeast Extract - Obtained from yeast, this derivative is a popular constituent
of oily skin preparations.
Ylang-ylang - A sensual essential oil derived from the flowers of cananga
odorata, a large tropical tree native to the Phillipines, and highly valued
for soaps, cosmetics, and expensive perfumes, particularly in what are
known as Oriental blends.