Active ingredients: The ingredients contained in any formula that give the desired physiological effect ie. The components in a moisturising cream that improves the moisture content of the skin.

Adrenal glands: two organs situated one upon the upper end of each kidney. Stresses of modern life can exhaust the glands.

Acidophilus: A friendly bacteria found in the digestive system which combats the activities of invading micro-organisms associated with food poisoning and other infections.

Acido Alpha Hydroxyl Ceramides: Extract from sunflowers. A lipid that strengthens the skin’s capacity to retain moisture, thereby supporting and sustaining skin’s youthful smoothness and softness.

Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese treatment for relieving ills of the body by inserting needles into meridians. Acupuncture in our Glasgow Clinic

Acute: A short sharp crisis of rapid onset.

Adaptogen: A substance that helps the body to “adapt” to a new stress or strain by stimulating the body’s own defensive mechanism.

Aetiology: a term denoting the cause or origin of a specific disease.

Agar-agar: gelling agent made from seaweed.

Algae: a seaweed

Alginate: Gelatinous substance obtained from seaweed and used as an emulsifier and thickening agent.

Alkalis: Substances with a pH above 7. Often used as neutralisers in cosmetics and toiletries.

Alkaloids: basic organic substances, usually vegetable in origin and having an alkaline reaction. Like alkalis they combine with acids to form salts. Some are toxic, insoluble in water.

Aloe Vera Extract: Effective healing agent and rich emollient. Used to counteract wrinkles, it is soothing and moisturizing.

Alteratives: Medicines that alter the process of nutrition, restoring in some unknown way the normal functions of an organ or system.

Allergy: Hypersensitivity to a foreign protein which produces a violent reaction eg. Hayfever, asthma, irritable bowel.

Allopathy: Conventional medicine.

Amenorrhoea: Suppression or normal menstrual flow during the time of life when it should occur.

Amino acids: Group of compounds containing both the carboxyl and the amino groups. They are the building blocks of proteins and are essential for the maintenance of the body.

Amphoteric: A normaliser “improve apparently contradictory symptoms”.

Analgesics, pain relievers, anodynes: Herbs taken orally for relief of mild pain

Anaphrodisiac: a herb that reduces excess sexual desire.

Antacids: Remedies that correct effects of stomach acid and relieve indigestion.

Antigens: substances, usually harmful, that when entering the body stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies.

Antibacterial: Any agent or process that inhibits the growth and reproduction of bacteria

Antibody: a substance prepared in the body for the purpose of withstanding infection by viruses, bacteria and other organisms.

Anti-catarrhals: agents that reduce the production of mucus.

Antifungals: herbs that destroy fungi as in the treatment of thrush, candida etc.

Antihistamines: agents that arrest production of histamine and which are useful in allergic conditions.

Annato: a natural colourant derived from the seeds of a tropical tree.

Anthelmintics: Anti parasite.

Anthoposophical medicine: Holistic medicine based on the work of Dr Rudolf Steiner.

Antilithics: agents used for elimination or dissolution of stone or gravel in bladder or kidney problems.

Anti-neoplastics: herbs that prevent formation or destroy tumour cells

Anti-pruritics: agents to relieve intense itching.

Anti-spasmodics: agents for relief of muscular cramps, spasm or mild pain.

Anti-tussives: herbs that reduce cough severity, ease expectoration and clear the lungs.

Antioxidants: Substances that prevent the formation of free radicals which cause the oxidative deterioration that causes rancidity in oils or fats and also premature ageing. Natural sources include vitamins A, C and E.

Aperient: laxative

Aqueous coating:a natural water and vegetable cellulose coating which can be used as a coating to enhance tablet disintegration and dissolution.

Ascorbic acid: The chemical name for vitamin c.

Astringents: Products that cause a tightening and contractions of the skin tissues, generally used to tone skin and close pores. Can also arrest heavy bleeding.

Avocado Oil: Has excellent penetrating qualities, softens and regenerates skin. This emollient is valued for its high lipid and Vitamin A, D and C components.

Ayurveda Medicine: System of sacred medicine originating from Ancient India, dating from 1000 to 3000BC.

B back to top

Barrier cream: cream that provides a protective coating when applied to the skin eg. hands and face.

Beeswax: A natural emulsifier and thickener.

Beta Carotene: An abundant source of Vitamin A with rich anti-oxidant properties. It is necessary for tissue repair and maintenance and accelerates the formation of healthy new skin cells. Vitamin A deters excess dryness.

Bisobolol: main active ingredient in chamomile which has excellent skin healing properties.

Bitters: Stimulate the autonomic nervous system. Bitters increase appetite, assist assimilation.

Botanical Extract: An extract of herbs and plants. The extracting solvent can be water, oil, alcohol or any synthetic solvent such as propylene glycol.

Bronchodilators: herbs that expand the clear space within the bronchial tubes, opening up airways and relieving obstruction.

C back to top

Candida albicans: A yeast that causes thrush and in more severe cases, symptoms can affect the whole body.

Capricin: A caprylic acid formulation that facilitates absorption of calcium and magnesium.

Caramel: Coloring agent derived from liquid corn syrup.

Carcinogens: substances that bring about a malignant change in body cells.

Carmine: Natural red pigment obtained from cochineal.

Carminatives: Anti-flatulents, aromatic herbs used to expel gas from the stomach and intestines.

Castor Oil: A superb conditioner that has been proven to strengthen the hair shaft.

Catabolism: An aspect of metabolism which is concerned with the breaking down of complex substances to simpler ones, with the release of energy.

Cetyl Alcohol: Derived from coconut and palm oils. This is not a drying alcohol. Used as an emollient and to protect skin from moisture loss.

Chlorophyll: stored energy of the sun. Green colouring matter of plants.

Cholagogues: A group of agents which increases the secretion of bile and its expulsion from the gall bladder.

Choleretic: An agent which reduces cholesterol levels by excreting cholesterol.

Citric Acid: Derived from citrus fruit . A natural preservative that helps to adjust the pH of cosmetic products.

Clay: Deep-cleansing and highly absorbent. Bentonite and green clay are two types of natural clay.

Compresses: External applications to soften tissue, allay inflammation or alleviate pain.

Contra-indicated: not indicated, against medical advice, unsuitable for use.

Cornstarch: Used as a safe base for our eye shadows, blushers and loose powders.

Coumarins: Powerful anti-coagulant plant chemicals. Used to prevent blood clotting.

Counter-irritant: An agent which produces vaso-dilation of peripheral blood vessels by stimulating nerve-endings of the skin to generate irritation intended to relieve deep-seated pain.

Cramp: Sustained contraction of a muscle.

D back to top

Decoction: A preparation obtained by bringing to the boil and simmering dense herbal materials ie. Bark, root and woody parts for a plant to extract active constituents.

Decongestant: Herb which is used to loosen mucus within bronchi and lungs.

Demulcent: Anti-irritant. A herb rich in mucilage that is soothing, bland, offering protection to inflamed or irritable mucous surfaces.

Depurative: Blood purifier. Alterative.

Detoxifiers: Plant medicines that aid removal of a poison or poisonous effect, reducing toxic properties.

Diaphoretics: Herbs that induce increased perspiration.

Diuretics: Agents that increase the flow of urine from the kidneys and so excrete excess fluid from the body.

Douche: A term used to describe the cleansing of certain parts of the body eg. Washing wounds and ulcers, eye douches etc.

E back to top

Eliminative: A herb to disperse and promote excretion from the body.

Emetic: A herb to induce vomiting. Given to expel poisons.

Emmenagogues: Plant substances which initiate and promote the menstrual flow.

Emollient: Any substance that prevents water loss from the skin. Most natural oils perform this function.

Emulsifier: A substance that holds oil in water or water in oil. They are necessary in the manufacture of cream and lotions.

Emulsion: A mixture of two incompatible substances. Most creams on the cosmetic market are emulsions.

Enzyme: A biological catalyst that acts to speed up chemical reactions. Digestive enzymes are necessary for the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats ie.pepsin.

Enuresis: Bed wetting.

Essential Fatty Acids: A fatty acid that must be supplied in the diet as the body cannot produce it itself.

Expectorants: Herbs that increase bronchial mucous secretion by promoting liquefaction of sticky mucous and its expulsion from the body.

F back to top

Fatty Acid: A monobasic acid containing only the chemicals carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Found in vegetable and animal fats, they are important for maintaining a healthy skin and are excellent emollients.

Febrifuge: Anti-fever

Fixed Oil: A fixed oil is chemically the same as a fat, but is generally liquid ie. Almond oil, grapeseed oil.

Flavanoids: natural chemicals that prevent the deposit of fatty material in blood vessels.

Flaxseed Oil: Rich source of omega 3 essential fatty acids. (Also known as Linseed Oil)

Fructose: A natural sugar found in honey and fruits

Fumigant: a herb, usually a gum, which when burnt releases mixed gases into the atmosphere to cleanse against air borne infection eg. myrrh or frankincense.

G back to top

Galactagogue: herb to increase flow of breast milk in nursing mothers.

Glycerin (vegetable): A humectant and emollient, it absorbs moisture from the air, thereby keeping moisture in your skin.

Glycoside: an organic substance which may be broken into two parts, one of which is always sugar.

Grain Alcohol: A natural solvent that evaporates easily.

Green Tea Extract: Works towards lightening the skin by actively slowing the transport of melanin to the skin’s surface. Has well known antioxidant qualities.

Guar Gum: A fibre derived from the guar plant and used as a binder in tablet manufacturing.

H back to top

Haemostatics: agents that arrest bleeding.

Hepatic: a herb that assists the liver in its function and promotes the flow of bile.

Histamine: A chemical released via the body’s immune system in response to allergens.

Hypoallergenic: In the strictest sense means without fragrance, but more broadly refers to products that are unlikely to cause skin irritation.

Hyaluronic Acid: Derived from yeast cells, it is extremely hydroscopic. Binds water in the interstitial spaces between skin cells, forming a gel-like substance which holds the cells together.

Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil: Source of essential fatty acids.

I back to top

Infusion: The liquid resulting from making a herbal tea.

Iron Oxides: Natural mineral derived colour pigments.

K back to top

Kaolin: Clay used to absorb oils.

L back to top

Laxative: agent used for persistant constipation to help expel faecal matter from the bowel.

Lecithin: Natural antioxidant and emollient. High in essential fatty acids. A stabiliser and emulsifier from soya beans, corn, peanuts and egg-yolk. Cholesterol reducer.

Lymph: a straw coloured fluid which circulates many tissues of the body and serves to lubricate and cleanse them. MLD in the clinic

M back to top

Magnesium Carbonate: Mineral derived from dolomite, it is used in our face powders to achieve the correct shade or tone.

Mannitol: A natural sugar substitute derived from the manna plant and seaweed.

Menorrhagia: abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding, more than normal flow and longer lasting.

Menthol: Nature constituent of peppermint oil. Used for its antiseptic properties.

Meridians: The energy channels which run through the body and are used in acupuncture, reflexology and other similar therapies.

Metabolism: the reactions involved in the building up and decomposition of chemical substances in living organisms.

Metrorrhagia: bleeding from the womb between periods.

Mineral Salts: Used for colour pigments in our temporary hair colour.

Mucilage: a slimy product formed by the addition of gum to water. Used internally and externally to soothe irritated and inflamed membranes and surfaces.

Mucolytics: agents that disperse or dissolve mucus.

N back to top

Natural glycerine: used to stabilise and disperse liquid nutrients inside a capsule. A clear colourless syrupy liquid with a sweet taste derived from natural fats and oil.

Nerve restoratives: herbs used to provide support and restoration of the nervous system caused by stress, disease or faulty nutrition.

Nutrient: a non-irritating, easily digested agent which provides body nourishment and stimulates metabolic processes.

O back to top

Orexigenic: a herb which increases or stimulates the appetite.

Oxytocic: a herb which hastens the process of childbirth by initiating contraction of the uterine muscle.

P back to top

Parabens (parahydroxybenzoic acid esters): a family of neutral, broad-spectrum antibacterials which have been used extensively for many years in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries as mild preservatives and have not been tested on animals for a long time. They are found in nature, but the ones used in cosmetics are synthetically produced. They have a long history of relatively safe use. Like all synthetic components they are used minimally and only when necessary. Effective levels are 0.1 – 0.3% concentration in the overall product.

Peripheral: refers to the outermost parts of the body.

Poultice: poultices are packs of powders, dried or fresh herbs, enclosed in a muslin bag or wrapped in folds of a flannel or linen and soaked in boiling water, then applied to the affected area of the body.

Prostaglandins: hormone like messengers in the body responsible for the control of important body functions.

Proteinuria: presence of albumin in the urine.

Pruritus: itching.

Purgative: an agent that encourages evacuation of matter from the bowel.

R back to top

Rice Bran Wax: Derived from rice bran, used as emollient and to protect skin from moisture loss.

Reflux: a backward flow of food to the mouth from the gullet or stomach.

Refrigerant: a cooling preparation taken orally or applied externally.

Resin: a thick-solid, insoluble in water but soluble in alcohol, exude from trees or plants which are used as antiseptics.

Rubefacient: external use. An agent to draw a rich blood supply to the skin, increasing heat to the tissues to aid the body in absorption of properties from creams, lotions etc.

Rose Essential Oil: Soothing, harmonizing effect on the skin. Considered the ‘queen’ of all essential oils, its gentle yet powerful nature has the ability to help repair broken capillaries.

S back to top

Salicylates: salts of salicylic acid sometimes used in rheumatism, gout and acid conditions.

Saponins: constituents of some plants that produce a soap like frothing effect when agitated in water.

Sedatives: herbs that relax the central nervous system.

Seasalt Minerals: Thickener and disinfectant in shampoos.

Sesame Oil: Rich emollient properties and provides natural sun protection.

Sialagogue: herbs that increase production of saliva and assist digestion of starches.

Silica (hydrated): A purified mineral, used as an anti-caking agent in the production of vitamin tablets.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate: A surfactant detergent derived from coconut oil to make toothpaste, hair care and bath care products foam.

Sorbitol: Gives a velvety feel to the skin. Derived from cherries, plums, pears, apples and seaweed.

Soybean Oil: A vitamin-rich emollient that absorbs well into the skin. Has a nourishing, softening and moisturizing effect on skin.

Stearic Acid: Fatty acid derived from cocoa butter, used as an emollient.

Spasmolytic: another name for anti-spasmodic.

Stimulants: herbs that spur the circulation, increase energy and physical function.

Styptic: a substance that stops bleeding usually by contracting the tissue.

Sudorifics: similar to diaphoretics but are used to stimulate more profuse abundant sweating.

Systemic: referring to the whole of the body.

T back to top

Tannins: present in tea and coffee and many herbs. Coagulate protein and inhibit the laying down of fatty deposits. Astringent.

U back to top

Urinary antiseptic: a germicidal action of a herb destructive to harmful bacteria in the urine when excreted from the body via the kidneys, bladder and ureters.

Urinary demulcent: a soothing anti-irritant used for the protection of sensitive surfaces of the kidney tubules and ureters against friction, irritation.

Urinary haemostatics: urinary astringents that arrest bleeding from the kidneys.

V back to top

Vasoconstrictors: agents that constrict blood vessels causing an increase in blood pressure.

Vasodilators: herbs that promote dilation of the blood vessels causing a reduction of blood pressure.

Vegetable cellulose: Substance derived from various plant fibres and used as a filler and disintegrant in the production of tablets.

Vermifuge: a substance that expels or destroys intestinal worms.

Vesicant: a blistering agent.

Vitamin A: Potent anti-oxidant, used in combination with vitamins E and C as a natural preservative. Necessary for tissue repair and maintenance and accelerates the formation of healthy new skin cells. It benefits the treatment of skin disorders and oxidant, used as a natural preservative. Anti-inflammatory properties, aids in healing.

Vitamin E: A powerful natural anti-oxidant, used in combination with vitamins A and C as a natural preservative. It slows signs of aging and the degeneration of skin cells.

Vulnerary: a plant whose external application has a cleansing and healing effect on open wounds, cuts and ulcers by promoting cell repair.

W back to top

Wheatgerm Oil: Rich in vitamin E, penetrates well to prevent loss of moisture and benefit cells.

Z back to top

Zinc Oxide: A non-chemical natural sun block.