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Herbal Properties Glossary
The Gourmet Cooking Place

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Herbal Properties Glossary

We assembled this list to make it easier for you to find the herb needed for a particular problem. The list categorizes common herbal properties and explains their uses and examples of the herbs that provide the components. We have linked specific herbs to our Herb, Spice glossary to provide more insight into their usage and availability.

SEE: Disclaimer

Every herb contains unique combinations of biochemical elements. Some contain only small traces while others hold dense concentrations of these essentials. These building blocks include vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids, enzymes, hormones, and fiber that provide components to the body to boost the immune system, aid healing, and enhance general health.

For this discussion; the term "herb" is used to describe a full family of plants used for medicinal and cooking purposes; including those that, in culinary circles, are often called spice.

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Adaptogen Herbs
These herbs have immune system enhancers which help the body adjust to change, regulate stress and restore natural immune resistance. They provide valuable support to the human body in coping with the pressures placed on a wide range of its functions by both the internal and external environments and normalize the functions of the bodily systems.

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Alterative Herbs
A solvent extract of fragrant materials from botanicals, producing an alcohol-soluble liquid or semi-liquid oil. Common solvents include, among others, alcohol & hexane, which are then removed.
Alterative Herbs Include

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Analgesic Herbs
Analgesics (Analgesic Herbs) are sometimes referred to as painkillers and Analgesic herbs are used to relieve pain without loss of consciousness. Herbal analgesics are generally safe, cost effective, non addictive and gentle yet; effective if used correctly.
Some of the herbs commonly used as analgesics include

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Anesthetic Herbs
Anesthetics are used for their ability to cause physical insensitivity. The feeling of pain may be blocked or temporarily taken away. It is important to know that Anesthetic Herb medications have potential interactions with other drugs the patient might receive as part of treatments.
Examples of Anesthetic Herbs are

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Anodyne Herbs
Anodyne herbs have the ability to soothe and reduce the intensity of pain. An anodyne acts to relieve or soothe pain by lessening the sensitivity of the nervous system. It is a kind of analgesic, and is often applied topically.
Anodyne Herbs include

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Anorectic Herbs
Anorectic herbs also known as an appetite suppressant herbs, help to reduce appetite. This effect is often desired to achieve weight loss. Most common natural appetite suppressants are based on hoodia (Hoodia gordonii), a genus of 13 species in the flowering plant family Apocynaceae, under the subfamily Asclepiadoideae. Green tea, with other plant extracts, to limit calorie intake is also widely used. There are several appetite suppressants that find their source in a mix of natural ingredients, mostly using green tea as its basis, and a combination of other plant extracts like fucoxanthin, found naturally in seaweed.
Anorectic Herbs include

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Antacid Herbs
Antacid herbs are used to neutralize acids in the stomach and intestinal tract. For proper digestion, you need to relax your stomach and lower stomach acids, before using any natural remedies; you should check with your physician that it is safe for you to do so.
Herbs used to neutralize acids (Antacid herbs) include

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Anthelmintic Herbs
Anthelmintic herbs possess a substance that destroys helminth parasitic worms or prevents their growth or replication and can be used therapeutically in the treatment of helminthiasis. Infection of these worms can cause significant problems like anemia or frequent profuse diarrhea. Herbs with anthelmintic agents either expel or destroy parasitic worms (helminths) in the body. Similar terms use to describe such anthelmintic properties include vermifuge, vermicide and taeniacide.

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Concrete
A solvent extraction, typically hexane, of a botanical, which yields, after removal of the solvent by vacuum distillation, a semi-solid wax.

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CO2 Extraction
Extraction method using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a solvent. There are two basic CO2 extractions. Low-pressure cold extraction involves chilling CO2 to between 35-55 degrees F and pumping it through the plant material at between 800-1,500 psi. Supercritical Fluid (SCO2) extraction involves heating the CO2 to above 87F an pumping it above 1,100 psi. Usually this work is done between 6,000-10,000 psi. Supercritical Fluid CO2 can best be described as a dense fog whereas the first method described uses the CO2 in a dense liquid state. CO2 is the most desired of solvents, as it leaves no toxic residues behind. Low-pressure CO2 extraction is often the best method for obtaining high quality extracts.

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Deodorized
Refers to the process of removing unwanted fragrance or flavor materials from a botanical product.

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Distillate Water
Otherwise known as floral water or hydrosol, the by-product of steam-distillation.

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Distillation
A heat-dependent process for separation and purification of a liquid mixture based on differences in vapor pressure of components of the mixture. The process involves vaporization of the more volatile components and then condensation of the vapor back to a liquid.

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Expeller Pressed
Produced by machine pressing, normally around 140 to 210 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Essence Oil
An oil collected in the water distillate during the production and concentration of fruit juices. Example: orange oilphase essence, lemon oilphase essence, etc.

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Essential Oil
Volatile oils, typically fragrant, which are extracted from botanicals using steam distillation. Essential oils are normally liquid, but in some cases, such as Anise, may be solid, depending on temperature. For commercial purposes expressed oils such as orange are identified as essential oils, while they technically are not.

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Expression
Pressing of the peels of citrus fruits to obtain essential oils & non-volatile materials.

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Extraction
A process of removing botanical components from a raw material through the uses of distillation and/or solvents. The solvent portion containing the extracted material is filtered and the solvent removed. The extract will contain non-volatile as well as volatile components. Oleoresins, resinoids, concretes, and absolutes are all produced by extraction.

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Exudate
Non-cellular, natural raw material that is secreted by plants, either spontaneously or after wounding. Examples: Balsam Peru, Balsam Copalba, etc.

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FDA Approved
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States.

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FCC
Food Chemicals Codex, the industry-standard listing of food-grade ingredients; indicates materials safe for use in food and cosmetics.

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Fixative
A material that slows down the rate of evaporation of the more volatile components in perfume composition and cosmetics.

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Fixed Oils
Non-volatile oils derived from plant materials, commonly referred to as Vegetable Oils.

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Folded Oil
A product derived by concentrating the flavor constituents of an essential oil by re-distillation and/or processing. Example: Orange Oil 5 fold used in food flavoring.

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Fractional distillation
In the fractional steam distillation process, the essential oil is collected in batches over the distillation period during given time intervals. Ylang Ylang is a material in which the initionial oil yield taken initially and is referred to as Ylang Ylang 1stl, thereafter the 2nd, and 3rd. A blend of all the batches is referred to as Ylang Ylang Complete.

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Gum
Water soluble exudate consisting mainly of polysaccharides, used principally as a thicken and a spray-dried carrier in the manufacture of water soluble fragrance & flavor compounds such as gum arabic.

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Gum Resin Absolute
Oil soluble, purified exudate consisting mostly of resinous constituents, gums and small amounts of volatile components. Examples are myrrh, galbanum, and opoponax.

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Hydrosol
Otherwise known as floral water or distillate water, the by-product of steam distillation.

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Hydrospice
Water dispersible form of an oleoresin.

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Isolate
Separation of an aroma chemical from an essential oil via distillation (mechanically) or hydrolysis (chemically), or by other partitioning methods. Example, eugenol from clove leaf oil.

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Kaolin
Clay siding the absorption of oil secreted by the skin. No toxicity on record when used externally.

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Natural
Contains only natural ingredients.

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Natural and Artificial
Contains both natural and artificial ingredients.

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Nature Identical
A component, natural or artificial, which has chemical structure identical to that found in nature.

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Oleoresin
Extraction, usually of natural spice or flavoring materials, using selected solvents to remove the vital components. An oleoresin will contain the essential oil plus other important non-volatile components that characterize the flavor, color, and other aspects of the starting raw material.

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Reco
Reconstituted from natural or synthetic materials.

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Rectified
Indicates a material was re-processed to further "clean", purify or standardize the material.

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Rectification
A second distillation of an essential oil to remove color, resinous matter and perhaps unwanted top and bottom notes.

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Refined
A material that has been processed to remove impurities from the natural crude botanical.

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SHU
Scoville Heat Unit, unit of measure of the degree of heat of capsicum. Named after Mr. Scoville.

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Solvent Extraction
A process of treating a natural raw material that may be too delicate to be processed with heat, with an organic solvent. The solvent portion containing the extracted material is filtered and the solvent removed. The extract will contain non-volatile as well as volatile components. Oleoresins, resinoids, concretes, and absolutes are all produced by extraction.

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Terpeneless
Complete or partial-removal of monoterpenic or hydrocarbons by distillation of an essential oil to: a) Improve solubility in diluted alcohol or food grade solvents. b) Increase stability of the oil and prevent the appearance of rancid notes.

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Tincture
An alcoholic extraction with the solvent left in as a dilutant.

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Unrefined
The crude, natural, or virgin first pressing of a botanical.

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Water Miscible / Dispersible
Can be uniformly mixed with water.

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Water Soluble
Can be dissolved in water.

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Wax
A low-melting organic mixture or compound of high molecular weight, solid at room temperature and generally similar in composition to fats and oils except that it contains no glycerides.

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Wheat Germ Oil
Natural oil obtained from the embryo of the wheat kernel separated in milling. Natural source of vitamin E, A and D.

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Winterized
Cold-filtered process removing waxes & stearines, which cause cloudiness when temperatures drop.

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Wonf
An essential oil or flavor "with other natural flavors" added to enhance specific notes.

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