glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

Acidosis a condition in which the pH of the body's fluids becomes excessively acidic which occurs when the body's intake and production of acid residue exceeds its ability to adequately eliminate it (See also autotoxication.)
Active in herbology refers to a naturally-occurring ingredient in an herb that is believed to be responsible for the herb's desirable effects on the body
Acupressure type of Chinese medicine that uses direct stimulation by a therapist’s fingertips, knuckles, or hands or from blunt-tipped instruments to stimulate specific points on energetic meridians and points on a patient’s body.
Acupuncture a branch of ancient Chinese medicine that treats many conditions including diseases, drug or alcohol addiction, and sinus problems by stimulation of needles to directly manipulate a network along 12 major pathways or energetic meridians, connecting specific internal organs with energetic points on the network. Acupuncture regulates, or disperses Ki (also referred to as Chee, Chi, Ki, Qi, and Qui), the vital life energy that animates all living organisms, and results in a correcting and rebalancing Ki to relieve pain and restore health.
Adaptogen an agent, such as an herb, that allows the body to adapt to various conditions, bringing the body back toward a state of normalcy or homeostasis. For example, an adaptogenic herb that affects blood pressure will help lower the blood pressure when it is too high, and raise the blood pressure when it is too low.
ADD "Attention Deficit Disorder" - see /www.adhd.ca/ for more information
ADHD "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" - - see /www.adhd.ca/ for more information
Alkalosis a condition in which the pH of the body's fluids become excessively alkaline (See also acidosis.)
Allopathy the system of treating disease by inducing a pathologic reaction that is antagonistic to the disease being treated, (usually refers to conventional medicine).
Alternative Medicine commonly used to refer to health care existing outside the medical status quo, e.g.; herbalism, nutrition, chiropractic, naturopathy, acupuncture, etc.; although the more correct terminology for these disciplines would be complementary or traditional medicine.
Alternative Therapies interventions for improving, maintaining and promoting health and well being, preventing disease, or treating illness. Encompassing over 200 modalities and more than 10,000 uses, alternative and complementary therapies are not part of the standard North American biomedical regimen of health care or disease prevention. Standard refers to practices commonly taught in U. S. medical schools, covered by major insurers, or referred to as allopathic or Western medicine.
Amino acids The building blocks from which proteins are made. Dietary amino acids are classified as essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine) cannot be manufactured by the body and must be supplied in the diet or ill-health results. The non-essential amino acids are also essential for health, but can be synthesized in the body from the essential amino acids. Arginine, ornithine, cysteine, cystine, taurine and tyrosine are classified as non-essential amino acids but may be essential for individuals with certain diseases or nutritional concerns. A suboptimal intake of the essential amino acids increases the body's need for the non-essential amino acids.
Amylase a digestive enzyme secreted in the saliva and pancreatic juices that aids the breakdown of starch, also called ptyalin. (See enzymes.)
Analgesic a substance that relieves pain (also antalgesic).
Androgen This term refers to the male sex hormones (testosterone, androsterone) or any agent that encourages the development of male sex characteristics.
Androstenedione A weak androgenic steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, testes, and ovary. In normal males less than 5% of their testosterone comes from the conversion of adrenal androstenedione. Androstenedione is converted to testosterone by the enzyme 17-ketoreductase. Androstenedione and testosterone are converted to estrone and estradiol in peripheral tissues (primarily in adipose tissue but also in muscle, kidney, liver and the hypothalamus) by aromatase. The conversion of androstenedione and testosterone accounts for more than 75% of the estrogens in the plasma of normal men. The rest is synthesized in the testes. Gonadotropin secretion may be partially controlled by estrogen formation in the hypothalamus.
Anhidrosis a condition characterized by diminished or complete absense of sweating.
Annual a plant that lives only one year, or one plant season.
Anodyne a substance that relieves pain.
Anthelmintic a substance that kills parasitic worms
Antibiotic an agent that kills microorganisms.
Antibody in the body's immune system, a molecule that is responsible for recognizing and marking an antigen for destruction by the white blood cells.
Antiemetic an agent that relieves nausea and vomiting.
Antigalactic an agent that stops or reduces the flow of milk.
Antigen a substance that, when introduced into the body, induces an immune response consisting of the production of a circulating antibody.
Antihydrotic an agent that reduces or stops perspiration.
Antilithic an agent that reduces the production of urinary stones or acts to dissolve those already present.
Antioxidant a substance that prevents oxidative damage done by free radicals. It does this primarily by giving up an electron to the free radical converting it to a less reactive molecule. Antioxidants include the vitamins A, C and E; the minerals zinc and selenium; and various herbs and phytonutrients such as Ginkgo bilboa and lycopene. Antioxidants are also called free radical scavengers. (See also free radical.)
Antiperiodic a substance that works against periodic or intermittent diseases.
Antiphlogistic an agent that reduces inflammation (anti-inflammatory).
Antipyretic an agent that prevents or reduces fever (febrifuge).
Antiscorbutic a substance (containing vitamin C) that prevents or cures scurvy.
Antiseptic an agent that prevents infection by preventing or inhibiting the growth of harmful microorganisms.
Antispasmodic an agent that relieves or prevents spasms.
Antitussive an agent that relieves coughing.
Aphrodisiac an angent that increases sexual desire.
Applied Kinesiology can determine health imbalances in the body's organs and glands by identifying weaknesses in specific muscles. By stimulating or relaxing these key muscles, an applied kinesiologist can diagnose and resolve a variety of health problems.
Aromatherapy treatment in which the subject is exposed to certain aromas or fragrances such as those released by diffusion of essential oils from herbs.
Aromatic relating to fragrance or smell. Aromatic herbs (e.g., peppermint, spearmint, catnip) are herbs that contain a high amount of volatile oils and are often valued for their beneficial effects on the digestive system by promoting the secretion of digestive juices.
Arteriosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries" a condition in which fatty deposits, cholesterol and calcium build up on the inside of arteries decreasing blood flow and pliability. This is a common cause of high blood pressure as the heart has to beat harder to push the blood through arteries that are partially blocked and less pliable. When arteriosclerosis occurs in large arteries, such as the aorta, it is often referred to as atherosclerosis.
Arthritis a non-specific term referring to any type of joint inflammation. There are many different types of arthritis. The three most common ones are osteoarthritis (by far the most common), rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.
ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) a compound consisting of the nucleotide adenosine attached through its ribose group to three phosphoric acid molecules. It serves to store energy in muscles which is released when it is hydrolyzed to adenosine diphosphate.
Autonomic nervous system (ANS) the "automatic" or "subconscious" part of the nervous system that is not under conscious control and is responsible for controlling such automatic functions as heart rate, breathing, etc. The ANS is divided into two subdivisions, the sympathetic nervous system or SNS stimulates the body for action, and the parasympathetic nervous system or PNS slow down most bodily functions.
Autotoxication a term used by William Howard Hay, M.D. in his book A New Health Era (1933) to refer to what he considered the most fundamental cause of disease; i.e., accumulation of excess acid in the body (acidosis) which occurs when the body's intake and production of acid residue exceeds its ability to adequately eliminate it. This occurs primarily as a result of unwise food choices, improper food combining, and consumption of chemical food additives and drugs.
Ayurvedic medicine a five thousand-year-old system of holistic and preventive medicine from India that treats illness as an imbalance or stress in the awareness of the individual, along with an imbalance of the doshas. The ayurvedic tradition employs diagnostic procedures such as reading the pulse and observing the tongue. Nutrition counseling, yoga, massage, herbal medicine, meditation, and other modalities are used to treat a broad spectrum of ailments in reaching a balanced state of inner harmony, health, and natural well-being.
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