Glossary of Botanical Terms

 

Glossary
of
Botanical Terms

 

A Absolute – Alcohol Extract – Anhydrous – Attar
B Balsam – Bergaptene Free – Bleached
C Cohobation – Cold Pressed – Concrete – CO2 Extraction
D Distillate Water – Distillation
E Essence oil – Expression – Extraction – Exudate
F FDA Approved – FCC – Fixative – Folded Oil – Fixed Oil – Fractional Distillation
G Gum – Gum Resin Absolute
H Hydrosol – Hydro Diffusion – Hydrospice
I Isolate
K Kaolin
M Maceration Extraction
N Natural – Natural Farming – Natural & Artificial – Nature Identical
O Oleoresin
R Reco – Rectification – Refined – Resin – Resinoid
S Sesquiterpeneless oils – SHU – Solvent Extractions
T Terpene – Terpeneless – Tincture
U Unrefined
W Water Miscible/Dispersible – Water Distillation – Water and Steam Distillation
W Winterized – WONF – Wax – Wheat Germ Oil

– A –
Absolute: Alcoholic extraction of a concrete or other hydrocarbon to remove waxes and most odorless materials, producing an alcohol soluble or semi-liquid oil. Absolutes are highly concentrated. Waxes, terpenes, sesquiterpenes and most other odorless matters are eliminated from the concretes during the preparation of the absolutes. Commonly used solvents are alcohol, hexane, among others.
Alcohol Extract: Concentrated herbal tinctures. Alcohol is used as a solvent to extract the herbal compounds. Glycerin tinctures are obtained by removing the alcohol and then adding glycerin as a base.
Anhydrous: Produced without water; a combination of extraction of raw material and molecular distillation.
Attar: Used in India to describe material obtained from the co-distillation of Sandalwood and various other botanical materials. Also used to describe the steam distillation of rose petals “Rose Otto”.
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– B –
Balsam: Water insoluble, semi solid or viscous, resinous exudate of trees and bushes similar to gum resins. The balsam may be either a physiological or pathological product of the plant. Example: Balsam Peru.
Bergaptene Free: Top & bottom note terpenes. Bergaptene is found in Bergamot and is removed through re-distillation to prevent UV skin sensitivity when applied to the skin and exposed to the sun.
Bleached: A material that has been filtered with acidified clays, removing color pigments & some aromatic substances.
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– C –
Cohobation: When rose oil is extracted during water distillation, the one main constituent – phenyl ethyl alcohol – dissolves into the water of the distillation still and does not form part of the essential oil that is so extracted. The oil is not whole, as it is deficient in the rose-smelling ingredient – and in order to produce a “complete” oil, the phenyl ethyl alcohol needs to be distilled from the water in which it dissolved and added back to the “incomplete oil”. When this phenyl ethyl alcohol is so distilled, it is added back to the original distillate, in the correct proportion, to form a complete and whole rose oil, and is then called Rose Otto.

Cold Pressed (CP): a pressing process of extraction for citrus & fixed oils with minimized heat & deterioration, usually under 120 degrees farenheit.
Concrete: Extraction of fresh natural plant materials, usually with non-polar organic solvents (hexane) which yield, after removal of the solvent a solid or semi solid wax. Concretes are representative of the natural raw material in the sense that they contain all the hydrocarbon soluble matter while water and water extractive matter have been left out.
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 and 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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– D –
Deodorized: The removal of unwanted fragrance or flavor materials from a botanical product.
Distillate Water: Also known as hydrosol and floral water. The by-product of steam distillation.
Distillation (Fractional): 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 component(s) and then condensation of the vapor back to a liquid.
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– E –
Enfleurage: Enfleurage is an extraction similiar to maceration, but is done in a slightly different way. Glass plates in a frame (called a chassis) are covered with highly purified and odorless vegetable or animal fat and the petals of the botanical matter that are being extracted are spread across it and pressed in. The flowers are normally freshly picked before so encased in their fatty bed. The petals remain in this greasy compound for a few days to allow the essence to disperse into the compound, where the then depleted petals are removed and replaced with a fresh harvest of petals. This process is repeated until the greasy mix is saturated with the essence, and needs to be repeated a couple of times until saturation is achieved. When the mix has reached saturation point the flowers are removed and the enfleurage pomade – the fat and fragrant oil – then washed with alcohol to separate the extract from the remaining fat, which is then used to make soap. As soon as the alcohol evaporates from the mixture you are left with the essential oil. This is a very labor-intensive way of extraction, and needless to say a very costly way to obtain essential oil and is nowadays only sometimes used to extract essential oil from tuberoses and jasmine.
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.
Essential oils: An essential oil is the volatile material derived by a physical process (distillation or expression) from odous plant material of a single botanical form and species. Some technically argue that essential oils are only those materials obtained exclusively through steam distillation.
Expression: A production method used to obtain citrus oils (ie lemon) and fruit juices. The expressed or cold pressed essential oils are obtained from the peels of the fruits. Expression yields essential oils which can contain a certain amount of non-volatile material. There are several methods of expression: Machine Abrasion – This method of expression extraction is very much like the écuelle à piquer method, and is mostly used in the manufacture of citrus essential oils. With machine abrasion a machine strips off the outer peel, which is then removed by running water and is then fed into a centrifugal separator. The centrifugal separation is done extremely fast but it should be noted that due to the fact that the essential oil is combined with other cell content for some time, some alteration could occur due to enzymatic action. Sponge Extraction – Most citrus essences are extracted by means of expression, and in the past were done by hand where the fruit pulp was removed, with the rind and pith then soaked in warm water to make the rind more pliable, since the pith of the fruit absorbed the water. After the fruit has absorbed the water and become more elastic, it was inverted which helped to rupture the oil cells and a sponge placed next to the rind. It was then squeezed to release the volatile oil, which was then collected directly into the sponge.
As soon as the sponge became saturated with oil, it was squeezed and the essential oil collected in a vessel and then decanted. Écuelle à piquer extraction – This form of expression extraction is used mainly to obtain citrus essential oils, and is a little less labor intensive than that of the sponge method. This more modern way of essential oil extraction is referred to as the écuelle à piquer process (direct translation = basin, to prick/stick/prod) where the fruit is placed in a device and rotated with spikes on the side puncturing the oil cells in the skin of the fruit. This cause the oil cells to rupture and the essential oil, and other material such as pigment, to run down to the center of the device, which contains a collection area. The liquid is thereafter separated and the oil is removed from the water-based parts of the mixture and decanted.
Extraction (Solvent): A process of treating a natural raw material that may be too delicate to be procesed 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.
Exudate: Non-cellular, natural raw material that is secreted by plants, either spontaneously or after wounding. Examples – Balsam Peru, Balsam Copaiba, etc.
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– F –
FDA Approved: Approved for a stated use by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States.
FCC: Food Chemical Codex, the industry-standard listing of food-grade ingredinets; indicates materials safe for use in food and cosmetics.
Fixative: The material which slows down the rate of evaporation of the more volatile components in a perfume or natural product composition.
Folded Oil: An essential oil which is concentrated by distillation. Example – removal of terpenes from citrus oils.
Fixed Oil: Non-volatile oils derived from plant materials, commonly referred to as vegetable oils.
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 initial oil yield taken initially and is referred to as Ylang Ylang 1st. The next is referred to as Ylang Ylang 2nd, and thereafter Ylang Ylang 3rd. A blend of all the batches is referred to as Ylang Ylang Complete.
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– G –
Gum: A water soluble exudate consisting mainly of polysaccharides and used principally as a thickener and as a spray-dried carrier in the manufacture of water soluble fragrance and flavor compounds (Gum Arabic, Agar, etc.)
Gum Resin Absolute: Oil soluble, purified exudate consisting mostly of resinous constituents, gums and small amounts of volatile components (Myrrh, Galbanum, Oppoponax).
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– H –
Hydrosol: Also known as distillate water or floral water obtained as the by-product of steam distillation.

Hydro Diffusion: A type of steam distillation, and only varies in the actual way in which the steam is introduced into the still. With hydro diffusion the steam is fed in from the top onto the botanical material instead of from the bottom as in normal steam distillation.
The condensation of the oil containing steam mixture occurs below the area in which the botanical material is held in place by a grill. The main advantage of this method is that less steam is used, shorter processing time and a higher oil yield.

Hydrospice: Water dispersible form of an oleoresin.
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– I –
Isolate: Seperation of an aroma chemical from an essential oil via distillation (mechanically) or hydrolysis (chemically), or by other partitioning method. Example – Eugenol ex Clove Leaf.
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– J –
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– K –
Kaolin: A natural clay which aids the absoroption of oil secreted by the skin. No toxicity on record when used externally.
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– L –
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– M –
Maceration Extraction: Flowers are soaked in hot oil, which acts as a solvent, to have their cell membranes ruptured when the hot oil then absorbs the essence. The oil is then cleared of the botanical material and decanted.

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– N –
Natural: Contains all natural ingredients.
Natural Farming: Similar to certified organic farming. No use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides. Although the farmer/distiller may not be a member of the certified organic organizations, the planting, harvesting ad distillation are performed according to old traditional natural methods without the use of chemical /”artificial” substances.
Natural & Artificial: Contains natural and artificial ingredients.
Nature Identical: A component, natural or artificial, which has chemical structure identical to that found in nature.
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– O –
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 which characterize the flavor, color and other aspects of the starting raw material.
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– Q –
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– R –
Reco : Reconstituted from natural or synethic materials.
Rectification: A second distillation of an essential oil to remove color, water, resinous matter, solvents and perhaps unwanted top and bottom notes.
Refined: A material that has been processed to remove impurities from the natural crud botanical.
Resin: This group of exudates includes both gums and balsams. They are water insoluble, solid or semi-solid, and formed in nature by the oxidation of terpenes.
Resinoid: Solid or semi-solid material, prepared from exudates by extraction and purification with a solvent. These products are similar to concretes, except that the starting materials are not previously live, cellular tissue.
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– S –
Sesquiterpeneless oils: Essential oils which have had the sesquiterpenic hydrocarbons partially or completely removed to: a) improve solubility in diluted alcohol or food grade solvents, b) improve odor and flavor of the essential oil, c) lift the overall fragrance and flavor, since sesquiterpenes have a fixative effect.
SHU: Scoville Heat Unit. A unit of measure of the degree of heat of capsicum. Named after Wilbur Scoville. A quick conversion from ppm to Scoville is to multiply the ppm by 15 to get the Scoville Heat Unit.
Solvent Extractions: Oils may beextracted by using solvents such as petroleum ether, methanol, ethanol or hexane and is often used on fragile material such as jasmine, hyacinth, narcissus and tuberose, which would not be able to handle the heat of steam distillation. A solvent extracted oil is very concentrated and is very close to the natural fragrance of the material used. Although solvent extraction is used extensively, some people do not believe that it should be used for aromatherapy oils since a residue of solvent could be present in the finished product. Some reports site a solvent residue of 6 – 20% still present in the finished extraction, but this was normally the case when benzene was the standard solvent used. With hexane (a hydrocarbon) as the solvent material the solvent residue goes down to about 10 ppm (parts per million) and this is a extremely low concentration of solvent in the resultant product. As mentioned, benzene is no longer used in the extraction method, since it is regarded as carcinogenic (cancer forming). After the plant material has been treated with the solvent, it produces a waxy aromatic compound referred to as a “concrete”.

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– T –
Terpene: Fraction of an essential oil consisting mainly of hydrocarbons, obtained as a byproduct from either concentration or distillation of the oil.
Terpeneless: Essential or expressed oil in which monoterpenic or hydrocarbons have been partially or completely removed.
Tincture: An alcoholic extraction with the solvent left in as a dilutant.
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– U –
Unrefined: The crude, natural, or virgin first extraction of a botanical.
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– V –
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– W –
Water Miscible/Dispersible: Can be uniformly mixed with water.
Water Distillation: Extraction of essential oils wherein the botanic material is completely immersed in water and the still is brought to boil. This method protects the oils so extracted to a certain degree since the surrounding water acts as a barrier to prevent it from overheating. When the condensed material cools down, the water is separated from the essential oil.
Water Soluble: Can be dissolved in water.
Water and Steam Distillation: A combination of normal water distillation and steam distillation. The botanical material is immersed in water in a still, which has a heat source, plus live steam is fed into the water and botanical material mixture.
Winterized: Cold filtered process removing waxes & stearines which cause cloudiness when termperatures drop.
WONF: An oil or flavor “With Other Natural Flavors” added to enhance specific notes.
Wax: A low melting point organic mixture or compound of high molecular weight, solid at room temperature and generally similiar in composition to fats and oils, except that it contains no blycerides.
Wheat Germ Oil: Natural oil obtained from the embryo of the wheat kernel separated in milling. Natural source of vitamins E, A, and D.
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– X –
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