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 acidosis [acid, sour + osis, a condition] 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

Adamantine  lustre found in transparent minerals which produces a brilliant bright shine. Example Brazilianite.

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" 

ADHD  "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" 

Adularescence  blue/white ghostly reflective appearance, due to structural abnormalities or a build up of water, term derived from the feldspar variety Adularia. Examples Moonstone and Opal.

Aggregates  the grouping together of crystals. Clusters are examples of aggregates.

agalactia [a, not + galact-, milk]  absence of milk secretion after childbirth

alkalosis [alkal- + osis, a condition]  a condition in which the pH of the body's fluids become excessively alkaline (See also acidosis.)

allopathy [allo, other + pathy, disease]  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

arthritis [arthr-, joint + itis, inflamation]  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.

Amorphous no definite crystalline structure or shape. Examples Obsidians and Opals.

amylase  a digestive enzyme secreted in the saliva and pancreatic juices that aids the breakdown of starch, also called ptyalin. (See enzymes.)

analgesic [an-, not + alg, pain]  a substance that relieves pain (also antalgesic)

anhidrosis [an-, not + hidro, sweat + osis, a condition]  a condition characterized by diminished or complete absense of sweating

Anhydrous no water molecules are present in the chemical structure. Example Angel Wing Anhydrite (Anhydrite is the mineral Calcium Sulphate) also see Hydrous.

annual  a plant that lives only one year, or one plant season

anodyne [an-, not + -odyne, pain]  a substance that relieves pain

antalgesic [ant-, against + alg, pain]  a substance that relieves pain (also analgesic)

anthelmintic [ant-, against + helmin-, worms]  a substance that kills parasitic worms

antibiotic [anti-, against + bio, life]  an agent that kills microorganisms

antibody [anti-, against + bio, life]  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 [anti-, against + emet-, vomiting]  an agent that relieves nausea and vomiting

antigalactic [anti-, against + galact-, milk]  an agent that stops or reduces the flow of milk

antigen [anti-, against + gen, producer]  a substance that, when introduced into the body, induces an immune response consisting of the production of a circulating antibody

antihydrotic [anti-, against + hydro-, sweat]  an agent that reduces or stops perspiration

antilithic [anti-, against + lith-, stone]  an agent that reduces the production of urinary stones or acts to dissolve those already present

antioxidant [ant-, against + oxid-, oxygen or oxidation]  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 [anti-, against + period-, periodic]  a substance that works against periodic or intermittent diseases

antiphlogistic [anti-, against + phlogist-, fire]  an agent that reduces inflammation (anti-inflammatory)

antipyretic [anti-, against + pyret-, fever]  an agent that prevents or reduces fever (febrifuge)

antiscorbutic [anti-, against + scorbut-, scurvy] a substance (containing vitamin C) that prevents or cures scurvy

antiseptic [anti-, against + sepsis, putrifaction]  an agent that prevents infection by preventing or inhibiting the growth of harmful microorganisms

antispasmodic [anti-, against + spasm-, spasm]  an agent that relieves or prevents spasms

antitussive [anti-, against + tuss, cough]  an agent that relieves coughing

aphrodisiac  an angent that increases sexual desire

aroma  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.

aromatherapy  treatment in which the subject is exposed to certain aromas or fragrances such as those released by diffusion of essential oils from herbs

arteriosclerosis [arterio-, artery + scler-, hard + -osis, a condition]  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.

Asterism  a star-like formation of concentrated light, which are inclusions of tiny, slender parallel fibres of minerals which reflect light. Examples found in Ruby and Diopside.

Atman [Sanskrit]  A term used within Hinduism and Vedanta to identify the spirit. It is one's true self (hence generally translated into English as "Self") beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence. (See enlightenment.)

autonomic nervous system or 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 [auto-, self + toxi-, poison]  (lit. "self-poisoning") is 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.

Aventurescence  the “glistening” effect of reflective minerals such a Hematite, Pyrite and Goethite. Derived from the word Aventurine. Examples Aventurines and Greenlandite.

Ayurveda  Ayurvedic  [Sanskrit, "science of life"] relating to the traditional medicine and herbalism of India and the philosophy upon which it is based

bile  also called gall, a bitter, yellow-green secretion of the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and released in the small intestine (duodenum) during digestion when fat enters the first part of the small intestine from the stomach. Bile emulsifies fats preparing them for further digestion and absorption in the small intestine.

bitter herb  an herb that is bitter to the taste

Body Mass Index (BMI)  defined as your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared (BMI = kg/m2). A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese.

Body Systems Approach  a method of determining nutritional need and appropriate intervention based on an analysis of the body systems. Two steps are involved: (1) An analysis is made to determine the body's weakest system(s), and (2) nutritional supplements, e.g. herbs, and lifestyle changes are selected or recommended based on their ability to support those systems.

botanical name  the name given to a plant according to internationally accepted rules in which a species is identified by two technical names, the genus and the species. Such names, also known as "species names" should always be either underlined or printed in italics and the first word, which always identifies the genus to which the species belongs, should be capitalized. (See also Linaean system).

botany  the science concerned with the study and classification of plants, the branch of biology dealing with plants

Botryoidal  globular aggregates with a smooth rounded surface that form and appear to be strung together, and which can resemble a cluster of grapes. Examples Smithsonite, Hemimorphite and Malachite.

Brecciated  meaning broken and derived from the rock formation known as Breccia, a sedimentary rock formed though weathering of layers of minerals and organic substances which result in rock fragments being cemented together in a fine-grained matrix. Example Brecciated Jasper such as Youngite.

bursa  a sac filled with synovial fluid to cushion an area where a muscle or tendon rubs against a bone

bursitis [bursa + -itis, inflamation]  inflammation of a bursa

Candida  Candida albicans a yeastlike fungus which reproduces by budding and is generally found in trace amounts in the mouth, skin, intestinal tract, and vagina of normal individuals. Candida is the organism most commonly associated with mycotic (yeast or fungus) infections. Such infections are referred to as candidiasis. Ordinarily, the growth of this fungus is kept in check by the immune system and by the beneficial bacteria of the body or flora.

cardiac sphincter  a sphincter muscle located between the esophagus and the stomach which acts as a valve to prevent the contents of the stomach from entering the esophagus.

Cat’s Eye  dense inclusions of tiny slender parallel fibres which exhibit chatoyancy. Examples Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Cat’s Eye Tourmaline.

cellulase  a enzyme that breaks down cellulose cellulose, the carbohydrate that is the main part of the cell walls of plants. Animals such as cows produce cellulase but humans do not. This is why cows can get nutrition from plants such as grasses, while humans can not. (See enzymes.)

cellulose  the carbohydrate that is the main part of the cell walls of plants. Cellulose is nondigestible by humans because we to not produce the enzyme cellulase. Cellulose provides the bulk (or fiber) needed for proper functioning of the digestive and intestinal systems.

chakra  one of the seven centers of spiritual energy in the human body according to yoga philosophy.

Chatoyancy  fibres of minerals which exhibit concentrated narrow bands of reflected light across the centre of a mineral or crystals and are thus said to be chatoyant. Examples Selenite, Ruby and Sapphire.

chi (or qi)  1. the "life force" according to traditional Chinese philosophy and medicine; 2. vital energy ("Prana" in Ayurvedic medicine.)

chiropractic [chiro-, hand + pract, to perform]  the drugless system of healing founded by D.D. Palmer in Davenport, Iowa in 1895, which is primarily concerned with body structure (particularly the spine) as it relates to body function and pathology; and which employs various physical treatments to improve the structure and function of the body, including manipulation or adjustments to the spine (See also subluxation.)

cholagogue [chol-, bile + -agogue, to produce]  an agent that increases the flow of bile

collagen  a fibrous protein which makes up skin, bone, tendons, and cartilage. It is the most abundant protein in the body.

Concretion  an aggregate composed of a mass of small crystals that have become cemented together resulting in a rounded, ball-like appearance. Example Azurite.

Cryptocrystalline  also being described as microcrystalline, are composed of tiny microscopic crystalline structures that cannot be see with the naked eye are thus appear to be massive or amorphous. Example Chalcedony.

Crystalline  crystal structure formed by the regular molecular arrangement of atoms which are composed of visible crystals that have an atomic structure. Examples all types of Quartz.

cystitis [cyst-, sac or bladder + -itis, inflamation]  inflamation of the urinary badder, usually associated with a urinary tract infection

decoction  similar to an infusion or a "tea" except a decoction is made by actually boiling the herb in water. A decoction is sometimes used to extract the constituents of roots, bark, and thick leaves. For most leaves and flowers, and for beverages, an infusion is more desirable. (See infusion.) To make a decoction bring fresh cool water to a boil, drop the herb in the water and allow it to boil for about 3 to 5 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow it to steep for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Keep covered through the entire process. Unless otherwise specified, one part chopped fresh plant material should be used in 9 parts water. When using dried herbs use one part dried plant material in 19 parts water. As with an infusion, the plant material should be strained out of the liquid before it is consumed.

dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA  a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, and also available as a nutritional supplement, which is a precusor for other hormones, particularly the sex hormones in both men and women. The body's production of DHEA declines with age making supplementation desirable.

Dendritic  crystal groups or aggregates of minerals that form either skeletal or branching tree-like formations which are know as dendrites. Can form either on their own or within other crystal formations. Examples are the metals Copper which is dendritic in its formation, Silver which is skeletal in its formation and Dendritic Opal which are dendrites of Manganese within an Opal matrix.

diagnosis  the art and science of identifying a disease by its signs and symptoms

Dichroic  the optical effect known as dichroism (meaning two) whereby one colour can be viewed from one angle and another colour is viewed in the same mineral from a different angle. Examples Iolite (Cordierite) Ruby, and Sapphire.

dilation  the act of opening up wider (e.g., dilation of the pupils of the eyes, the bronchial tubes of the lungs, etc.)

diuretic [dia-, through + urea, urine]  increasing or an agent that increases the secretion of urine

dosha  a body or physiology type according to Ayurvedic herbalism. One's body type is also referred to as one's Prakriti and is determined by heredity.

Druzy  an aggregate composed of pointed crystal protrusions from a cavity or base. Also called drusy or druze (druse). Examples Clear Quartz and Amethyst.

eclectic  1. composed of elements drawn from various sources 2. selecting the best from various methods or sources. An eclectic herbalist draws upon various traditions (e.g., Chinese, Ayurvedic, etc.), choosing what appears to be the best for any given situation.

ecology  1. the study of the interrelationship of organisms and their environments; 2. the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment

electrolyte [electro-, electricity + -lyte, soluble]  ionized (carrying an electrical charge) salts in blood, tissue fluids and cells; so named because a solution containing electrolytes will conduct an electric current. Sodium, chloride (from common table salt) and potassium are examples of electrolytes.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) See tapping.

emmenagogue [emmena, menses + -agogue, to produce] an agent that promotes menstrual flow

endocrine gland [endo-, within + crin, secrete]  a "ductless" gland that secretes its substance (a hormone) directly into the general circulation or blood. Examples are the pineal, pituitary, thyroid, thymus, adrenals, etc.

enlightenment  in religious or spiritual use, a common English translation of the Sanskrit word Bodhi, which is more accurately translated as "awakening." The goal of enlightenment is to experience, or see intuitively, that the distinction between the Self (Atman) and the Universe (Brahman) is a false dichotomy.

enzyme  1. a protein which makes possible or facilitates a chemical reaction under a given environmental condition. 2. a digestive enzyme, an enzyme secreted by the body which helps break down food substances into forms that can be absorbed and assimilated by the body. Digestive enzymes are secreted by the salivary glands (e.g., amylase or ptyalin which breaks down starches); by the stomach (e.g. pepsin which breaks down proteins); by the liver (e.g., bile which help break down fats by emulsifyinng them); and by the pancreas (e.g., amylase which breaks down starches and lipase which breaks down fats.) 3. a plant enzyme, an enzyme naturally contained in the plants that we eat—usually destroyed by cooking and food processing

essence  a substance obtained from a plant, or the like, by distillation, infusion, etc., and containing its characteristic properties in concentrated form (See flower remedy.)

etymology  the study of the meanings of words according to their origin

euphoric  an agent that improves mood or increases feelings of well-being

exocrine gland [exo-, outside + crin, secrete]  a gland that secretes a substance through a duct or tube to an outside surface. Examples are tear glands, salivary glands, and sweat glands.

extracellular fluid [extra-, outside + cell]  the fluid, from the general circulation, which surrounds each cell in the body and from which the cells obtain their nutrients and expell their waste products. (Compare with intracellular fluid, the fluid that is found inside the cell.)

febrifuge [febri-, fever + fuge-, to put to flight]  an agent that prevents or reduces fever

fiber  the nondigestible parts of the plants that we eat, such as cellulose, also known as roughage. Fiber is an essential part of our diet.

fibromyalgia [fibro-, fibrous (tissue) + my-, muscles + algia, pain]  also known as fibromyositis and myofascial pain syndrome, refers to a chronic condition of unknown cause resulting in pain in the fibrous tissues, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The condition occurs mainly in women and is often associated with depression, sleeping problems, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue. In fact, most experts consider fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome to be the same condition.

Fibrous  describes an aggregate of a mineral which is constructed of fine, usually parallel threads or fibres. Examples some types of Tremolite and Malachite.

fight or flight response  a hormonally stimulated state to prepare the body for an upcoming threat or challenge, brought on by the stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, and consisting of such bodily changes as dilation of the bronchial tubes, increased heart rate and blood pressure, etc. It is sometimes evoked as a general reaction to stressful conditions, such as pressures on the job, and if continuous may lead to health problems such as hypertension and decreased immunity.

Fissure  an internal crack or cleavage within a mineral or crystalline matrix. Examples of Fissures within Quartz often produce beautiful “rainbows” as seen in Fire and Ice Quartz.

flora  the beneficial bacteria naturally found in the body that are essential for our health. Examples are lactobacillus acidophilus (the main bacteria in natural yogurt) and bifidobacterium.

flower remedy  a flower essence, or combination of flower essences, used to promote or restore health. Related to aromatherapy, and particularly to homeopathy, the essence of certain flowers may have a positive effect on our health and/or our emotional state. 

Fluorescence  a “glowing” effect when a mineral or crystal is illuminated with ultra violet light. Example Tugtupite.

Fossilized  organic life from a previous age, the remains of plants and animals that have been embedded of preserved in rock. Examples Fossilized Wood and Turitella Agate.

free radical  a highly reactive molecule (usually oxygen) with an unpaired electron. Free radicals cause damage to other molecules by robbing them of an electron. (See also antioxidant.)

GABA  (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a nonessential amino acid that functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (decreases neuron activity.) GABA is the brain's natural calming agent. 

galactagogue [galact-, milk + -agogue, to produce]  an agent that promotes the flow of milk

Gemmy   a mineral that is very transparent and thus considered to be of a high grade. Examples some forms of Aquamarine and Emerald.

germ theory  the theory that disease is caused primarily by pathological microorganism or "germs"

gingivitis [gingiva, gums + -itis, inflammation]  a condition in which the gums become inflammed, red, swollen and bleeding, often as a result of poor mouth care, but also resulting from other conditions including pregnancy and osteoporosis.

glucose  [Gk gleukos, sweet wine] or "blood sugar" is a normal constituent of blood and a major source of body energy

GMO  Genetically-Modified Organism; an animal or plant whose genes have been altered in the laboratory by techniques such as "gene-splicing" involving the combination of genes from other species, even from animals or insects into plants, and vice versa. Consumption of GMO foods should be avoided if possible because much evidence (mostly suppressed) indicates that they can be hazardous to your health; and many GMOs that have escaped into the environment are threatening to irrevocably alter the genetics of organisms in nature thus posing an environmental hazard of unknown but potentially serious effect.

herb  1. a seed producing plant that does not develop persistent woody tissue but dies down at the end of the growing season. 2. a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities.

herbal 1.  a book about herbs 2.  of or relating to herbs

herbalism  the art and science concerned with herbs and their uses—particularly with regard to their health-enhancing properties

herbalist  1. one who practices healing with the use of herbs 2. one who collects or grows herbs

holistic  holism  relating to or concerned with the whole system, rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts. "Holistic medicine" is concerned with treating thewhole person, rather than just the disease or the diseased organs. It recognizes the fact that nothing in the body occurs in a vacuum—everything is related to everything else.

homeopathy  [homeo-, like, similar + -path, disease] a system of treating disease founded by Dr. S.C.F. Hahnemann (1755-1843) in 1796 in Philadelphia based on the theory of "like cures like" which is also known as the "law of similars." This theory states that a substance that produces symptoms of a disease in healthy people when given in a large dose will cure the same symptoms when given in very minute (diluted) amounts.

homeostasis  [homeo-, like, similar + -stasis, a standing] a state of equilibrium of the internal environment of the body that is dynamicly maintained by feedback and regulation.

hormone [Gk to urge on, to set into motion]  a chemical messenger secreted by an endocrine gland into the bloodstream.

hydragogue [hydra-, water + -agogue, to produce]  a substance that increases watery discharge

Hydrous  crystals that have water molecules or its elements in their molecular structure. Example Gypsum being a hydrated form of Calcium Sulphate. Also see Anhydrous.

hygiene or hygienics [Gk healthful]  the science and practice of maintaining health

ileocecal valve  a sphincter muscle located between the small intestine (ileum) and the colon (cecum).

immuno-stimulant  an agent that stimulates or supports the immune system in its attempt to keep us well.

Impurities  foreign material often elemental in nature that are not part of a minerals integral structure and which can result in colour changes within a mineral. Examples include the addition of Manganese to silicon dioxide (Quartz) which results in the purple type of Quartz known as Amethyst.

infusion  sometimes called a "tea," the process of steeping an herb in water, usually hot, to extract its active constitutes for consumption. To make a pot of "herb tea" first bring cool fresh water to a rolling boil. Then rinse out a non-metal tea pot with some of the water. Put the herbs in the pot (2 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 1 tablespoon of dried herbs for each cup of water, plus one "for the pot.") Pour the hot water over the herbs, cover, and let steep for about five minutes. (The time can be varied depending on taste. For medicinal use, let steep for 10 to 20 minutes.) Strain the herbs out and serve the tea plain or with honey, lemon, orange slices or fresh sprigs of herb. For medicinal use the tea may be drank a little at a time throughout the day and need not be hot when consumed. Room temperature is fine, but it should be kept covered to retain the essential oils of the herb. The usual dosage is 1 to 4 cups of herb tea a day. (See also decoction.)

innate  inherent, inborn, existing in a living organism since birth; (n) the function of the autonomic nervous system or unconscious mind that directs homeostasis and healing and believed by some (often capitalized) to be in direct contact with or emanating from the Supreme Being.

Iridescence  the light effect which causes a mineral to display a “play of colours” on an apparent mono-coloured surface. Examples are the pearly lustre seen in many Micas and the metallic lustre or tarnishing effect seen in minerals Bornite and Peacock Ore (acid treated Chalcopyrite) resulting from the oxidation of the metals.

 Labradorescence  a mineral displaying dark metallic-like colours that “shimmer” in tones of blue, green and gold. Term derived from the gemstone Labradorite which characterizes this colour display. Examples Labradorite and Spectrolite.

libido  sexual drive

ligament  strong elastic connective tissue which crosses a joint preventing excessive movement which could dislocate the joint. When a joint is forcefully moved beyond its intended range of motion a ligament can tear. The resulting injury is referred to as a sprain.

Linaean system  The system of universal cataloguing of living organism developed in the 18th Century by the Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné (Linnaeus.) (See also botanical name.)

lipase  any of several digestive enzymes that breaks down fats (lipids.) (See enzymes.)

lotus position  a standard seated posture for yoga or meditation, with legs intertwined, left foot over right thigh, and right foot over left thigh, or vice versa; half lotus position refers to a similar posture with only one foot over the opposite thigh while the other foot rests on the floor under the other thigh

Lustre  reflective properties of the surface of crystals and minerals. Adamantine is a brilliant “diamond-like” lustre such Brazilianite. Metallic is an opaque reflective lustre such as Hematite. Pearly lustre as found in Micas. Silky lustre often found in minerals containing fibres such as Tigers Eye. Vitreous a glass-like lustre commonly found in over 70% of minerals such as Quartz (including carbonates, halides, hydroxides, phosphates siliates and sulphates). Waxy lustre whereby a crystals appears to be coated in a wax such as Variscite.

mantra  a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of creating transformation. Mantras originated in the Vedic tradition of India. (See also meditation.)

mastication  the process of chewing our food and mixing it with saliva as the first step of digestion. This is necessary so that the digestive enzymes can work effectively and the nutrients contained in the food can be absorbed and assimilated by the body.

Matrix  the name given to a rock or minerals that crystals are found growing on or in.

Maya [Sanskrit]  (in Vedantic philosophy) the illusion of the reality of sensory experience and of the experienced qualities and attributes of oneself. )

Meridian Therapy  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), vital energy or chi travels along pathways in the body known as meridians. Meridian Theapy refers to any technique, such as acupuncture or acupressure, aimed at restoring or optimizing health by unblocking or balancing the flow of this vital energy.

meditation  is a mental discipline by which one attempts to silence the internal dialogue of the reactive, "thinking" mind and achieve a deeper level of relaxation by focusing the attention on a single point of reference—such as an object, sensation or sound (mantra)—in order to transcend sensory experience and attain a state of consciousness in which the Self may experience its true nature. Meditation is a practice taught by many religions since antiquity but is also commonly practiced outside religious traditions. 

Metabolic syndrome  a condition characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors including abdominal obesity, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. These increase the risk of coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Metabolism  [Gk metabol, change.] the physical processes and chemical reactions occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for life; including, but not limited to, the burning of fuel (calories) to produce heat and energy

materia medica  [L medical matter] the branch of science dealing with drugs and herbs used in the treatment of disease

mucilaginous  slippery, mucus-like. Mucilaginous herbs are herbs that contain mucilage, a long chain of sugars (polysaccharides) that make a slippery substance when combined with water. They have a soothing and protective effect on inflammed tissues.

mucous membrane  (syn. mucosa) mucus-secreting membrane lining passages and cavities of the body that come in contact with air

mucus  a viscous fluid secreted by mucous membranes as a protective lubricant coating

Neurotransmitter  a chemical secreted from the axon of one nerve cell when stimulated in order to transmit or pass a signal to another nerve cell. Examples of neurotransmitters are serotonin and GABA.

obesity  overweight to the point where serious health problems due to excess weight are likely to result. Obesity is determined by a Body Mass Index (BMI), defined as your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared (BMI = kg/m2), of 30 or above.

Opalescence  colour effect seen in precious Opals, from which the term is derived, which exhibit a glimmer of different colours when rotated or viewed from different angles. Example precious Opals.

Opaque  an optical property of a crystal whereby light is unable to be transmitted through it and thus an object cannot be viewed through it. Examples various metallic stones such as Hematite.

Osteoporosis  condition in which there is improper mineralization of bones causing the bones to be weak and easily fractured

Otitis Media  [ot-, ear + itis, inflammation] middle ear infection

pancreatin  pancreas enzymes used to aid the digestion of foods. (See enzymes.)

paradigm  a way of viewing the world about us. Occasionally new discoveries are made which require a paradigm shift, or a new way of looking at the world. Such shifts are initially rejected by the masses but eventually are accepted. Viewing the world as round as opposed to flat is an example of a paradigm shift.

pepsin  an enzyme released in the stomach that aids the breakdown of proteins. (See enzymes.)

peristalsis  [peri-, around + stalsis, contraction] a progressive wavelike movement that occurs in hollow tubes of the body (such as the esophagus and the intestines) by the involuntary contraction of smooth muscles within the tube walls

pH  [potential of Hydrogen] is a measure of the acidity of a liquid on a scale of 1 to 14 with 1 being most acidic and 14 being least acidic (or most alkaline or basic.) A pH of 1 to 6 is considered acidic while a pH of 8 to 14 is considered alkaline or basic. A pH of 7 is neutral.

phagocytosis  [phag-, to eat or ingest + cyt-, cell + -osis, condition or the act of] the process whereby one cell ingests or "eats" another, as when a white blood cell destroys an invading organism or a damaged body cell by engulfing it.

phyt- [fr Gk phyton plant ] combining form meaning plant (e.g., see phytoestrogen and phytonutrient)

phytoestrogen  [phyto-, plant + estrogen] a nutrient naturally found in plants that exerts an estrogen-like effect on the body, usually by binding at an estrogen receptor site

phytonutrient  [phyto-, plant + nutrient, to feed] any nutrient that is naturally found in plants—particularly those that have special health-enhancing benefits

placebo  [L I shall please] an inactive substance given to satisfy a patient's demand for medication

placebo effect  a therapeutic effect observed from an inactive substance (i.e., placebo) which presumably occurs because the patient "believes" that it will occur

Petrified  organic material that has undergone the process of petrification and has been replaced by silica. Example Petrified Wood and Fossil Wood.

Phantom Growth  a phenomena exhibited when a transparent crystal grows over an existing crystal layer and leaves an inscription of the previous growth within the crystalline matrix. Examples Phantom Quartz and Angel Phantom or Amphibole Quartz.

Piezoelectric  substance that generates an electrical charge when under stress. Example Tourmaline.

Pleochroism   an effect present within a mineral exhibiting two or more separate colours when viewed at different angles. Examples Cordierite (Iolite) which displays blues, purple/blue, yellow, grey and sometimes red hues and Alexandrite.

Platy  crystals and minerals that are small, flat and are flaky in appearance. Examples Barite and Stilbite that form platy aggregates.

potentiate  to make effective or more effective (e.g., homeopathic preparations are potentiated by dilution and succussion, which is a 'knocking' on a hard surface, like a leather-bound book.) See also homeopathy.

Prana  [Sanskrit, "breath"] According to the spiritual tradition explained in the Upanishads, the sacrad books of India, prana was held to be the principle of vitality or life force. See chi (qi).

prep  to prepare; especially for a disaster, emergency or societal collapse (See prepper.)

prepper  one who prepares; someone who has adopted a lifestyle largely centered around making oneself better prepared to survive a disaster, emergency or societal collapse (syn. survivalist)

protease  an enzyme that helps the breakdown of protein, also known as a proteolytic enzyme. (See enzymes.)

proanthocyanidins  (formerly known by the trade name "pycnogenols") phytonutrients found in some foods and herbs, particularly in certain types of grape seeds and pine bark, that have powerful antioxidant activity

pyloric sphincter  a sphincter muscle located between the stomach and the small intestines (duodenum) which acts as a valve to prevent the contents of the stomach from entering the small intestines until the proper time.

qi  see chi

Radiating  an aggregate composed of tiny slender crystals that radiate out from a central point. Examples Scolecite and Stibnite

reductionism , reductionistic  1. breaking down [reducing] a complex system, such as a living organism, into its component parts in order to better understand how the parts work to gain a better understanding of how the system works. 2. the attempt to explain all biological processes in terms of chemical and physical processes.

Reflective  the effect that occurs when light hits a smooth or polished surface and bounces off it. Examples seen in polished Black Obsidian and Hematite to produce high reflective surfaces.

Reticulated  an aggregate of long crystals that criss cross each other and form a net or cross like appearance. Examples Rutile and Staurolite.

rhizome  a root-like plant stem that grows horizontal along or below the ground which sends out roots and shoots.

Rosette  mineral with thin platy aggregates in rounded shapes that resemble the petal formation of rose flowers. Examples Siderite and some Micas.

Rutilated  inclusions of Rutile within a crystalline matrix. Example Rutilated Quartz.

SAD  Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression caused by insufficient exposure to light and which is prevalent during the months of the year in which there is less natural daylight.

salt  in chemistry, a compound consisting of a positive ion other than hydrogen, and a negative ion other than hydroxyl. (See electrolyte.)

savory  pleasing to the sense of taste. "Savory herbs" can refer to either 1. any herbs that are used to season food, or 2. aromatic mints such as Summer Savory or Winter Savory

Schiller  an effect caused by the colour reflections or “flashes” present within a mineral. Schiller is German for “twinkle”. Examples precious Opals and Feldspars.

scurvy  a disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C characterized by hemorrhagic manifestations (e.g., bleeding gums) and abnormal formation of bones and teeth

Self  when capitalized usually refers to a spiritual definition such as; 1) One's true self beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence; or 2) the spirit or Atman(Sanskrit)

serotonin  a neurotransmitter of the nerve cells in the brain. Problems with serotonin insufficiency have been associated with mental disorders such as depression.

shamanism  a religion characterized by a belief in an unseen spirit world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits responsive only to a shaman or priest

sialagogue [sial-, saliva + -agogue, to produce]  an agent that stimulates the secretion of saliva

sign  objective evidence of an illness or condition. Signs are more definitive and obvious than a symptom, which is usually considered more subjective.

soul  the animating principle of an individual life; ego. (Compare with spirit.)

Spherulitic   an aggregate which has a three dimensional, circular, ball-like structure that radiates out from a central point. Example Wavellite.

sphincter  a circular muscle constricting an orifice. Examples are the cardiac sphincter, located between the esophagus and the stomach; the pyloric sphincter, between the stomach and the small intestines; and the ileocecal valve, between the small intestine (ileum) and the colon (cecum).

spirit one's eternal true self. (See Atman.)

sprain  an injury to a ligament which results when the ligament is partially or totally torn (compare with strain).

sprint  to race or move as fast as you absolutely can for a short distance, as in running, rowing, etc.

Stalactitic   an aggregate composed of long icicle-like formations such a stalactites. Example some types of Calcite.

strain  an injury to a muscle which results when the muscle is partially or totally torn (compare with sprain). Strains and sprains are referred to as "soft tissue injuries."

subluxation [sub-, below + luxation, dislocation]  1. a partial dislocation or misalignment of a body part, especially at a joint. 2. The "chiropractic lesion" including all of its anatomical, physiological and pathological concomitants (See also chiropractic.)

suppository  a remedy inserted into the anus where it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the colon and rectum

survivalist  See prepper.

symptom  any perceptible change in the body that can indicate an illness or abnormality. Symptoms usually refer to subjective indications (felt by the patient) while signs usually refer to more objective indications (can be observed by others.)

synapse  the tiny space between two nerve cells through which the neurotransmitter is passed to conduct a nerve signal from one nerve cell to another

synergism , synergistic (adj) [syn, with, together] action of two or more substances such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects.

system  a group of structures, such as organs, related and organized in such a way to perform a specific function, e.g., the circulatory system.

taxonomy  also known as systematics, the study of the general principles of the scientific classification of living things (See also botanical name.)

tapping  also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is an accupressure (or meridian therapy) technique for releasing emotionally-charged memories, both conscious and subconscious, that may be interferring with mental, emotional and physical well being. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  See Meridian Therapy.

Tenebrescence   an unique optical property of certain minerals whereby they change colour upon the exposure to sunlight and UV light. Example Hackmanite.

tendon  the part of a muscle near the ends where the muscle attaches to a bone (e.g., achilles tendon).

thermogenesis [thermo-, heat + genesis, to create]  the bodily process of burning fuel (calories) to produce energy or heat.

thrombophlebitis  also known as phlebitis, a disorder involving the formation of a blood clot (or clots) in large veins, usually in the leg or pelvis.

tonic  an agent that tonifies or strengthens.

Tourmalated  inclusions of Tourmaline within a crystalline matrix. Example Tourmalinated Quartz.

transcend  1. to pass beyond the limits of; 2. to exist above and independent of (material experience or the universe) .

transcendenttranscendental  1. lying beyond the ordinary range of perception; 2. being above and independent of the material universe.

Translucent  an optical property of a crystal whereby light is transmitted thorough it but not fully, so that if an object is placed behind the crystals that object will not be clearly seen. Example Chalcedony.

Transparent  an optical property of a crystal whereby light is fully transmitted throughout it, so that if an object is placed behind the crystal that object can be seen clearly though it. Examples Clear Quartz, Amethyst and Natural Citrine.

Vedic  Veda or Vedas  [Sanskrit, "knowledge"] are a large body of texts originating in Ancient India. They form the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism.

weed  1. the right plant growing in the wrong location; 2. an herb whose virtues have yet to be appreciated

wildcrafting  the gathering of naturally-occurring plants or plant parts from their native or wild environment.

Yogi  a person who practices yoga

Yoga  1. a system of exercises and asanas (postures) for attaining mental and bodily control and well-being based on the traditional Hindu philosophy of India; 2. a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.


Abbreviations used in this Glossary:

  1. Abbr abbreviation
  2. e.g. for example
  3. fr from
  4. Gk Greek
  5. lit. literally
  6. L Latin
  7. Skt Sanskrit
  8. syn. synonym

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