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