Volatile products, technically not essential oils, that are obtained through a chemical solvent extraction process. It's common with plants that do not steam distill easily, such as rose, jasmine and neroli. The final product includes both the oil soluble material you get from steam distillation and the water soluble constituents. These oils tend to smell more like the original plant, as they contain more constituents than those that are steam distilled.


An adaptogen is a substance that supports a non-specific resistance to stress and increases vitality.


Cyclohexane/cyclohexanol. A non-hydroscopic acidulent.


The addition of a substance to an essential oil after distillation. This is generally done to make the final product greater in volume; being mixed with extraneous material.


AIA is a method of testing botanicals used to determine the amount of dirt in a product. First the total ash is determined by placing the botanical in a special oven at 600 degrees Centrigrade. The plant material is burned away, leaving behind an ash residue (total ash) which is subjected to diluted hydrochloric acid. The material that remains is acid insoluble ash (AIA), most of which is dirt or sand. The AIA is then weighed and calculated as a percentage of the botanical. Each botanical has an AIA specification and we consider samples testing outside of this specification not suitable for sale.


AIB is an organization that has become well known for their education, audit and certification program for food manufacturing facilities. Their food safety and quality audits cover a company's entire manufacturing operation from start to finish, including key criteria such as GMPs (good manufacturing practices), HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) and Quality Assurance (QA) programs. Frontier has been AIB certified since 2007. (See also GMPs and HACCPs.)


Derived from the leaf; aloe is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, proteins, humectrants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Aloe nourishes and protects the skin.


Complementary medicinal disciplines that typically use natural, rather than chemical, approaches.


The art and science of using pure essential oils extracted from natural botanicals to relax, balance and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.


The emotional or physical effect evoked by aromatic essential oils. Examples include balancing, energizing, rejuvenating, cleansing, deodorizing and purifying.


A plant that produces essential oils and has a distinct and unique smell.


The United States Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 102.22) defines "artificial flavors" as any substance with the purpose of imparting flavor that is not derived from an herb, spice, fruit, vegetable, or other plant or animal source. A listing of artificial flavors can be found in 21 CFR 172.515 (b), and 21 CFR 182.60.


A term, first used in the 18th Century, for perfume or essential oil obtained from flowers or petals, as in "attar of roses" for rose oil.


Yeast extracts are carefully fermented from cane and/or beet molasses and are autolyzed by enzymes under exacting conditions. Autolysis is the destruction of tissues or cells of an organism by substances, such as enzymes. By varying the fermentation and autolysis conditions, several unique flavor enhancers can be made. Don't confuse this product with active yeast or nutritional yeast.


Ground from the whole grain containing all of the natural counter-irritants and skin soothing properties that oat is known for.


A system of traditional medicine established in India over 3,000 years ago — literally the “science of life." Ayurveda includes food, exercise, meditation, detoxification, hygiene, massage and ethical conduct, as well as natural vegetable medicines in its practice. Herbs are used as special foods to help bring the individual back to a state of harmony by eliminating excesses and strengthening in areas of deficiencies. Aryurdeda recognizes three body types or doshas — vata (air) is dry, light, cold, hard and clear, pitta (fire and water) is hot, fluid, light, subtle and sharp, and kapha (earth and water) is cold, wet, slow, heavy and dense. Treatments include understanding the combination of the doshas in each person as well as the condition.


The aromatic components of essential oils that do not readily evaporate and are used as fixatives to provide permanence and stability.


A vegetable oil. Also called a carrier oil or fixed oil.


Bay is sometimes called bay laurel or sweet bay in order to identify it as the spice from the Laurus nobilis tree. West Indian Bay, Pimenta racemosa, is the source of bay oil, an ingredient in bay rum. California bay, Umbellularia californica, is sometimes sold as bay leaf spice because of it's very attractive appearance but it is not GRAS (generally recognized as safe for comsumption by the FDA). (See also California Bay.)


Many plants contain furocoumarins such as bergaptene, which are known photosensitizers. Bergaptene is a naturally occurring component of bergamot essential oil. When bergamot oil is applied, the skin can become very sensitive to ultraviolet light. Severity of the reaction depends on length of exposure and individual sensitivity. Mild cases can be a reddening of the skin while severe cases can result in acute lesions known as bullock dermatitis. The dermatitis will resolve itself in a few weeks; however the accompanying hyperpigmentation (brown spots on the skin) can take months or years to fully disappear. Aura Cacia offers a bergaptene-free version of bergamot essential oil. There is not evidence to indicate that removing the bergaptene in anyway affects the aromatherapy benefit of the essential oil and we recommend using bergaptene-free bergamot whenever possible.


Bioflavonoids are any of a group of biologically active flavone compounds that may help maintain the capillary walls, reducing the likelihood of hemorrhaging. They are widely found in plants, especially citrus fruits. They are commonly added to Vitamin C for optimum absorption. They are used in our Vitamin C blend.


The term bitters often refers to a bitter-tasting, unsweetened alcoholic beverage flavored with herbs and spices. Herbal bitters do not contain alcohol but are usually used similarly to the alcoholic versions — as a before- or after-dinner beverage. The sensation of bitter flavor in the mouth sends a message to the central nervous system that causes the body to begin to prepare itself for eating. Foods with a bitter flavor can also do the same thing — if you simply imagine biting into a lemon, you may find yourself starting to salivate. Formulas made from bitter herbs and spices have tonifying effects on the body and some people like to consume them daily. Herbs often used in herbal bitters include gentian, blessed thistle, goldenseal, bitter orange peel, wormwood, horehound, yarrow, dandelion, boneset, hops and artichoke leaf. Since the bitter flavor is what sends the signal to the brain, bitters must be tasted to be effective. While they should not be sweetened, spices such as cinnamon, cloves and allspice can be added to increase their warming effect and improve the flavor.


The most widely consumed teas, black teas are full-flavored and characterized by a tannic, woody astringency with subtle, flowery nuances. To make black tea, the leaves are picked and withered for one to two days and then rolled (rolling helps to release the enzymes needed for the next step). Next the leaves are oxidized, which develops the characteristic black tea flavor and changes the color of the leaves from green to brown or black. Finally the tea is fired in hot pans or ovens to stop oxidation and to dry leaves.


Body refers to the weight of prepared tea on the tongue. A tea can have a heavy, medium, full or light body.


Bone char: Bone char, also known as animal charcoal or abaiser, is a granular material with high adsorption capacity produced by charring animal bones at high temperatures in an oxygen-depleted atmosphere. Bone char is used in applications such as defluoridation of water and removal of heavy metals from aqueous solutions. It's sometimes used in the sugar-refining industry for decolorizing. Bone char is not used in the production of our sugar or in the production of any sugar used as an ingredient in our products.


Derived from the resin of the frankincense tree. Balsamic, incense-like aroma. Centering and meditative.


Refers to the Latin name of the plant in the biological classification system. A botanical name is composed of the genus followed by the species. It is the internationally recognized Latin name of a plant.


Bourbon vanilla refers to vanilla grown on what used to be called the "Bourbon islands" - Madagascar, The Comoros, Reunion and Seychelles. Located off the eastern coast of Africa, the Bourbon Islands were named for the French monarchy that ruled them at that time.


Tea is graded by leaf size. Broken orange pekoe consists of broken and smaller sized leaves.


Bubble tea is a novel beverage gaining popularity in some parts of the country. It is made by pouring hot tea over cooked and cooled tapioca pearls. Any hot tea can be used. Bubble tea is served in a tall glass, usually with milk.


Yellowish butter expelled from the nut-like fruit of the Karite tree of the Ivory Coast of Africa; shea butter adds a rich buttery consistency to the product while also providing relief for superficial irritation, dryness, dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions.


Calcium is a mineral essential to human health. It is the most abundant mineral in the body, making up to 2% of total body weight with over 99% found in the bones. It is important in building and maintaining bones and teeth as well as playing a role in other functions such as muscle coontraction, blood clotting and regulation of heartbeat. Foods abundant in calcium are dairy products, seaweed, dark leafy greens tofu and nuts. If taking calcium supplements, chelated forms such as calcium citrate, calcium lactate or calcium gluconate are absorbed by the body more efficiently.


Lime and diatamaceous earth. Absorbent. Bulking agent.


California bay, Umbelluria californica, is a large, native tree often grown as an ornmental. The leaves are sometimes used in cooking as a replacement for bay laurel. Some spice companies like to sell it instead of true bay because the leaves are more attractive in a clear spice bottle. Unlike bay laurel, California bay is not GRAS (generally recognized as safe for consumption by the FDA) and if sold as bay leaf rather than under a different name, it is not in compliance with FDA regulations which have established a standard of identity for bay of Laurus nobilis. In addition, California bay contains umbellulone, a central nervous system toxin.


Being or having the properties of camphor.


A blend of three glycerides derived from coconut oil; assists in the solubalization of ingredients while acting as an emollient and skin lubricant.


Toxic-free synthetic ingredient; assists with thickening the product.


Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Decaffeination - In the CO2 decaffeination process, water soaked tea leaves are placed in a stainless steel container or extractor. The extractor is then sealed and liquid CO2 is injected. The CO2 acts as the solvent to dissolve and draw the caffeine from the leaves, leaving the larger-molecule flavor components behind. The caffeine laden CO2 is then transferred to another container. Here the pressure is released and the CO2 returns to its gaseous state, leaving the caffeine behind. The caffeine free CO2 gas is pumped back into a pressurized container for reuse. CO2 decaffeination produces the most flavorful decaffeinated tea. There are no harmful chemicals or byproducts of the process.


White cardamom pods are bleached with sulfur to turn the green pods white. White cardamoms are preferred in some countries, especially in Europe although the flavor and aroma of the seeds is adversely affected. Frontier does not sell white cardamon because of the residual sulfer levels on the product.


Carrageenan is a water-soluble substance extracted from red seaweed, mainly Chrondus crispus or Irish Moss. Carrageenan is used in both cosmetic and food applications as a stabilizer and emulsifier capable of controlling viscosity, maintaining product integrity, and for giving an improved mouthfeel and body to foods. Carrageenan is a commonly used ingredient in dry mixes, desserts, milk products, tomato sauces, salad dressings and cheese products. To extract carrageenan at home, boil a quantity of Irish moss wrapped in cheesecloth for a short period of time. Carrageenan will be extracted from the seaweed and into the water. Upon cooling the liquid will form a soft gel.


A substance used to dilute essential oils.


(See Organic and Organic Certification.)


Cultivation without the use of artificial herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides. Certification by an independent third party ensures the plants are grown, harvested, transported and processed in ways that protect their integrity.


Derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil ; the dry, waxlike fatty alcohol acts as a co-emulsifier, bringing the oil and water phases together to form a cream.


The Code of Federal Regulations is an extensive compilation of all of the federal regulations. It is printed once a year and is also available electronically. The code is divided into titles, so for example title 21 covers all the food regulations. References to the code are made by first stating the title, then the name CFR, then the section and subsection.


A description of the aroma of an essential oil.


In the process of chelation, an amino acid is wrapped around the mineral to hide an electrical charge. Minerals carry a negative ion charge, and the body doesn't absorb anything with an electrical charge. When the charge is disguised, the body can absorb and utilize the mineral.


Visually identical plants with significantly different chemical components, resulting in different therapeutic properties.


Citric acid, a naturally occurring plant acid, is found abundantly in lemons (where it was discovered in 1784), and many other fruits including raspberries, black currants, and gooseberries. However, commercial citric acid isn't derived from lemons, or any citrus fruit for that matter because it can't be extracted in a stable form. Instead it's obtained by metabolization of glucose or sucrose by aspergillus niger. In our case, the glucose is derived from certified gmo free corn. It has a sour, acidic taste and is responsible for the tart, sour taste of many unripe fruits. Citric acid is commonly used in the food industry to add tartness to foods and beverages, and in the textile industry to brighten colors.


A method of extracting essential oil using liquid CO2 as a solvent.


Derived from coconuts. Serves as a gentle surfactant compared to more harsh sulfated surfactants. Cleansing agent.


Derived from coconut oil; produces rich foam. It is a gentle and mild cleansing agent.


Extracted from the nut meat of ripe coconuts; serves as an excellent moisturizer with high fatty acid content.


(See Expression.)


Dried corn syrup (derived from corn starch) is referred to as corn syrup solids. It has a relatively low level of sweetness (dextrose equivalent of 24) and bland flavor making it useful in blended mixes. Corn syrup solids are added as a flavor enhancer, stabilizer (to reduce product separation during shipping, storage, etc.), and thickener. Corn syrup solids are used in many food applicatons; baked goods, candy, ice cream, jellies, condiments, powdered sugar, and numerous beverages.


Cryogenic grinding is a process of mixing nitrogen with an herb or spice to lower the temperature to between 0 and minus 70 degrees F, then grinding the super-cooled product. This type of grinding system protects a plant's essential oils and other vital constituents that could be lost during conventional grinding, where temperatures can reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Frontier uses cryogenic grinding in order to protect the quality of our herbs and spices.


Derived from the leaves of lemongrass; used as a natural preservative. Lemongrass brightens the complexion. 

Dead Sea Salt

Softens the water and provides a gentle, mineral-skin treatment.


Decoctions are herb teas made by boiling herbs in water. Hard or dense plant parts such as roots, barks or seeds with little or no volatile substances are often prepared as decoctions. To make a decoction, add 1 ounce of dried herb to 1 pint of pure water (distilled is best) and place in a glass or other non-reactive container. Cover and place over high heat until water begins to boil. Lower heat and continue to simmer for approximately 15-25 minutes, then cool and strain. Decoctions should be used immediately or refrigerated and used within 2 days. (See also Infusion.)


Decorticating is a term for removing the shell or the pod and the paper thin husk that surrounds cardamom seeds.


A demulcent is a mucilage-rich substance that can be used to coat a mucous membrane with a thin layer that helps to sooth and protect it. When used on the skin, a demulcent is called an emollient. Demulcents are often ingredients in throat products. Plants well known for their demulcent properties include: marshmallow, comfrey, slippery elm, Irish moss, flax seed and licorice. (See also mucilage.)


Dewhiskering is the process of removing the small hair-like stem attached to the seed. Whiskers are commonly found in members of the Umbelliferae family such as anise, dill and cumin seeds.


An aromatherapy accessory used to gently disperse essential oils into the air for olfactory benefit.


Diffusion is the spontaneous movement of liquid, gas, or solid particles from an area of high concentration to low concentration. For example, uncapping a bottle of essential oil produces diffusion as the volatile constituents move from the bottle (an area of high concentration) into the environment (an area of low concentration) without being acted upon by heat or pressure. This could also be referred as spontaneous evaporation. Technically, all of the apparatuses used in aromatherapy vaporize or volatilize essential oils because they are acted upon by heat, and/or pressure, to produce fine separated particles or vapor.


Sand derived raw material; improves lubricity in dry down

Disodium Edta

Derived from sodium chloride; serves as chelating agent.


A product of distillation. For example, lavender oil is the distillate of the fresh, blooming lavender plant.


The primary method of producing essential oils is through steam distillation. Distillation is an age-old process. While the crude still of the past (almost identical to the simple country "moonshine" still) is now often replaced with modern, stainless steel versions, the process is still basically unchanged. Water is heated to boiling and steam passes through fresh plant material stacked on a rack above the boiling water, causing the cell walls of the plant to break down and release the essential oil. The water and essential oil vapor then pass through a cooler that condenses the steam and the oil into a liquid. The liquid is collected and the oil separates from the water. Most oils are lighter than water and thus collect on the surface of the water where they are siphoned off. Oils heavier than water sink to the bottom of the collector where they are removed. Some stills use "direct," or "water" distillation where the plant material is mixed with the boiling water with the same effect.

Eclectic Medicine

Eclectic medicine was a branch of medicine developed in the United States for about a century from the mid-1800s to 1939, when the last Eclectic school of medicine closed. It incorporated the use of herbs and other remedies in alignment with nature and opposed the use of bloodletting, mercury and strong chemicals, which were prevalent at the time. The demise of this branch of medicine occurred when a reform of medical schools, undertaken in the early 1900's, resulted in the adopting of uniform standards and a curriculum advocated by the AMA (America Medical Association), a strictly science-based model that supported the use of chemical constituents over whole herbs. The reforms gradually took hold and the AMA obtained control of medical education in each state, thus ensuring their system of medicine would be the only legally practiced system allowed. The center of Eclectic education was in Cincinnati, Ohio and the school there was the last to close. Today, the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati houses many of the papers and books of the Eclectics including the libraries from many of the Eclectic schools.


An emollient is a mucilage-rich substance that helps to sooth, soften, smooth and protect the skin. Oils like jojoba are considered emollient to the skin, as are glycerin, lanolin and aloe vera juice. Herbs that have an emollient effect on the skin include: marshmallow, comfrey, slippery elm, flax seed, oats, and chickweed.


Ancient method for extracting essential oils, commonly used before steam distillation was created. It involves using odorless fats and oils to absorb the oil from the plant material.

Essential Oil

The highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants.

Ethical wildcrafting

Ethical wildcrafting is the practice of harvesting plants from the wild in a sustainable manner. Many wild medicinal herb populations are declining due to overharvesting and loss of habitat. Other than ginseng where havesting of wild plants is regulated by each state, there are no unviersally accepted regulations for ethically wildcrafting herbs. A number of companies and organizations have developed their own standards for ethical wild harvesting of medicinal herbs. These include criteria such as the percentage of plants that can be harvested in a given population and where and when wild herbs can be harvested.

Ethyl Alcohol

Ethyl alcohol is a plant derived alcohol. It is produced from the fermentation of sugars from plants such as sugar cane, sugar beets or grapes.


Method of obtaining essential oil from plant material, such as citrus fruit peel. The complete oil is physically forced from the plant material. Also known as cold press extraction.


The highest, most expensive grade of ylang ylang which is also distilled the shortest length of time. The result is a stronger aroma.

Extraction Method

The method by which essential oils are separated from the plant. Common extraction methods include distillation, expression and solvent extraction.


Tea is graded by leaf size. Fannings are the very small broken leaves, and are often used for tea bags.


Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is a federal agency responsible for protecting public health by assuing the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, foods and cosmetics.


A fixative is a substance, often an essential oil, but possibly an herb or animal product, of low volatility that serves to draw together and hold the aromatherapy formula together. Most blends include fixatives, as they will slow the evaporation process and preserve the aromatic qualities. Common essential oil fixatives include vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, amyris, myrrh and others.

Fixed Oil

See Base Oil

Flower Essences

Flower essences are dilute liquid extracts of various flowers and plants used to treat animals and people, similar to the principles of homeopathy. Flower essence therapy was developed in the 1930's by Dr. Edward Bach, an English physician. Dr. Bach believed that disease was the result of imbalance or negativity at the level of the soul and that flower remedies act to balance these inharmonies on an emotional and spiritual level. Flower essences are prepared in an exacting way that preserves the essence or energy of the flower. Flower essences are generally used as part of an overall program of health enhancement.


A flush is the sprouting of new leaves and buds on a tea bush. The number of times a tea plant may flush depends on where it is grown-- with higher, colder regions having only one flush a year; to Sumatra, where the tea plants put out new leaves all year round. Some teas, such as Darjeeling, are graded and sold by flush.


A term used to designate the strength of vanilla extract according to the amount of vanilla beans used to make the extract. The FDA sets the standard fold strength. Single fold means the extractive matter from 13.35 ounces of vanilla beans in each gallon of liquid. Double fold vanilla contains 26.7 ounces, triple fold, 40.5 ounces, etc. Most vanilla sold at retail is single fold. The higher folds are usually used in food manufacturing.


A fomentation is an herbal compress that is used for applying herbs, in a liquid form, externally to the body. A clean, white cotton cloth is soaked in a liquid herbal preparation such as an herbal tea (infusion), decoction or tincture and then wrung out to remove excess moisture. The cloth is placed on the desired body part, and covered with another cloth to slow drying. The cloth can be reapplied as needed. A fomentation can be warm, cool or can alternate between warm and cool depending on the purpose. (See also Poultice.)

Food Grade

Considered safe for use in food by the Food and Drug Administration.

Fractional Distillation

A distillation method that is interrupted every few hours; the different grades produced are sold separately. This is most commonly used with ylang ylang.


Aroma. Products labeled as fragrances are not pure essential oils. They are derived by synthetic means.


Fumigation is the process of applying a smoke or vapor to a product to destroy pests. At Frontier we use carbon dioxide as a natural fumigant. Unless a botanical is organic, it may have been subjected to chemical fumigants such as methyl bromide. Fumigation does not kill bacteria, only insects and sometime insect eggs. See also sterilization.

Gas chromatography (GC)

Gas chromatography (GC) is a method of measuring the volatile chemical constituents of a substance. It is one of four objective tests that Frontier uses to determine the quality, identity and purity of every essential oil. GC analysis produces a "fingerprint" of the oil by showing the quantitative presence of each chemical compound. The results can be compared to established standards and reveal oil purity and other information (even the country of origin) which helps validate the oil quality. GC readings that are inconsistent with established standards can be the result of contamination, adulteration, the use of wrong plant parts or species, "off season" harvesting, improper distillation techniques, or product enhancement practices that Frontier finds unacceptable.

GCMS (Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry)

Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GCMS) is a method for identifying and analyzing the volatile chemical constituents of a substance. GCMS is a useful tool for analyzing essential oil. GC produces a "fingerprint" of the oil by showing the quantitative presence of each chemical compound. Mass spectrometry identifies each one of those compounds. In order to set our specifications at Frontier, we ran GCMS on each of our oils to identify the chemical components. Then we conducted extensive testing of a variety of oil samples and combined that with extensive review of the scientific literature to develop GC specifications that help us assure that all of our essential oils are authentic, pure, unadulterated and of the highest quality.


Ginseng, known as Ren-sen or "man root" to the Chinese, has been labeled by researchers as an "adaptogen" because it has the intrinsic ability to normalize body functions. The "adaptogenic" effects are thought to be caused by the presence of ginsenosides or tetracyclic terpenoids, the major constituents of ginseng. Researchers have identified 28 different ginsenosides, in varying percentages among the panax species, although 6 (Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rg1) are the most significant. The levels vary due to the age of the plant, soil quality, time of harvest, plan part and other environmental factors inherent to the growing region. The precise type and ratio of ginsenosides present can only be determined through HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) testing. All parts of the plant may contain ginsenosides; the roots may contain up to 5% but levels are more commonly in the 2-3% range.


Plant starch. Humectant. Binding agent.


Glycerin (or glycerine) is a colorless, odorless, viscous, water-soluble liquid with slightly sweet taste. To avoid it, look for vegetable glycerin on the label. Glycerin is used as a carrier for flavors, a humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture) and as an ingredient in baked goods to preserve moisture and prevent staleness. Frontier carries USP-grade Glycerin made from plant sources.

Glycerine (in body care)

A vegetable derived ingredient that serves as a humectant in skin care products by drawing moisture from the environment. It is also used in cosmetic formulations for its smoothing and softening properties.

Glyceroil Stearate

A vegetable oil, usually coconut oil derived; serves as a co-emulsifier and helps create a creamy appearance. Also helps to build rich viscosity. Glycerol stearate is lubricious and acts as a humectant by attracting moisture to the skin.

GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice)

Good Manufacturing Practices, or GMPs, as they are usually referred to, are a system of standards and processes relating to how a product is made or manufactured. The FDA (Food and Drug Association) publishes, in the Code of Federal Regulations, the GMPs for food and dietary supplements. We meet or exceed these manufacturing food safety requirements at Frontier. (GMPs exist for other products such as cosmetics, drugs and medical devices). Frontier is third-party certified by AIB (American Institute of Baking) for food safety and quality. AIB's standards are much more rigorous than the GMPs outlined by the FDA. (See also AIB.)


Generally Recognized as Safe (for human consumption). Foods for which there is a long history of safe use or a general recognition of safety through scientific procedures are considered GRAS by the FDA and not subject to food additive status.

Green tea

Green teas have a grassy, brothy, astringent flavor. Green teas are more widely consumed in Asia. However, with the release of a number of studies on the health benefits of drinking green tea, sales of green tea are growing in the U.S. at over 30%. Green tea is made by first steaming or pan-frying the fresh leaves to prevent the oxidation process that produces black tea. Next the leaves are rolled and then the tea is fired to dry the leaves.

Guah Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride

Derived from rubber tree; serves as a natural thickening agent.

Guided minerals

A guided substance is created when transporters such as oxide, gluconate, aspartate, or citrate are added to a chelated substance, further suppressing the electrical charges of the substance. This process, commonly used on minerals, is believed to allow even greater absorption and utilization by the body. (See also Chelated.)

HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)

HACCP is commonly used acronym for the program that defines Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point and is used to describe a program designed to ensure food safety. It is based on identifying the places (Critical Control Points) in a system, starting from receipt of the raw material to the complete assembly of the final product, where chemical, physical or microbiological hazards can enter the process. At each of these points, a plan is put in place to monitor that the defined hazard does not enter the system. Documentation of the program, critical control points and monitoring and corrective actions are all-important parts of a HACCP plan.

Hahnemann, Dr. Samuel

Dr. Samuel Hahnemann was the founder of homeopathy. While researching the toxicological effects of medicinals in the 1800s, Hahnemann, a German physician and chemist, discovered the concept of "like cures like" also referred to as the "law of similars" or homeopathy. He was considered eccentric for his belief that symptoms were an outward reflection of the body's inner fight to overcome illness; not a manifestation of the illness itself. He also believed in the concept of do no harm and that common practices of the day often caused more harm than good. His concepts included using different potencies during the healing process to allow the body to heal more completely, basing the remedies in liquids (alcohol and water) that are absorbed into the system more readily than tablets and offering only hand-succussed remedies (the remedy is shaken or successed after each dilution). The results of Hahnemann's studies are published in The Organon of Medicine. (See also Homeopathy.)

Heat unit (HU)

A heat unit is a measure of the pungency (heat) of a chili pepper. A scale using heat units to measure pungency was developed in the early 1900s by Wilbur Scoville. Scoville also developed a taste test method for rating heat intensity of chilies. Advances in technology have replaced Scoville testing at most companies with HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) testing, which separates and measures the level of the capsaicin (the chemical responsible for pungency). With HPLC testing, heat intensity is expressed in ASTA units. However, because people are more familiar with the Scoville system, a conversion system has been developed to convert ASTA units to Scoville. (See also Scoville.)

Herbal tea

Herbal teas are not really teas in the true sense; they are herbal "infusions" or "tisanes". "True tea" comes from the botanical Camellia sinensis (formerly known as Thea sinensis.) Herbal teas are made by pouring one cup of boiling water over two to three teaspoons of chopped herbs, and steeping for 3 to 5 minutes. They can be made from a variety of botanicals, including spices, roots, leaves, seeds and flowers.

Herbal, Herbalism

Pertaining to natural botanicals and living plants.


Homeopathy is a system of healing that aims to stimulate the body's innate healing processes through the administration of minute homeopathic dilutions of specific remedies. Homeopathy uses natural substances from all three realms of nature: plant, mineral and animal. In homeopathy, symptoms are believed to be our bodies attempt to heal itself. Remedies are prescribed in very diluted doses. The same remedies, in higher doses, would produce the symptoms in a healthy person. (See also Hahnemann, Dr. Samuel.)

HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography)

HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) is an analytical method used for the separation, identification and quantification chemical components of various substances. Frontier used HPLC to test various botanicals for adulterants, active or key constituents and to verify identity and quality.


Natural or artificially produced plant resulting from the fertilization of one species by another; indicated by ‘X’ as in lavandula x intermedia or citrus x paradisi.


Hydrosol, also called hydrolat or floral water, is the name for the water remaining after the steam distillation of an essential oil. A hydrosol is composed mostly of water, with small amounts of the water-soluble parts of the plants being distilled. Because hydrosols contain components that differ from their corresponding essential oils, their uses are not the same. Hydrosols are often used in skin care products and body sprays for their skin-soothing or purifying effects. Because of the very low levels (or even absence) of the more potent and sometimes skin-irritating constituents of the essential oils, hydrosols are very gentle and safe to use on all skin types. Although hydrosols can exist for any distilled essential oil, many are not widely used or available. Some of the more popular hydrosols include rose, lavender, orange blossom, chamomile, neroli, melissa and elder flower waters. One of the problems with true hydrosols is creating a shelf-stable product. Because they are primarily water and do not have naturally occurring preservatives (such as essential oil) as a component, they do not store for very long. Hydrosols without any preservative listed on the label may be suspect. Products that are not true hydrosols, but rather essential oil mixed with water, with or without the addition of stabilizers and surfactants, are sometimes sold as hydrosols.


Hygroscopic refers to a substance that takes up moisture and holds it. Hygroscopic botanicals and minerals such as garlic powder and salt need to stored in a manner that protects them from humidity or they will clump up and eventually become solid. Anti-caking agents, such as silicon dioxide and calcium stearate and tricalcium phosphate, are added as free-flowing agents to some food products to prevent caking. The only free-flowing agent Frontier uses is silicon dioxide, a natural product that is approved for use by the USDA for use in organic products.


I.U./International Unit

The Dictionary of Scientific Terms defines an I.U. or International Unit as: "A quantity of vitamin, hormone, antibiotic, or other biological that produces a specific internationally accepted biological effect." I.U. is most often seen as a measure of potency of vitamin E.


Infusions are liquid preparations made by extracting herbs with either hot or cold water. Infusions are usually used for the more delicate plant parts such as the leaves and flowers. Cold-water infusions are sometimes used for herbs with high volatile oil content. To prepare a cold-water infusion, add the herbs directly to the cool water and let steep in the refrigerator for 6-12 hours, strain. To make a hot-water infusion, place 2-3 t. of dried herbs in a glass or ceramic container. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the herbs, cover tightly, and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes, then strain To make a stronger infusion, let the mixture steep until cool before straining. (See Decoction.)


Unable to be dissolved in a liquid such as water.


Frontier does not use irradiation to sterilize products due to our concerns for quality and safety. Irradiation is a food sanitizing and preservation method that uses high-energy ionizing radiation from gamma rays (cobalt 60) or high-energy electrons commonly know as x-rays to reduce the number of microorganisms present in food. This process does not completely eliminate microorganisms or protect treated food from future contamination (due to poor handling practices), but it kills the majority of offensive bacteria in foods. It cannot rejuvenate food that has "passed its prime," by altering signals that indicate spoilage, but it can extend the shelf life of many foods if it is done when food is in prime condition. Irradiation is used routinely in approximately 40 countries. The FDA, Food and Agriculture Organization, and World Health organization oversee all aspects of domestic and international food irradiation including decisions on what foods can be irradiated, the radiation dose that can be used, and the labeling of treated products. In the early 1980s, the FDA approved the use of irradiation on spices and dried vegetable seasonings in the U.S. Foods that have been irradiated must be labeled as being treated with radiation or have the radura (the international symbol for irradiated food) on the label. However, foods that use an irradiated ingredient do not have to note this on the label. Spices on your grocery store shelf are probably not irradiated, but you may ingest irradiated spices as part of your salad dressing, frozen dinner or other prepared food.

Jasminum Officinale Absolute

An absolute derived from freshly picked jasmine flowers. Rich, exotic-floral aroma. Sensuous and calming.

Kosher certified

To be Kosher-certified, a Kosher certification company must inspect the production process from start to finish, checking every conveyor belt, container and piece of processing and packaging machinery to ensure that nothing non-kosher gets into the food. Most Frontier spices and seasonings are kosher. This is noted in the information for individual items.

Lauramidoyl Insulin

A part of the brain that regulates emotion, appetite, and survival responses.


A fat or fat-like substance insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents.

Lloyd, John Uri

John U. Lloyd (1849–1936) was a renown pharmacist and scientist. He is given much of the credit for the development of an American Materia Medica. His was allied with the Eclectic branch of medicine and taught chemistry at the Eclectic Medical College and the Cincinnati College of Pharmacy. He worked as a pharmacist at H.M Merrell and Co., eventually taking ownership of the company with his brother Nelson Ashley to create the Lloyd Brother Pharmacists, makers of Eclectic pharmaceuticals. His research resulted in many new medicines, but he is most respected today because of all the research and results documents he left behind which preserved a wealth of information on the history, uses and commerce in American medicinal plants of the period. The Lloyd Library and Museum, located in Cincinnati, Ohio is considered the one of the best repositories of herbal medicine, medical botany, herb history in the U.S. and holds the records and writings of the Eclectic colleges and Lloyd Brothers as well as other famous Eclectics.

Lung Ching

Another name for Dragonwell tea.


The extraction of substances from a plant by steeping in a fixed oil.


Magnesium is a mineral essential to human health. It is second to calcium in concentration present in the body with 60% of that in the bones, 26% in the muscle and rest in soft tissues such as the brain, heart, liver and kidneys. Foods rich in magnesium are legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, tofu and leafy green vegetables. Food processing removes much of the magnesium from foods and thus many Americans who eat a diet high in refined foods are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is critical to many cellular functions such as energy production, reproduction of cells and protein formation.

Magnesium Stearate

Stearic acid. Bulking agent.


Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate classified GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA. It is has a bland flavor with little or no sweetness and dissolves in hot or cold water. The organic maltodextrin Frontier uses is made from organic tapioca starch and water. There is no corn involved in its manufacture. We typically use maltodextrin to help evenly distribute the flavors of blends.

Mass Spectroscopy (MS)

A lab technique used to identify components in a substance by determining their atomic or molecular masses.

Massage Therapy

A hands-on therapy in which essential oils are applied to the body for emotional and physical benefits.

Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Leaf Extract

Derived from lemon balm leaves; used as a natural preservative. Lemon balm brightens the complexion.


Menstruum is the solvent used to extract a plant's constituents. Water and alcohol, alone or in combination, are the most often used solvents, depending on the solubility of the herb's constituents. Glycerin is sometimes used as a solvent instead of alcohol to make a glycerite, or alcohol-free extract. Other solvents or menstruum include vinegar or acetic acid (used to make herb vinegars) and vegetable oil (used to make an oil extract for salves).

Microcrystalline cellulose

Microcrystalline cellulose is naturally occurring cellulose that has been purified. It is found in fruits and vegetables. Commercially produced MCC is isolated from wood pulp, since this is the most economical source. The cellulose is washed, filtered, re-slurried and then spray-dried into its final form. It is considered a safe, stable ingredient and is used extensively in the pharmaceuticals and in foods. At Frontier, we use it in some products such as chili powder, salt and seasoning mixes as an anti-caking agent.

Middle Notes

A category of aromatic components of essential perfumes and oils with intermediate permanence and volatility properties.

Milk Powder

From whole dried organic milk. Contains potent skin-nourishing proteins, acids, and vitamins.

Modified food starch

Modified food starch is manufactured by treating starch (usually corn based) with chemicals to breakdown the starch into specific length chains of molecules. This process produces more desirable and useful characteristics such as improved solubility, acid stability and texture. Modified food starch is used in foods as a thickener, binder and stabilizer. It also gives food a desirable mouth feel.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

No Frontier products have MSG added to them. MSG is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. When MSG is ingested, the body converts it almost immediately to glutamate. Glutamate is an amino acid (the building blocks of proteins) and is found in almost all plant and animal tissue. Glutamic acid is present in significant amounts in high protein foods. The human body also produces glutamic acid and stores up to four pounds (in a 150-pound adult) for use in making human protein. There are two forms of glutamate: "bound" and "free". Bound glutamate is linked to other amino acids to form protein molecules. Free glutamate is the single amino acid, glutamate. Both forms occur naturally in our food supply. Unfortunately, some people have allergic reactions to free glutamate.


Mucilage – Mucilage is composed of complex poly-saccharides. It is present in a variety of plants. Some of those with large amounts of mucilage include: marshmallow, flax seeds, purslane, chia seeds, and oats (as in oatmeal). It's generally pretty tasteless but has a slimy feel when it comes into contact with water. Mucilage has demulcent properties, and mucilage-rich herbs are used throughout the body for their soothing benefits. (See also demulcent.)


There is no legal U.S. definition for "natural," and neither the FDA nor the USDA has rules regarding the term. Unlike the USDA-regulated term "organic," the designation "natural" can be applied tond processes that are not allowed

Natural flavor

The United States Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 101.22, and 21 CFR 182.10) gives the following definition: "The term 'natural flavor' or 'natural flavoring' means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants listed in sections 182.10, 182.20, 182.40, and 182.50 and part 184 of this chapter, and the substances listed in section 172.510 of this chapter." Frontier follows the CFR definition. (See also Artificial flavor.)


A "neat" drop refers to a drop of liquid that is unmixed, or undiluted. Generally applies to the act of applying an essential oil to the body undiluted. Since dilution is nearly always recommended, using oils neat is very uncommon.

NOP (National Organic Program)

The National Organic Program is responsible for developing, implementing, and administering an organic system of agriculture and the handling and labeling of organic products in accordance with the organic regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The regulations contained in the code are based on the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, passed by Congress. A National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was established by the Act to "assist in the development of standards for substances to be used in organic production" and to "provide recommendations to the Secretary regarding implementation" of the act’. The NOSB is comprised of 15 members, serving five-year terms and representing difference interested sectors including consumer, farmer, process, certifiers, retailers, environmentalists and scientists. The Board solicits input from the public, holds hearings and makes recommendations to the USDA on the organic rules. If approved by the USDA, these rules are subject to usual review and approval process before becoming official. (See also CFR and Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.)


Of, relating to or connected with the sense of smell.

Oolong tea

Oolong (English) or Wu Long (Chinense pinyin translation) tea is a partially oxidized tea, and has flavor characteristics of both green and black teas. The fresh leaves are withered for one to two days, then rolled to release enzymes (needed for the next step). Then the tea leaves are allowed to oxidize, although for a shorter period than for black tea, and the process is stopped before it is completed. The tea is fired (heated) to prevent further oxidation and to dry the tea. Oolong teas can vary significantly in flavor depending on when the oxidization process is interrupted, having more of a green tea character if interrupted early in the process, and more black tea character the longer oxidation continues. (See also Black tea and Green tea.)

Optical rotation

Optical rotation is one of the objective tests performed by Frontier to determine the purity of every essential oil. A sensitive scientific instrument (polarimeter) measures the degree a light ray bends when it is passed through a column of oil. The reading is compared to established standards; significant deviation from the standard may indicate impurities and give cause for further investigation.

Orange Pekoe (OP)

Tea is graded by leaf size. Orange Pekoe is a full leaf tea with no buds (tip).


Organic is a growing and processing method that helps protect the health of people, plants, animals, and the environment. Organic food is produced by farmers who use renewable resources and conserve soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic foods are produced without most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, bioengineering or ionizing irradiation. Before a product can be labeled as organic, a USDA approved certifier must approve the growing, handling and labeling of the product to insure that it complies with all organic regulations.

Organic certification

The USDA has established rules under the National Organic Program that regulate the growing, handling, labeling and certification of organic foods sold in the U.S. Frontier organic products are certified by Quality Assurance International. (See also Organic.)

Organic Foods Production Act of 1990

The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 was a landmark bill for organic agriculture. Many groups petitioned Congress to establish a national law to insure uniformity of regulations, inspire consumer confidence in a single organic label, make it easier to market certified organic products overseas and to obtain ingredients certified organic overseas. At the time of the law’s passing, there were local, regional, state and national organizations certifying farmers and processors to their own standards. Internationally, each certification group had to establish reciprocity in order to accept the other’s certification. Farmers often were forced to obtain certification from multiple agencies – an expensive and time-consuming process. The Act provided for the basis for the organic regulations listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR 205) although it would take ten years for the National Organic Program (NOP) to be implemented. (See also NOP.)


Organoleptic refers to the sensory properties of a substance, such as taste, color, odor and feel. Organoleptic testing involves inspection through tasting, feeling, smelling and visual examination of a substance.


To react with oxygen, usually causing rapid degradation or deterioration.


Paraffin is a synthetic wax like substance made of solid hydrocarbons distilled from petroleum or from the oil of distilled shale. It is a translucent, virtually odorless material ranging from colorless to white in appearance, and having a slightly greasy texture. Paraffin is graded and sold according to its melting point which ranges between 120 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and its color. It is commonly used in candle making, paper coating, lipstick, and for sealing jars of food and is virtually insoluble in water, and alcohol.

Patch Test

Some people have reactions to certain oils and cannot use them. To test an essential oil you have not used before, do a patch test by adding 1 drop of oil to 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil and apply to the inside of the arm. Leave on for 24 hours, and if any redness or itching develops, don't use the oil.

Percent Dilution

The percentage of essential oil to carrier.


Referring to a substance that increases the sensitivity of the skin to UV light. Also referred to as phototoxic.

Physical evaluation

Physical evaluation, also known as sensory evaluation, organoleptic evaluation or macroanalysis, is an identification process used to evaluate specific product characteristics through the use of our senses. Color, flavor, aroma, size, correct plant parts, cleanliness, and correct harvest time can be determined by trained technicians and used to assess the overall quality of a product. A microscopic analysis may also be conducted during the physical evaluation to further identify specific plant structures. Additional specialized tests such as dye tests on henna, and germination tests on sprouting seeds can be conducted during the physical evaluation process.


Pinyin is an international standard for romanizing the Chinese Mandarin language. It is used to translate proper names into English, and Chinese herbs are often sold in the U.S. using a common name and a pinyin name. It is also used in China to teach Mandarin characters with the pronunciation and as a way to teach Mandarin as a second language to foreigners.

Potassium Sorbate

Plant derived ingredient; functions as a toxic free preservative.


This is an antiquated English term for any plant that is cooked and eaten as a green. Plants such as spinach or kale would qualify as potherbs. Oftentimes, medicinal herbs were also potherbs, with the stems and leaves picked when the plants are young, then boiled and eaten as a green vegetable or used to flavor soups or grains. The first potherbs to be available in the spring were the wild herbs, which start to grow before garden greens could even be planted. So these wild potherbs were prized, especially after a long winter, because they provided nutrients and fresh flavor to the remnants of winter fare. Many of the herbs were also considered spring tonics, helping to fortify a winter-drained body, cleanse the blood and invigorate. European’s who emigrated carried their wild potherbs with them for planting in their new gardens. These hardy herbs often became weeds in their new locations when they escaped cultivation. Some examples of wild potherbs are nettles, dandelion, cleavers, sorrel, chickweed and lamb’s quarters.


A fragrant mixture of dried herbs and flowers. Usually scented with synthetic fragrance oils.


A poultice is an herbal compress and is used for apply herbs externally to the body. Fresh or dried herbs can be used. If fresh, the herbs are ground, chopped or juiced, then applied to the desired body part and covered with a clean cotton cloth and a binding to keep the cloth and the herbs in place. Dried herbs should be in chopped or powdered form with enough hot water added to moisten the herbs. (They should be thick and wet, not runny.) Let stand till cool enough to apply directly to the desired body part, then cover and bind as with fresh herbs. Reapply as needed. (See also Fomentation.)

PPG-3 Methyl Ether

Derived from glycol ether. Serves as a carrier for essential oils. A powerful solvent with a low evaporation rate and low viscosity.

Propyl glycol

A carrier used in flavors. Some suppliers use this carrier, we request that ours do not.

Prunus Amygdallus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil

High in oleic and linoleic acids. Similar to apricot kernel but slightly more lubricity and glide. Probably the best choice for most massage applications. Appropriate for dry skin, massage and bath.

Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil

Provides a medium thickness, glide and lubricity. Use in higher amounts for standard massage, less amounts for friction and heat building massage. Appropriate for combination skin, massage, moisturizing bath oil, after shower nourishing skin care oil.

Prussic acid

Many fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and pasture type grasses that are a daily part of human and animal diets contain naturally occurring cyanogenic glycosides such as amygdalin, which when ingested, break down into three substances; sugar, cyanide (prussic acid), and benzaldehyde. Benzaldehyde is the substance used as a flavoring and fragrance material. It has an almond or cherry taste, and an almond-like aroma. The kernel (also referred to as the pit or stone) of almonds, apricots, plums, peaches, contains the prussic acid, although the fruit is entirely unaffected. The kernels of these fruits are used to make almond essential oil. The oil produced from these pits intended for food use is treated to remove the prussic acid, and is designated as FFPA (free from prussic acid). The Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 582.20) states that prussic acid-free bitter almond oil is considered GRAS (generally recognized as safe) as a food flavoring.

Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh is a "composted" tea produced in the Yunnan province of China. The freshly picked tea is fired then placed in piles and monitored to maintain proper temperature and moisure during the aging process. Pu-erh is a speciality tea with a strong, earthy flavor.


Pycnogenol is a registered trademark (protected by US. patent #4,69 8,360) of Horphag Research, LTD. It is a natural plant extract obtained from the bark of European grown Pinus maritima (pine trees), Pycnogenol contains proanthocyanidins, the compounds responsible for the anti-oxidant properties of the extract. Proanthocyanidins or flavonoids are the plant pigments responsible for the deep blue-red color of many berries including grapes and hawthorn berries. They are also present in cypress bark, Ceylon and cassia cinnamon bark, and many other trees of the Coniferae family.


Quality Assurance International is a USDA-approved organic certification agency. They have been Frontier's organic certifier for many years. QAI is responsible for inspecting and reviewing our procedures, products, labeling and practices to insure that we are in compliance with all organic regulations. (See Organic certification.)


Qi or Ch'i (pronounced chee), is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) term that refers to the vital energy in the body. Qi is at the very heart of the TCM system, it is the invisible force that animates life energy taking shape as matter. Qi comes into the body from the air taken in through the lungs and from the foods we eat. When Qi is depleted, a person will feel tired, weak, clammy, apathetic and unable to fight off invasions of disease. When Qi is strong, a person will feel energetic, strong and vigorous with a high resistance level. Qi should move freely in the body and should be balanced in order to maintain health and well-being. (See also TCM.)


The radura is the internationally recognized symbol for irradiated food. All foods that have been irradiated that are sold in the U.S. must either bear this symbol or include wording on the label stating that they have been irradiated.

Raw Food

Though there isn't an official definition for this term, it is generally accepted that a food can be considered raw if it has not been heated above 115 degrees Ferenheit (46 degrees Celsius), and hasn't been frozen.

Refractive index

Refractive index testing is one of four objective testing procedures Frontier uses to determine the quality of every essential oil. A refractometer is used to measure the velocity of a light ray passing through an essential oil. (Light behaves differently depending upon the density of the material it is passing through.) The reading is compared to established literature; deviations are indicative of adulteration.

Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)

Derived from palm kernel oil (Vitamin A alcohol and its esters); adds skin-nourishing properties to the product, aids in dry skin treatment, essential for growth and maintenance of bones, glands, teeth, nails and hair.

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract

Derived from the leaves of rosemary; used as a natural preservative.


This term, as used in "rubbed sage," refers to a process by which leaves are literally rubbed — by hand or by machine — through a screen until broken into small pieces. This releases the herb's essential oils and heightens its flavor and aroma qualities when used in cooking. The term originates from cooks rubbing leaves of herbs between their fingers as they add them during cooking.


Substances for external application that cause redness of the skin through dilation of the capillaries, which allows for increased blood circulation, resulting in a warming sensation.


Sachets are powdered or very small fragrant materials (such as lavender, peppermint, and roses) enclosed in scraps of cloth, cotton drawstring tea bags, or even greeting cards, and heat sealable tea bags. The material is stitched or glued along the outer edges to contain the blend. A fixative (such as orris root powder) helps the sachet retain its scent. Sachets can be used to scent linens and clothes as favors at weddings or parties, or if made with decorative materials, adorning on your desk.

Scoville heat unit

In the early 1900s pharmacist Wilbur Scoville developed a methodology and scale to measure the pungency (heat level) of chili peppers. The system involves a taste test of pepper extract, and a comparison of the results against a standardized scale. To create the extract, peppers are soaked in alcohol for approximately 24 hours to draw out the capsaicin. A specified amount of the pepper extract is then added to sweetened water. The solution is diluted repeatedly until the hotness of the pepper extract is barely detectable. A heat unit rating is then assigned based upon the dilution ration. For example, a Scoville rating of 20,000 hu for a chili pepper would indicate that it took 20,000 times the volume of sweetened water before the pepper extract was barely detectable. With advances in technology, the Scoville organoleptic testing procedure has been replaced at most companies with HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography). The American Trade Association (ASTA) supports the use of HPLC testing. With the use of this testing method, heat level is expressed in ASTA units. However, because people are more familiar with the Scoville system, a conversion system has been developed to convert ASTA units to Scoville units.

Sea Salt

Purified, simple sodium chloride isolated from sea water. Creates a buoyant, skin-softening bath water.

Sebaceous Glands

Present in the dermis. Open to the surface at pores located in the epidermis. Produces sebum (oil).


The oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands which function to lubricate the skin and seal moisture into the cells. The level of sebum production determines whether your skin is normal, dry or oily.

Shelf life

Shelf life of botanicals can vary significantly with each product depending on plant part and size. Storage conditions also impact shelf life with heat, light, moisture and air all affecting the quality of the botanical. Botanicals and essential oils do not have a date when they go bad, rather the quality gradually declines over time. Some general guidelines on when to replace well stored botanicals and essential oils are: Whole spices and herbsLeaves and flowers: 1 to 2 yearsSeeds and barks: 2 to 3 yearsRoots: 3 yearsGround spices and herbsLeaves and flowers: 1 yearSeeds and barks: 1 year Roots: 2 yearsTeasBlack, green, white and oolong: 1 yearEssential OilsCitrus abd pine oils: 1 yearOther essential oils: 3 to 5 years

Silicon Dioxide (SiO2)

Silicon dioxide is an oxide of silica, the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and found in as sand or quartz. Silicon dioxide is found naturally in some plant-based foods. As a additive to foods, it is used as a free-flowing agents in powders and hygroscopic (water attracting) substances. It is approved for use by the FDA (21 CFR 172.480) and by the USDA National Organic Program (7 CFR 206.205 (b).

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil

Light-textured, pH balanced liquid wax pressed from the jojoba nut. Mimics natural pH and function of the skin’s own sebum.


Smudging is a traditional method of burning herbs or wands of herbs called smudge sticks and bathing oneself or an object in the smoke to clear away negative influences and restore balance. Many people like to smudge their home, office or space to change the energy of that area.

Sodium Bicarbonate

Naturally derived from minerals. Cleansing agent.

Sodium Borate

A naturally occurring mined desert mineral, sodium borate has a mild, soap-like cleansing action.

Sodium Carbonate

Sodium carbonate, water, and carbon dioxide.

Sodium Carboxymethyl Betaglucan

Derived from yeast cell wall; protects against UV-A induced oxidative stress, restores skin function, promotes cell renewal and enhances skin’s self-protection mechanism.

Sodium Chloride

Derived from nature. Helps lift away old, dead cells while soothing and softening the skin.

Sodium Cocoylisethionate

Coconut-derived. Cleansing agent.

Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate

Produced from sodium chloride; serves as a safe, broad spectrum, paraben-free preservative system.

Sodium Myreth Sulfate

Derived from coconut oil; produces rich foam and builds viscosity. Excellent cleanser that is compatible with all skin types.


Able to be dissolved in a liquid such as water.


Tea is graded by leaf size. Souchong is made from large tea leaves that are rolled lengthwise, which gives them a coarse appearance. Souchong teas are generally smoked teas from China.


Major subdivision of a genus of plants. A biological classification composed of related plant individuals.

Steam Distillation

A method of essential oil extraction using steam.


Sterilization is the process of killing microbes on a product. Steralizing a product also kills insects and insects eggs (fumigation). Herbs and spices are sterilized by one of three methods - heat, chemical or irradiation. Heat sterilization is used on some hard spices such as pepercorns. Chemical sterilization is done with ethylene oxide. In the U.S.,treatment of spices with ionizing radiation is allowed, however such spices must be so labeled. See also radura and irradiation.

Still Note

An unpleasant odor connected with a freshly distilled essential oil.


The transition of a substance from the solid phase to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase.

Sun Tea

Sun tea is tea brewed slowly by the sun. To make, put four teaspoons of tea per quart in a glass jar, fill with cool water, stir and place in the sun for six hours. Strain and serve or refrigerate.

Superior Chinese Herb

Superior is a designation given to Chinese herbs that have a broad spectrum of use, that restore balance in the body and have no negative side effects. These are generally tonics that nourish the cells and help restore balance and proper function throughout the body. They are thought of much like foods that can be eaten everyday. Examples of herbs classified as superior includes astragalus, dong gui, rehamannia, ginseng and schisandra.


A characteristic in which the total effect is more effective than the individual parts.


An artificially produced substance designed to imitate that which occurs naturally.

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

TCM is a complete system of natural health care that has been used for several thousand years and is still used today to treat one-quarter of the earth's population. It is very different in theory and practice from Western health care. TCM is based on the concept of balance of the vital energy, Qi (chee) that flows freely through the body of a healthy being. Living in harmony with nature and striving for moderation and balance in all things are core principles. Disease is the result of disruption of this balance. The practioner's role is patient-based, rather than ailment-based as in Western medicine, so that a remedy is not prescribed based so much on the condition as it is on the patient and their constitution. Components of TCM include diet, exercise, acupuncture, herbs and massage.

Theobroma Cacao Butter

Cocoa beans. This natural butter melts into skin at body temperature and provides rich emollience and moisture retention.


A tincture is a stable liquid preparation that contains an herb's desired constituents. It's made using a solvent or menstruum tailored to dissolve the maximum amount of the chemical components of the whole herb. Once the components are extracted, the herb and solvent mixture is pressed to remove the liquid from the solids (marc). The resulting liquid is filtered and then stored in dark bottles in a cool place. Tinctures are a good way to preserve an herb over several years, and they're convenient to carry and use.

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP)

Tea leaves are graded by size. Tippy golden flowery orange pekoe is a full leaf tea with many golden buds.


Tisane is another name for herbal tea (as opposed to black or green tea). The term originated in France and is derived from the Latin term, "ptisana".

Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

Powerful and skin-supporting. Safe and natural preservative.

Top Notes

Highly volatile category of aromatic components of essential oils that are penetrating and sharp. These are the first odors that the olfactory system perceives.

Trigonella Foenum-Graecu Absolute

An absolute derived from the seeds of the fenugreek plant. Distinctive, bitter aroma.


Toxic-free synthetic ingredient; serves as a pharmaceutical neutralizing agent.

UPC/Universal Product Code

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a 12 digit numeric code that identifies a company and product name in a manner that allows encoded information to be scanned and decoded in an accurate, efficient manner, speeding the receiving, picking, invoicing, sale and shipping of goods.

USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)

The USDA is responsible for the organic certification, regulation and compliance. Frontier is a certified organic processor in good standing under the USDA National Organic Program (NOP.)

USP/United States Pharmacopeia

The USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) was established in 1820 and is a private, voluntary, non-profit, organization composed of health care professionals, scientists, academicians, and government officials. USP works to promote public health through the development of standards, and a knowledge base specific to medicines and other health care technologies. Products given USP status meet or exceed the requirements of the official monographs published by USP.

Vanilla Extract

The FDA has a standard of identify for vanilla extract. To be called an extract, it must contain at least 35% alcohol by volume. If there is less than 35% alcohol, the product must be labeled a flavor.

Vanilla Fold

See Fold.

Vanilla Planifolia Absolute

An absolute derived from the fruit or bean pods of the vanilla orchid. Sweet, balsamic aroma. Comforting and calming.


Pertaining to the thickness or thinness of a liquid, it especially relates to the speed at which an essential oil pours from the bottle. An example would be vetiver, having a high viscosity, pours extremely slowly from the bottle.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an essential nutrient, meaning that it must be provided by the diet because the body cannot manufacture it. Vitamin E food sources include some vegetable oils, nuts and whole grains (soy is one of the most common natural sources). Tochopherols are naturally occurring substances, which exhibit vitamin E activity. Alpha tocopherol, thought to be the most active form of vitamin E, is commonly found in supplement form.

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil

Has a light and absorbent feel. Good choice for heat-building, friction massage. Appropriate for all skin types. A natural alternative to petroleum derived mineral oil.


The rate of evaporation of an essential oil. See 'Notes' for more information.

Water (Aqua)
Pharmaceutical grade by reverse osmosis. Water serves as a carrier substance for the matrix of ingredients. Water hydrates the skin.

White tea

White teas are a type of green tea made from the unopened leaf buds. It is the least processed of the teas and has a light, grassy, very mild flavor. The fresh picked leaves are immediately steamed to prevent any oxidation and then fired to dry them. The term "white tea" refers to the whitish cast of the tea that comes from the silky white hairs on the tightly closed leaf buds of the tea.


Growing spontaneously, not cultivated


Herbs harvested in the wild rather than cultivated.


WONF is short for "with other natural flavors." The term is used when an extract or flavoing is made with natural ingredients other than the characterizing flavor ingredient. So for instance if a natural strawberry flavor included other natural fruit flavors, it would be labeled as WONF.

Xantham Gum

Xantham gum is a natural gum produced by a pure culture fermentation of a starch, typically glucose or sucrose, by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. In the food industry it is used to thicken, suspend, emulsify and stabilize products. It is also used as a substitute for gluten in baked goods. Xantham is a unique gum in respect to is stability under a wide range of temperatures and pH, and is considered GRAS by the USDA.


The amount of essential oil extracted from a plant.

Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract

Derived from the roots of ginger; used as a natural preservative. Ginger is warming and activating.