abscess A localized cavity of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue formed as the result of an infection. An abscess can develop in tissues, organs or other confined spaces within the body.
acupressure An ancient Chinese technique, in which fingers apply gentle but deep pressure to specific points on the body to relieve pain and muscular tension.
Like acupuncture (which uses thin needles instead of fingers), acupressure is believed to balance the natural flow of energy (qi) throughout the body by releasing blocked or congested energy centers. Pressure on a specific acupoint (also known as a trigger point) can bring relief, often in a nonadjacent area of the body.
acupuncture A therapy originating in China in which a trained professional inserts and rotates very thin needles at key points on the body. This process stimulates various organs and body systems.
The goal of acupuncture is to balance the natural flow of energy (qi)throughout the body by releasing blocked or congested energy centers. Pressure on a specific acupoint (also known as a trigger point) can bring relief, often in a nonadjacent area of the body.
adaptogen A substance that strengthens the body’s immune, endocrine and nervous systems, which enhances resistance to external and internal stress.
Adjunctive therapies Those unconventional cancer therapies generally considered more acceptable by mainstream standards, mostly notably the psychosocial interventions.
Adenocarcinoma A carcinoma of glandular origin.
amino acids Chemical substances found in foods and produced by the body that are commonly called the building blocks of protein.
There are 21 amino acids, which are classified as either nonessential (ones the body can manufacture) or essential (ones which can only be derived from food).
Nonessential amino acids include alanine, argine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, taurine and tyrosine.
Essential amino acids include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Analgesic A substance that relieves pain without causing a loss of consciousness.
Antineoplastons Substances originally isolated from human urine by Stanislaw Burzynski, which he believes have antitumor properties.
anaphylactic shock A severe allergic reaction to a food, drug, venom, or other stimulus. Also called anaphylaxis, anaphylactic shock can occur immediately, resulting in collapse, convulsions, and unconsciousness. Or it may come on gradually, starting with typical allergic symptoms and progressing to life-threatening heart and breathing problems.
angina A cramping or tightening sensation in the chest that results from lack of sufficient blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. Usually caused by plaque buildup within the arteries, angina pain typically begins below the breastbone and spreads across the shoulders, arms or jaw; an attack often rises and subsides within 15 minutes. Medically known as angina pectoris.
antibiotic A drug that kills or inhibits the growth of infection-causing bacteria. Some antibiotics are produced naturally by bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms; others are synthetic (artificially created). Common types of antibiotics include penicillins, erythromycins and cephalosporins.
antidepressant A drug that acts to elevate mood and alleviate symptoms of depression. Types of antidepressants include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
antihistamine A drug that blocks the effects of histamine, a naturally occurring compound within the body that initiates symptoms of allergic reactions, including swelling, itching, sneezing, watery eyes and hives.
antioxidant Any substance that protects cells from the damaging effects of free radicals (highly reactive oxygen molecules). Some antioxidants are manufactured by the body; others, such as vitamins C and E, are obtained through diet or supplements.
Abortifacient — Induces abortions (miscarriages).
Absorption — Process by which nutrients are absorbed through the lining of the intestinal tract into capillaries and into the bloodstream. Nutrients must be absorbed to affect the body.
Acids — Compounds often found in plant tissues, especially fruits, that shrink tissues and prevent secretion of fluids.
They taste sour or tart.
Active principle — Chemical component of a plant or compound that has a therapeutic effect.
Acute — Short, relatively severe. Usually referred to in connection with an illness. Opposite of acute is CHRONIC.
Addiction — Psychological or physiological dependence on a drug. With true addictions, severe symptoms appear when the addicted
person stops taking the drug on which he is dependent.
Adrenal gland — Gland located immediately adjacent to the kidney that produces epinephrine (adrenaline) and several steroid hormones, including cortisone and hydrocortisone.
Adulterant — Substance that makes another substance impure when the two are mixed together.
Allergen — Capable of producing an allergic response.
Allergy — Excessive sensitivity to a substance.
Alumina — Another term for aluminum oxide or hydrated aluminum oxide.
Amenorrhea — Absence of menstruation.
Amino acid — Chemical building blocks that help produce proteins in the body.
Anabolic — Building up of tissues in the body. It is a destructive metabolism.
Anaphylaxis — Severe allergic response to a substance. Symptoms include wheezing, itching, nasal congestion, hives, immediate intense burning of hands and feet, collapse with severe drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest. Symptoms of anaphylaxis appear within a few seconds or minutes after exposure to substance causing reaction — this can be medication or herbs taken by injection, by mouth, vaginally, rectally, through a breathing apparatus or applied to skin. Anaphylaxis is an uncommon occurrence, but when it occurs, it is a SEVERE MEDICAL EMERGENCY! Without appropriate immediate treatment, it can cause death. Yell for help. Don’t leave victim. Begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), mouth-to-mouth breathing and external cardiac massage. Have someone dial “0” or 911. Don’t stop CPR until help arrives.
Anemia — Too few healthy red-blood cells in the bloodstream or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Anemia is usually caused by excessive blood loss, such as excessive bleeding or menstruation, increased blood destruction, such as hemolytic anemia or leukemia, or decreased blood production, such as iron-deficiency anemia.
Anemia, pernicious — Anemia caused by vitamin B-12 deficiency. Symptoms include easy fatigue, weakness, lemon-colored skin, numbness and tingling of hands and feet, and symptoms of degeneration of the central nervous system, such as irritability, emotional problems, personality changes and paralysis ofextremities.
Anesthetic — Used to abolish pain.
Angina (angina pectoris) — Chest pain, with sensation of impending death. Pain may radiate into jaw, ear lobes, between shoulder blades or down shoulder and arm on either side, most frequently the left side. Pain is caused by a temporary reduction in the amount of oxygen to the heart muscle through narrowed, diseased coronary arteries.
Antacid — Neutralizes acid. In medical terms, the neutralized acid is located in the stomach, esophagus or first part of the duodenum.
Anti-bacterial — Destroys bacteria (germs) or suppresses their growth or reproduction.
Antibiotic — Inhibits growth of germs or kills germs. When it inhibits growth, it is called BACTERIOSTATIC. When it kills, it is called BACTERIOCIDAL.
Anti-cholinergic — Reduces nerve impulses through the part of the autonomic nervous system called PARASYMPATHETIC.
Anti-coagulant — Delays or stops blood clotting.
Anti-emetic — Prevents or stops nausea and vomiting.
Anti-helmintic — Destroys intestinal worms.
Antihistamine — Prevents histamine, the chemical in body tissues that dilates smallest blood vessels, constricts smooth muscle surrounding bronchial tubes and stimulates stomach secretions, from acting on tissues of the body.
Anti-hypertensive — Reduces blood pressure.
Anti-mitotic — Inhibits or prevents cell division.
Anti-neoplastic — Inhibits or prevents growth of neoplasms (cancers).
Anti-oxidant — Prevents oxidation (combining with oxygen). Anti-oxidant substances include superoxide dismutase, selenium, vitamin C and E, and zinc.
Anti-pyretic — Reduces fevers.
Antiseptic — Prevents or retards growth of germs.
Anti-spasmodic — Relieves spasm in skeletal or smooth muscle.
Apertive — Stimulates the appetite.
Aphrodisiac — Arouses or enhances instinctive sexual desire.
Aromatic — Chemical with a spicy fragrance and stimulant
characteristics used to relieve various symptoms.
Artery — Blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
Ascites Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
Asthma — Disease with recurrent attacks of breathing difficulty characterized by wheezing. It is caused by spasms of the bronchial tubes, which can be caused by many factors including adverse reactions to drugs, vitamins, minerals or medicinal herbs.
Astringent — Shrinks tissues and prevents secretion of fluids.
Autogenous vaccine A vaccine derived from the patient’s own blood.
Autogenous vaccine A vaccine derived from the patient’s own blood.
Ayurveda The traditional Indian system of medicine that uses herbs, yoga, and various other techniques to bring the body into a state a harmony with its environment.
biofeedback A technique that trains people to recognize and gain control of involuntary body processes by using visual and auditory cues. Muscle control, blood pressure, and relaxation can be regulated using biofeedback.
bodywork Any therapy in which a skilled practitioner manually works muscles or pressure points to promote proper circulation, energy flow, and muscle relaxation. There are many types of bodywork, including Alexander technique, swedish massage and Hellerwork.
Bacteria — Microscopic germs. Some bacteria contribute to health; others cause disease.
Bitters — Medicine with a bitter taste. Used as a tonic or appetizer.
Blepharitis — Inflammation of eyelid.
Blood sugar (blood glucose) — Necessary element in blood to sustain life. The blood level of glucose is determined by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When the pancreas no longer satisfies this function, the disease DIABETES MELLITUS results.
Bronchitis — Inflammation of the breathing tubes.
Bulb — Modified plant bulb with scaly leaves that grows beneath the soil.
calorie Calories are used to measure both the energy potential in foods and the amount of energy used by the body to burn those foods. We get calories from the carbohydrates, proteins and fat in the foods we eat. Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram; fat has nine calories per gram.
capillaries The tiny blood vessels that connect veins to arteries. Arteries pass oxygen-rich blood to the capillaries, where the gases are exchanged within tissue, and the capillaries then pass their waste-rich blood to the veins for transport back to the heart.
carbohydrates (simple or complex) One of the three major components of foods, along with protein and fat. Carbohydrates are carbon compounds that the body turns into glucose and burns as fuel. Simple carbohydrates are sugars; complex carbohydrates are starches. Carbs supply energy and usually contain vitamins, minerals and fiber. They are found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains.
carcinogen A substance for which there is significant evidence that it may cause cancer or lead to the growth of cancer cells. Aflatoxins, tobacco smoke and alcoholic beverages are believed to be carcinogenic.
carotenoids The phytochemicals that are responsible for the red, orange and yellow pigments in fruits and vegetables. The body converts some carotenoids, including beta carotene, into vitamin A. Other carotenoids include lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin. Their antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties are being studied.
cartilage A flexible dense tissue found in the joints, spine, throat, ears, nose and other areas. Cartilage is not as hard as bone is, but it does provide protection and support.
cataracts A painless progressive eye disease that distorts vision by producing a cloudiness in the lens or its surrounding membrane,
collagen A tough, fibrous protein that provides support throughout the body and helps form bones, cartilage, skin, joints and other tissue.
colonoscopy A detailed visual examination of the enitre colon using a long flexible tube called a colonoscope.
commission e A special body of scientists, health professionals and lay experts formed in Germany in 1978. The commission, often likened to the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA), produces highly regarded monographs that detail the usefulness and safety of herbal remedies.
computed tomography (ct) scan A computer-enhanced X-ray that creates a detailed visualization of a cross section of the body. Its two-dimensional, high-resolution image can be used to detect tumors, accumulations of fluid and damaged or dead tissue, and to monitor treatment. Body parts typically scanned include the head and the chest.
congestive heart failure A condition where the amount of blood the heart is able to pump is chronically inadequate to meet the body’s needs. This inability may be the result of a heart attack, persistent high blood pressure, lung disease, long-term drug or alcohol abuse, or an infection of the muscles or values of the heart.
congestive heart failure A condition where the amount of blood the heart is able to pump is chronically inadequate to meet the body’s needs. This inability may be the result of a heart attack, persistent high blood pressure, lung disease, long-term drug or alcohol abuse, or an infection of the muscles or valves of the heart.
coronary artery disease A narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels serving the heart, lessening the amount of blood and oxygen that reaches the cardiac muscle. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is normally caused by the gradual build up of arterial plaque known as atherosclerosis.
coronary bypass surgery A surgical procedure in which a vein, usually taken from the leg, is grafted onto a damaged or blocked coronary artery. This allows blood to “bypass” the damaged area and restores normal circulation flow through the heart.
corticosteroids Any of the natural or artificial steroids associated with the adrenal cortex. Corticosteroids are used in hormone therapy, as anti-inflammatory agents and in the suppression of immune responses.
craniosacral therapy Craniosacral therapy is a hands-on technique usually performed by an osteopathic physician (D.O.) or by a trained therapist. Using a touch so light that many patients don’t even feel it, practitioners gently manipulate the bones of the head, spine, and pelvis. In the process they also massage the surrounding membranes and stimulate the cerebrospinal fluid.
cruciferous Cruciferous vegetables, a family of vegetables with cross-shaped flowers, are also called brassicas, or cabbage family vegetables. They include cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, as well as mustard greens, turnips and rutabaga. These vegetables contain phytochemicals called indoles, which seem to offer protection against some forms of cancer. They are also rich in vitamin C.
cryosurgery A form of surgery in which the tissue to be operated on is frozen, usually using liquid nitrogen. Cryosurgery is used to treat a variety of disorders, including skin and prostate cancers and hemorrhoids.
Cachexia Generalized weakening and malnutrition that often accompanies cancer and is often the cause of death in cancer patients.
Carcinogen — Chemical or substance that can cause cancer.
Carcinoma A malignant tumor originating in the tissues that line the organs of the body, such as the breast, intestines, uterus, etc.
Cardiac arrhythmias — Abnormal heart rate or rhythm.
Cardiac — Pertaining to the heart.
Carminative — Aids in expelling gas from the intestinal tract.
Cathartic — Very strong laxative that produces explosive, watery bowel movements.
Cell — Unit of protoplasm, the essential living matter of all plants and animals.
Central nervous system — Brain, spinal cord and their nerve endings.
Central-nervous-system depressant — Causes changes in the body, including changes in consciousness, lethargy, loss of judgment or coma.
Chromosomes Structures in the cell nucleus containing DNA, the genetic material.
Chronic — Disease of long standing. Opposite of ACUTE.
Clinical trials Experiments involving humans.
Cohort study A study in which a group is observed over a period of time.
Co-enzyme — Heat-stable molecule that must be loosely associated with an enzyme for the enzyme to perform its function.
Colic — Abdominal pain that recurs in a pattern every few seconds or minutes.
Collagen — Gelatinous protein used to make body tissues.
Complementary therapies Those approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, and care of cancer that fall outside conventional (or allopathic) cancer treatments, so called because they complement the intelligent use of conventional approaches. Complementary cancer therapies are also called “unorthodox” and “unconventional.”
Congestive — Excess accumulation of blood. In congestive heart failure, blood congregates in lungs, liver, kidney and other parts to cause shortness of breath, swelling of ankles, sleep disturbances, rapid heartbeat and easy fatigue.
Conjunctivitis — Inflammation of the outer membrane of the eye.
Constriction — Tightness or pressure.
Contraceptive — Prevents pregnancy.
Contraindication — Inadvisability of using a substance that may cause harm under specific circumstances. For example, high- caloric intake in someone who is overweight is contraindicated.
Control group In a clinical study, a group identical to the one being examined, except for the absence of the one factor being evaluated. The results from the two groups are compared to assess the factor under study.
Controlled study A clinical study which utilizes a control group.
Conventional cancer therapies Those forms of cancer treatment widely practiced in major American cancer centers today: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Convulsion — Violent, uncontrollable contraction of the voluntary muscles.
Corticosteroid (adrenocorticosteroid) — Hormones produced by the body or manufactured synthetically.
Counterirritant — Process of applying an irritating substance to the skin to produce increased blood circulation to the area. Classic example (now considered an outdated treatment) is mustard plaster applied to the chest to relieve bronchial congestion or cough.
Cyanogenic glycoside(s) — Sugars that have the capacity to be used in the production of cyanide.
Cystitis — Inflammation of the urinary bladder.
dhea Dehydroephiandrosterone, the most prominent hormone in the bloodstream, is found in very high concentrations in the brain, DHEA is secreted by the adrenal glands, skin, testicles and ovaries. It’s needed by the body to produce other hormones and to maintain a consistent hormonal balance. In supplement form, DHEA has shown some promise in combatting certain age-related diseases.
diabetes A chronic disease in which the body is either unable to produce enough of the hormone insulin or unable to use insulin efficiently. This results in high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood and can lead to heart and kidney disease, nerve damage, vision loss and other complications. Insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1) usually appears before age 30; non-insulin-dependent diabetes (type 2) develops later and accounts for 90% of cases.
diabetic neuropathy Diabetes-related nerve damage that produces loss of sensation, numbness, tingling or burning; often occurs in the limbs.
Differentiation The acquisition of particular structures and characteristics by cells or tissues which allows them to perform specific functions. Loss of cell differentiation is a defining characteristic of cancer.
diuretic A substance that draws water from the cells of the body, increasing the output of urine.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) — Complex protein chemical in genes that determines the type of life form into which a cell will develop.
Decoction — Extract of a crude drug obtained by boiling the substance in water.
Dehiscent — Fruit that splits open when ripe.
Delirium — Temporary mental disturbance accompanied by hallucinations, agitation, incoherence.
Demonic — Destroys or repels demons.
Demulcent — Mucilagenous or oily substance capable of protecting scraped tissues.
Dermatitis — Skin inflammation or irritation.
Diaphoretic — Increases perspiration.
Diuretic — Increases urine flow. Most diuretics force kidneys to excrete more than the usual amount of sodium. Sodium forces more water and urine to be excreted.
Double blind A method of minimizing bias in a clinical trial, where neither the patient nor those collecting and evaluating the data know what treatment the patient is receiving (e.g., whether the patient is a member of the study group or control group).
Dosage — The amount of medicine to be taken for a specific problem. Dosages may be listed as liquids (ml or milliliters, cc or cubic centimeters, teaspoons, tablespoons) dry weight (kg or kilograms, mg or milligrams, g or grams) or by biological assay (Retinol Units, International Units).
Drupe — Fleshy fruit with a hard stone, such as an apricot or peach.
Duodenum — First 12 inches of small intestine.
Dysentery — Disorder with inflammation of the intestines,
especially the colon, accompanied by pain, a feeling of urgent need to have bowel movements and frequent stools containing blood or mucus.
Dysmenorrhea — Painful or difficult menstruation.
Dyspepsia — Digestion impairment causing uncomfortable feeling of indigestion.
Dysplasia Abnormal changes in cells, sometimes indicative of a precancerous state.
Eczema — Non-contagious disease of the skin characterized by redness, itching, scaling and lesions with discharge. Frequently becomes encrusted. Eczema primarily affects young children. The underlying cause is usually an allergy to many things, including foods, wool, skin lotions. The disorder may begin in month-old babies. It usually subisdes by age 3 but may flare again at age 10 to 12 and last through puberty.
Edema Accumulation of fluid in the connective tissue; swelling.
egcg (epigallocatechin-gallate) A type of flavonoid found in green tea, EGCG is a strong antioxidant and is known as one of the most potent cancer-fighting compounds. It is especially effective against lung, esophageal and skin tumors.
Electrolyte — Chemical substance with an available electron in its atomic structure that can transmit electrical impulses when dissolved in fluids.
Emetic — Causes vomiting.
Emmenagogue — Triggers onset of menstrual period.
Emollient — Softens or soothes.
Emphysema — Lung disease characterized by loss of elasticity of muscles surrounding air sacs. Lungs cannot supply adequate oxygen to body cells for normal function.
Endometriosis — Medical condition in which uterine tissue is found outside the uterus. Symptoms include pain, abnormal menstruation, infertility.
Endocrine therapy The use of hormones, such as estrogen, in the treatment of cancer.
Endometrium The membrane lining the uterus.
endoscopy A procedure in which a doctor inserts a small, flexible, lighted viewing scope through a body opening to examine interior cavities and organs, such as the esophagus, stomach or intestines.
enteric coating A protective coating that allows a pill to pass intact through the stomach and into the small intestine, where the coating dissolves and the contents are absorbed by the body.
enzyme A protein that speeds up specific chemical reactions and processes in the body, such as digestion and energy production.
Epilepsy — Symptom or disease characterized by episodes of brain disturbance that cause convulsions and loss of consciousness.
Epithelium The tissue that lines the surfaces of the body’s organs.
Essential oils — Same as volatile oils. Oils evaporate at room temperature.
essential fatty acids (efas) The building blocks that the body uses to make fats. You must get various kinds of EFAs through diet or supplements (such as fish oils and flaxseed oil) to assure proper health.
Essiac A Native American herbal preparation obtained by Rene Caisse, R.N., in the 1920s. It is available in Canada on an experimental basis.
Estrogens — Female sex hormones that must be present for secondary sexual characteristics of the female to develop. Estrogens serve many functions in the body, including preparation of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg.
Etiology The branch of medicine which examines the causes of disease.
Eupeptic — Promotes optimum digestion.
eustachian tube The tube within the ear that drains fluids and mucus from the ear down into the back of the throat. The eustachian tube equalizes middle ear pressure with the air pressure on the outside.
Expectorant — Decreases thickness and increases fluidity of mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes.
extract A pill, powder, tincture or other form of an herb that contains a concentrated, and usually standard, amount of therapeutic ingredients.
Extremity — Arm, hand, leg, foot.
Ewing’s sarcoma A tumor of the bone.
Fats are composed of chains of fatty acids. These fatty acids are classified as either saturated or unsaturated, according to the number of hydrogen atoms they contain: saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. Highly polyunsaturated fats include corn, safflower and sesame oils, while olive and canola oils are highly monounsaturated fats.
free radicals Highly reactive and unstable oxygen molecules generated during normal body processes that can harm basic genetic material (DNA) as well as other cell structures and tissues.
Exposure to heat, radiation and environmental pollutants (including cigarette smoke), and drinking alcohol can also promote the formation of free radicals.
Free-radical damage can lead to heart disease, cancer, cataracts, arthritis, neurological diseases and other ailments. Antioxidants help minimize free-radical damage.
Fat-soluble — Dissolves in fat.
Fatty acids — Nutritional substances found in nature that are fats or lipids. These include triglycerides, cholesterol, fatty acids and prostaglandins. FATTY ACIDS include stearic, palmitic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosapentaenoic (EPA), decosahexanoic acid. Other lipids of nutritional importance include lecithin, choline, gamma-linoleic acid and inositol.
Fixed oils — Lipids, fats or waxes often made from seeds of plants.
Flatulence — Distention of the stomach or other parts of the intestinal tract with air or other gases.
Fluid extract — Alcoholic solution of a chemical or drug of plant origin. Fluid extracts usually contain 1g of dry drug in each milliliter.
Free radicals — Highly reactive molecules with an unpaired free electron that combines with any other molecule that accepts it. Free radicals are usually toxic oxygen molecules that damage cell membranes and fat molecules. To protect against possible damage from free radicals, the body has several defenses. The most important appears at present to be anti-oxidant substances, such as superoxide dismutase, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and others.
gdu (gelatin digesting unit) A dosage measurement for the pain- and inflammation-reducing supplement bromelain. Potencies of bromelain are based on GDUs or MCUs (milk clotting units). One GDU equals 1.5 MCU. See “MCU.”
Genes Individual units of hereditary material composed of DNA.
Grading The classification of tumors according to the degree of differentiation of cancerous cells. Generally, the more differentiated the cells are, the better the prognosis. Grade I malignancies are the most differentiated, grade IV the least.
gram A metric measure of weight, often used for dosages. There are 1,000 milligrams (mg) in 1 gram, and 28.35 grams in an ounce.
guided imagery A mind-body technique that allows a person to imagine or visualize outcomes or feelings in order to provoke a physical response. This technique has been used very successfully to promote relaxation; studies are ongoing as to its effect on specific diseases or medical conditions.
G6PD — Deficiency of glucose 6-phosphate, a chemical necessary for glucose metabolism. Some people have inherited deficiencies of this substance and have added risks when taking some drugs.
Gastritis — Inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
Gastroenteritis — Inflammation of stomach and intestines characterized by pain, nausea and diarrhea.
Gastrointestinal — Pertaining to stomach, small intestine, large intestine, colon, rectum and sometimes the liver, pancreas and gallbladder.
Generic — Relating to or descriptive of an entire group or class.
Gingivitis — Inflammation of the gums surrounding teeth.
Gland — Cells that manufacture and excrete materials not required for their own metabolic needs.
Glossitis — Inflammation of the tongue.
Gluten — Mixture of plant proteins occurring in grains, chiefly corn and wheat. People who are sensitive to gluten develop gastrointestinal symptoms that can be controlled only by eating a gluten-free diet.
Glycoside(s) — Plant substance that produces a sugar and other substances when combined with oxygen and hydrogen.
Griping — Intestinal cramps.
Gums — Translucent substances without form. Usually a decomposition product of cellulose. Gums dissolve in water.
heme iron Iron derived from animal sources. Heme molecules are found in hemoglobin and are responsible for carrying oxygen to tissues that give off large amounts of carbon dioxide. Heme iron is more efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream than non-heme iron, which comes from plants.
hemoglobin The oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells. Made of iron and protein, hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to the cells and transports carbon dioxide from the cells back to the lungs.
herb A plant or plant part–the leaves, stems, roots, bark, buds or flowers–which can be used for medicinal or other purposes (such as flavoring foods).
high blood pressure Medically known as hypertension, this condition occurs when the heart needs to work harder, exerting a higher pressure on the veins and arteries, to get the blood to circulate throughout the body. Aggravating causes include smoking, obesity, a high-sodium diet or genetic predisposition. Hypertension is defined as an average blood pressure measurement of 140 (systolic) over 90 (diastolic) or higher on at least two separate readings.
histamine A chemical produced by the cells of the skin, nasal and respiratory passages, the stomach and other areas. Histamines aid digestion by triggering stomach acid secretion. In response to pollen or other allergens, they can also cause inflammation, hives, itching, excessive mucus and constriction of the airways.
Hodgkin’s disease A malignant condition of the lymphoid tissues which results in the enlargement of the lymph nodes, spleen, and liver, and sometimes fever and weight loss.
homeopath A physician who treats disease using minute doses of natural substances that would, in a healthy person, elicit the symptoms of the disease being treated.
homocysteine An amino acid that circulates in the blood. People who have elevated homocysteine levels are at increased risk of arterial blockage, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Normally, three of the B vitamins (folate, vitamin B and vitamin B) assist in the conversion of homocysteine into other non-damaging amino acids.
hormone Any of various chemical messengers produced by the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, ovaries, testes and other glands that have far-reaching effects throughout the body. Hormones regulate everything from growth and tissue repair to metabolism, reproduction and blood pressure.
Hoxsey herbs An herbal formula developed by John Hoxsey in 1840. Reportedly based upon his observations of the plants his horse consumed prior to the disappearance of a cancerous tumor on its leg.
Hydrazine sulfate An inexpensive chemical substance found by Joseph Gold to possibly be useful in treating cachexia, and which may also have anticancer properties.
hydrogenation The process of adding a hydrogen atom to an unsaturated fat to make it more solid and more resistant to chemical change, as in turning a liquid fat into margarine.
hypertension See “High Blood Pressure.”
Hyperthermia The therapeutic application of heat, either locally, regionally, or systemically, based on the belief that tumors have a lower tolerance to heat than do healthy tissues. Ultrasound, radio-, and microwaves are among the techniques used in this process.
Hallucinogen–Produces hallucinations — apparent sights, sounds or other sensual experiences that do not actually exist or do not exist for other people.
Heart block — An electrical disturbance in the controlling system of the heartbeat. Heart block can cause unconsciousness and in its worst form can lead to cardiac arrest.
Hematuria — Blood in the urine.
Hemoglobin — Pigment necessary for red cells to transport oxygen. Iron is a necessary component of hemoglobin.
Hemolysis — Breaking a membranous covering or destroying red blood cells.
Hemorrhage — Extensive bleeding.
Hemostatic — Prevents bleeding and promotes clotting of blood.
Hepatitis — Inflammation of liver cells, usually accompanied by JAUNDICE.
Herb — Plant or plant part valued for its medicinal qualities, pleasant aroma or pleasing taste.
Histamine — Chemical in the body tissues that constricts the smooth muscle surrounding bronchial tubes, dilates small blood vessels, allows leakage of fluid to form itching skin and hives and increases secretion of acid in stomach.
Hives — Elevated patches on skin usually caused by an allergic reaction accompanied by a release of histamine into the body tissues. Patches are redder or paler than the surrounding skin and itch intensely.
Homeopathy — Practice of using extremely small doses of medicines and herbs to cause the same symptoms the disease causes. Homeopaths (practitioners of homeopathy) acknowledge no diseases, only symptoms.
Hormone — Chemical substance produced by endocrine glands–thymus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, ovaries, testicles, pancreas–that regulates many body functions to maintain homeostasis (a steady state).
Humectant — Moistens or dilutes.
Hypercalcemia — Abnormally high level of calcium in the blood.
Hypertension — High blood pressure.
Hypocalcemia — Abnormally low level of calcium in the blood.
Hypoglycemia — Abnormally low blood sugar. Impotence — Inability of a male to achieve and maintain an erection of the penis to allow satisfying sexual intercourse.
Incidence The number of cases of a particular disease diagnosed; the rate of occurrence in the general population.
IND [Investigational New Drug] Permits granted by the Food and Drug Administration for the use of new drugs with patients on an experimental basis.
Indehiscent — Fruit that remains closed upon reaching maturity.
Inflorescence — Flowerhead of a plant.
Infusion — Product that results when a drug or herb is steeped to extract its medicinal properties.
Insomnia — Inability to sleep.
Interaction — Change in body’s response to one substance when another is taken. Interactions may increase the response, decrease the response, cause toxicity or completely change the response expected from either substance. Interactions may occur between drugs and drugs, drugs and vitamins, drugs and herbs, drugs and foods, vitamins and vitamins, minerals and minerals, vitamins and foods, minerals and foods, vitamins and herbs, herbs and herbs.
International units — Measurement of biological activity. In the case of vitamin E, 1 International Unit (IU) equals 1 milligram (mg)(1IU = 1mg).
In vitro In an artificial environment, i.e., cell cultures, test tubes.
In vivo In the body.
Iscador A mistletoe extract used in anthroposophical medicine as an anticancer agent.
I.U. or IU — International units.
Jaundice — Symptom of liver damage, bile obstruction or excessive red-blood-cell destruction. Jaundice is characterized by yellowing of the whites of the eyes, yellow skin, dark urine and light stool.
Kidney stones — Small, solid stones made from calcium, cysteine, cholesterol and other chemicals circulating in the bloodstream. They are produced in the kidneys.
Lactagogue — Increases the flow of breast milk in a woman.
Lactase — Enzyme that helps body convert lactose to glucose and galactose.
Lactase deficiency — Lack of adequate supply of enzyme LACTASE. People with lactase deficiency have difficulty digesting milk and milk products.
Larvacide — Kills larvae.
Latex — Milky juice produced by plants.
Laxative — Stimulates bowel movements.
LDH — Abbreviation for lactic dehydrogenase, a blood test to measure liver function and to detect damage to the heart muscle.
Libido — Sex drive.
Lipid — Fat or fatty substance.
Lipids Organic fatty substances that are insoluble in water but which are soluble in alcohol and some other fat solvents. They serve as fuel and are an important constituent of cell structure, along with proteins and carbohydrates.
Lymphoma A malignant growth originating in the lymphoid tissues, specifically in the lymphocytes at a step in the differentiation process outside of the bone marrow.
Lymph glands — Glands located in the lymph vessels of the body that trap foreign material, including infectious material, and protect the bloodstream from becoming infected.
Macrobiotics Term coined by George Oshawa from the Greek for “large life.” An approach to life derived from traditional Oriental philosophies whose goal is to live in harmony with the environment and whose principles are applied dietetically. The diet is grain-based and nondairy, primarily cooked, and can be vegetarian or nonvegetarian.
Macronutrients Major components of food: fat, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
Maruyama vaccine Perhaps the most widely used Japanese alternative cancer therapy. Similar to BCG, the attenuated bovine tubercle bacillus that Virginia Livingston used for cancer patients, it is derived from human tuberculosis rather than bovine tuberculosis.
mcu (milk clotting unit) A dosage measurement for the pain- and inflammation-reducing supplement bromelain. (See also “GDU.”)
Melanoma A malignant form of skin cancer originating in the pigmented cells.
melanin A black or dark-brown pigment (color) that occurs naturally in the skin, hair and eyes.
menopause The cessation of menstruation, which is the monthly releasing of eggs by a woman’s ovaries. This process is triggered by the gradual decrease in female hormones, particularly estrogen, and is said to be complete when a woman has not menstruated for 12 consecutive months.
meridians The 12 major channels that run up and down the body. In traditional Asian medicine, meridians are believed to carry chi. One of the central concepts of acupuncture is that points along these meridians can be used to restore proper function to their corresponding systems or organs.
Metaplasia The abnormal replacement of one kind of cells with another.
Metastases Locations where cancer has spread from its primary site, usually via the lymph system, blood, or by invasive spread.
Micronutrients Vitamins and trace minerals.
mineral Inorganic elements that originate in the soil, some minerals act as nutrients. There are 16 nutrient minerals, which include calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, fluoride, chromium and molybdenum. Minerals play a crucial role in the human body for enzyme creation, regulation of heart rhythm, bone formation, digestion, and other metabolic processes.
Mitosis The process which takes place in the dividing cell which results in the formation of two nuclei, each having the same number of chromosomes as the original nucleus.
mucous membranes The pink, shiny skinlike layers that line the lips, mouth, vagina, eyelids and other cavities and passages in the body.
mucus A viscous, slippery secretion that moistens and protects the body’s mucous membranes. Mucus typically contains the protein mucin, water, sloughed-off cells and inorganic salts.
Maceration — Softening of a plant by soaking.
Magnesia — Another term for magnesium hydroxide.
Malabsorption — Poor absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream.
Mcg — Abbreviation for microgram, which is 1/1,000,000th (1/1-millionth) of a gram or 1/1,000th of a milligram.
Megadose — Very large dose. In terms of recommended dietary allowance (RDA), anything 10 or more times the RDA is considered megadose. Nutritionists urge no one take megadoses of ANY substance because these doses may be toxic, cause an imbalance of other nutrients, cause damage to an unborn child and do not provide benefits beyond rational doses.
Menopause — End of menstruation in the female caused by decreased production of female hormones. Symptoms include hot flushes, irritability, vaginal dryness, changes in the skin and bones.
Metabolism — Chemical and physical processes in the maintenance of life.
Mg — Abbreviation for milligram, which is 1/1,000th of a gram.
Migraine — Periodic headaches caused by constriction of arteries in the skull. Symptoms include visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity and severe pain.
Milk sickness — Intolerance to milk and milk products due to a deficiency of an enzyme called LACTASE.
Mitogen — Causes nucleus of cell to divide; leads to a new cell.
Mitosis The process which takes place in the dividing cell which results in the formation of two nuclei, each having the same number of chromosomes as the original nucleus.
Mortality rate The rate at which people die as a result of a particular cause in a given population.
Moxibustion The application of heat to acupuncture points.
Mutagen An agent that increases the frequency of mutation.
Mucilage — Gelatinous substance that contains proteins and polysaccharides.
Myeloma A primary tumor of the bone marrow.
Neoplasm “New growth,” or any abnormal growth of tissue that serves no physiological function; cancer.
neti pot A small pot, usually porcelain or plastic, with a thin spout that is used for nasal irrigation.
neurotransmitter Any of the various chemicals found in the brain and throughout other nervous system tissues that transmit signals among nerve cells.
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma A family of lymphomas distinguished from Hodgkin’s disease by the absence of the characteristic Sternberg-Reed cells.
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (nsaid) A drug–such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen–that reduces pain and inflammation by blocking the body from producing prostaglandins (also see “Prostaglandins”).
nutritional supplement A nutrient, which can be synthesized in the lab or extracted from plants or animals, that is used medicinally.
Narcotic — Depresses the central nervous system, reduces pain and causes drowsiness and euphoria. Narcotics are addicting substances.
Naturopathy — Medical practice that uses herbs and various methods to return body to healthy state by stimulating innate defenses–never supplanting them–with drugs. In early years, many naturopathic physicians were ill-prepared to practice a healing profession. Many received mail-order degrees and had little training. However by the 1950s, some degree of academic acceptability returned. Several accredited schools award degrees for training, and many states now require examinations and licensure to ensure competence.
Neuropathy — Group of symptoms caused by abnormalities in sensory> or motor nerves. Symptoms include tingling and numbness in hands or feet, followed by gradually progressive muscular weakness.
One-arm study A study not employing a control group.
orbital cellulitis An acute bacterial inflammation that affects the tissues around the eyes and sinuses. Symptoms include redness, swelling, pain, bulging and sometimes eye paralysis. Orbital cellulitis may damage the eye and facial nerves and in very rare cases can lead to blindness or even death.
over-the-counter (otc) A drug that can be sold without a doctor’s prescription.
oxidative stress The damage that results from free radicals within the body, oxidative stress is believed to be the cause of more than 60 degenerative diseases.
Free radical oxygen molecules are charged molecules that form naturally during normal cell respiration. They are known to do damage blood vessels, proteins, and other internal chemicals or structures.
Oleoresin — Resins and volatile oils in a homogenous mixture.
Osteoporosis — Softening of bones.
Oxidation — Combining a substance with oxygen.
Pathogen The specific agent or organism which causes a disease.
pcos (procyanidolic oligomers) A group of antioxidant compounds, also called proanthocyanidins–found in pine bark, grape seed extract, green tea, red wine and other substances–that may help protect against heart and vascular disease.
Pharmacological Pertaining to the use of an agent as a drug.
pine bark extract A major source for procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs), pine bark extract has not been as well studied as grape seed extract but may have an additional benefit. One dose of pine bark extract a day may help prevent blood clots, but without the stomach irritation caused by aspirin. (See also “PCOs.”)
placebo Also called a dummy pill, a substance or procedure with no intrinsic therapeutic value administered to a control group in a clinical study. Comparison with the results obtained from the study group determine the efficacy of the therapy being administered to the study group.
Pleomorphic A term used in microbiology to refer to bacteria that change in size and shape during their life cycle.
polyp An excrescence or tumorlike growth that surfaces from mucous membrane.
polyphenols Phytochemicals that show promise as disease-fighters. Polyphenols act as antioxidants and, in the laboratory, have been shown to have antiviral and anticarcinogenic properties. Flavonoids, isoflavones and ellagic acid are all polyphenols.
probiotics “Friendly” bacteria, similar to that found in acidophilus supplements, that are normally present in the intestine and help to promote healthy digestion.
Progenitor cryptocides A bacterium, detectable through the dark-field microscope, which is postulated by Virginia Livingston to cause cancer.
Prospective study A study in which a group is monitored over a period of time and where results will be determined at a future date (as opposed to a retrospective or historical study). See Cohort study.
prostaglandins Hormonelike chemicals occurring naturally in the body that produce a wide range of effects, such as inducing inflammation, stimulating uterine contractions during labor and protecting the lining of the stomach.
protein The basic building material of our bodies, protein consists of chains of amino acids. Some foods provide complete protein; that is, they have a full complement of essential amino acids. Foods from animal sources fall into this category. Among plant-derived foods, only soybeans contain complete protein; all other plant foods are deficient in one or more essential amino acids.
Parasympathetic — Division of the autonomic (also called AUTOMATIC) nervous system. Parasympathetic nerves control functions of digestion, heart and lung activity, constriction of eye pupils and many other normal functions of the body.
Parkinson’s disease — Disease of the central nervous system characterized by a fixed, emotionless expression of the face, slower-than-normal muscle movements, tremor (particularly when attempting to reach or hold objects), weakness, changed gait and a forward-leaning posture.
Paronychia — Infection around a fingernail bed.
Peduncle — Stalk attached to a flower.
Pellagra — Disease caused by a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B-l). Symptoms include diarrhea, skin inflammation and dementia (brain disturbance).
Peristalsis — Wave of contractions of the intestinal tract.
Pernicious anemia — See Anemia, pernicious.
Pharyngitis — Inflammation of the throat.
Phenylketonuria — Inherited disease caused by lack of an enzyme necessary for converting phenylalanine into a form the body can use. Accummulation of too much phenylalanine can cause poor mental and physical development in a newborn. Most states require a test at birth to detect the disease. When detected early and treated, phenylketonuria symptoms can be prevented by dietary control.
Phosphates — Salts of phosphoric acid. Important part of the body system that controls acid-base balance. Other chemicals involved in acid-base balance include sodium, potassium, bicarbonate and proteins.
Photosensitization — Process by which a substance or organism becomes sensitive to light.
Photosensitizing pigment — Pigment that makes a substance sensitive to light.
Potassium — Important element found in body tissue that plays a critical role in electrolyte and fluid balance in the body.
Poultice — Applied to a body surface to provide heat and moisture. Material is held between layers of muslin or other cloth. Poultices contain an active substance and a base. They are placed on any part of the body and changed when cool. Purpose is to relieve pain and reduce congestion or inflammation.
Prostate — Gland in the male that surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra. In older men, it may become infected (prostatitis) or obstructed (prostatic hypertrophy), cause urinary difficulties or become cancerous.
Psoriasis — Chronic, recurrent skin disease characterized by patches of flaking skin with discoloration.
Psychosis — Mental disorder characterized by deranged personality, loss of contact with reality, delusions and hallucinations.
Purgative — Powerful laxative usually leading to explosive, watery diarrhea.
Purine foods — Foods metabolized into uric acid; these include anchovies, brains, liver, sweetbreads, sardines, meat extracts, oysters, lobster and other shellfish.
Qi gong An ancient Chinese martial art combining movement with meditation and breath awareness which has as one of its goals the conscious control of the body’s energetic system.
Randomization A method of minimizing bias in a controlled study, in which all subjects have an equal chance of being assigned to the study group or control group. In this way, all factors which might confound the results of the study can be considered to be equally present in both groups.
recommended dietary allowance (rda) Established by the National Academy of Sciences, the RDAs are standards that specify the amount of nutrients required daily for the maintenance of good health. They set the minimum intakes of vitamins, minerals and protein to meet the body’s needs and prevent a deficiency.
reference daily intakes (rdis) These dietary standards, based on the RDAs, make up one part of the daily values used on food labels to give the nutritional values for vitamins and minerals. In contrast to the RDAs, the RDIs are single values and do not vary according to age or gender.
Reflexology A system of therapeutic massage based upon the theory that pressure points affecting all of the body’s organs and systems are located on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Remission The diminution or disappearance of disease; the period during which the disease is under control.
Renal — Pertaining to the kidneys.
Resin — Complex chemicals, usually hard, transparent or translucent that frequently cause adverse effects in the body.
Retina — Inner covering of the eyeball on which images form to be perceived in the brain via the optic nerve.
Retinol The form of vitamin A found in mammals.
Retrospective study A study where data are collected about events that have already happened.
RDA — See RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCE.
Recommended dietary allowance — Recommendations based on data> derived from different population groups and ages. The quoted RDA figures represent the AVERAGE amount of a particular nutrient needed per day to maintain good health in the average healthy person. Data for these recommendations have been collected and analyzed by the Food and Nutritional Board of the National Research Council. These figures serve as a reference point for comparison. The latest revised amounts were published in 1980, with a new revision promised soon. It is only within the framework of statistical probability that RDA can be used legitimately and meaningfully.
RNA (ribonucleic acid) — Complex protein chemical in genes that determines the type of life form into which a cell will develop.
Rhizome — Root-like, horizontal-growing stem growing just below the surface of the soil.
Rickets — Bone disease caused by vitamin-D deficiency. Bones become bent and distorted during infancy or childhood if there is insufficient vitamin D for normal growth and development.
Rubefacient — Reddens skin by increasing blood supply to it.
Sarcoma A neoplasm arising from the connective tissue, including bone, blood, muscle, fat, and lymph vessels.
scurvy A deficiency disease caused by a lack of vitamin C (less than 10 mg a day) in the diet. Symptoms include weakness, anemia, swelling, spongy and bleeding gums, and loosening of the teeth. Now occurs only rarely in the industrialized world.
sea cucumber A Chinese remedy derived from a cucumber-shaped marine animal that may help reduce pain and stiffness in arthritis sufferers.
serotonin A compound made from the amino acid tryptophan that serves as one of the brain’s main neurotransmitters. Differing levels of serotonin affect mood, may promote sleep and can act to help inhibit pain.
sinus irrigation An age-old technique used to cleanse and moisturize the sinus cavities. Sinus irrigation can reduce painful swelling and pressure in the nasal passages and help wash away pollen, soot, dust, smoke or other allergens. It can also soothe sinuses irritated by a dry climate or by overheated or air-conditioned rooms.
Methods of sinus irrigation range from sniffing saline solution from an open palm to using a traditional neti pot for pouring saline in one nostril and out the other to attaching a special tip to a WaterPik device.
sinusitis An irritation of any or all of the four pairs of sinus cavities located within the bones of the face. Sinuses can become inflamed as the result of an allergic reaction or from a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. Symptoms can include congestion, pain, pressure, facial swelling and excessive postnasal drip.
sitz bath A form of hydrotherapy where the patient immerses the perineal area of his or her body in a bowl of water or a tub to cleanse and relax the affected area. Sitz baths are helpful for treating conditions such as hemorrhoids and vaginal tears.
soy isoflavones A plant-based substance chemically similar to estrogen that is found in soybean products. Although isoflavones are weaker than estrogen, they can block human estrogen receptors in the cells, helping to prevent the development of such hormone-related diseases as breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. They also seem to ease hormone-related symptoms such as menopause’s hot flashes. The major isoflavones in soybeans include genistein and daidzein.
Staging The determination of the extent of cancer growth, a very important factor in the design of a treatment protocol. Systems vary by the type of cancer, but generally follow these steps:
Stage I: localized cancer, probably without lymph node involvement.
Stage II: local spread of cancer, possible lymph node involvement.
Stage III: cancer has spread into adjacent tissues, definite lymph node involvement.
Stage IV: cancer has metastasized.
standardized extract A form of an herb that contains a concentrated but set (standardized) percentage of active ingredients. When used in supplements, standardized extracts help guarantee a consistent dosage strength, or potency, from one batch of the herb to the next.
Available for selected herbs, standardized extracts are produced in pills, tinctures or other forms.
Statistical significance The mathematical measure of the probability that the results of a study are attributable to chance rather than to the effect of the therapy or agent being evaluated. If this probability is low enough, given the size of the study and strength of the results, the results are considered to be “statistically significant.”
stroke A hemorrhage or blockage in a blood vessel, resulting in the insufficient delivery of blood and oxygen to parts of the brain. Although small strokes may occur without symptoms, many can cause some degree of paralysis as well as do damage to speech or to other bodily or mental functions.
sublingual Means “beneath the tongue.” Taking some supplements sublingually, such as vitamin B12, that are formulated to dissolve in the mouth, provides quick absorption into the bloodstream without interference from stomach acids.
Survival rate The percentage of people with a particular cancer who have survived a given length of time.
swedish massage A type of bodywork involving the stroking and kneading of the body’s soft tissue to promote circulation and relaxation. Developed in Sweden by Per Henrick Ling in the nineteenth century and now the most popular form of massage in the U.S.
Saponin(s) — Chemicals from plants, frequently associated with adverse or toxic reactions. They uniformly produce soapy lathers.
Sedative — Reduces excitement or anxiety.
SGOT — Abbreviation for serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase, a blood test to measure liver function or detect damage to the heart muscle.
Spasmolytic — Decreases spasm of smooth muscle or skeletal (striated) muscle.
Steroidal chemicals — Group of chemicals with same properties as steroids. Steroids are fat-soluble compounds with carbon and acid components. They are found in nature in the form of hormones and bile acids, and in plants as naturally occurring drugs, such as digitalis.
Stimulant — Stimulates (temporarily arouses or accelerates) physiological activity of an organ or organ system.
Stomachic — Promotes increased contraction of stomach muscles.
Stomatitis — Inflammation of the mouth.
Stroke — Sudden, severe attack that results in brain damage. Usually sudden paralysis or speech difficulty results from injury to the brain or spinal cord by a blood clot, hemorrhage or occlusion of blood supply to the brain from a narrowed or blocked artery.
t-cells Circulating immune cell produced in bone marrow that functions to regulate, among other things, B-cell activity. One type of T-cell, the helper cell, boosts production of B-cell-derived antibodies.
tens (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) A method of relieving pain that involves sending painless electrical impulses from a machine to nerve endings through electrodes that are placed on the skin.
therapeutic touch A method of healing that deals with the body’s ambient energy forces. Therapeutic touch does not involve physical contact between practitioner and patient, instead the practitioner’s hands are passed inches above the patient’s body in wavelike motions. It is believed that the therapist is able to use his/her energy to cure a variety of ailments including back pain, depression, and migraines.
tincture A liquid usually made by soaking a whole herb or its parts in a mixture of water and ethyl alcohol (such as vodka). The alcohol helps extract the herb’s active components, concentrating and preserving them.
traditional chinese medicine An ancient Chinese medical practice or system of therapy based upon the belief that an individual is strongly related to all natural elements. Practitioners consider the mental, spiritual and physical aspects of a person in order to make a relevant diagnosis.
traditional medicine An approach to healing that relies on customs and knowledge passed from one generation to the next, often based on thousands of years of practice. Examples are Chinese medicine and Ayurveda (practiced in India).
triptans A group of drugs that regulate the release of the brain chemical serotonin. Used for treatment of migraine headaches.
Tannins — Complex acidic mixtures of chemicals.
Tenesmus — Urgent feeling of having to have a bowel movement or to urinate.
Terpenes — Complex hydrocarbons (C10H16). Most volatile oils are mostly terpenes.
Thrombophlebitis — Inflammation of a vein, usually caused by a blood clot. If the clot becomes detached and travels to the lung, the condition is called THROMBOEMBOLISM.
Tincture — Solution of chemicals in a highly alcoholic solvent made by simple solution or by methods described in the UNITED STATES PHARMACOPEIA or the NATIONAL FORMULARY.
Tonic — Medicinal preparations used to restore normal tone to tissues or to stimulate the appetite.
Toxicity — Poisonous reaction that impairs body functions or damages cells.
Toxin — Poison in dead or live organism.
Tranquilizer — Calms a person without clouding mental function.
Tremor — Involuntary trembling.
Tyramine — Chemical component of the body. In normal quantities, without interference from other chemicals, tyramine helps sustain normal blood pressure. In the presence of some drugs–monamine-oxidase inhibitors and some rauwolfia compunds–tyramine levels can rise and cause toxic or fatal levels in the blood.
Urethra — Hollow tube through which urine (and semen in men) is transported from the bladder to outside the body.
Uterus — Hollow, muscular organ in the female in which an embryo develops into a fetus. Menstruation occurs when the lining sloughs
vitamin Organic compounds that regulate reactions taking place in the body. They enable the body to convert food to energy and help the body to protect itself from disease and to heal itself when injured. Most vitamins must be ingested because the body cannot produce them.
vitamin b complex Although the eight B vitamins are individual nutrients, they work together so closely that they are often referred to as a single entity. The B vitamins include thiamin (also called vitamin B), riboflavin (B), niacin (B), folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid and vitamins B and B. As a whole, B vitamins play a vital role in metabolism; they are key to healthy brain and nerve cells, and to the formation of red blood cells and DNA.
Vein — Blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.
Virus — Infectious organism that reproduces in the cells of an infected host.
Volatile oils — Chemicals that evaporate at room temperature.
yoga Yoga A philosophical school of Hinduism that elaborates a system of physical, psychological, and spiritual approaches to the integration of the individual with the transpersonal. Yoga is best known as a physical discipline, including stretching exercises, breathing and relaxation techniques, and meditation practices.
Yeast — Single-cell organism that can cause infection of the skin, mouth, vagina, rectum and other parts of the gastrointestinal system. The terms YEAST, FUNGUS and MONILIA are used interchangeably.