Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms


A natural substance used in herbal medicine that is considered to help the body adapt to stress and to induce a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.


Any substance having a pH greater than 7.


A pungent/oily compound with antibacterial properties.

Amino Acids

The building blocks that make up proteins. Humans need 20 different amino acids to function properly. Some are made by the body, others called essential amino acids, must be obtained from foods.


A type of flavonoid with antioxidant effects, it is the pigment that gives purple, red, and blue plants their rich coloring.


Substances, like vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene, that protect the body from the damage of oxidation caused by free radicals.


The degree to which food nutrients are available for absorption and utilization in the body.


Substances obtained from plants and used in food supplements, personal care products, or pharmaceuticals. Other names include “herbal medicine” and “plant medicine.”


A green pigment, present in all green plants and in cyanobacteria. It is responsible for absorbing light to provide energy for photosynthesis and is also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and therapeutic properties.


The main structural protein found in the body, specifically in skin, tendons, cartilage, bone, and connective tissues.

Daily Value

Found on food and drink nutrition labels, this number tells the percentage of the recommended dietary allowance provided by one serving of substance.


A process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.

Dietary Fiber

Also called “roughage,” it is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants, derived of two main components: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Dietary Supplement

A product taken by mouth that contains a dietary ingredient, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet.


A substance that dissociates into ions within a solution and acquires the capacity to conduct electricity. Examples of electrolytes include: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Calcium, and Phosphate.


A substance produced by a living organism that acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.


A group of major female sex hormones produced primarily by the ovaries in female’s. It is capable of inducing estrus, developing and maintaining female sex characteristics, and preparing the uterus for the reception of a fertilized egg.


An inactive substance used to help facilitate physiological absorption of the active substances.

Fat Soluble Vitamins

The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. The body stores excess fat-soluble vitamins in your liver and body fat, then uses it as needed. Ingesting more fat-soluble vitamins than needed can be toxic, causing side-effects like nausea, vomiting, and liver and heart problems depending on the vitamin.


The quality of a human’s ability to produce offspring.


A large class of polyphenolic compounds that are widely distributed in plant pigments.


To increase a food or drink's nutritional value by adding vitamins, minerals, or other substances. For example, milk is fortified with vitamins A and D.

Free Radicals

An atom or molecule with at least one unpaired electron, making it unstable and reactive. When free radicals react with certain chemicals in the body, they may interfere with the ability of cells to function normally. Antioxidants can stabilize free radicals.


The general condition of being sound in body, mind, and spirit and not merely of disease or infirmity.

Heavy Metals

A metallic chemical element that has a relatively high density and is toxic or poisonous at low concentrations.


Any plant or plant part that has historically been used for medicinal, culinary, or fragrance purposes.


A regulatory substance that is produced in an organism and transported within tissue fluids (like blood) to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action.

Immune System

The bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing an immune response.


A large group of polyphenols that are found in plants.


A normal condition that all women experience as they age. It can be described as any of the changes a woman goes through either just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period.


The name given to vitamins and minerals because the body needs them in small amounts. Micronutrients are vital to the body's ability to process macronutrients, like fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Examples are chromium, zinc, and selenium.


An organism that typically consists of only a single cell and can only be seen with the aid of a microscope.


Nutrients found in the earth or water and absorbed by plants and animals for proper nutrition. Minerals are the main component of teeth and bones, and help build cells and support nerve impulses. Examples include calcium and magnesium.


A pill or other substance containing more than one vitamin.


From nature; not containing anything artificial, synthetic, or made by humankind.

Nerve Growth Factor

A neurotrophic factor and neuropeptide that is primarily involved with the growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of certain neurons.


A chemical that is released from a nerve cell which thereby transmits an impulse from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, organ, or other tissue.


Means non-genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms are artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. A Non-GMO claim means the ingredient/food is made without ingredients derived from genetically engineered organisms.


A substance that can facilitate learning and/or enhance cognition and memory.


A substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and maintenance of life.

Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin Complex

A class of polyphenols that are found in a variety of plants, and known for its antioxidant effects. Its chemical structure contains two or more monomers, including polymers and condensed tannins.


Relating to or derived from natural matter; a compound with a carbon base that does not contain chemicals or pesticides.


The material structure of an individual life form.


A chemical reaction in which oxygen combines with a substance, changing or destroying its normal function. Oxidation can damage cell membranes and interfere with a cell's regulatory systems, but it is also part of our normal-functioning immune system.


A bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease.


Peptides are smaller than proteins, with short chains of amino acids linked by peptide bonds. They provide the building blocks of proteins.


A blue protein pigment found in algae, involved in the process of photosynthesis.


Relating to the way in which a living organism or bodily part functions.


Compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and other plants that can be health-protecting. Phytochemicals (sometimes called phytonutrients) include beta-carotene, lycopene, and resveratrol.


A chemical compound/micronutrient found in plants that contains more than one phenolic hydroxyl group.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

A common condition that affects a woman’s emotions, behavior, and physical health during certain days of the menstrual cycle, generally just before she menstruates.


Live bacteria that replace or add to the beneficial bacteria normally present in the gastrointestinal tract.


Any class of nitrogenous organic compounds that consist of large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially structural components of body tissues such as muscle, collagen, hair, as well as enzymes and antibodies.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

The amount of nutrients needed daily to prevent the development of disease in most people. An example is vitamin C; the RDA is 70 milligrams, below which, for most people, there is the risk of developing scurvy.


A nutrient-rich food that is considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.


Vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other substances taken orally and meant to correct deficiencies in the diet.


A poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms that is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues, but can also induce neutralizing antitoxins or antibodies.


Not using or containing animal products, such as meat, eggs, dairy, and all other animal-derived ingredients.


Naturally found in plants and animals, vitamins are vital to growth, energy, and nerve function. There are two types of vitamins used by the body to support health: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Water-Soluble Vitamin

Water-soluble vitamins like B-6, C, and folic acid are easily absorbed by the body. Your body uses the vitamins it needs, then excretes excess water-soluble vitamins in urine. Because excess amounts of these vitamins are not stored in the body, there is less risk of toxicity than with fat-soluble vitamins but a greater risk of deficiency.
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