Herbs of Grace Herbalism and Natural Skin Care Glossary

(NOTE: While Herbs of Grace, Inc no longer manufactures products that use the ingredients listed in this article, I feel that the information is important, so I have left the article on the website for educational purposes.)

New to herbalism or just want to learn more? This glossary provides information about the traditional uses and beliefs about the herbs and oils we use in our products and explains some of the technical terms used in describing the preparation of soaps and toiletries.

Please note that the Herbs of Grace Glossary is provided “as is,” for informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Herbs of Grace does not make any medicinal claims for any of its products.


Item Traditional Uses
Almonds Emollient, exfoliant and cleansing
Aloe Used for burns, cut, bruises and irritated skin. Soothing and moisturizing, stimulates growth of new skin cells
Baking Soda/ Soothing, deodorizing, draws oils and impurities from the skin
Balsam Peru Vanilla-like scent, warming and disinfecting, a potent fixative in perfumery
Beeswax Natural thickener and emulsifier
Bergamot Anti-depressant, for insomnia, uplifting
Burdock A nourishing herb full of minerals, has been used extensively for skin problems of all kinds
Calendula Calendula said to be very healing to the skin
Carnation Petals Easing to headaches
Castor Oil An humectant, moisturizing and emollient. Very good in shampoo
Cedarwood Antiseptic and calming also good for acne prone skin
Chamomile A gentle herb great for sensitive skin and stressfull conditions and also has anti-inflammatory properties
Cinnamon Cinnamon is said to be astringent and therefore good for oily skin. It is also know to be soothing to sore muscles
Cocoa Butter Emollient, skin softener
Coconut Oil Emollient, skin conditioner, produces a hard soap with lots of lather
Comfrey One of the best known healing herbs, it is rich in allantoin, is emollient and said to regenerate cells
Cornmeal Exfoliating and cleansing
Cornstarch Emollient and a thickener
Dandelion Good liver herb, good for skin eruptions and sensitivities
Dead Sea Mineral Salt Soothing and healing to the skin. Dead Sea Minerals are said to be healing to many different ailments of the body
Epsom Salt Relieves aches and pains, stimulating, draws oils and impurities from the skin
Essential Oils The part of a plant that possesses the fragrance of that plant, is usually extracted by steam distillation
Frankincense Skin tonic, anxiety and nervous tension, soothing
Geranium Both sedative and uplifting, refreshing, relieves tired and aching limbs. Traditionally used for skin problems, also for circulatory conditions
Glycerine A byproduct of soapmaking, is a viscous humectant and an emollient
Grape Seed Oil Emollient, non-greasy, nonallergenic
Honey Soothing and nourishing to the skin, it is also cleansing and moisturizing
Infused Oils Herbs are steeped in oil and then strained out, leaving the properties of the herbs in the oil.
Jojoba Similar to natural human sebum, emollient, moisturizing, humectant
Lavender Relaxing, anti-infectious, anti-inflamatory, antiseptic and healing to the skin and may also provide headache and stress relief.
Lemon Essential Oil lemon is known for its energizing properties, it is also astringent and antiseptic.
Lemongrass Lemongrass is known to be cooling, antiseptic and deodorizing, also an insect repellent
Licorice Root Emollient and soothing when used topically
Neroli Said to relieve nervous tension, depression and anxiety. Promotes healthy skin cells
Oatmeal Oats are commonly prescribed for dry skin conditions as they are very soothing and softening to the skin
Olive Oil Emollient, restorative, soothing, mild, cleansing and very moisturizing
Orange Peel Aromatic, antiseptic
Palm Oil Mild, cleansing, produces a hard bar of soap
Parsley Cleansing, soothing and healing
Peppermint Peppermint is said to be calming, head-clearing and soothing to sore muscles
Poppy Seeds Poppy seeds are exfoliating
Red Clover Stimulating, promotes healing
Rose Mild astringent and moisturizer – especially good for mature skin
Rosemary Rosemary is known to be an astringent, helps relieve headaches and is said to improve memory. Is also used for muscular aches and pains
Rosewood Anti-depressant, cell stimulant, uplifting
Sage Sage has been used since the roman empire as an effective natural deodorant and antiperspirant
Saponified Oils Saponification is the process of lye and oils combining to create soap
Sea Salt Soothing and healing to skin
Spearmint Aids indigestion, fevers and nausea, and is stimulating and deodorizing
St. John’s Wort Infused in oil is good for sore muscles, is said to be a cell regenerant
Sweet Almond Oil Emollient, good for all skin types
Tangerine Mild, uplifting, calming, good for nerves and skin
Tea Tree Essential Oil Is known to be antiseptic, antibiotic, and anti-fungal, with insect repellent qualities.
Vitamin E Preservative, helps prevent scarring, is said to slow aging of the skin
Walnut Oil Good for all skin types, emollient, penetrating
White Clay Gently draws oils and impurities from the skin
Witch Hazel Astringent

©2014, Herbs of Grace.

This article is copyrighted by Vanessa Nixon Klein, the proprietor of Herbs of Grace, who is a Traditional Naturopath specializing in medicinal herbalism, nutritional therapy, homeopathy and aromatherapy. If you would like to reprint this article, either online or in print, please contact us.  vanessa@herbsofgrace.com

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