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Natural Health Glossary
Medical Terms, Therapies, Accreditation

Don't forget to check the Herbal Remedies/Herbology 101 reference for more definitions!
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Obese (obesity)
Abnormal body weight, usually defined as more than 20 percent (or more) extra body adipose tissue (fat) above average for age, height, sex, and bone structure. Fat works against the action of insulin. Extra body fat is thought to be a risk factor for diabetes. Obesity may be defined according    (more info - Obese)

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occupational overuse syndrome (oos)
See: repetitive strain injury (RSI).

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oestrogen (estrogen)
A hormone secreted by the ovaries which affect many aspects of the female body, including menstrual cycles and pregnancy. It regulates female reproductive processes and creates feminine secondary sexual characteristics. Some types of cancer depend on estrogen for their growth, and modern-day incr   (more info - oestrogen)

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oil
A triglyceride that is liquid at room temperature. Compare fat.

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ointment
semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation    (more info - ointment)

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Oleanolic acid (oleanic acid)
A naturally occurring triterpenoid, widely distributed in food (e.g. garlic) and medicinal plants (e.g. peonies). It is relatively non-toxic, antitumor, and hepatoprotective, as well as exhibiting antiviral properties. Oleanolic acid was found to exhibit strong anti-HIV activity, the related comp   (more info - Oleanolic acid)

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omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3)
Essential polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish, seals, squid, and several plants that may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Omega-3s are essential to the proper development and functioning of the brain, reproductive systems, and metabolism, as well as helping maint   (more info - omega-3 fatty acids)

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omega-6 fatty acids (omega-6)
Polyunsaturated fats that are essential to the proper development and functioning of the brain, reproductive systems, and metabolism, as well as helping maintain the health of skin and hair. Highest concentrations of this polyunsaturated fat are found in: soy, wheat, rice, hemp oils, grapeseed oil,    (more info - omega-6 fatty acids)

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Omega-7 fatty acids (omega-7)
a class of unsaturated fatty acids in which the site of unsaturation is seven carbon atoms from the end of the carbon chain. The two most common omega-7 fatty acids in nature are palmitoleic acid and vaccenic acid. Rich sources include macadamia nut oil and sea buckthorn oil. See also: omega-3   (more info - Omega-7 fatty acids)

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omega-9 fatty acids (oleic acid)
Monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil, acai fruit (berries), peanuts, soybeans, and avocados.    (more info - omega-9 fatty acids)

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oocyte
The precursor to an egg. A developing female reproductive cell (gametocyte) which divides by meiosis into four haploid cells, forming one ovum that goes on to potentially become fertilized by a sperm cell and two to three polar bodies that subsequently degenerate. An oocyte is an ovum just bef   (more info - oocyte)

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orac
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity: a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in biological samples in vitro. The ORAC method, derived only in test tube experiments, cannot currently be interpreted as relevant to human diets or biology.

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orexigenic
Increasing the appetite. As opposed to "anorexigenic" which decreases the appetite, and is the cause of anorexia. See also orexin.

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orexin
Either of two hormones (orexin-A or orexin-B) produced by the mammalian hypothalamus and functional in the regulation of appetite and sleep. Also called hypocretin. Orexin is a neurotransmitter that promotes wakefulness and energy expenditure by stimulating brainstem arousal centers. The orexi   (more info - orexin)

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organic
A fertilizer that is derived from animal or vegetable matter;Of, relating to, or derived from living organisms;Of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth   (more info - organic)

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Organizational Citizenship Behaviours (OCBs)
OCBs are (positive) work-related actions and interactions that are the result of personal choice - in other words, actions that go above ad beyond the call of duty. They are performed purely on the initiative of the individual (employee, manager, director) as opposed to being specified or dictated    (more info - Organizational Citizenship Behaviours (OCBs))

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organochlorine
Also: organochloride, chlorocarbon, chlorinated hydrocarbon, or chlorinated solvent. An organic compound containing at least one covalently bonded chlorine atom (carbon and chlorine). Organochlorines, are mainly synthetic and include long-lasting industrial chemicals such as PCBs, dioxin and DDT.   (more info - organochlorine)

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organophosphates
1. A class of biochemicals that contain phosphorus (phosphoric acid), including DNA and RNA. 2. The foundational component of insecticides that interfere with an insect's nervous system; also herbicides, nerve gasses. Most commonly used to describe the category of pesticides that replaced organ   (more info - organophosphates)

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ornithine
An amino acid that does not occur in proteins but is important in the formation of urea. It is one of the products of the action of the enzyme arginase on L-arginine, creating urea. Ornithine is a central part of the urea cycle, which allows for the disposal of excess nitrogen. It is recycled and   (more info - ornithine)

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Ortho Bionomy
A non-invasive, osteopathically-based form of body therapy where the practitioner uses gentle movements and positions of the body to facilitate the change of stress and pain patterns. A strong focus is placed on the comfort of the individual, no forceful manipulations are used. The practitioner als   (more info - Ortho Bionomy)

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Orthodics
Foot & posture-related corrective therapy.

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Orthotherapy
A relatively new profession, focusing on pain relief, relaxation and regaining flexibility. It seeks to align and straighten the body using gentle massage techniques and stretching exercises.

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Osteoarthritis
Inflammation of the joint; a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including chronic breakdown of articular cartilage and subchondral bone. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, and this the most common form of arthritis occurring usually after middle age. Sympt   (more info - Osteoarthritis)

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Osteoblast (osteoblastic)
A cell from which bone develops; its function is to form the tissue and minerals that give bone its strength. One of the protoplasmic cells which occur in the osteogenetic layer of the periosteum, and from or around which the matrix of the bone is developed; an osteoplast.

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Osteopathic manual treatment (osteopathy)
A branch of medicine that specializes in treatment that allows the body to heal itself by removing internal and external roadblocks to normal function; any bone disease. It is based on the assumption that restoring health is best accomplished by manipulating the skeleton and muscles. Osteopathy a   (more info - Osteopathic manual treatment)

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Osteopenia
The condition of diffuse decrease in bone density. It is further categorized by histologic appearance of osteoporosis or osteomalacia. It is considered by many doctors to be a precursor to osteoporosis. However, not every person diagnosed with osteopenia will develop osteoporosis. More specifical   (more info - Osteopenia)

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Osteoporosis
Abnormal loss of bony tissue resulting in fragile porous bones attributable to a lack of calcium; most common in postmenopausal and elderly women. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture deteriorates, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are alter   (more info - Osteoporosis)

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Ovarian cysts (pcos)
A pathological but usually noncancerous cavity in the ovary containing fluid, semisolid material or gas, and lined by a membrane. While most ovarian cysts are relatively harmless, a small percentage of women will develop polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and the cysts will cause fluctuations in   (more info - Ovarian cysts)

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Oxalic acid (oxalate)
Oxalate: a salt or ester of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid: a toxic colorless crystalline organic acid found in oxalis and other plants; used as a bleach and rust remover and in chemical analysis. Oxalic acid occurs naturally in many plants, often as crystals. At room temperature it is a transparent   (more info - Oxalic acid)

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oxidation (oxidative stress)
Literally, this means "stress that takes place in the presence of oxygen". It is the process by which free radicals and other oxidating agents damage cells by disrupting the balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants. Harmful effects include changes to lipids, proteins, and DNA -- initiatin   (more info - oxidation)

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oxyacids
From "oxygen acid". An acid containing oxygen, as chloric acid or sulphuric acid; contrasted with the hydracids, which contain no oxygen, as hydrochloric acid. See Acid.

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oxytocin
A hormone (neurohormone) secreted by the posterior pituitary gland. It acts primarily as a neurotransmitter in the brain and it stimulates contractions during labour/labor, and then the production of milk. Recent studies have begun to investigate oxytocin's role in various behaviors, including orgas   (more info - oxytocin)

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