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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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Adenoma (polyp)
Adenomas are benign epithelial tumours that develop from glandular tissue. A polyp is a growth protruding from a mucosal plane. Polyps are usually benign, but some have the potential to become cancerous.    (more info - Adenoma)

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animal assisted therapy (pet therapy)
Also called pet-facilitated therapy. Animal-assisted therapies include any therapy that uses dogs, cats, horses, or other companion animals to improve the physical and mental well-being of patients, most with acute or chronic diseases. It is also being studied as a way to relieve distress in can   (more info - animal assisted therapy)

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exercise (physical activity)
Exertion for the sake of training or improvement whether physical, intellectual, or moral; practice to acquire skill, knowledge, virtue, perfectness, grace, etc.;Systematic training by multiple repetitions; "practice makes perfect";Do physical exercise; "She works out in the gym every day"; Physi   (more info - exercise)

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Light therapy (phototherapy)
Classically referred to as heliotherapy, light therapy consists of exposure to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light using lasers, light-emitting diodes, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps or very bright, full-spectrum light, usually controlled with various devices. The light is administered f   (more info - Light therapy)

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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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pain
A somatic sensation of acute discomfort; "as the intensity increased the sensation changed from tickle to pain";A symptom of some physical hurt or disorder; "the patient developed severe pain and distension"Emotional distress; a fundamental feeling that people try to avoid; "the pain of loneliness"T   (more info - pain)

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palmitic acid
Also called "hexadecanoic acid". A saturated fatty acid that is the major fat in meat and dairy products. Palmitic acid is a major component of the oil from palm trees (palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil). Retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant and a source of vitamin A added to low fat milk   (more info - palmitic acid)

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palpitations
sensation of rapid/erratic heartbeats.

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panicles
A cluster of flowers/florets, in a pyramidal form, loosely branched below and gradually simpler toward the end.

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pantothenic acid (vitamin b5)
Another of the vitamin b complexes, is used by the body in growth, reproduction and daily physiological functions. Pantothenic acid makes it possible for your body to process carbohydrates and make hormones. it also helps to regulate your blood sugar, not to mention protecting nerve, brain and musc   (more info - pantothenic acid)

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Paracetamol (acetaminophen)
An analgesic drug that reduces mild pain and fever (antipyretic), but not inflammation. Datril and Tylenol and Panadol and Phenaphen and Tempra and Anacin III are trademarks of brands of acetaminophen tablets. The words acetaminophen and paracetamol both come from a chemical name for the compound: p   (more info - Paracetamol)

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Parasympathetic nervous system
One of two main divisions of the autonomic nervous system, the other being the sympathetic nervous system. Originates in the brain stem and lower part of the spinal cord; opposes the (complementary) physiological effects of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the flight-or-fight response   (more info - Parasympathetic nervous system)

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paresthesia
Abnormal touch sensations, such as burning or prickling, that occur without an outside stimulus.

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parietal cells
Cells in the stomach wall that make hydrochloric acid.

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Parkinson's Disease (parkinson's)
Definition: A progressive, degenerative disorder of the central nervous system characterized by muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, decreased mobility, stooped posture,slow voluntary movements, a mask-like facial expression, and often dementia. Parkinson's disease is correlated with the death of ner   (more info - Parkinson's Disease)

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PDHom(UK)
Practitioner Diploma in Homoeopathy School of Homoeopathy (4 Year Programme, England)

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pectin
Any of various water-soluble colloidal carbohydrates that occur in ripe fruit and vegetables; used in making fruit jellies and jams. Pectin is especially common in fleshy fruits, as apples, cranberries, etc. It is extracted as variously colored, translucent substances, which are soluble in hot water   (more info - pectin)

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pellagra
Disease caused by deficiency of niacin or tryptophan (or by a defect in the metabolic conversion of tryptophan to niacin). Symptoms include diarrhea, skin inflammation and dementia (brain disturbance); may be caused by malnutrition or alcoholism or other nutritional impairments.

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pepsin (pepsis)
An enzyme produced in the stomach that breaks down proteins into peptones. In the gastric juice it is united with dilute hydrochloric acid (0.2 per cent, approximately) and the two together constitute the active portion of the digestive fluid. It is the active agent in the gastric juice of all anim   (more info - pepsin)

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peptic ulcer
Sore in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum, usually caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. An ulcer in the stomach is a gastric ulcer; an ulcer in the duodenum is a duodenal ulcer.

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peptides
Two or more amino acids joined by a bond called a "peptide bond". Peptides are amides combining the amino group of one amino acid with the carboxyl group of another; usually obtained by partial hydrolysis of protein.

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perception
The process of organizing information received through the senses and interpreting it. This is done by the conscious, mentally aware brain. Perception (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and unde   (more info - perception)

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perillyl alcohol
Found in Lavender, this monoterpene has repeatedly been shown to have antitumerous effects. Research published at PubMed indicate its efficacy at not only preventing cancerous growths, but incurring regression in small tumours. See also volatile oil, terpene.

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periodontitis (pyorrhea)
A disease that attacks the gum and bone and around the teeth caused by microorganisms that adhere to and grow on the tooth's surfaces, along with an over-aggressive immune response against these microorganisms; typically seen after gingivitis. Periodontitis is actually a set of inflammatory disea   (more info - periodontitis)

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Peripheral artery disease (peripheral vascular disease)
The obstruction of large arteries not within the coronary, aortic arch vasculature, or brain. Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) can result from atherosclerosis, inflammatory processes leading to stenosis, an embolism, or thrombus formation. It causes either acute or chronic ischemia (lack of bloo   (more info - Peripheral artery disease)

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Peripheral neuropathy (neuropathy)
Any pathology of the peripheral nerves; a problem in any part of the nervous system except the brain and spinal cord. Neuropathies can be caused by infection, toxic substances, or disease. Many people who have had diabetes for a while have nerve damage. The three major forms of nerve damage are:    (more info - Peripheral neuropathy)

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pernicious anaemia (pernicious anemia)
Anemia due to the production of an autoantibody against the parietal cells and a blocking antibody that blocks the binding of vitamin B12 to the intrinsic factor. A third autoantibody blocks the absorption of the B12-intrinsic factor complex . Megaloblastic anemia (anemia characterized by many large   (more info - pernicious anaemia)

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Personal Trainer
A person who creates custom individualized diet and exercise portfolios for the client.

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pesticides (biopesticides)
Pesticides are chemicals used to kill unwanted organisms such as rats, insects, fungi, nematodes, etc. Pesticides often act as nerve poisons, and they are hazardous to animals and humans (some pesticides can cause nerve or liver damage, birth defects and cancer). Biopesticides are pesticides that   (more info - pesticides)

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pH
From chemistry: the p(otential of) H(ydrogen). The system of measuring the acidity or alkalinity of a substance; pH values run from 1 to 14 (where 7 is neutral, <7 is acidic, and >7 is basic).   (more info - pH)

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pharmacognosy
A subfield of pharmacology which studies natural drugs, including the study of their biological and chemical components, botanical sources, and other characteristics (economic, biochemical, biological, etc.).

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pharmacology
The science that deals with the discovery, chemistry, composition, identification, biological/physiological effects, uses and manufacture of drugs.

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Phenethyl isothiocyanate (peitc)
A naturally occurring isothiocyanate that is found in some cruciferous vegetables. PEITC has been studied for its potential for chemoprevention. Biosynthetically, PEITC is produced from gluconasturtiin by the action of the enzyme myrosinase. A synthetic version is used for amino acid sequencin   (more info - Phenethyl isothiocyanate)

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phenolic compounds
A set of weak acids with at least one of the hydroxyl groups (containing one or more phenolic group), and typically, a grouping of natural organic compounds including polyphenols like ellagic acid, gallic acid, and tannins. The largest and best studied natural phenols are the flavonoids, which in   (more info - phenolic compounds)

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phenylalanine
an essential amino acid found in proteins and needed for growth of children and for protein metabolism in children and adults; abundant in milk and eggs; it is normally converted to tyrosine in the human body

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Pheromone
A hormone-like chemical substance secreted externally into the environment by some animals (especially insects) that influences the physiology or behaviour of other animals of the same species. There are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior   (more info - Pheromone)

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Phlorotannins
Phlorotannins are a type of tannins found in brown algae such as kelps and rockweeds or sargassacean species. Contrary to hydrolysable or condensed tannins, these compounds are oligomers of phloroglucinol (polyphloroglucinols). As they are called tannnins, they have the aility to precipitate prot   (more info - Phlorotannins)

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phosphates
A phosphate is an inorganic chemical that is a salt of phosphoric acid. In biological systems, phosphorus is found as a free phosphate ion in solution and is called inorganic phosphate, to distinguish it from phosphates bound in various phosphate esters. An important occurrence of phosphates i   (more info - phosphates)

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phosphorus
A mineral found in many foods including milk, milk products and meats. It is important for strong bones and teeth, as well as for proper nerve function. Phosphorus forms part of the structural framework of biological molecules like DNA and RNA. Living cells also use phosphate to transport cellula   (more info - phosphorus)

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photosensitivity
Oversensitivity of the skin to sunlight or other radiant energy, sometimes following exposure to sensitizing chemicals or drugs, resulting in accelerated burning of the skin by ultraviolet (UV) light; possible effects range from itching and swelling to skin cancer.

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phthalate
A salt or ester of phthalic acid (a white crystalline substance, C6H4.(CO2H)2, analogous to benzoic acid, and employed in the brilliant dyestuffs called the phthaleins). They are used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other plastics, as well as to hold colour and scent. Phthlalates are th   (more info - phthalate)

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phylloquinone (vitamin k1)
A fat-soluble vitamin that helps in the clotting of blood (antihemorrhagic factor). See thrombosis.

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phytates
Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially bran and seeds. It is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. Phytate is not digestible to humans or nonruminant animals, however, so it is not a source of either inositol or phosphate if eaten di   (more info - phytates)

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phytochemicals (phytonutrients)
Generally, any chemical or nutrient derived from a plant source, but really used to discuss plant chemicals that impart health benefits. They are compounds that are not required for the normal functions of the body, but have a beneficial effect on health or the amelioration of disease. Phytochemi   (more info - phytochemicals)

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phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are phenolic compounds that are natural components of certain plants and that are structurally similar to mammalian estrogens. Many isoflavones act as phytoestrogens in mammals. Legumes (in particular soybeans), whole grain cereals, and some seeds are high in phytoestrogens. A more   (more info - phytoestrogens)

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phytonutrients
A phytochemical (plant-based chemical) that provides nourishment. Generally used to class those that have not been established as essential nutrients.   (more info - phytonutrients)

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phytoremediation
Using green plants to remove pollutants or render them harmless. Phytoremediation can refer to keeping plants indoors to clean the air, or using plants for pollution clean-up of contaminated soils or water.

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phytosterols
   (more info - phytosterols)

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phytotherapy
the use of standardized plant extracts for medicinal purposes

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Pilates Exercise (pilates)
low impact body maintenance program designed to stretch and strengthen muscles, open joints and release tension, resulting in improved posture and ease of movement during daily activities, recreation and sports.

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Pituitary Gland (pituitary)
The master gland of the endocrine system; located at the base of the brain; of or relating to the pituitary gland, e.g. "pituitary hormone"; having abnormal size with overgrown extremities resulting from abnormal pituitary secretion e.g. "a protruding acromegalic jaw" or "a pituitary dwarf". Horm   (more info - Pituitary Gland)

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placebo
An innocuous or inert medication; given as a pacifier or to the control group in experiments on the efficacy of a drug or treatment. Common placebos include inert tablets, sham surgery, and other procedures based on false information. The control group is the group which does not receive the expe   (more info - placebo)

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plaster
A bandage used on highly sensitive skin. An herbal plaster consists of selected botanicals between two cloths, and applied to the affected area.

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Platelet-rich plasma (prp)
Platelet-rich plasma (Abbreviation: PRP) is blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets. As a concentrated source of autologous platelets, PRP contains (and releases through degranulation) several different growth factors and other cytokines that stimulate healing of bone and soft tissue.    (more info - Platelet-rich plasma)

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pneumonia
A respiratory disease characterized by inflammation of the lung (alveolar parenchyma, excluding the bronchi) with congestion caused by viruses, bacteria, or irritants. Most pneumonias are caused by infections, but some could be caused by physical or chemical agents. Chronic pneumonia is the infec   (more info - pneumonia)

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polarity
A health system involving energy-based bodywork, diet, exercise and self- awareness. It works with the Human Energy Field, electro- magnetic patterns expressed in mental, emotional and physical experience.

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polychlorinated biphenyls (pcb)
A group of organic compounds. PCB's are highly toxic to aquatic life. They persist in the environment for long periods of time, and they are bioaccumulants (collect in the body). They primarily damage the liver.

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (poly-aromatic hydrocarbons)
Potent atmospheric pollutants that consist of fused aromatic rings. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass). As a pollutant, they are of concern because some compounds have been i   (more info - Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)

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polymer
A naturally occurring or synthetic molecule made up of a linked series of repeated simple monomers (smaller molecules, simple compounds).

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polyphenols
The most common of the phenolic compounds found in plants - their skins, seeds, and flesh. Polyphenols provide the colour and flavour, as well as acting as antioxidants and neutralizing free radicals in the blood stream. To retain the maximum quantity of polyhenolic benefits, do not peel veggies a   (more info - polyphenols)

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polysaccharide
Any of a class of carbohydrates whose molecules contain chains of monosaccharide molecules (simple sugars). Examples include: carbohydrate, glycogen, inulin, starch, and cellulose.    (more info - polysaccharide)

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polyunsaturated fatty acids (polyunsaturated fats)
A fat that contains a carbon-carbon double bond, or a fat containing unsaturated fatty acids; such a fatty acid has double or triple covalent bonds and is thus able to add more atoms. Polyunsaturated fats are believed to lower blood cholesterol levels and are found at high levels in vegetable oil   (more info - polyunsaturated fatty acids)

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post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd)
An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as guilt about surviving or reliving the trauma in dreams or numbness and lack of involvement with reality or recurrent thoughts and images. Posttraumatic stress disorder is also characterized by avers   (more info - post-traumatic stress disorder)

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Posttraumatic stress disorder (ptsd)
A severe anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as: guilt about surviving or reliving the trauma in dreams or numbness and lack of involvement with reality or recurrent thoughts and images. As an effect of psychological trauma, PTSD is less fr   (more info - Posttraumatic stress disorder)

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potassium
Potassium is an essential mineral macronutrient found in body tissue that plays a critical role in electrolyte and fluid balance in the body. It is the main intracellular ion for all types of cells, and animals, in particular, employ sodium and potassium differentially to generate electrical potenti   (more info - potassium)

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poultice
A medical dressing consisting of a soft heated mass of meal clay or macerated herbs that is spread on a cloth and applied to the skin to treat inflamed areas or improve circulation etc.

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Pounce
1. To fall suddenly and seize with the claws; -- with on or upon; as, a hawk pounces upon a chicken. Also used figuratively. 2. To strike or seize with the talons; to pierce, as with the talons. 3. A fine powder, as of sandarac, or cuttlefish bone, -- formerly used to prevent ink from spreading on   (more info - Pounce)

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Prana
The Sanskrit word for "life", prana is used to describe breath, considered as a life-giving force. It also is used to connote the soul.

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Pranic Healing
Pranic healing is a form of energy therapy that purports to manipulate prana (breath or life force) and the energy body in order to ameliorate discomfort and pain. During a session no physical contact is made between the practitioner and the recipient of the energy.

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Pre hab (prehabilitation)
A form of strength training that aims to prevent injuries before the actual occurrence. Also: any therapies undertaken before surgery or treatments to lessen the recovery and rehabilitation time, such as boosting vitamin D levels. Since rotator cuff and elbow injuries, among other things, are com   (more info - Pre hab)

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pre-menstrual syndrome
premenstrual syndrome is characterized by recurrent and signs and symptoms that develop during the 7 to 14 days before the onset of menstruation and subsides when menstruation occurs. these signs and symptoms can be variable and diverse, such as water retention, food craving, tiredness, excitability   (more info - pre-menstrual syndrome)

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prebiotic
Nondigestible food ingredients that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines (see also probiotics.)   (more info - prebiotic)

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pregnant (pregnancy)
The period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing fetus in her uterus. The condition of having an embryo or fetus developing in the uterus. In humans, pregnancy is the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus, in a woman's uterus. In    (more info - pregnant)

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Premature babies (preterm birth)
Delivered/born before 37 completed weeks since the last normal menstrual period of a pregnancy. Premature infants are at greater risk for cerebral palsy, delays in development, hearing problems, and sight problems. These risks are greater the earlier a baby is born. The chance of survival at less th   (more info - Premature babies)

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Presenteeism
Presenteeism - being physically present but unable to perform at peak levels as a result of physical or mental illness, or because of distraction caused by a wide range of factors including dissatisfaction, external pressures, and interpersonal conflict. Presenteeism is often a hidden cost. Also    (more info - Presenteeism)

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Proanthocyanidin (procyanidin)
Also known as condensed tannins, proanthocyanidins are a subgroup of the flavonoid class of polyphenols, that includes procyanidins, prodelphinidins, and propelargonidins. Examples include epicatechins, catechins. They can be found in many plants, most notably apples, maritime pine bark, cinnamon   (more info - Proanthocyanidin)

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probiotics
General term for a substance that promotes the growth of microorganisms, typically (but not only) in the intestines. Specifically: "Live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host." WHO/FAO. (See also prebiotic.)    (more info - probiotics)

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Progesterone (progesterone )
A steroid hormone produced in the ovary that prepares and maintains the uterus for pregnancy. It belongs to a class of hormones called progestogens, and is the major naturally occurring human progestogen. Progesterone is produced by plants and mammals; Juglans regia (the Persian walnut) was recen   (more info - Progesterone)

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Progestogens (progestin)
Any of a class of steroid hormones that have the effect of progesterone, namely preparing the uterus for egg implantation and pregnancy (pro-gestation). A progestin is a synthetic progestogen that has progestational effects similar to progesterone. Natural sources include wild yam.   (more info - Progestogens)

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prolactin
A pituitary hormone most known for stimulating the breasts to produce milk, but it has other effects in the body. Prolactin also acts in a cytokine-like manner and as an important regulator of the immune system. Prolactin has important cell cycle related functions as a growth-, differentiating- a   (more info - prolactin)

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proline
One of the twenty DNA-encoded amino acids that is found in many proteins (especially collagen).

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Propolis (honey)
A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that produced by bees from nectar collected from flowers of plants, and deposited in the cells of the honeycomb. Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and evaporation. They store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehiv   (more info - Propolis)

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prostaglandins
A group of extremely active substances in the body that affect many organs. Certain prostaglandins have a role in stimulating the uterine contractions of labor and birth. Potent hormone-like substance found in many bodily tissues (and especially in semen); produced in response to trauma and may a   (more info - prostaglandins)

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Prostate gland (prostate)
A firm partly muscular chestnut sized gland in males at the neck of the bladder where it joins the urethra; produces a viscid secretion that is the fluid part of semen; of or relating to the prostate gland. A healthy human prostate is classically said to be slightly larger than a walnut. The mean   (more info - Prostate gland)

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prostatic adenocarcinoma (prostate cancer)
Cancer of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. However, many men with prostate cancer never have symptoms, undergo no    (more info - prostatic adenocarcinoma)

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protease
Any enzyme that catalyzes the splitting of proteins into smaller peptide fractions and amino acids by a process known as proteolysis (cleaving the bonds that link amino acids in protein molecules).

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protein
A molecule made up of amino acids that are needed for the body to function properly. Proteins are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's cells, tissues, and organs; and each protein has unique functions. Examples are hormones, enzymes, cytokines, and antibodies. Pro   (more info - protein)

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Psoriasis
A chronic, inheritable skin disease characterized by dry red patches covered with scales (or sometimes pustular); occurs especially on the scalp and ears and genitalia as well as the skin over bony prominences. There is no cure, but treatments (usually prescription creams containing certain ster   (more info - Psoriasis)

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Psychological resilience (resiliency)
The physical property of a material that can return to its original shape or position after deformation that does not exceed its elastic limit; an occurrence of rebounding or springing back. Psychological resilience is an individual's tendency to cope with stress and adversity. This coping may re   (more info - Psychological resilience)

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psychosomatic (mind-body)
Pertaining to the relationship of the mind and body. Psychosomatic illnesses are those in which a physical disorder is caused or aggravated by emotional factors, like stress and depression. Psychosomatic medicine is an interdisciplinary medical field exploring the relationships among social, psyc   (more info - psychosomatic)

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Psychotherapy (counselling)
1. The treatment of mental or emotional problems by psychological means; 2. The branch of psychiatry concerned with psychological methods. Psychotherapy (also called Talk therapy) is intended to help people who would like to improve their ability to cope with difficulties and problems in their   (more info - Psychotherapy)

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pulmonary
pertaining to the lungs

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purgative
powerful laxative usually leading to explosive, watery diarrhea.

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purine
1. A colorless crystalline nitrogen-containing organic base; the parent compound of various biologically important substances. 2. Any of several bases that are derivatives of purine. Purines are found in high concentration in meat and meat products, especially internal organs such as liver and k   (more info - purine)

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Sweat (perspiration)
Salty fluid excreted from the sweat glands of the skin as part of the homeostatic process; the exocrine process of the sweat glands of the skin secreting a salty fluid. Sweating allows the body to regulate its temperature. (Hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating, usually secondary to an underlying cond   (more info - Sweat)

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xanthophylls (phylloxanthin)
Any of several yellow accessory pigments (carotenoids) found in plant leaves, egg yolks, and human blood plasma; these pigments are oxygen derivatives of carotenes. It is the yellow coloring matter found in yellow autumn leaves, and also produced artificially from chlorophyll. Like other caroteno   (more info - xanthophylls)

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