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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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African Traditional medicine (traditional african medicine)
A holistic discipline involving indigenous herbalism and African spirituality, typically involving diviners, midwives, and herbalists. Practitioners of traditional African medicine claim to be able to cure various and diverse conditions such as cancers, psychiatric disorders, high blood pressure, ch   (more info - African Traditional medicine)

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herbal tea (tisane)
"Herbal tea" or tisane, is a catch-all term for any non-caffeinated beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material. These drinks are distinguished from caffeinated beverages like coffee, maté, kuding, and the true teas (black, green, white, yellow, oolo   (more info - herbal tea)

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sucrose (table sugar)
1. A water-soluble disaccharide which is used as our everyday table sugar. It is produced by most plants but is most commonly extracted from sugarcane and sugar beets. 2. A form of sugar that the body must break down into a more simple form before the blood can absorb it and take it to the cells.   (more info - sucrose)

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t lymphocyte (t cells)
A small lymphocyte developed in the thymus; it orchestrates the immune system's response to infected or malignant cells. Compare B lymphocytes.

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Tachycardia
Tachycardia is an abnormally fast heart rate. In healthy adults, the normal resting heart rate is about 70-80 beats per minute (athletes often have resting heart rates in the 60s and sometimes lower). In newborn babies, the normal heart rate is 120-160 beats per minute.

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Tai chi (taiji)
A centuries-old martial art practiced by people around the world for its long term health benefits which include improved circulation, stress reduction, and for its practical fighting applications.   (more info - Tai chi)

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tannin
Not to be confused with 'tannic acid'. Vegetable tannins are a set of complex phenolic substances (polyphenolic compounds) found in grapes (and thus certain wines), tea, chocolate, grain husks, unroasted nuts (like walnuts and peanuts), beans (particularly red ones), berries, many spic   (more info - tannin)

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taurine
A colorless crystalline substance obtained from the bile of mammals (originally from an ox, hence the name). An organic acid occurring in small quantity in the juices of muscle, in the lungs, and elsewhere, but especially in the bile, where it is found as a component part of taurocholic acid, fr   (more info - taurine)

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telomeres
A compound structure at the end of a eukaryotic chromosome. Telomeres act as caps to keep the sticky ends of chromosomes from randomly clumping together. Telomere regions deter the degradation of genes near the ends of chromosomes by allowing chromosome ends to shorten, which necessarily occurs d   (more info - telomeres)

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temporoparietal
The temporoparietal junction of the brain is the area where the temporal and parietal lobes meet. Electromagnetic disruptions of the TPJ have been shown to affect individuals' abilities to make moral decisions. The temporal lobe(s) lies underneath the temple, and is the region of the brain respo   (more info - temporoparietal)

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tendonitis (tendinitis)
inflammation of a tendon

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tennis elbow
painful inflammation of the tendon at the outer border of the elbow resulting from overuse of lower arm muscles (as in twisting of the hand)

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Teratology (teratogen)
A chemical (such as alcohol, thalidomide, X-rays, or rubella) that can cause birth defects by adversely altering the development of an embryo or fetus without necessarily altering the organism's genetic structure. Compare mutagen. Teratology is the study of abnormalities of physiological developm   (more info - Teratology)

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terpenes
An unsaturated hydrocarbon obtained from plants. Isomeric hydrocarbons of a pleasing aromatic odor, occuring especially in coniferous plants (evergreens). Includes turpentine and certain hydrocarbons found in essential or volatile oils. Any of many aromatic hydrocarbons or hydrocarbon derivati   (more info - terpenes)

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terpenoids (isoprenoid)
A class of hydrocarbons occurring in many higher plants. Sometimes called isoprenoids, terpenoids are a large and diverse class of naturally occurring organic chemicals similar to terpenes. These lipids can be found in all classes of living things, and are the largest group of natural products.    (more info - terpenoids)

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testosterone
A potent androgenic hormone produced chiefly by the testes; responsible for the development of male secondary sex characteristics (like body hair). Testosterone is a steroid hormone which is necessary for male sexual reproduction and may also play a role in female sexual response. It is linked to   (more info - testosterone)

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tetrahydrobiopterin (bh4)
A naturally occurring essential cofactor of the three aromatic amino acid hydroxylase enzymes. It is used in breaking down the amino acid phenylalanine and in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters: serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT), melatonin, dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and   (more info - tetrahydrobiopterin)

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Thai Massage (thai yoga massage)
A combination of Yoga stretches, stimulation of the meridians -- Acupressure points, muscle massage, and Joint manipulation/stimulation. This type of massage is typically done on a mat on the floor, fully clothed, with no oil.    (more info - Thai Massage)

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theobromine
An alkaloidal ureide, {C7H8N4O2}, homologous with and resembling caffeine, produced artificially, and also extracted from cacao and chocolate (from {Theobroma Cacao}) as a bitter white crystalline substance; -- called also {dimethyl xanthine}.

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Therapeutic Touch
Therapeutic Touch™ (Trademark held by the Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario), a contemporary interpretation of several ancient healing practices, is a consciously directed process of energy exchange during which Practitioners use their hands as a focus for facilitating healing. This techniqu   (more info - Therapeutic Touch)

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thermotherapeutics (thermotherapy)
Thermotherapeutics is the use of heat to ameliorate ailments. It includes radiant heating (infrared rays) or conductive heating devices like: heating pads, hot water bottles, warming creams or lotions, bathing therapy, paraffin baths, and saunas.   (more info - thermotherapeutics)

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thiamin
See Vitamin B1

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thiamine (vitamin b1)
thiamine pyrophosphate is the active form, a sulfur/nitrogen compound ensures that your appetite stays active. it is required by your body to use carboydrates to generate energy.   (more info - thiamine)

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Thrombus (blood clot)
Blood clot: A gelatinous or semisolid mass of coagulated red and white blood cells; the final product of the blood coagulation step in hemostasis (the process which causes bleeding to stop). Thrombus: a blood clot formed within a blood vessel and remaining attached to its place of origin. There    (more info - Thrombus)

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thujone
Thujone is a monoterpene GABA receptor antagonist that sensitizes neurons; it is reputed to be an aphrodisiac, increasing brain activity and causing hallucinations, spasms, convulsions, and even death. Most noted for its (naturally occurring) presence in wormwood and the drink Absinthe, It is   (more info - thujone)

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thymol
An oil found in thyme (or synthesized as a colorless crystalline solid) used in perfume or preserving biological specimens or in embalming or medically as a fungicide or antiseptic. It is found in antiseptics, toothpastes and mouthwashes.

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thymus
The thymus gland is a ductless gland in the throat, or in the neighboring region, of nearly all vertebrates, that produces T cells, essential in the body's immune system. In man and other mammals it is the throat, or neck, sweetbread, which lies in the upper part of the thorax and lower part of t   (more info - thymus)

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Thyroid gland (thyroid)
Of or pertaining to the thyroid gland (one of the largest endocrine glands located near the base of the neck), thyroid cartilage, or thyroid artery; thyroideal; suggestive of a thyroid disorder (e.g. "thyroid personality"); of or relating to the thyroid gland (e.g. "thyroid deficiency"; "thyroidal    (more info - Thyroid gland)

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tincture
A medication that is an alcoholic solution of an extract of a vegetable or animal substance or a chemical.    (more info - tincture)

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tintinitis (tinnitus)
The sensation of a ringing, roaring, or buzzing sound in the ears or head; often associated with various forms of a hearing impairment. Tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people between 55 and 65 years old, rendering many of them unable to sleep properly, and/or causing depression. Tinnitus can be per   (more info - tintinitis)

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tocopherols
Any of eight antioxidant, fat-soluble compounds found in vegetable oils. This vitamin is necessary for muscle and red blood cell development and normal reproduction. Deficiency in this vitamin causes excessively dry skin in some individuals. It is also an anticoagulant, and an antioxidant

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tocotrienols
light yellow, fat-soluble, viscous oil produced primarily in plants.

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tonic
Medicinal preparations used to restore normal tone to tissues or to stimulate the appetite.

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topical
Pertaining to the surface of the body.

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tourniquet
An instrument for arresting hemorrhage. Essentially it consists of a pad or compress upon which pressure is made by a band which is tightened.

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toxoplasma
* Toxoplasma is a microscopic parasite that may infect a wide variety of birds and mammals, including humans. Infection occurs when there is contact with the Toxoplasma parasitic egg. * Improperly handling meat and eating undercooked meat may cause illness. Fruits and vegetables from garden   (more info - toxoplasma)

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traditional chinese medicine (tcm)
Traditional Chinese medicine is a 2000+ year old medical system that encompasses many natural health modalities including herbology, diet and nutrition, bodywork (including acupuncture, tui na and anma massages), tai chi, Qigong, mind-body therapies, and dietary therapy.    (more info - traditional chinese medicine)

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trager
gentle, non-intrusive, natural movements to help release physical and mental patterns and facilitate deep relaxation, increased physical mobility, and mental clarity.

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trans fatty acid (trans fat)
A fatty acid that has been been produced by hydrogenating an polyunsaturated fat (and so changing its shape); found in processed foods such as margarine and fried foods and puddings and commercially baked goods and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.    (more info - trans fatty acid)

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transcendental meditation
A silent, formalized version of Vedic or mantra meditation adapted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from his own teacher, Brahmananda Saraswati. The technique is practiced twice a day for fifteen to twenty minutes each session.   (more info - transcendental meditation)

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Transcranial stimulation (brain stimulation)
For most people the term "Brain Stimulation" is associated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) but, newer brain stimulating technologies have been developed in recent years. These newer techniques do not have the cognitive side-effects associated with ECT and which do not require anesthesia. Mod   (more info - Transcranial stimulation)

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Transient ischemic attack (tia)
A stroke-like event: a brief episode in which the brain gets insufficient blood supply caused by a blocked blood vessel; symptoms depend on the site of the blockage. A transient ischemic attack is characterized by transient (lasting less than 24 hours) manifestations of focal ischemic cerebral ne   (more info - Transient ischemic attack)

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Traumatic brain injury (brain injury)
Damage to brain tissue occuring when an external force traumatically injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism (closed or penetrating head injury), or other features (e.g., occurring in a specific location or over a widespread area). Head injury usually refers to TBI,    (more info - Traumatic brain injury)

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Triclosan
An antibacterial and antifungal agent found in many household and office cleaners and personal care products, in use since 1972. According to the FDA, while many products contain triclosan, there is no evidence that triclosan provides an extra benefit to health beyond its anti-gingivitis effect i   (more info - Triclosan)

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trigger finger
an irritation of the digital sheath that surrounds the flexor tendons of the finger. When the tendon sheath becomes thickened or swollen, it pinches the tendon and prevents it from gliding smoothly. In some cases, the tendon catches and then suddenly releases causing a popping sensation.

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Trigger points (trigger point therapy)
Trigger points (also known as trigger sites or muscle knots) are described as hyperirritable spots in skeletal muscle that are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers (see: fascia). Trigger points form only in muscles. They form as a local contraction in a small number of    (more info - Trigger points)

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triglyceride
A complex molecule, made of fatty acids, which is the main component of dietary and body fat. A form of fat that the body can make from sugar, alcohol or excess calories; a form of circulating fat found in plaque and cholesterol.

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Tryptophan
An amino acid that occurs in proteins; is essential for growth and normal metabolism; a precursor of niacin. Tryptophan is one of the twenty naturally occurring amino acids that act as building blocks in protein biosynthesis. It is a biochemical precursor to serotonin, niacin, and the phytohormon   (more info - Tryptophan)

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tuberculosis (tb)
An infection transmitted by inhalation or ingestion of tubercle bacilli and manifested in fever and small lesions (usually in the lungs but in various other parts of the body in acute stages). Tuberculosis is a highly infectious, potentially fatal disease of humans and animals caused by the Gram-   (more info - tuberculosis)

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tui na
A form of tissue manipulation (massage) targeting the accupressure points (or "acupoints"). Practitioners may use kneading, rolling, rubbing, pressure, and brushing to stimulate the points and return the flow of energy to the tissue and through that area of the body. (Not to be confused with Chine   (more info - tui na)

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tumor (tumour)
A location where cells in the body multiply at an increased rate. They can interfere with vital body functions and absorb nutrients that are needed elsewhere. Some tumours are benign (not cancerous), which means that they will generally grow much more slowly and stay put in one area. Others are m   (more info - tumor)

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Tyrosine
One of the twenty naturally occurring amino acids. Tyrosine is found in most proteins and is the amino acid from which dopamine is made, and a precursor of several hormones (thyroid hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine). Tyrosine is found in many high-protein food products such as: chicken, tu   (more info - Tyrosine)

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