An inflammable liquid, of fatty consistency and unctuous feel, which is insoluble in water, soluble or insoluble in alcohol, and freely soluble in ether. Oils are variously classified as animal, vegetable, and mineral oils according to their source (the mineral oils probably being of remote animal and vegetable origin); into fatty (fixed) and volatile oils; and into drying and nondrying (fatty) oils, the former becoming gradually thicker when exposed to the air and finally drying to a varnish, the latter not drying but liable to become rancid on exposure. Many of the oils, both fixed and volatile, are used in medicine. For individual oils, see the specific names. [L. oleum; G. elaion, originally olive o.]
- absolute oils essential oils that are obtained by the removal of insoluble compounds from concrete oils.
- o. of American wormseed SYN: o. of chenopodium.
- o. of anise volatile o. derived from the dried ripe fruit of Pimpinella anisum (family Umbelliferae) or of Illicium verum, (family Magnoliaceae) (Chinese star anise); has a characteristic anise aroma, resembling fennel. Used in manufacture of liqueurs, and as flavoring for candies, cookies, dentifrices. Pharmaceutical aid (flavor). Carminative.
- o. of bay volatile o. derived by steam distillation of the dried leaves of Pimenta (Myrcia) acris (family Myrtaceae); o. of myrcia; used as an aromatic in the manufacture of bay rum and as a pharmaceutical aid.
- o. of bergamot volatile o. derived by steam distillation from the rind of the fresh fruit of Citrus aurantium or C. bergamia; contains l-linalyl acetate, l-linalool; d-limonene, dipentene, bergaptene; used as a deodorant in preparations containing malodorous ingredients and as an aromatic in perfumes, hairdressings, and pomades.
- betula o. o. of sweet birch, a volatile o. obtained by distillation from the bark of Betula lenta (sweet birch); used as a flavoring agent and as a counterirritant liniment. SEE ALSO: methyl salicylate.
- o. of bitter almond volatile o. from the dried ripe kernels of bitter almonds or from other kernels containing amygdalin, such as apricots, peaches, plums, and cherries; obtained by steam distillation subsequent to maceration of the source with water. Formerly used as an antipruritic; poisonous—releases hydrocyanic acid (hydrogen cyanide). Only the o. free of hydrogen cyanide may be used to flavor liquors and foods.
- o. of bitter orange volatile o. obtained by steam distillation from the fresh peel of Citrus aurantium (family Rutaceae). Aromatic material used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals and foods and liquors; also used in perfumes.
- o. of cardamom volatile o. obtained by steam distillation from the seeds of Elettaria cardamomum (family Zingiberacea.) A flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals (syrups), liquors, sauces, confections, and baked goods; formerly used as a carminative.
- o. of chenopodium volatile o. from the fresh above-ground part of the flower American wormseed, Chenopodium ambrosioides, or C. anthelminticum. Used as an anthelmintic. SYN: o. of American wormseed.
- o. of cherry laurel volatile o. derived by steam distillation from Prunus laurocerasus (family Rosaceae); similar to o. of bitter almond; highly toxic because of hydrogen cyanide content.
- o. of cinnamon volatile o. obtained by steam distillation from the leaves and twigs of Cinnamomum cassia (family Lauracea). A flavor in foods and perfumes.
- o. of citronella volatile o. obtained by steam distillation of fresh lemon grass. Contains citranellol; used as an insect repellent either on the skin or in the form of incense; also used as a perfume.
- o. of clove volatile o. obtained by steam distillation of the dried flower buds of Eugenia caryophyllata (family Myrtacea). Contains about 85% eugenol along with other constituents. Used in dentistry as a local anesthetic and component of temporary fillings of the teeth. Also used to flavor foods; strong, pungent odor. SYN: clove o..
- concrete oils essential oils obtained by extraction with organic solvents; contain waxes and paraffins.
- o. of coriander volatile o. from the dried ripe fruit of Coriandrum sativum (family Umbelliferae). Flavoring in foods and alcoholic beverages.
- o. of crispmint SYN: o. of spearmint.
- o. of cubeb volatile o. of the unripe fruit of Piper cubeba (family Piperaceae). Formerly used as a urinary antiseptic.
- o. of curled mint SYN: o. of spearmint.
- o. of dwarf pine needles volatile o. from the fresh leaves of Pinus montana (family Pinaceae). Pleasant pine odor; used as a pharmaceutical aid (flavor and perfume). Has been used as an expectorant.
- essential oils plant products, usually somewhat volatile, giving the odors and tastes characteristic of the particular plant, thus possessing the essence, e.g., citral, pinene, camphor, menthane, terpenes; usually, the steam distillates of plants or oils of plants obtained by pressing out the rinds of a particular plant. SEE ALSO: volatile o..
- ethereal o. SYN: volatile o..
- o. of eucalyptus volatile o. from the fresh leaves of Eucalyptus globulus (family Myrtaceae) and some other species of Eucalyptus; native to Australia; pungent o. with a spicy, cooling taste. Has been used as an aromatic in inhalants, as an expectorant, anthelmintic, and local antiseptic.
- fatty o. an o. derived from both animals and plants; chemically, a glyceride of a fatty acid that, by substitution of the glycerine by an alkaline base, is converted into a soap; a fatty o., in contrast to a volatile o., is permanent, leaving a stain on an absorbent surface, and thus is not capable of distillation; it is obtained by expression or extraction; the consistency varies with the temperature, some being liquid (o.'s proper), others semisolid (fats), and others solid (tallows) at ordinary temperatures; both liquid and semisolid oils are congealed by cold and the solids are liquified by heat. SYN: fixed o..
- o. of fennel volatile o. from the dried fruit of Foeniculum vulgare (family Umbelliferae). An aromatic o. with the odor and taste of fennel, similar to anise; used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceuticals. Has been used as a carminative.
- fixed o. SYN: fatty o..
- fusel o. a mixture of side products of alcoholic fermentation; consists primarily of alcohols ( e.g., amyl, propyl, isoamyl, and isobutyl alcohols).
- joint o. SYN: synovial fluid.
- jojoba o. a liquid wax ester mixture extracted from ground or crushed seeds from Simmondsia chinensis and S. californica (family Buxaceae), desert shrubs native to Arizona, California, and northern Mexico. Used extensively in cosmetics for alleged skin softening and lubricating properties; other uses include as lubricant, fuel, chemical feedstock, substitute for sperm whale o.. SYN: o. of jojoba.
- o. of jojoba SYN: jojoba o..
- o. of juniper volatile o. from the dried ripe fruit (berries) of Juniperus communis (family Cupressaceae). Formerly used as a diuretic. Used in perfumery. SYN: juniper berry o..
- o. of lavender volatile o. from fresh flowering tops of Lavandula officinalis (family Labiatae). Aromatic o. used in perfume and as a flavoring agent. Has been used as a carminative.
- o. of lemon volatile o. expressed from fresh peel of Citrus limonum (family Rutaceae). Aromatic o. used for flavoring pharmaceuticals, liqueurs, pastry, foods, and beverages and in perfumes.
- o. of lemon grass volatile o. from Cymbopogon citratus and of C. flexuosus (family Gramineae). Used in perfumery and as a source of citral for the synthesis of vitamin A.
- Lorenzo o. a mixture of four parts glyceryl trioleate and one part glyceryl trierucate; used in treatment of adrenoleukodystrophy. [for Lorenzo Odone, a child with adrenoleukodystrophy, whose family's discovery and support of this agent were dramatized in the U.S. film Lorenzo's O. (1992)]
- olive o. The expressed o. of the fruit of Olea europaea; used as a cholagogue, laxative, and emollient, in the preparation of liniments, and in the preparation of foods.
- palm o. an o. obtained from the seeds of Elaeis guineensis (family Palmae); used in the manufacture of soap, liniments, and ointments and also in foods.
- o. of pennyroyal either American or European. The former is a volatile o. derived from the flowering tops and leaves of Hedeoma pulegioides (family Labiatae). Contains pulegone and ketones. European is o. of pulegium; a volatile o. from Mentha pulegium (family Labiatae); about 85% pulegone. Has been used as an aromatic carminative, abortifacient, and insect repellent.
- o. of peppermint a volatile o. containing menthol (not less than 50% of total) obtained by steam distillation from the fresh flowering plant Mentha piperita (family Labiatae). Used as a pharmaceutical aid (flavor) and in flavoring liqueurs; a carminative.
- red o. [C.I. 26125] a weakly acid diazo o.-soluble dye, used in histologic demonstration of neutral fats.
- rock o. (rok oyl) SYN: petroleum.
- o. of rose a volatile o. from the fresh flowers of Rosa gallica and R. damascena and other members of the Rosaceae family. Used largely in perfumery, ointments, and toilet preparations. SYN: attar of rose, essence of rose, otto of rose.
- o. of spearmint volatile o. from the flowering tops of Mentha spicata (family Labiatae, pharmaceutical aid (flavor) and a carminative. SYN: o. of crispmint, o. of curled mint.
- sweet birch o. SYN: methyl salicylate.
- o. of turpentine volatile o. distilled from the oleoresin and obtained from Pinus palastrus (family Pinaceae) and other species of Pinus yielding terpene oils. Solvent for oils, resins, varnishes; also used as vehicle, thinner, and remover of o.-based paints; rubefacient; has been used as a counterirritant in liniments.
- volatile o. a substance of oily consistency and feel, derived from a plant and containing the principles to which the odor and taste of the plant are due (essential o.); in contrast to a fatty o., a volatile o. evaporates when exposed to the air and thus is capable of distillation; it may also be obtained by expression or extraction; many volatile oils, identical to or closely resembling the natural oils, can be made synthetically. Volatile oils are used in medicine as stimulants, stomachics, correctives, and carminatives, and for purposes of flavoring ( e.g., peppermint o.). SYN: ethereal o..
- o. of wormwood volatile o. from leaves and tops of Artemisia absinthium (family Compositae). Thujol alcohol and acetate; thujone (a powerful convulsant), phellandrene, cadinene; also a blue o.. Used in flavoring of vermouth and, formerly, in absinthe.

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oil 'ȯi(ə)l n
1) any of numerous unctuous combustible substances that are liquid or can be liquefied easily on warming, are soluble in ether but not in water, and leave a greasy stain on paper or cloth see ESSENTIAL OIL, FATTY OIL, VOLATILE OIL
2) a substance (as a cosmetic preparation) of oily consistency <bath \oil>
oil adj

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(oil) [L. oleum] 1. an unctuous, combustible substance that is liquid, or easily liquefiable, on warming, and is soluble in ether but insoluble in water. Such substances, depending on their origin, are classified as animal, mineral, or vegetable oils. Depending on their behavior on heating, they are classified as volatile or fixed. 2. a fat that is liquid at room temperature.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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