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Medical Term:

volatile oil


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 oil); in contrast to a fatty oil, a volatile oil 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 (peppermint oil).

Synonym(s): ethereal oil

© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.