Glossary


WHAT IS SPA FOODS™?

Started in 2009, Spa Foods™

is a local home-grown brand that

formulates and curates delicious

products for the mind and body.

We take great pride in selecting

only the best of ingredients.

Here, you will find commonly-heard

terms and ingredients used to bring

Spa Foods™ to your table.

A to D

  • AZUKI - More widely known as the red mung bean, azuki is usually boiled and sweetened into a red bean paste and used in popular Asian desserts. One of the most nutrient-rich foods around, azuki is a low-calorie-dense food. This means that it is low in calories compared to serving size and fills you up with fewer calories, making it easier for you to balance your calories for a healthier weight.
  • ALMOND - With its combination of protein, fiber, good fats and satisfying crunch, the almond is a smart snack option to help keep hunger at bay while satisfying cravings. The fat and fiber content in almonds may help prevent gallstones by keeping your gallbladder and liver running smoothly. Almond is very low in cholesterol and sodium and is a good source of riboflavin, magnesium and manganese.
  • APRICOT - Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of pro-vitamin A carotenoids), and a good source of vitamin C, copper, dietary fiber and potassium. The health benefits of apricot include its ability to ease indigestion, constipation, earaches, fevers, and also to alleviate certain skin disease symptoms.
  • BASIL - Often called the "king of herbs", basil is a common staple in many kitchens around the world. Its leaves contain several health benefiting oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Basil essential oil, found in some body products, is believed to improve memory and concentration, even calming headaches stemming from tension.
  • BEETROOT - The beetroot is the taproot portion of the beet plant, usually known in North America as the beet, also table beet, garden beet, red beet, or golden beet. It is commonly used as a food colouring and as a medicinal plant and has been linked with better stamina, improved blood flow and lower blood pressure. Beetroot contains the mineral silica - this helps the body to utilise calcium, which is important for musculo-skeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  • BERGAMOT - Citrus bergamia, the bergamot orange, is a fragrant fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow color similar to a lemon. Its essential oil is extracted from the peel. Used in aromatherapy, the scent is energizing and uplifting and it's often used to reduce stress and calm as well as treat depression. It is wise to avoid sun exposure right after application due to photosensitivity causing extreme sunburn and unwanted skin pigmentation.
  • BLACK PEPPER - More than just a food spice, the black pepper is known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. It helps to kick-start the circulatory system, and increases the hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach, thereby facilitating digestion.
  • CANE SUGAR - Cane sugar is sugar derived fromt the sugar cane plant. The light color of cane sugar is comparable to turbinado or raw sugar, a sign that it is less processed compared to other wholesome sweeteners such as muscovado and molasses.
  • CARROT SEED - We are familiar with the carrot in the kitchen but did you know its seed contains a whole world of health-benefitting properties? Carrot seed oil can be used in massages or bath oils to relieve muscle pain, assist in stimulating the lymph system and detoxify the liver. It nourishes, tightens, and rejuvenates skin, making it an invaluable ingredient in anti-aging beauty products.
  • CASHEW - Native to Brazil, cashews are crescent-shaped nuts with a sweet flavor and a plethora of uses in the kitchen. Cashew nuts are commonly used in Indian cuisine, whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries. Cashews contain zero cholesterol and is a rich source of magnesium, which helps diminish the frequency of migraines, improve cognitive ability, and also lowers blood pressure.
  • CITRONELLA - Say the name citronella and repelling mosquitoes come to mind. Citronella works by masking scents that are attractive to insects - namely carbon dioxide and lactic acid in humans. One benefit of using citronella as mosquito repellent is that it is safe and non-toxic to humans and animals (and even the insects). Although some people can have mild allergic reactions to the oil, even ingesting citronella will not affect humans it is simply broken down and passed out of the body
  • CLARY SAGE - A biennial or short-lived herbaceous perennial native to the northern Mediterranean, Clary Sage is considered to be one of the top essential oils for hormones, especially in women. Many claims have been made as to its benefits when dealing with cramps, heavy menstrual cycles, hot flushes and hormonal imbalances. It’s also known for its ability to increase circulation and support the digestive system.
  • CLOVE - Did you know that, not too long ago, clove was used widely by dentists as a pain deterrent? Other than being used in foods and pastries, it has strong analgesic properties that help numb pain and soreness, making it an effective after-sports massage oil. The essential oil of its dried flower bud contains compounds that help develop and protect the immune system.
  • COCOA BUTTER - Cocoa butter is obtained from whole cocoa beans, which are fermented, roasted, and then separated from their hulls. About 54–58% of the residue is cocoa butter. Chocolate liquor is pressed to separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids. Some of the most important health benefits of cocoa butter include its ability to improve skin health, boost the immune system, improve hair quality, and slow down the signs of aging.
  • COCOA MASS - Cocoa mass, also called cocoa liquor, is made by grinding the nibs of cocoa beans and can vary in quality depending on the quality of beans used. Cocoa liquor usually passes through two or three stages of grinding to achieve the required texture and is the base ingredient for the manufacture of all chocolate.
  • COUVETURE - Couverture comes from the French word “couvrir” meaning to cover or coat. This chocolate is of very high quality and is almost exclusively used in the candy, pastry and baking industry for dipping, coating, and molding.
  • CRANBERRY - Cranberries are often processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam, and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. They contain vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidants, cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable and are second only to blueberries.

E to H

  • EMULSIFIER - Emulsifiers are molecules with one water-loving (hydrophilic) and one oil-loving (hydrophobic) end. They make it possible for water and oil to become homogenised, creating a stable, smooth emulsion.
  • EUCALYPTUS - Eucalyptus has become a vastly popular plant for its desirable traits such as being a fast-growing source of wood, producing oil that can be used for cleaning and as a natural insecticide. In aromatherapy, eucalyptus (globulus) oil finds many uses including boosting the immune system, clearing nasal congestion and alleviating cough and cold symptoms. Its sister species (smithii) is one of the few oils safe for infants and is great in an oil diffuser as an antiseptic.
  • GERANIUM - This fragrant flower is found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics. Used by the Egyptians for promoting beautiful and radiant skin, geranium oil is now used to treat acne, reduce inflammation, alleviate anxiety and balance hormones. This sweet-smelling oil can also uplift your mood, lessen fatigue and promote emotional wellness.
  • GINGER - A hot, fragrant spice made from the rhizome of a plant, which may be chopped or powdered for cooking, preserved in syrup, or candied. Ginger has a long tradition of being effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, nausea, muscle & joint pain. It has also been established to have a protective effect against diabetes complications, including offering protection to the diabetic's liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and eyes. Ginger is a popular ingredient in massage oils for its effective pain relief and blood-circulating properties.
  • GLUCOSE - Glucose is a carbohydrate, and is the most important simple sugar in human metabolism. Also called dextrose, glucose is one of the primary molecules which serve as energy sources for plants and animals.
  • GREEN TEA - Green tea is made from camellia sinensis leaves that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation applied when processing camellia sinensis into oolong tea and black tea. Most valued for its high antioxidant levels, green tea contains catechins - polyphenolic compounds that are thought to exert numerous protective effects, particularly on the cardiovascular system.
  • GUAR GUM - Guar gum, also called guaran, is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. Guar gum is a hydrocolloid, which is particularly useful for making thick pastes without forming a gel, and for keeping water bound in a sauce or emulsion - a vegetable-derived ingredients used for thickening cold and hot liquids.
  • HAZELNUT - Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are a sweet-flavored nut that can be enjoyed in baked recipes, as snacks and at meals. The nuts are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are packed with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals. Besides being rich in folates, they are packed with many other important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine (Vitamin B6).
  • HONEY - Honey has been valued as a natural sweetener long before sugar became widely available in the 16th century. A great natural source of carbohydrates which provide strength and energy to our bodies, honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting the performance, endurance and reduce muscle fatigue of athletes.

I to L

  • JUNIPER BERRY - Juniper is an evergreen tree that grows wild throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Not a particularly well-known plant, but the juniper berry has amazing detox properties. The essential oil encourages detoxification by acting as a diuretic, stimulating the lymphatic system, bladder and kidneys.
  • KUMQUAT - Enter any Chinese home during the Lunar New Year, and you will likely find the kumquat fruit in abundance. A symbol of wealth and prosperity, the Chinese believe that kumquats represent the sun’s positive energy and are meant to lift spirits. Nutritionally, they contain a good amount of antioxidants like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and phytonutrients that protect from free radicals.
  • LAVENDER - The lavender, a fragrant flower, is also a lesser known edible herb which helps to up your intake of minerals such as iron and calcium. Outside of the kitchen, lavender is popularly known for its ability to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, and its wonderful uses for skin. The essential oil is one of the few that is safe for direct topical application and is commonly used in cosmetics to heal scarring and disinfect wounds, as well as calm angry or sensitive skin.
  • LEMON - The lemon fruit is universally the most versatile with uses ranging from culinary, health, home and beauty. Lemon provides our bodies with plenty of vitamins, minerals and vital trace elements. It’s also a great energy booster for when our tissues are dehydrated and in desperate need of fluid to push out toxins. On the skincare front, its antimicrobial properties helps quell acne. Lemon helps in skin whitening, de-greases oily skin, curbs dandruff, brightens up dark elbows. It is wise to avoid sun exposure right after application due to photosensitivity causing extreme sunburn and unwanted skin pigmentation.
  • LEMONGRASS - Widely used as a culinary herb in Asian cuisines and also as medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. In addition to its culinary usage, lemongrass is an aromatic storehouse of essential nutrients providing a wide array of health benefits. It is a source of essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), folate and vitamin C. It also provides essentil minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc and iron, which are required for the healthy functioning of the human body. It offers no harmful cholesterol or fats.
  • LIME - The health benefits of lime include weight loss, skin care, improved digestion, relief from constipation, eye care, and in the old days - treatment of scurvy. Lime juice and its natural oils are very beneficial for skin when consumed orally or applied externally. It rejuvenates the skin, keeps it shining, protects it from infections and reduces body odor due to the presence of a large amount of vitamin-C and flavonoids. When applied externally on skin, its acids scrub out the dead cells, cures dandruff, rashes, and bruises. It can also be used to create a refreshing bathing experience if its juice or oil is mixed into your bathing water.
  • LONGAN - This sweet, juicy and succulent fruit, apart from being eaten fresh, is also often used in Asian soups, snacks, desserts. In Chinese food therapy and herbal medicine, it is believed to have an effect on relaxation. Longan helps with blood production and by reducing tension and exhaustion, it provides alleviation in cardiovascular disease, performing a huge role in keeping blood pressure down.

M to P

  • MANDARIN - You have to be cautious when administering aromatherapy on infants and young children. Mandarin is an oil that is safe for use on newborns and is great for allaying your baby's distress. It is possibly one of the most soothing and calming oils around. Mandarin is used in aromatherapy for stomach cramps, indigestion, depression, anxiety, stretch marks in pregnancy and skin conditions such as acne, oily skin, rejuvenation and mature skin.
  • MAPLE SYRUP - Maple syrup is a natural sweetener usually made from the xylem sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees. It can boost your immune system, age-proof your skin, calm tummy troubles, and more. The glycemic index of maple syrup is thought to be around 54, compared to table sugar which has a glycemic index of around 65. This implies that maple syrup raises blood sugar slower than regular sugar.
  • MAY CHANG - Better known to aromatherapists as Litsea Cubeba, may chang is commonly used in tradional Chinese medicine (TCM) for the treatment of asthma, back pain, chills, digestive problems, headaches and muscular aches and pains. One of our favourite ingredients to use in our Olfactory™ blends, may chang essential oil has a refreshing, stimulating and uplifting action, which makes it perfect for relieving fatigue and lethargy.
  • MINT - This familiar herb needs no introduction. From desserts and cocktails to toothpaste and shampoo, this popular herb is universally loved for the refreshing and cooling sensation it gives off. The more common peppermint helps to freshen breath, soothe digestive issues and its essential oil is well-known for quelling nausea and migraine.
  • NUTMEG - The smell of Christmas and family and love - nutmeg is used very sparingly in dishes but it serves up a large dose of vitamins and minerals. The mineral content of nutmeg is valuable in maintaining organ function. Manganese delivers an amazing array of advantages within the body, from blood clotting and regulating the blood sugar, to metabolizing carbohydrates and absorbing calcium. Potassium is a vasodilator, which relaxes blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure and lowering the strain on the cardiovascular system.
  • PANDAN - Used widely in South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking as a flavouring, the pandan leaf's extract has been thought to reduce fever, relieve indigestion and flatulence and as a cardio-tonic. Pandan is also effective in reducing stomach cramps, improving skin condition, and speeding up recuperation of women who have just given birth.
  • PATCHOULI - Patchouli oil is a marvellous oil to have around the home. It is helpful for most skin types ranging from dry, cracked skin all the way to helping to regulate oily skin and acne. It is especially helpful for people suffering from eczema and psoriasis. Emotionally, patchouli essential oil is calming and grounding, imbuing a zen-like state of mind making it suitable for yoga and meditation.
  • PEANUT - Unbeknownst to most, the peanut is technically not a nut. Rather, it is related to other foods in the legume family including peas, lentils and other beans. It is high in energy, dietary protein as well as monounsaturated fatty acids, and compose fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth and development.
  • PINE NUT - Probably best known for their use in pesto, pine nuts have a very delicate taste and texture and are high in protein. One of the more expensive types of nuts around, they contain nutrients that help boost energy, including monounsaturated fat and iron. Pine nuts are also a good source of magnesium, low levels of which can lead to fatigue.
  • PISTACHIO - The pistachio is a member of the cashew family with benefits such as heart health, weight management, protection against diabetes and hypertension, and improved digestion. It also contains l-arginine, which can make the lining of your arteries more flexible and make it less likely you will develop blood clots that could cause a heart attack, and vitamin E, which makes it less likely your arteries will become clogged with plaque.
  • PUMPKIN SEED - Plants that have a close relationship to the soil are often special sources of mineral nutrients, and pumpkin (and its seeds) is no exception. Eating only a small amount of pumpkin seeds can provide you with a substantial quantity of healthy fats, zinc and magnesium. Healthy magnesium levels are important for your blood pressure, heart health, bone health and blood sugar levels.

Q to T

  • RAISIN - Raisins are essentially dried grapes, produced in many regions of the world and may be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking, and brewing. Rich in carbs, especially natural sugars, they give you a quick boost of energy when you’re feeling sluggish - without weighing you down. For this reason, raisins make an excellent pre- or post-workout snack. They are one of the few plant-based foods rich in dietary iron, an essential mineral your body requires daily to make proteins that transport oxygen to your body’s cells.
  • RED DATE - Heralded as a superfood, red dates are often present in traditional chinese medicine and herbal tonics. A source of Vitamin A, B1, B2, protein, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium, red dates help to stimulate the production of white blood cells – which improves immunity and protects the liver.
  • ROSEMARY - Rosmarinus officinalis, commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers. Externally, rosemary is best known for its circulatory properties, making it a common ingredient in hair and body products. Its essential oil helps to clear the mind, sharpen memory and boost the central nervous system. A multi-faceted oil that can be used in the home, while travelling, or when preparing for exams and interiews.
  • SEA SALT - Sea salt is salt produced from the evaporation of seawater, rather than by being extracted from sedimentary deposits. It is used in cooking and cosmetics and is sometimes called bay salt or solar salt.
  • SOYA LECITHIN - A common emulsifier used in many foods and also in chocolate to keep the cocoa butter from separating with the moisture, cocoa solids and dairy.
  • SUNFLOWER SEED - The sunflower seed is the fruit of the sunflower and contains two nutrients that promote cardiovascular health - vitamin E and folate. These small seeds slow down ‘bad’ cholesterol from sticking to the walls of your arteries, thus preventing heart attacks. They ease many conditions that are inflammatory in nature, such as joint pain, gastric ulcers, skin eruptions and asthma. In skincare, sunflower oil is rich in Vitamin E and regular application to skin helps shield it from future environmental damage and limits moisture loss.
  • SWEET ORANGE - Oranges aren't just for eating. The highly beneficial essential oil is obtained from the peels of orange by cold pressing and has an extremely energizing and cheery scent that promises to lift your spirits with a sniff. Well-known for its uplifting properties, orange essential oil is soothing to the mind and helps to relieve stress. It is refreshing and relaxing and commonly used for combatting anxiety.
  • TAHINI - Tahini is a condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds, used in Mediterranean cuisines.
  • TEA TREE - When you think of aromatherapy and antiseptic, no other oil comes to mind like tea tree does. It kills mold, freshens laundry, repels insects, fights acne, disinfects wounds, and the list goes on. Its powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties make it an indispensable tool for keeping germs at bay. One of the few oils around you can safely apply on skin neat, tea tree is a versatile and useful oil to have on hand.
  • THYME - Thyme is an evergreen herb with culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. Thyme oil is used as a germ-killer in mouthwashes and liniments. It is also applied to the scalp to treat baldness and to the ears to fight bacterial and fungal infections. It's ability to help remove uric acid makes it useful in treating the symptoms of gout, arthriti and rheumatism, further stimulating the digestive and urinary tracts.
  • TOMATO - While tomatoes are botanically berry-type fruits, they are considered culinary vegetables, being ingredients of savory meals. Tomatoes are a treasure of riches when it comes to their antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidants, tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese and vitamin E.

U to Z

  • VANILLA EXTRACT - Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla pods in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water. Though a large portion of the calories in vanilla extract comes from sugars and alcohol, the good news is that it is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • VITAMIN E - Vitamin E is both a nutrient and antioxidant, and the oil in its purest form is extremely versatile. Known as tocopherol, it has a light brown or reddish hue and can be found in a wide variety of foods and skin care products. Vitamin E is vital to keeping healthy and preventing various diseases. A powerful antioxidant that helps with cell protection, it is the first string defense against free radicals and other environmental damaging effects.
  • WHOLE OAT - Whole oat groats, often found in health food stores, are the result of simply harvesting oats, cleaning them, and removing their inedible hulls. Via their high fiber content,oats are known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. Eating a serving of whole grains, such as oats, at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease.
  • YLANG YLANG - The essential oil of ylang ylang is extracted by steam distillation of fresh flowers of the ylang ylang tree, and is commonly found in the rain forests of some Asian and South Pacific Islands. Its delicate fragrance is found in many perfumery and aromatherapy products. It relaxes both the body and mind, driving away anxiety and chronic stress. It also has an uplifting effect on moods and may be an effective remedy for nervous breakdowns and depression.
  • YUZU - The yuzu is a citrus fruit and plant originating in East Asia. Originally cultivated in China and Tibet, yuzu was made popular by the Japanese who use it extensively in their cuisine and even as a hot bath ingredient. It is a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants that can help replenish dead skin cells.




Disclaimer: The content within this article is derived from a mixture of research and the personal experiences of our author and professional aromatherapist and should not be taken as medical advice. Spa Foods™ will not be held responsible for the accuracy, completeness, and suitability of information in this glossary and any complication arising from its application.
Spa Foods