The word sedative is used to refer to therapeutic agents - including natural substances such as herbs, oils, or essences, or conventional pharmaceutical drugs, that have a calming effect on the body and mind. They may be described as relieving tension and/or anxiety.
In the cases of pharmaceutical drugs, sedatives are sometimes hypnotic drugs, i.e. that act to induce sleep by reducing the activity of the brain, used in lower doses than would be used to induce sleep.
The definitions in this section are of words used to refer to the actions (effects) of both pharmaceutical drugs and natural remedies. For information about specific oils, herbs, and remedies that might have properties including some of the actions mentioned in this section, see other parts of this website. For example, the pages about Aromatherapy Essential Oils, Bach Flower Remedies, Herbalism, Homeopathic Remedies, Homeopathy and Massage Carrier Oils.