Lube 101 Definitions

Allantoin / Glyoxyldiureide

A chemical substance created by oxidizing uric acid.

The human body naturally creates allantoin, and the compound is found in a number of botanical extracts. It is commonly used in skincare products as a moisturizer, anti-irritant, and as a smoothing agent.

Allantoin may help to prevent common forms of skin damage including razor burn and acne. It is considered a safe ingredient.

Acacia Honey

A type of honey. Contrary to its name, acacia honey actually comes from the black locust tree, which is not a species of acacia.

Acacia honey has an extremely light yellow color, a low acid content, and a thinner consistency than most other honeys. It is used in some lubricants and cosmetics for its pleasing aroma. Acacia honey may also speed up the skin’s natural healing processes when applied topically.

While all types of honey are generally safe, acacia honey can cause a reaction for some people with pollen allergies. Side effects can include irritation and itching.

Acai Berry

The fruit of the acai palm, a plant found in Central and South America.

Acai berries have a number of antioxidants and fatty acids, and several studies show that the fruit could have anti-aging effects when taken regularly. However, acai berries are comparable to many other fruits in their antioxidant content. Some manufacturers also claim that the acai berry acts as a powerful aphrodisiac; this claim comes from folklore, but there is no scientific evidence to confirm or discredit it.

Acai is considered to be a safe ingredient. It is used in sexual lubricants, massage liquids, and cosmetics for its purported skin-friendly benefits, as an aphrodisiac, or for its pleasing taste and aroma.


A sex pheromone found in pigs and humans. It is used in some lubricants as an aphrodisiac (libido booster).

Androstenol is mainly found in boar saliva, and it appears to play an important role in the pig mating process by stimulating sexual receptivity in females. It’s also found in human sweat, and it’s secreted by human adrenal glands.

Some researchers believe that androstenol is one of a number of sex pheromones that humans use to send sex-positive chemical signals. However, there is not enough evidence to show that the chemical has this effect in humans.

Androstenol occurs naturally and appears to be a safe lubricant ingredient, but not much is known about its long-term side effects.


A clover-like plant sometimes used in lubricants to minimize skin irritation. It also has a reputation as a female aphrodisiac.

Alfalfa is a natural source of phytoestrogens, which mimic some of the effects of estrogen. This may be the source of alfalfa’s reputation as an libido enhancer, as the estrogen effect may heighten sexual desire in some women.

Phytoestrogens may also have a number of positive health effects, but there is not enough clinical evidence to show that commercial alfalfa preparations (particularly in lubricants) share these benefits. Nevertheless, alfalfa has been used for hundreds of years as an anti-inflammatory.

While alfalfa is safe, it may cause skin sensitivities. Pregnant women should not use products with large amounts of alfalfa, but lubricants generally contain a relatively small amount of this ingredient. People with autoimmune disorders should speak with their physicians before using products with alfalfa.


A starch-like fiber found in a number of plants including the larch tree. It is slightly sweet with a fairly thick texture.

Arabinogalactan has antimicrobial properties, and it is sometimes used as a natural preservative or as a topical preparation that limits the user’s chances of contracting a bacterial infection. It also has antioxidant properties, and it is thought to improve immune system functionality for short periods of time.

Arabinogalactan is a safe ingredient for all types of sex. It does not damage sperm, and side effects are uncommon. People with auto-immune disorders should speak with their physicians before using products with arabinogalactan.

Amyris Balsamifera Bark

Refers to an essential oil made by steam distilling the bark of amyris balsamifera (also known as balsam torchwood). Amyris has a strong citric aroma, and it is said to have a relaxing effect on muscles and other tissues.

It is commonly found in relaxing lubricants and sprays designed for anal sex. Amyris bark extract is also commonly used as a massage oil. While this is a fairly safe ingredient in small amounts, people with citrus allergies should avoid products that contain any type of amyris or torchwood extract.

Acmella Oleracea

A species of flowering plant, also known as jambu. It is popularly used in Brazilian cuisine; the flower of the acmella oleracea creates a cooling sensation when chewed.

Acmella oleracea is thought to have antimicrobial properties. It also acts as an extremely mild anesthetic and muscle relaxant. Some lubricants use an extract made from the leaves, stem, or flower of the acmella oleracea for these purposes.

Acmella oleracea extract is considered a safe herbal ingredient.


Another term for de-ionized water. Aqua does not contain mineral ions and is much purer than tap water.

Manufacturers use de-ionized water in lubricant formulas in order to improve solubility and to prevent impurities from causing irritation. Most water-based lubricants use de-ionized water as their primary ingredient.





Oleoresin Capsicum

A substance made from a plant in the capsicum (pepper) family. Oleoresin capsicum creates warming sensations when it comes in contact with the skin or sinuses. It is a safe lubricant ingredient, but it can cause topical irritation and burning for some users.

See “capsaicin” for more information.

Lube 101 Definitions