"active ingredients"

What does this mean anyway? And are “other ingredients” INactive? Are they inert? Does “active” mean “the stuff that does the thing you want the whole product to do,” such as get rid of your headache, whereas the rest of the crap in there just holds the thing together, makes it pretty, or otherwise provides a vehicle for introducing the substance into your body?

The other ingredients are inert*. They are used for binding, flavor, coloring, substance, what have you.

*3. Deficient in active properties, especially lacking a usual anticipated chemical or biological action. - from Merriam Webster

You’ve pretty much got it. The active ingredients are the ones that provide the health benefits, while the inactive ingredients are there to hold it together, make it pretty, etc.

Some products list both active and inactive ingredients. For instance, I have a bottle of Bactine here, and it lists two active ingredients, along with five inactive ingredients, two of which are “fragrances” and “purified water”.

Question asked and answered all in one post!

You mean I was actually right (for a change)? Thanks for the confirmation.