Synonyms: Gut microflora, Gut microbiota, Skin flora

Medical Specialties: Allergy/immunology, Gastroenterology, Psychiatry

Clinical Definition

Flora are bacteria and other microorganisms that live on the skin and inside the body. The term refers most frequently to bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. 

In Our Own Words

Flora are essentially tiny bugs, or bacterium, that live both inside the body and outside on the skin. Particular kinds of flora flourish quite normally in parts of the body, such as the nasal passages, the vagina and the bowels. In fact, thousands of different species of helpful flora sustain important roles in immunity, respiration and digestive health.


Current research is examining just how beneficial flora in your gut can prove in preventing inflammation, deficiencies and other conditions. The science is in its infancy, but the food industry is attempting to leverage huge potential benefits in the form of probiotics and prebiotics like kombucha tea. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Mental health
  • Gastritis
Common Types
  • Intestinal
  • Skin
  • Respiratory
  • Vaginal
Share this article
  • National Cancer Institute. “NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms.” http://www.cancer.gov. Accessed July 2013.
  • Sekirov, Inna. “Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease” in Physiological Reviews 2010. 90 (3). http://physrev.physiology.org. Accessed July 2013.
  • Carpenter, Siri, M.D. “That Gut Feeling.” Monitor on Psychology in September 2012. 43 (8). http://www.apa.org. Accessed July 2013.
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