Essential oil Chemistry 101 simple and easy.
Oxygenated Compounds in Essential Oils and Aromatherapy.

The Chemistry of Essential Oils Oxygenated Compounds Part 3 of 3

Essential Oil Chemistry for Beginners.
Essential Oil Chemistry 101 for beginners.

Disclaimer

Aromatherapy science chemistry.
Why do essential oils work? What is the reasoning behind how essential oils work?

The Chemistry of Essential Oils Oxygenated Compounds Part 3 of 3 will be gone over in this post. If this is the first time you have stumbled upon  this, you need to read first:

The Chemistry of Essential Oils Part 1 Monoterpenes and Sesquiterpenes 

The Chemistry of Essential Oils Part 2 Oxygenated Compounds

Understanding that each essential oil has its very own specific chemical make-up is crucial to understanding why that oil offers so many diverse health benefits. When we understand these things, we can know better how they work with our own personal chemical make-up. If you are new to essential oils, you have to get this.

One important thing to remember is that the chemistry information in this post and the remainder of the essential oil chemistry post is based on clinical studies, scientific studies and experimental research. Not all of these studies have been conducted on humans. There is a lot of potential for cures and treatments as found in these highly documents studies. Hopefully someday, we can find cure for cancer and other diseases based on this research.

Please note that the components of essential oils can be recreated in a laboratory but even scientists are aware that they are not nearly as effective as when they are in their whole, complete, and natural state. These studies are also done often while isolating one single component. Essential oils have hundreds or thousands of these chemical compounds in one oil. God knew what he was doing when he put them all together. Therefore, most constituents work as a team as are far more effective when working together in their natural state…in essential oils. To learn more about essential oils for natural remedies, click here.

Although there are cautions based on some components in this studies, the claims often come from overdose of or consumption of essential oils. The only deaths that have ever been reported from essential oils come from internal consumption in large quantities, usually in children. Children should never consume essential oils. Adults should not consume essential oils regularly or in more than small doses. For more information on this check out, “Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils Internally? What Do The Experts Say?” Therefore keep these cautions in mind as you use your essential oils. Click here to learn more and to help you understand safe use of essential oils.

The quality, purity and way the plants are grown is of the utmost importance when using essential oils for medicinal and therapeutic benefits.  These factors decide how potent the oils are and if they really work or not. That is why there is only one company I will ever trust with my families health. They make sure every aspect of their oils are the best quality available…in the entire world.

 

Aromatherapy science chemistry.
Why do essential oils work? What is the reasoning behind how essential oils work?


Ketones (Key-tones)

How does essential oil chemistry effect our body?
Easy Essential oil Chemistry for beginners.

Ketones are great for respiratory care as it can help decrease and express mucus. It opens up the mucuos membranes and allows them to be cleared. 

Ketones can be dangerous to babies, children, the elderly, pregnant woman and those who have been diagnosed with epilepsy. The most common ketones in essential oils are carvone and menthone.

What is the reason essential oils work effectively?
Health benefits of essential oils. Health benefits of monoterpenes.

Carvone (Car-vone)

Health benefits of oxygenated compounds in essential oils.
Health benefits of hydrocarbon sesquiterpenes in essential oils.

Carvone is used as a food enhancers primarily but it’s health benefits are also widely documented.

Antibacterial

Antimicrobial

It’s shown to inhibit staph infection, e coli, salmonella, tuberculosis and more.

Antiviral

Antifungal

Antioxidant

Anti-Cancer

Carvone shows potential as an chemopreventative (reverse cancer damage) and stop the advancement of cancer cells. The United States Cancer Institute has conducted many studies proving that carvone has very intense benefits against cancer.

 

Analgesic

Carvone blocks the sensation of nerve pain.

Respiratory

It is used as a decongestant and expectorant helping rid your body of mucus and clear airways. It treats bronchitits, asthma and coughs.

Insecticide

It has been used as an insecticide but especially well when it is paired with other chemical compounds that also have insecticidal properties.

Skin

It is good for skin conditions such as eczema and scabies. It is astringent, meaning it tightens skin which can promote healing.

Digestive

It also helps digestive upset especially indigestion, heartburn, GERD, gas pains, colic, spasms, nausea, cramps and bloating. It can be used to regulate your digestive system since it acts as a digestive stimulant.

Cardiovascular System

It lowers cholesterol.

Diruetic

It is used as a diruetic and can help UTI’s by flushing the urinary system.

Mental

It relaxes your emotions, eases stress, anxiety and depression.

 

Female Hormones

It is known as a emmenagogue meaning it stimulates menstrual cycles which is especially good for people with PCOS, Endometriosis or irregular periods. It promotes lactation and can increase milk supply.

Research on the chemistry of essential oils.
Scientific studies on the chemistry of essential oils in aromatherapy.

Essential Oils With Carvone

  • -Caraway (Very High Levels)
  • -Spearmint (Very High Levels)
  • -Dill (Very High Levels)
  • -Fennel
  • -Tarragon
  • -Grapefruit,
  • -Black Pepper
  • -Anise
  • -Rosemary
  • -Vetiver
  • -Spike Lavender


Menthone (Men-th-one)

Not to be confused with menthol (The alcohol terpene discussed in Part 2.)-menthone is similar but not quite the same although it is often found paired together. Since they are often paired together and nearly the same, see menthol under “alcohols.” It is most renowned for it’s respiratory benefits that are very similar to menthol.

Antibacterial 

It is very powerful against airborne pathogens especially.

Antiviral

It is very powerful against airborne pathogens especially.

Anti-Inflammatory

It’s anti-inflammatory properties are useful for sore muscles and respiratory tracts.

 

Respiratory

It clears mucus in our respiratory system and opens airways allowing you to breathe easier. It is found in many mainstream cough/cold/flu medicines. Menthone is an oxygenator, bring oxygen to your cells and brain. It can be helpful for asthma, emphysema and COPD.

Insecticide

It has long been used in history as an insecticide, especially against flea infestation and spiders.

Mental

Menthone is a mental stimulant. It can energize you and help you stay alert and focused.

Dietary

It can curb appetite and cravings.

 

Just as menthol, menthone also can be dangerous for babies, small children, elderly or people with certain medical conditions. Menthone should never be used internally by babies and/or children. Aromatically, it can cause adverse reactions in some people with sensitive respiratory diseases.

 

Essential Oils With Menthone

  • -Peppermint
  • -Spearmint
  • -Wintergreen
  • -Eucalyptus
  • -Geranium

Camphor (Cam-for)

Antibacterial

Anti-fungal

It is used to fight fungal infections and warts. It is especially great for toe fungus.

Anti-Inflammatory

It reduces pain, inflammation and swelling.

Cardiovascular System

It increases blood flow.

Respiratory

It can help cease the urge to cough. Camphor is an expectorant which causes mucus to be expelled. It is great for respiratory infections also. It is used in many prescription and over the counter cough and respiratory medications.

Mental

Camphor helps to get a restful nights sleep. 

 

Analgesic

It is used to relieve pain in many over the counter pain relief rubs, balms and ointments because of it’s ability to block pain receptors and promote numbness.

Skin/Hair

It helps relieve skin from irritations such as burns, eczema, acne, psoriasis and more by stimulating the nerve endings and blocking pain. Commercially, it is used to relieve itching and redness associated with common skin irritations and rashes. It can help promote hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp. It can also get rid of head lice.

Insecticide

It is excellent as an insecticide.

 

Camphor must be used in low doses. Toxicity can occur if swallowed or applied to an open wound directly enter the blood stream at high concentrations. Camphor CANNOT be used by pregnant women because it crosses the placenta and may cause developmental disabilities.

 

Essential Oils With Camphor

  • -Camphor
  • -Rosemary


Esters (Es-ters)

Oils that contain esters are generally considered gentle oils and very fruity smelling. Below we will discuss the types of esters.

Linalyl Acetate (Lin-ah-ll Ass-et-ate)

 

Linalyl Acetate is thought to be very gentle on all routes. It is often paired with the chemical compound of linalool.

Antibacterial

Analgesic

It works well to relieve pain including migraines.

Anti-Inflammatory

It reduces swelling and edema.

Immune System

Antioxidant

Antispasmodic

It helps reduces spams throughout the body as well as tremors, due to it’s very relaxing qualities.

Female Hormones

It can help relieve pain from menstrual symptoms like heavy, painful flow and cramps. It even helps after birth pains from hemorrhoids, c-section and episiotomies. Some forms may balance female hormones.

Lungs

Linalyl Acetate has shown to reverse the lung and cardiovascular damage cause by smoking material with nicotine.

Anti-Convulsant

It can reduce the duration of, number of and severity of seizures.

 

Mentally

Linalyl Acetate is well know for being very sedative and relaxing mentally and physically. It helps fight depression, anxiety, restlessness, stress and insomnia. It helps your mind to relax and focus.

Skin

It improves the health and look of skin balancing skin oils, reducing redness, blemishes, healing wounds and calming rashes. It is great for burns, cuts, scrapes and more.

Hair

It can promote hair growth. It also beautifies hair and scalp making it look shiny and healthy.

Cardiovascular System

It helps reduce blood pressure and slows the heart rate in stressed situations by relaxing tense blood vessels.

Essential Oils With Linalyl Acetate

  • -Lavender (The Highest Levels)
  • -Bergamot (Very High Levels)
  • -Clary Sage (Very High Levels)
  • -Petigrain
  • -Ylang Ylang
  • -Geranium
  • -Helichrysum
  • -Roman Chamomile
  • -Lemon
  • -Neroli
  • -Lime
  • -Cardamom
  • -Siberian Fir
  • -Jasmine

Methyl Salicylate (Meth-all Sah-liss-eh-late)

 

 

Anti-Inflammatory

Antibacterial

Antiviral

Antifungal

It works well on mold and mildew.

Antiseptic

Antispasmodic

Astringent.

Antioxidant

Analgesic

Methyl salicylate is use for aches and pains such as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, back aches, joint pain, sprains and so much more. It numbs the pain receptors in your nerves and gets rid of muscle cramps making it popular in pain relief medications. It also helps headaches. It is very similar to aspirin chemically and therapeutically. 

Circulatory System

It is absorbed into the skin very quickly and increases circulation. 

Skin/Hair

It helps fight skin blemishes such as acne, lose skin and tightening muscles, skin and blood vessels. It can promote hair growth by increasing circulation and tightening hair roots. It helps to heal bruises.

Dietary

It is used often as flavoring and scent in dietary products. It is one of the main ingredients in toothpastes and mouthwash.

 

Respiratory/Illness

It has been used to effectively treat fevers, colds and the flu and the symptoms of those including respiratory issues. 

Mental

It fights fatigues and aides in cognitive function such as memory and focus. 

Detoxifier

It helps remove toxins, fats, and excess salts from your body through your urine since it is a diuretic. It can prevent kidney stones by removing toxins. This in turn can also help you lose weight and fight rheumatism and other disorders cause by a build up of toxins.

Female Hormones
It is very helpful for women experiencing symptoms of menstruation and PMS, painful cramps, nausea and fatigue. It helps to regulate periods and stimulate them in women who have irregular periods, even those caused by reproductive disorders like PCOS and Endometriosis.

 

Methyl salicylate is highly toxic if swallowed. It should never be ingested in any amount. Children are especially susceptible to poisoning due to its delicious minty fragrance. It can cross the placenta and poison the fetus as well so it must be avoided by pregnant women. It also can pass into breast milk so it must not be applied near the breast tissue in a lactating woman. The poisoning properties is similar to aspirin overdose. One teaspoon is equivalent to at least 21 aspirin tablets. 

Essential Oils With Methyl Salicylate

  • -Wintergreen (The Highest Levels)
  • -Birch (Also The Highest Levels)
  • -Cassia
  • -Tea Tree


Lactones (Lack-tones)

Lactones are found in mainly in expressed/cold pressed oils and absolute oils but in very low levels due to how heavy the molecules are. The weight makes it hard to be distilled. Oils that contain lactones may be phototoxic-causing burns when exposed to the sun. It can be a skin irritant. Lactones are very very fragrant and used in perfume and scented products. It is known to eliminate order molecules. Below we will analyze some of the main lactones.

Coumarins (Coo-mare-ins)

Coumarins are a type of lactone although sometimes thought of separately. 

It is found mainly in cassia and cinnamon. Cassia and cinnamon are very closely related…like cousins. They are basically the same with just slight differences. Cassia comes from the Cinnamomum Cassia Tree and Cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum tree. Cassia is often sold as cinnamon but is considered “not true cinnamon” or “low quality.”

Antibacterial

It helps lower a fever caused by influenza, colds and other ailments.

Antimicrobial

It can kill microbes by inhibiting a pathogens enzyme activity. It is used today to fight many chronic infections such as toxoplasmosis (found in the feces of cats), malaria and more.

Anti-Viral

Anti-Parisitic

Sesquiterpene Lactones, specifically coumarins are thought to be the most effective treatment for malaria.

Anti-Inflammatory

It can help with arthritis and rheumatism due to it’s very very high anti-inflammatory qualities. It is a treatment for edema and edema related diseases because it reduces the level of protein in body tissues.

Anti-Diabetic

 

Antioxidant

Anti-Aging

Yes, some studies have shown that coumarins help fight signs of aging internally and externally.

Anti-HIV

Anti-Cancer

Coumarins target cancer and tumor cells when they are dividing and destroy them as well as preventing them from reproducing. It also fights damage done by some cancer treatments. Coumarins are used as a part of the cancer treatments already with much research on how to use them even more effectively. 

 

Analgesic (Pain Relieving)

Respiratory 

Cardiovascular System

Lactones help prevent cardiovascular disease and lower blood pressure. It also has blood thinning habits by inhibiting vitamin K which is required for coagulation. It can steady heart beats cause by arrhythmia.

Skin

It can help treat burns and wounds.

Mentally

They help fight mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. It is a sedative and helps relax, get rid of nervous energy and rest. It helps fight neurodegeneration specifically sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s.

Courmarins can be toxin when ingested frequently and in more than very small amounts. Because of it’s blood thinning properties, people using blood thinning medication should not use it. Coumarins may cause skin irritation.

 

Essential Oils With Coumarins

  • -Cassia
  • -Cinnamon Bark
  • -Cinnamon Leaf
  • -Jasmine Absolute

Ethers (Ey-thers)

Ethers are not found very often in this scenario. There are two main ethers called anethol (ann-eh-th-all) and methyl chavicol (Meth-ll Ch-av-i-cole).   

Antiseptic

Antibacterial

Respiratory

It breaks down mucus and expells it, easing congestion. It stimulates your respiratory system and opens your bronchi.

Hormones

Ethers help balance hormones.

Mental

It relaxes and balances  your Centeral Nervous System. It can also help fight fatigue yet at the same time, it can improve your quality of sleep. If other chemical compounds are not effective at improving sleep, ethers may help tremendously. Ethers can also help with headaches that may not be treated otherwise. Eithers support memory and overall mental well-being including focus.

Essential Oils With Ethers

  • -Basil
  • -Anise
  • -Fennel
  • -Nutmeg
  • -Cinnamon Leaf
  • -Tarragon

Oxides (Ox-ides)

Oxides come from other chemical constituents that have been oxidized. They can come from alcohols, ketones or terpenese likem monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Some of the main oxides are eucalyptol and cineole.

Essential Oils With Oxides

  • -German Chamomile
  • -Cardamom
  • -Eucalyptus Globulus
  • -Eucalyptus Radiata
  • -Spike Lavender
  • -Hyssop
  • -Ravintsara
  • -Rosemary
  • -Laurel
  • -Tea Tree
To learn more about essential oil chemistry, click here.


These statements are not regulated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnosis, treat, prevent or cure any disease or illness. These statements are no substitute for professional consultation with your personal physician. Consult your doctor before making any changes and/or additions to your health care routine.

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Disclaimer: None of the statements on this website have been evaluated by the FDA. Essential Oils and Young Living products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases or illnesses. Read full disclaimer here.
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