Hello friends! A little while back, a dear Instagram follower suggested that we tackle the topic of Essential Oil Chemistry…I have to tell you: compiling this post series was both a labor of love, haha! However, it was also as an incredibly educational project for me, enlightening me on a lot that I didn’t know about essential oils! This topic turned out to be one with too many crucial parts and pieces to be limited to one little post. So, get ready for a 3-part series up ahead! You research-junkies are going to love this. 😏
Here’s a little background as to how I am going about communicating this info. I wanted to phrase essential oil chemistry in such a way that even visually-oriented, right-brained gals like me could understand it. I don’t know about you, but technical jargon quickly leaves my head spinning, and I ditch the subject if I can’t understand it in the first 5 minutes. I’m here to make this complex topic as simple & candid as possible.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a scientist. I am getting all my info from the incredible resource, “Essential Oils Desk Reference” from Life Science Publishing. Get your hands on that book if you want more of where this post came from.
Here’s a quick overview of what we will be learning in the weeks ahead (I plan to roll one of these out every week, in addition to our usual posting schedule):
Part 1 / A Basic Overview of Essential Oil Chemistry
- The constituents of an essential oil are the lifeblood of its efficacy.
- The molecular makeup of essential oils allows them to interact with our bodies on a cellular level.
Part 2 / Pure & Adulterated Essential Oils, Just the Facts
- The key to producing a therapeutic-grade essential oil lies in preserving its constituents.
- Here are the parts of the essential oil production process that either preserve or destroy its constituents, and thus its therapeutic properties…
- The part(s) of the plant from which the oil was produced,
- soil condition
- harvesting methods
- distillation processes
- 98% of essential oil volume produced today is used in the perfume & cosmetics industry. Only about 2% of the production volume is for therapeutic and medicinal purposes.
Part 3 / The Radical Importance of Testing Standards
- Most labs used to examine essential oils, employ equipment best suited for synthetic chemicals–not for natural essential oil analysis, and thus aren’t equipped to analyze the constituents of therapeutic-grade oils.
- Young Living is the only company in the world to have the proper instruments calibrated to the proper standard to produce truly therapeutic-grade essential oils.
I hope this whets your appetite for what’s ahead. I am so, SO excited to share this series with you all!
Today, we are going to talk about the basics of essential oil chemistry, to set the ground-work for what’s to come.
What Are Essential Oils?
Before we get our hands dirty, let’s review what essential oils are. Essential oils are nature’s volatile aromatic compounds created within a variety of plants & plant parts. They provide the plants with regeneration & defensive properties, and humans with health-support!
The most important thing I want you to take away today is this: the powerhouse & lifeblood of essential oils come from their constituents (biomolecular parts of the oil. Just to name a few: Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes, Alkanes, etc.) and the constituent’s synergy (the way they work together). Remember that word, constituents. It’s going to come up a LOT in this series!
Each essential oil is made up of 200-500 of these constituents, which make them very diverse in their effects. This means no two oils are alike. Because essential oils are composites of hundreds of different constituents, each oil can have a huge variety of uses & effects on the body.
Ready for something incredible? Some researchers feel that because of their complexity, essential oils do not disturb the body’s natural balance or homeostasis. Thus, if one constituent exerts too strong an effect, another constituent may block or counteract it. #intelligentdesign
However, synthetic/man-made chemicals, like pharmaceuticals, usually have only one action and may disrupt the body’s homeostasis and cause various adverse side effects. << Sound familiar? I will never forget those monotonous commercials where 90% of it describes the nasty side-effects of some new drug. Anybody with me?!
To review: Constituents make essential oils powerful, diverse, flexible, and effective. Make sure you have that down because the basis of this series rests on this fact.
Essential Oils and our Cells
Let’s talk on the cellular level for half a sec: Essential Oils have the unique ability to penetrate cell membranes and travel throughout the blood and tissue.
Pause. Yep, you just read that right: essential oils interact with our bodies on the cellular level. #micdrop
The unique structure of essential oils is very similar to the makeup of our cell membranes. The molecules of essential oils are also relatively small, which enhances their ability to penetrate into the cells. When applied topically to the skin, essential oils can travel throughout the body in a matter of minutes.
Can I just say? God is so good, you guys. I mean, how CREATIVE to come up with something like essential oils?! He truly looks after us with a loving hand!
Remember, this is just a small taste of what’s to come. Get ready for “Part 2 / Pure & Adulterated Essential Oils, Just the Facts” coming at you next week!
If any of this intrigued you or got your wheels turning, I would encourage you to check out Essential Oil Desk Reference by Life Science Publishing. If you want 1-on-1 support in learning about & using oils, you can join our team here!
Remember, I’m not a scientist, so I don’t have all the answers. However, feel free to leave your questions below, and I’ll do my best to help & direct you to the best answers I can!
xo, Charlotte B.
By the Way...
We aren’t doctors or health experts. We just have a passion for wellness, and educating others on how to maintain it through the goodness of essential oils. Please know that any information provided on the B.Well website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor replace current medical treatment or drugs prescribed by your healthcare professional. The statements made have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is your responsibility to educate yourself and address any health or medical needs you may have with your physician. Please seek professional help when needed.