Target your blends to specific health issues with basic chemistry.
Use this blending technique to:
Considering the chemical components present in an essential oil lets you create research-based blends, targeting very specific issues for your clients.
It also allows you to avoid components which aren’t safe for your client to be exposed to. (For example, your client should avoid oils rich in the component citral if she’s a nursing mother.)
There are literally hundreds of individual components, and most essential oils contain dozens of them. In this guide, we’ll focus on seven chemical components that show up in some of the most commonly used essential oils. If you pay attention to the components that are present in your oils, you’ll notice these particular components appear often. Understanding them will give you a strong foundation of knowledge about basic essential oil chemistry (even if you don’t consider yourself a “science person!”).
Before we dive into the individual components, let’s touch on another science-based approach to blending: considering the chemical family you’d like to work with.
Chemical components are grouped into families based on the size, shape, and structure of their molecules. Karen Williams (co-owner of Aromatics) wrote an in-depth blog post about the chemical families, which gives you another option for creating therapeutic blends.read it here
Now let’s talk chemical components!
1,8-cineole is in the oxide chemical family.
You might recognize oils containing this component by its characteristic scent: 1,8-cineole is fresh and penetrating! This is what gives eucalyptus oil its crisp aroma (and much of its breath-opening effect). In fact, 1,8-cineole is the main component in eucalyptus, and is also known as “eucalyptol.”
1,8-cineole is a powerful component. Its effects can be immediate and strong.
Citral is in the aldehyde chemical family.
This component is interesting, because it’s not an individual component. What we call “citral” is a combination of the components neral and geranial. When neral and geranial appear together in significant amounts, they form citral.
Characteristic of the aldehyde chemical family, citral is a very potent component. It can cause serious irritation.
Eugenol is in the phenol chemical family.
Clove bud oil has a characteristic warm, spicy scent, which is largely thanks to eugenol. Traces of that aroma show up wherever eugenol goes, alerting you that the oil is incredibly potent against sickness (and potentially irritating).
Oils rich in eugenol are also well known for their warming touch and ability to soothe soreness.
Like the aldehyde chemical family, phenols are powerful and should be treated with the utmost respect. Eugenol can cause serious irritation.
Limonene is in the monoterpene chemical family.
It’s easy to remember which essential oils contain limonene! The word itself is related to the Latin name for lemon—Citrus limon. Limonene is present in lemon, as well as all of the other citrus essential oils (and a few others).
There’s no evidence pointing to specific safety concerns for limonene. (Follow the safety tips in Chapter 2 of this guide, and for individual essential oils.) Limonene-rich oils can be used regularly over a long period of time.
Linalool is in the monoterpenol chemical family.
Linalool is one of the main components found in lavender essential oil. When this component shows up in an essential oil, you can make an educated guess that the oil is gentle on skin and profoundly emotionally calming. You may also see it spelled “linalol.”
There’s no evidence pointing to specific safety concerns for linalool. (Follow the safety tips in Chapter 2 of this guide, and for individual essential oils.) Linalool-rich oils can be used regularly over a long period of time.
A-pinene is in the monoterpene chemical family.
As its name suggests, a-pinene shows up in many conifer essential oils (As does it’s “sibling,” b-pinene). Yet this component is present in a wide variety of other oils, too: frankincense, kunzea, and myrtle all contain a-pinene.
There’s no evidence pointing to specific safety concerns for a-pinene. (Follow the safety tips in Chapter 2 of this guide, and for individual essential oils.) A-pinene-rich oils can be used regularly over a long period of time.
Terpinen-4-ol is in the monoterpenol chemical family.
It’s one of the main components found in tea tree essential oil, and plays a major role in tea tree’s ability to clear a wide variety of microbes. Yet while oils rich in this component have strong action against germs, they also tend to be gentle on skin.
There’s no evidence pointing to specific safety concerns for terpinen-4-ol. (Follow the safety tips in Chapter 2 of this guide, and for individual essential oils.) Terpinen-4-ol-rich oils can be used regularly over a long period of time.
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