In this blog post, I will share with you the simple and powerful insights I’ve collected over many years of my practice. I gained this knowledge and perspective through teaching hundreds of students all over the globe and as well as through many years of developing Dropsmith. It all helped me to uncover my authentic and holistic approach to essential oils.
I believe ‘the secret power’ is cleverly coded in the GC/MS of your essential oil(s). The trick is to know how to use it. It is simple. Essential oil chemistry is the foundation of aromatherapy because:
- it is the easiest way for you to explain how and why your essential oil and/or blend works,
- it is a reliable approach to get you recognized as a skilled professional,
- it is the fastest way to get you credibility for your work,
- it will help you progress in any area of aromatherapy you please.
The 3 notes of EOs: smell, emotion, and chemistry
By the end of this post, you will gain new insight into 3 simple and basic chemical groups that will reveal to you the ‘secret power’ of the essential oils you use in your daily practice.
- are the most common group found in nearly all essential oils.
- are tiny molecules (they contain only 10 carbon atoms) that can penetrate the skin easily and quickly.
What do the small size and molecular weight of monoterpene hydrocarbons reveal to you about the scent?
As monoterpenes are smaller and lighter than other groups found in essential oils they
- have higher volatility,
- usually have high notes,
- evaporate quickly,
- therefore we smell them for a shorter time.
Essential oils with a high percentage of monoterpene hydrocarbons tend to have subtle aromas that are usually light, fresh, singular, and medicinal.
If you take the holistic approach and look outside the box, you will clearly notice that essential oils rich in monoterpenes are most commonly distilled from needles, fruit, and resins such as different pines, firs, citruses, black pepper, and galbanum.
Isn’t that so inspiring and interesting?
The picture above shows a few examples of essential oils with over 70% of monoterpene hydrocarbons. In Dropsmith you will see this is simple. Everything is in clear, bright, easy to follow colors.
The orange color represents the monoterpene hydrocarbons and on the bottom left corner, you will find what groups are represented by which color.
- are organic compounds with hydroxyl functional group (-OH) bound to a carbon atom,
- are heavier molecules (than the abovementioned monoterpene hydrocarbons),
- the presence of an -OH group increases their boiling points (in comparison to hydrocarbons),
- so essential oils rich in monoterpene alcohols such as palmarosa and rosewood usually belong to middle notes.
This makes them excellent bridges that bind the light high notes with the more lasting base notes. An absolute must-have in natural perfume.
Essential oils rich in monoterpene alcohols such as Geranium, Lavender, and Magnolia are usually much more intense in their odor intensity compared to essential oils rich in monoterpene hydrocarbons.
They will easily dominate essential oils with lighter notes such as Douglas Fir, Mandarine, and Yuzu.
Esters are products of condensation of alcohol with carboxylic acid, so you will often find their parent alcohol still present in the essential oils as is the case with linalool and linalyl acetate. This combination is quite common in essential oils such as Bergamot, Neroli, Lavender and Lavandin, etc.
To put all this into some useful context for you, I’ve compared (in the exclusive table provided for you above) the scientific properties of 3 very common chemical components:
- limonene (monoterpene hydrocarbon),
- linalool (monoterpene alcohol)
- linalyl acetate (monoterpene ester)
These 3 chemical components are found in a large number of essential oils such as Clary sage, Lavender, Myrtle, Laurel leaf, Petitgrain, Spike lavender, Lavandin, Perilla, Kewda, and Linaloe berry.
I personally love to use oils and blends rich in this combination for easing physical and emotional pain.
To make it easy and clear for you to apply this valuable information, I colored the properties helpful for pain in blue and the properties beneficial for emotions purple.
Why you should take a second look at your GC/MS report and the chemical components that make up your essential oils?
In my personal practice, before making a final decision on my oils I always check 4 parameters:
- scientifically proven properties of essential oil(s),
- hands-on experience including traditional use and practical experience,
- properties of the dominant chemical component(s),
- the synergy of the components.
Are you inspired?
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All references are from dropsmith.com
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