When working with essential oils, it is important for you to understand the chemical makeup of each different variety of oil. By knowing the components of specific oil, it can then be used in the correct manner. It will also help you safely heat oils if necessary and know what to expect when mixing two or more oils together. The information can also be valuable if you have any specific allergies to certain components of essential oils. You can either avoid the ingredient or use oils that contain a very small amount. There are two main groups of compounds that make up essential oils. They are hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds. These are then broken down into smaller categories. Most essential oils are made out of the following types of components.
Terpenes can refer to a wide variety of compounds. They are the main ingredients in essential oils as they are found in most plants. There are many different types of terpenes with different characteristics that give an oil its specific capabilities.
Esters are the result of acids mixing with alcohols. They tend to give an oil calming and relaxing effects, the basis of aromatherapy.
Aldehydes are responsible for the oil’s fragrance and are calming to the body’s nervous system. They can provide relief from stress and anxiety.
An essential oil that is high in ketones will be able to promote healthy cell regeneration and promote the growth of new tissue.
In regulated studies that involved lab animals, essential oils that contained high amounts of alcohol showed the ability for damaged cells to once again become healthy and functional.
These help cells to erase damage and any memory of it. They stimulate the immune system and strengthen the nervous system. Phenolics are also very antioxidant, meaning that they stop oxidation. Oxidation occurs when electrons are lost. This reaction can produce free radicals, which can be dangerous to the human body.
Found in many plants, oxides are chemical compounds that are the result of oxidized alcohols, terpenes or ketones.
All of these categories can be broken down into even smaller groups. The chemical makeup of an oil can be quite complicated but shows scientists how and why essential oils work with the human body.
What Is Eucalyptus Essential Oil Made Of?
Eucalyptus essential oil is a combination of over one hundred individual components that work together to give the oil its healing abilities. Alone, these components will not have the same effect as when they are combined in the oil. Eucalyptus oils can vary slightly as there are different types of trees. The country where the tree is grown will have a large impact on the quality. However, they all contain similar properties. Eucalyptus essential oil is mainly composed of a-pinene, b-pinene, limonene, 1,8-ceneole, terpinen-4-ol, a-phellandrene, citral, aromadendrene, methyl cinnamate, epiglobuol, piperitone and globulol. Here is an explanation of the more common components and how they give Eucalyptus oil its healing and aromatherapy characteristics.
An organic compound of the terpene class, a-pinene is found in the oils of coniferous trees. It is considered to be a broad-spectrum antibiotic and also shows signs of being able to improve memory and brain function. Eucalyptus oil can be used as an antibiotic on cuts and wounds because of this component. By preventing infection, wounds can heal much faster and with less scaring in most cases.
Limonene is a colorless liquid that is considered a cyclic terpene and is a common added ingredient in cosmetic products. It can alleviate heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can also be used as a solvent. Eucalyptus oil can be used as a digestive aid to sooth upset stomachs and nausea. If too much oil is consumed it can have the opposite effect and cause nausea and vomiting.
This component provides Eucalyptus oil with it’s earthy and woody aroma. It is an organic compound found in many plants and is a colorless liquid. Eucalyptus oil’s aroma is incredibly soothing and relaxing, which it owes to b-pinene.
This chemical component offers strong therapeutic properties that have been the subject of many scientific studies. Its properties include being an airborne antimicrobial, an anti-inflammatory aid and an antioxidant. It also helps to increase blood flow. This can help to alleviate swelling and muscle pain.
This component of Eucalyptus oil is the methyl ester of cinnamic acid. It is a solid that possesses a very strong odor. It is found naturally in many types of plants and not just the Eucalyptus tree. It also occurs naturally in fruits, like the strawberry, and in some varieties of basil. It adds to the soothing smell of Eucalyptus oil.
Terpinin-4-ol is a great sterilizer and disinfectant. This component is what makes Eucalyptus oil a strong and effective household cleaner. It can be used safely on virtually any surface and is also a great stain remover.
While the scientific makeup of this oil can seem intense, Eucalyptus essential oil is considered to be one of the safest essential oils but precautions should still be taken to make sure that there are no allergies present. Keep an eye out for any signs of allergic reactions, such as rashes, itchy skin or irritation, and speak with a health care professional if you have any questions regarding the use of Eucalyptus oil. While the oil may be placed directly on the skin if diluted, contact should be avoided with the eyes and nostrils. It may be inhaled but only under direction of a medical professional. If added to food or drinks for consumption, only a couple drops should be added and the oil should never be consumed alone. If any signs of overdose are present, medical assistance should be sought out immediately.
Many components of Eucalyptus oil can be dangerous for infants and children. For this reason, no child under the age of ten should use this specific oil.