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 a 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 ingredient 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 Tea Tree Essential Oil Made Of?
Tea tree essential oil is a combination of over one hundred individual components that work together to give tea tree oil its healing abilities. Alone, these components will not have the same effect as when they are combined in the oil. Tea tree oil is most effective when it passes the strict testing performed by the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association, which focuses on the levels of fifteen important components of the oil. All essential oils, including tea tree oil, should be stored in dark glass containers in a dark and cool place. Light and heat can affect the oil’s stability and its effectiveness. Tea tree essential oil is mainly composed of a-pinene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-phellandrene, a-terpinene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, terpinen-4-ol and a-terpineol. Here is an explanation of the more common components and how they give tea tree oil its antibacterial 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. Tea tree oil is widely used as a disinfectant and topical solution for cuts and wounds. It prevents infection and speeds up the healing process. The oil contains 6% a-pinene.
The second isomer of pinene, which the first being a-pinene, b-pinene is a colorless liquid. It is an organic compound found in many different types of plants. It tends to give off a pine like scent that can be subtly noticed in tea tree oil.
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. It is one of the components that helps make tea tree oil such an effective household cleaner.
Found in many flower and spice plants, linalool is a common ingredient used to add scent to body products and household cleaners. It can also be used to eliminate fleas and fruit flies. It has strong antiviral and antibacterial characteristics. Tea tree oil is a great natural bug repellent and is effective against fleas, mosquitoes and even head lice.
The main component (greater than 30%) in tea tree oil, terpinin-4-ol is a great sterilizer and disinfectant. Tea tree oil is used often with lavender in home cleaning products to increase its disinfecting abilities. This component is what gives tea tree essential oil its main antibacterial properties.
The individual components of tea tree oil make it one of the best essential oils to use when eliminating bacteria, destroying viruses and eliminating fungi. While all oils seem to be able to fight microbes, tea tree oil is one of the best to keep handy for a variety of disinfectant needs.
While the scientific makeup of this oil can seem intense, tea tree essential oil is considered to be a very safe 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 and speak with a health care professional if you have any questions regarding the use of tea tree oil. While the oil may be placed directly on the skin, it may be safer to dilute the oil before applying. Contact should be avoided with the eyes and nostrils. It may be inhaled but only under direction of a medical professional. It should not be ingested and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.