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Yellowstar*Essentials; Aromatherapy for Mind, Body, Spirit & Home

Yellowstar*Essentials; Aromatherapy for Mind, Body, Spirit & Home

Welcome to my new WordPress.com blog. This blog will mostly deal with the art of Aromatherapy and my business: Yellowstar*Essentials; Custom Aromatherapy for Mind, Body, Spirit & Home. This blog will also deal with other Alternative Healing Therapies and living naturally with tips, recipes and other useful  information on such. I’ve created this site for everyone interested in learning more about alternative therapies for improving all aspects of their lives. Enjoy!

Feel free to ask any questions, add comments, suggestions, or any feedback, it’s all  much appreciated. I’d love to know what you think!

Making Sense of SCENT

Making sense of SCENT

IN THE UNITED STATES, where using scents to heal has moved into the mainstream, the term ­aromatherapy is broadly applied. Scented candles with names such as “Meditation” and “Sensuality” can be found at the checkout stand of the local market, along with spray bottles of scents designed to set a mood with the pump of an atomizer. The aromatherapy category has also come to include bath salts, shampoos, lotions, potpourris, and much more. The multitude of products is nothing new, though; historically, essential oils have been used in a variety of forms, depending on the culture and new discoveries about aromatherapy.

While a large selection is nice, it may be confusing when you’re just beginning to use aromatherapy. To help you be a wise consumer, we offer a little basic background.

The discovery

Aromatherapy is a relatively new term, although the practice of using scents to heal is centuries old and crosses many cultural lines. Ancient Egyptians used scents (incense burners have been found in ancient tombs), as did the early Chinese, who employed scents in civil and religious ceremonies. During times of plague, Europeans carried pomanders made of oranges and cloves to mask odors and fend off diseases.

It wasn’t until the twentieth century, however, that the term aromatherapy actually came about. It refers to a specific form of holistic healing that involves carefully ­inhaling or applying herbal essential oils, which are volatile, aromatic plant compounds. René Gatefossé, a French chemist working in the lab of his family’s perfume business during the 1930s, is credited with coining the term. Gatefossé began researching the healing properties of herbal essential oils when he saw his own hand—burned accidentally while working—heal quickly and without scarring after he plunged it into a bowl of diluted lavender oil. In 1937, he published Aromathérapie detailing his research. During World War II, another Frenchman, Jean Valnet, a medical doctor, used essential oils to treat wounded soldiers, and an Austrian biochemist, Marguerite Maury, introduced the use of essential oils with massage techniques.

Today in France, more than 1,500 doctors have been trained in aromatherapy and prescribe essential oils routinely; in England, aromatherapy is used in hospitals to help patients relax and sleep after surgery.
Aromatherapy as profession

The aim of trained aromatherapists is to work with the body to promote health, not to provide a “silver bullet” cure. Generally speaking, an aromatherapist assesses both symptoms and an individual’s lifestyle—his or her diet, stresses, personal goals, and fears. From there, the aromatherapist determines which oil or blend of oils is appropriate.

Massage forms the major part of the treatment, and some aromatherapists consider the use of essential oils in therapeutic massage as the oils’ most effective purpose. Aromatherapists choose from among more than 400 essential oils as they work and, when preparing a massage oil, blend essential oils with a carrier oil (see the glossary,). As they massage, the oil penetrates the body.

In the United States, no licensing agency for aromatherapists exists, nor does a national standard for certification. If you are seeking an aromatherapist, remember that many holistic health-care practitioners, including herbalists and naturopaths, use essential oils as part of their practice, so they may be able to direct you to an aromatherapist in your area. . Some aromatherapy schools have created their own certification standards, including required coursework and certified hours of practice.

Other applications

“Clinical aromatherapy” refers to the use of essential oils to heal specific conditions. The technique is used by many health-care practitioners, including herbalists and naturopaths. Although not yet wholeheartedly embraced by Western medicine, clinical aromatherapy is based on scientific evidence that, in turn, is grounded in basic anatomy.

When we breathe, odors—volatile molecules that float through the air—fill the nostrils and travel up two narrow chambers to the olfactory epithelium, a receiver that extends from the outside directly into the brain. Odor molecules bind to receptors there, and neurons send messages to the brain’s olfactory bulbs, where other neurons reduce the complexities of odors. Mitral neurons send messages to the limbic system, the source of emotion and memory. Scientists say that some smells cause the limbic system to activate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to stimulate hormone production; these glands control sex, appetite, and other body functions. Although much research remains to be done to determine the effects of specific essential oils on both mind and body, strong evidence exists to show that they do

Another way of using scent is what some call “environmental aromatherapy.” It refers to diffusing essential oils into the air to enhance living space. The aim of this practice isn’t to mask foul smells but to cleanse the air. Diffusers are usually made of ceramic or glass, with a small container for water that is heated by a candle or electricity. Drops of essential oil are added to the water (the number of drops of essential oil is determined by the size of the room and the intensity of fragrance desired); heat releases volatile essential oil molecules into the atmosphere. Burning incense is a centuries-old method of diffusing essential oils into the air, as is the burning of scented candles.
The pros and cons of doing it yourself

Aromatherapy can be practiced alone if you’re seeking relaxation or gentle invigoration. Diffusing scent into the air, adding herbal oils to your bath, or rubbing a few drops of diluted essential oil into your feet or hands are simple ways to do it yourself. And if you want to learn more, many books and other resources can provide you with good information on how to begin Because essential oils can be toxic if not used properly, consult the “Usage Warnings and Cautions” from my website.

However, for more serious health conditions, consult a trained professional. Asthma, for example, should never be self-treated, and people undergoing chemo­therapy or treatment for serious illnesses such as AIDS shouldn’t try to heal symptoms associated with these conditions without a health-care provider’s guidance. Pregnant women should be especially cautious when trying to decide which essential oils they can use safely, and parents should always consult a health-care provider when considering using essential oils on children.

Scent sense

The best chance for a happy experience with aromatherapy is to choose good-quality products. With the increasing number of products out there, this may sound easier said than done. But a few simple rules of thumb should help.

Keep in mind that not all scents are natural essential oils. Some are synthesized in the laboratory. If an oil is labeled “fragrance,” it’s probably synthetic. A good essential oil will come from a named botanical species and, when appropriate, a named carrier oil. Its aroma will be vigorous and lively, rather than simply strong. Occasionally, essential oils are “extended” by adding alcohol or cheaper vegetable oils, rather than a preferred carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil or similar. Look for both the botanical name and the carrier oil on the ingredients list of the essential oil bottle or accompanying information. Some essential oils, pure or already blended in carrier oil, come in tiny vials; these products should have ingredient information readily available in the packaging, with a clear description of how the product has been prepared and/or instructions on how to use it and whether you need to dilute the oil with a carrier oil.

Many commercial brands will also include instructions for use. One sampler of six essential oils in small vials, for example, includes specific instructions for using each, such as adding a couple of drops to bathwater or mixing them with an ounce of carrier oil.

Remember that essential oils come from plants, so the aroma of the best oils will vary from year to year because of changes in climate, rainfall, and soil conditions—all of which affect the herb from which the essential oil comes.

Store your oils in their bottles, preferably dark ones, in a cool, dry place. Be sure to keep your essential oils separate from medicines and from solutions that might be affected by the oils’ aromas. Keep caps tightly sealed to avoid evaporation.

It’s important that serious conditions be treated by a qualified health-care practitioner. Essential oils are most commonly used in preparations to relieve aches and pains, encourage relaxation, ease stress, and care for hair and skin. Some, such as the antifungal tea tree oil, can be used to fight minor injuries or irritations; others, such as essential oil of eucalyptus, can be added to a steam to help clear a stuffy head.

Finally, take the sniff test. If you’re a healthy individual who doesn’t have a history of sensitivity but wonder whether a particular essential oil is right for you, put a small drop of the oil onto a cotton ball and sniff to make sure that you find the scent appealing. Don’t inhale right from the bottle—essential oils possess strong aromas and can cause a reaction when sniffed in this way.

GLOSSARY

Carrier oils: As a general rule, herbal essential oils shouldn’t be applied to the skin directly because they are highly concentrated and can sting or otherwise irritate. Instead, essential oils are blended with “carrier oils” to dilute them. The best carrier oils are virgin cold-pressed oils such as almond, walnut, wheatgerm, apricot kernel, and hazelnut. Castor and jojoba oils are also acceptable carrier oils. Essential oils are volatile, so they evaporate quickly when exposed to air but are soluble in carrier oils.

Diffusers:Often made of ceramic or glass, diffusers are used to disperse essential oils into the air. They hold a small container for water, which is heated by a candle or electricity. Drops of essential oil are added to the water; the number of drops of essential oil is determined by the size of the room and the intensity of fragrance desired. Heat releases the volatile essential oil molecules into the atmosphere.

Essential oils: Highly fragrant, concentrated, and potent substances that come from plants and can be irritating to the skin if undiluted. The term can be traced to sixteenth-century alchemists searching for “quintessence,” or the secret of life. Until the early part of the twentieth century, many medicines and personal products such as soaps were made with essential oils.

Perfume: From the Latin per fumare, meaning “through smoke.” Oriental cultures found religious and spiritual connotations in the aromatic smoke of burning herbs; Native Americans burn aromatic herbs to create smoke for their healing ceremonies. Today’s perfumes are largely syntheti

To learn more

BOOKS, ARTICLES, AND OTHER RESOURCES

Gibbons, Boyd. “The Intimate Sense of Smell.” National Geographic 1986, 170(3):324–361.

Green, Mindy. Natural Perfumes: Simple, Sensual, Personal Aromatherapy Recipes. Loveland, Colorado: Interweave Press: In press; due in June 1999.

Kusmerik, Jan, ed. Aromatherapy for the Family: An Introductory Guide to the Use of Holistic Aromatherapy for Harmony and Well-being. London: ­Wigmore, 1997.

Obuchowski, Christa. “Aromatherapy.” In The Whole Mind: The Definitive Guide to Complementary Treatments for Mind, Mood, and Emotion, edited by Lynette Bassman. Novato, California: New World Library, 1998.

Rose, Jeanne, and Susan Earle, eds. The World of Aromatherapy. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1996.

The Aromatic Thymes, a quarterly publication. Subscription information: (847) 304-0975.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1995.

If you’re interested in real essential oils and products made with them, try
Yellowstar*Essentials

Holistic Nutrition; Sources of Vitamins, Minerals & Trace Minerals

Here’s a great list of Holistic Herbal Sources for Natural Nutrition

Herb Sources of Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Minerals
Many herbs are excellent for getting the vitamins and minerals our bodies need
because the body usually digests them easier through plants, much easier
than from fish or animal sources.

Listed below are some herb sources of vitamins, minerals and trace minerals.

VITAMINS
Vitamin A: Alfalfa, Cayenne, Eyebright, Lambs Quarter, Paprika, Red Clover, Violet, Yellow Dock
Vitamin B: Alfalfa, Dulse, Fenugreek, Kelp, Licorice, Saffron
Vitamin C: Bee Pollen, Chickweed, Echinecea, Garlic, Golden Seal, Juniper BerrY, Paprika, Peppermint, Rosehips, Sorrel, Violet, Watercress
Vitamin D: Alfalfa, Dandelion, Red Raspberry, Rosehips, Sarsaparilla, Watercress
Vitamin E: Alfalfa, Burdock, Dandelion, Dong Quai, Kelp, Scullcap, Sesame, Slippery Elm, Watercress
Vitamin G: Fo-ti-tieng
Vitamin K: Alfalfa, Gotu Kola, Shepherd’s Purse
Niacin: Alfalfa, Fenugreek, Parsley Watercress
Vitamin P: (Rutin, Bioflavenoids) Acerola, Paprika

MINERALS
Calcium: Aloe, Cayenne, Chamomile, Fennel, Marshmallow, Sage, White Oak Bark
Cobalt: Dandelion, Horsetail, Juniper Berries, Lobelia, Parsley, Red Clover, White Oak Bark
Iodine: Bladderwrack, Kelp
Iron: Burdock, Chickweed, Ginseng, Hops, Mullein, Nettles, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sarsaparilla, Scullcap, Yellow Dock
Magnesium: Alfalfa, Catnip, Ginger, Gotu Kola, Red Clover, Rosemary, Valerian, Wood Betony
Potassium: Aloe, Cayenne, Fennel, Golden Seal, Parsley, Rosehips, Slippery Elm, Valerian
Zinc: Burdock, Chamomile, Dandelion, Eyebright, Marshmallow, Sarsaparilla

TRACE MINERALS
Alfalfa, Burdock, Dandelion, Kelp, Yellow Dock, Parsley, Red Clover, Rosehips, Sage, Sarsaparilla, Valerian

Hope you find some good use for this info……..

You could prepare them in a number of ways, here’s some examples;

How Do You Prepare Herbs?

Capsule: This is the most popular way most people take their herbs. Some of the reasons: it’s easy, convenient, avoids bitter taste, saves on preparation, and provides an exact regulated dosage to the body.

Decoction: To extract the deeper essences from harder or coarser herbs such as stems, barks, and roots. The herbs are usually simmered uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes until 1/3 of the water has decreased through evaporation, usually one part plant to twenty parts water. Note: for coarser herbs such as Valerian and Burdock, these must be gently simmered in a covered pot to bring out their medicinal properties. Strain before using.

Extracts: Extracts are a highly concentrated alcohol base in liquid form derived from pure herbs. Many people use herbal extracts who are unable to swallow the usual dose. Exact dosages are recommended on individual bottles. This is one of the more convenient ways to take herbs.

Fomentation: A fomentation is an external application of herbs, generally used to treat swellings, pains, cold and flu. To prepare a fomentation, soak a towel or cloth in the desired tea, and apply the towel over the affected area as hot as can be tolerated without burning. Cover the towel with a dry flannel cloth. Repeat as needed.

Infusion: The most common way of preparing herbs. The extraction of the active properties of a substance by steeping or soaking it, usually in water. The usual amount is a teaspoon of leaves, blossoms, or flowers to a cup of boiling water. The water is poured over the herbs, then steeped for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain before using. Honey may be added to taste.

Plaster: A plaster is much like a poultice, but the herbal materials are placed between two pieces of cloth and applied to the affected area. When there is an irritant to the skin, this method will serve to prevent the herb from coming in direct contact with the skin.

Poultice: A poultice is usually used as an antiseptic and to reduce swelling by applying a warm mass of powdered herbs directly to the skin. To prepare, add enough hot water to make a thick paste, then apply directly to the skin. Cover with a hot moist towel and leave on until it cools. Repeat as often as needed.

Salve: A healing or soothing ointment. Use 3 oz. powered herb, 7 oz. cocoa butter, l oz. beeswax, (depending on consistency desired, more beeswax may be needed). Blend all three ingredients together in a covered pot on low heat for 1 to 2 hours. When it is cold, it should be firm and ready to use.

happy herbing!

Tests on Essential Oils and their efficiency….

I’m not suprised I found this article floating around the internet………
most people that don’t know anything about essential oils just assume everything they read is true.

Labs have done testing on essential oils……but what KIND of essential oils and were they therapeutic grade? or Medicinal Grade???……….no, I think not………

read on for more interesting info:

I just read an article at MSNBC about aromatherapy on lemon, and lavender essential oils. The article reads… “Here’s some unsettling news for anyone who ever sniffed a scented candle, essential oil or pricey pillow spray, hoping for healing or another kind of physical boost… It doesn’t work.”

I’m not at all surprised!

The study used “perfume grade” essential oils – which could be anything from chemical made scents to essential oils whose molecules are fractured – rendering them completely useless from a wellness stand point.

They also reported that the “smelling” of lavender didn’t help with pain – hmmm, I’ve never known any grade of lavender to work on any type of pain (other than some types of itchiness), nor have I known smelling lavender to relieve pain.

Here’s what they said:
“One of the most comprehensive investigations done to date on aromatherapy failed to show any improvement in either immune status, wound healing or pain control among people exposed to two often-touted scents.” [they’re referring to lavender and lemon essential oils being inhaled.] Read more if you like…

This report confirms three things:

1.) the quality of the essential oil DOES make a huge difference (they simply proved the novelty aromatherapy products do NOT work)

2.) they were testing for affects that neither lavender or lemon essential oils are known to have

3.) “smelling” an essential oil won’t boost your immune system or ease pain

Other things I’ve come across…

A couple years ago a friend was doing some research looking for studies on essential oils. He came across one scientific study that was trying to prove if essential oils did in fact work at all. Interestingly, the study also included their distillation method – they took “dried herbs” (God only knows how old they were) and distilled them with solvents for their scientific study on essential oil efficacy (I have to give them credit for adding that tid-bit of very important information!)

Low and behold, they proved that essential oils did “not” work – imagine that!

The reality:

The study proved that essential oils distilled from dried herbs have no healing properties.

Buyer beware, there are essential oils on the market distilled the same way, yup and they are dirt cheap!

Fact:

a dried herb literally loses 90 – 95% of its essential oil during the drying process. You know when you harvest some fresh herbs and hang them to dry, how the room smells really good???

Well, what you’re smelling is 90 – 95% of the essential oil going into the air! Essential oils are volatile, meaning they evaporate. A dried plant has lost most of its essential oil, the beneficial/healing part – the “green” part is not the part that has the benefits, it’s the essential oil part.

This is also the reason “why” herbal remedies take so long to work, you need to keep taking them until your body gets enough of the essential oil, that is left in the dried herb, before it makes much difference.

I began using herbal remedies when I was young, and herbal preparations have been a huge part of my life for well over 20 years. I love herbs, plants and essential oils, and still use them… but not when I need relief! When I need relief I always turn to my medicinal-grade or therapeutic-grade essential oils. . In this day and age, there aren’t many of those to be had, besides, Young Living Oils, Bella Mira, Mountain Rose, and a few others in my list of suppliers.

……….Anyway, those in the lab doing their study should have been here last summer when I got stung by a White-face Hornet on the side of my ring finger! My finger swelled up so fast, the pain was so bad, and within 2 minutes I couldn’t even bend my finger – the joints froze!

I came inside and put some of my Young Living lavender essential oil directly on the sting. It kept getting worse = lavender doesn’t work well for hornet stings! It got so much worse, I couldn’t even bend the finger with my other hand – it was as if it were frozen solid! That was scary!

I’ve been using essential oils for 20 years, and Young Living oils for 8 years – I know that if I do not see relief within minutes that it’s not the right oil.

So, I stood there looking into my case of 100 or more oils, wondering which one I should try next. I couldn’t make up my mind and finally said, “ugh, I’ll just use this one, my finger is killing meee!!!”

I picked up my bottle of Thieves essential oil and poured some drops onto the area of the sting and within 10 seconds I felt relief, the pain was gone, within 30 seconds the swelling went completely away and back to normal, and within 60 seconds I could bend my finger like normal!

Hmmm, placebo effect? My mind-power has never been known before to be that powerful, so… I don’t think so!

That same bottle of Thieves essential oil keeps my home mold-free, germ-free, and I’ve even used Thieves essential oil when I got 4 deep puncture wounds when a Husky bit me two years ago (no bleeding, no puss, no infection, and no trip to the emergency room either).

They can keep their inferior oil studies, drugs, and sugar pills… I’m sticking with my Young Living essential oils!

I’m laughing as I type this post, thinking… “well, if some want to believe that therapeutic-grade essential oils don’t work… that’s their loss, not mine!”

I’m sure if I simply “smelled” my Thieves essential oil, rather than directly apply it to the stung area, or apply it to the four puncture wounds, I wouldn’t have seen any relief whatsoever! Duh!

This study, and others like it, are so ridiculous… I can hardly believe I’m even writing about it.

What’s scary, someone actually paid these people to do this “comprehensive” study! No offense intended, but you’ve gotta admit, it is quite ridiculous.

I guess the only point I’m trying to make is this… people who don’t have a background in essential oils, would read something like that article and study, and chose not to use essential oils. Or worse yet, think that it doesn’t matter which brand of essential oils they buy because all they do is smell nice, they don’t actually provide any benefits. How unfortunate.

I truly hope you find the time to study the amazing uses of the hundreds of therapeutic grade essential oils and all their wonderful uses……they are truly a gift from GOD……

Now that’s making sense of scents!


Sounds silly, but the nose knows. Your sniffer can distinguish between 10,000 scents that waft their way to your limbic system. The what system? The limbic system — the part of your brain that controls your moods, emotions, memory and learning. So it makes sense that aromatherapy, or treatment using scents, can have powerful applications for your state of mind and well-being.

The basics of how the nose detects smells have been known for some time. Odorants waft up through the two nasal cavities until they strike a region that contains approximately 50 million olfactory neurons, the cells that bear odorant receptors. These sensory cells extend long fibers, known as axons, from the nose to the olfactory bulb, the brain region that first processes olfactory information and then sends signals to other areas of the brain (SN: 8/15/98, p. 106).
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From Nobel Prize winning researchers to factories in Tokyo, aromatherapy has come of Age.

Aromatherapy scents have been used for centuries, but the science behind aromatherapy and scent therapy has in recent years gained much recognition.

For example, the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to smell researchers, Drs. Linda Buck and Richard Axel for their discoveries that clarify how the sense of smell works.

Buck and Axel discovered a large gene family, comprised of some 1,000 different genes. The gene’s receptors are located on the olfactory receptor cells, which occupy a small area in the upper nasal cavity and detect inhaled odorant molecules.

With each of our olfactory-receptor cells producing a single odorant receptor gene, they determined that there are as many types of olfactory-receptor cells as there are odorant receptors.

Since most odors results from a combination of odorant molecules, a pattern is formed; thus, the human sense of smell can recognize approximately 10,000 different odors.

And, of most significance to most, each of these odors can evoke a memory. In fact, unlike the other senses, the brain triggers an emotional response to an odor before a conscious identification.

In other words, if you associate the scent of apple pie with a cozy feeling evoked by memories of baking with your mother, than you will feel this warm feeling even before your brain says, “Mmm apple pie!”

Now that we are beginning to understand the mystery of the human sense of smell, how are we applying this knowledge?

From the Egyptian pyramids to our homes

Even the ancient Egyptians used aromatherapy scents in the form of candles and oils as natural mood enhancers. Humans are naturally drawn to things that smell good and make us feel good. Naturally, scents that evoke good feelings are the ones we want to have in our homes.

Scented candles, infusers, diffusers, simmer pots, bath oils, and Scent Therapy [http://www.scenttherapy.com/] patches are among the various ways we use aromatherapy scents to enrich our family and personal lives.

Through the gentle, yet powerful, stimulation of the limbic system, aromatherapy scents can be used as safe and effective mood enhancers, as well as stimulants for our thinking processes. They can even help us change behaviors. For example the scented weight loss patch, Diet Scents [http://www.scenttherapy.com/products-diet.asp] can help curb your cravings.

Aromatherapy, in the classic sense, calls for the use of pure essential oils. Synthetic oils, like anything with an odor, can evoke a feeling or memory; however, they do not contain the therapeutic properties of quality essential oils. This is because the brain’s ‘feel good’ endorphins are released through certain aromatic scents.

A new market entry is the Scent Therapy [http://www.scenttherapy.com/scent-therapy-technology.asp] products that use essential oils in a special blend of formulas developed by Dr. George Dodd, one of the world’s leading aroma scientists. Scent Therapy uses a transparent patch the size of a thumbnail that is infused with a mood transforming scent. Simply smelling the patch throughout the day brings the benefits of aromas directly to the nose of the user.

Aromatherapy Scents in the Corporate World

Kajima Construction Company, located in Tokyo, uses aromatherapy scents [http://www.scenttherapy.com/scent-therapy-technology.asp] to improve productivity at their plant and in their offices. In the morning, the invigorating scent of lemon flows from the air conditioning/heating vents. At mid-day, the scent of roses reduces stress, and in the afternoon when workers are tiring, the scent of cypress provides a pick-me-up.

At the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the scent of peppermint wafts through the ducts and out the vents to perk up associates.

Smart executives at companies like these have found an efficient and cost effective way to increase productivity and quality of work, as well as a sense of well-being.

According to professional journals, psychologists agree that concentration; aromatherapy can improve efficiency and mental stamina.

Author’s Bio
Luke Vorstermans is the founder of The Sense of Smell Lab, a world leader in the development of innovative products that use our sense of smell to influence behavior, trigger memories, manage cravings, enhance moods and improve sexual health. Learn more about enhancing your emotional health at: http://www.scenttherapy.com

Additional Resources on Aromatherapy can be found at:

Website Directory for Aromatherapy
Articles on Aromatherapy
Products for Aromatherapy
Discussion Board
Luke Vorstermans, The Official Guide to Aromatherapy

More on the Complex Chemistry & Constituents of Essential Oils


Common Constituents Found in Essential Oils:

Esters

Gentle in action, esters are generally found in the mildest essential oils and are mostly free of toxicity and irritants. They tend to be the most relaxing, soothing, and balancing of all the essential oil constituents. Esters exert a normalizing effect on imbalances in emotional and physical conditions. They often exude a fruity aroma. The names of esters usually end in -yl, -ate, or -ester.

Names of Common Esters:

linalyl acetate
geranyl acetate
methyl salicylate

Main Effects:

Some are antispasmodic and calming to the nervous system. Others tend to be antifungal. When applied topically, some esters exhibit comforting properties to skin and are soothing for inflamed tissue.

Found in:

lavender, clary sage, bergamot, Roman chamomile (85%), fir, and wintergreen.
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Aldehydes

Key ingredient to the scent of a plant, aldehydes exert powerful aromas. Aldehydes are often calming to the emotions. Essential oils with high aldehyde content must be used correctly when applied to the skin as they can cause irritation. The names of aldehydes usually end in -al, or -aldehyde.

Names of Common Aldehydes:

geranial
citral
neral

Main Effects:

Calming, antiseptic, antimicrobial; some are antifungal, and some act as vasodilators.

Found in:

neroli, lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, lemon verbena, valerian, and cinnamon bark.
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Ketones

Many ketones are good for the skin and scars. They are often found in skin care products. Particular ketones encourage normal cell growth. The pest-deterring action of marigolds is due to the ketone, “tagetone.” Since various ketones are resistant to digestion, excessive usage may cause a buildup in the liver when taken orally. When used in the context of a natural, whole essential oil, however, ketones may be utilized safely. The names of ketones normally end in -one, but other components found in essential oils may have the same last three letters, such as asarone, which is a phenolic ether, not a ketone.

Names of Common Ketones:

d-pulegone
jasmone
fenchone
isomethone

Main Effects:

Some ketones are soothing to cuts, abrasions, and irritated tissue; others have lipolytic (breaks down fat) actions; several ketones are mucolytic (thins the mucous); while others are sedative. A number of ketones are analgesic (for pain). One major action of certain ketones is that they act as expectorants. Note that while some ketones are sedative, others are stimulating.

Found in:

Neroli, Idaho tansy, Eucalyptus dives, spearmint, hyssop, Western red cedar, and sage.
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Sesquiterpenes

Sesquiterpenes (as well as a few other constituents) increase blood flow to the capillaries throughout the body. They pass the blood brain barrier, having a positive effect on blood flow to the brain. They exert a helpful effect on the endocrine system. Like aldehydes, sesquiterpenes possess a strong aroma. Though from the same family of terpenes, sesquiterpenes are larger molecules than monoterpenes. The names of sesquiterpenes generally end in -ene.

Names of Common Sesquiterpenes:

b-caryophyllene
germacrene D
aromadendrene
chamazulene

Main Effects:

Antiseptic, antimicrobial, soothing to irritated skin and tissue, calming; some are analgesic.

Found in:

patchouli, ginger, helichrysum, sandalwood, cedarwood, and German chamomile.
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Oxides

Oxides are found in a number of essential oils, mainly those that have a camphor-like nature. The most common oxide in aromatherapy is l,8-cineole-a strong expectorant. For example, the smell of fresh-baked bread is due to an oxide. The names of oxides generally end in -oxide.

Names of Common Oxides

1,8-cineole
bisabolol oxide
linalool oxide
sclareol oxide

Main effects:

Expectorant; mildly stimulating.

Found in:

Eucalyptus globulus, rosemary, ravensara, and German chamomile.
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Monoterpenes

Monoterpenes make up the largest single class of compounds found in essential oils (see chart). They generally possess antibacterial agents. Monoterpenes in general have a stimulating effect.

Terpenes are light molecules that normally evaporate quickly. A terpene is insoluble in water and is often removed from perfume since it causes cloudiness. The names of all terpenes end in -ene.

Names of Common Terpenes:

d-limonene
myrcene
p-cymene

Main effects:

Antiseptic; soothing to irritated tissue; limonene is believed to be antitumerol; some monoterpenes are analgesic.

Found In:

Lemon, grapefruit, frankincense, orange, thyme, and balsam fir.
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Alcohols

Not to be confused with grain alcohols, this plant constituent is somewhat stimulating and helps to increase blood circulation. Some alcohols decrease blood thickness without being over-thinning. Alcohols are very resistant to oxidation and have a very low toxicity. Non-phenolic alcohols are mild and possess pleasant floral odors. Phenolic alcohols, on the other hand, are very strong and aggressive and can be irritating to the skin. The names of alcohols usually end in –ol.

Names of Common Alcohols:

borneol
terpineol
geraniol

Main effects:

Strongly antimicrobial; some are uplifting, while others are sedative; used in animal studies to revert cells to normal function and activity.

Found in:

rosewood, coriander, geranium, rose, and lavender.
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Phenols

Phenols are a type of alcohol. Phenols are highly subject to oxidation and darken or redden with age. Only four common phenols are found in essential oils: thymol, carvacrol, eugenol, and chavicol. They are typically considered medicinal in character. Phenols often smell pungent and spicy. They are helpful for poor moods and for healing.

Many are irritating to the skin when used incorrectly.

The names of most phenols end in -ol, which may be confusing since alcohols also end in –ol.

Names of Common Phenols:

thymol
eugenol
chavicol

Main Effects:

Antiseptic, powerful anti-microbial; stimulating to the nervous and the immune systems; uplifting; many are irritating to the skin, but some have an opposite effect.

Found In:

wintergreen, clove, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, and peppermint.

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Hope this helps in finding you answers to your essential oil questions 🙂

A simple flower is a complex chemistry of beauty


The sight of a beautiful flower is lovely, of course, and its essential oil contains fractals of all of those constiuents that make us love their sight, smell and emotional, even spiritual responses…
but do we really have any idea what essential oils are actually composed of?
What makes them smell the way they do, or look the way they do?
Scientists have been studying for years the complexities of the chemical compounds that make up our world’s flora.

Here’s a great article about just that:

Simple Flower, Complex Chemistry

The simplicity of a single flower disguises the complexity of its fragrant aroma. Looking past its structural beauty, we are awed by thousands of individual constituents, or ingredients, as they whirl in perfect order to form a fragrance that elicits physical, emotional, and even spiritual responses. Such is the intricate beauty of a single flower; such is the intricacy of its essential oils.

Essential oils are very complex in chemical compounds. Their chemistry, when charted on paper, boggles the imagination and often leaves all but the most advanced chemist with feelings of stupor. One single oil may contain thousands of individual constituents that exert specific actions. Take one substance from its normal surroundings, and combine it with a different component, and it acts in an entirely different manner. This makes it quite difficult to define any constituent’s action, for its true action is often determined by the relationship it has with all the substances around it. In nature, no constituent ever works alone, but instead works in perfect harmony with all the other ingredients to create a perfect, whole essential oil.

Nevertheless, for the sake of simplicity, scientists isolate, observe, and report single actions and try to identity, name, and categorize individual components. The essential oils that share a high proportion of similar constituents are grouped together and are said to have similar actions. To help one understand the actions of the oils, scientists divide the oils’ identified constituents into family units and assign them names like esters, aldehydes, and phenols.

Oils with a high number of common constituents tend to mix well with each other when creating aromatic blends. The effect of essential oils may be predicted according to the major constituents present. The identified chemical make-up helps one discover the potential properties that are exerted on the physical and mental body. But once again, this may all change when the single constituent is blended with new components. The action of the component may also change depending on how it is used. Is it inhaled, rubbed on, or taken internally? How it is taken helps determine the action of the main constituent.

When mingling with other essential oil users, you may hear the following terminology. This chart and glossary will prove useful for the beginning oil enthusiast, with descriptions and simplified keys to assist you in peeking into the complex world of essential oil chemistry.

(finish reading online http://essentialsoflife.net/web/oilchart.htm)

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The information in this email is intended for educational purposes only. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any illness or disease of the human body.
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