An essential oil is composed of many chemical molecules, giving it its active principles. These components can be divided into 12 major families: terpenes, alcohols, aldehydes, carbides, ketones, coumarins, esters, ethers, lactones, oxides, phenols and finally phthalides.Related articles [View] - Which essential oils for which use? - Which essential oils for which property? - Precautions for use of essential oils - What essential oils can I use? - The quality of an essential oil: how to check?
To begin with, I choose my molecule. I can then refine my results to obtain advice adapted to my needsMolecule Risks to be excluded Authorized users Way of use
An odorous molecule is a molecule that, as its name suggests, will have an odor. It should not be confused with the term aromatic molecule, which is often used by abuse of language, and corresponds to molecules containing an unsaturated cyclic carbon chain (i.e., there will be double bonds in the ring, making the molecule very stable). However, most aromatic molecules are odorous, but some odorous molecules are not aromatic, as we will see. In short, a good example of the complexity of chemistry!
Terpenes represent the most common biochemical family of essential oils. They are the perfect example of non-aromatic scent molecules! They are composed only of carbons and hydrogens. In essential oils, we will find monoterpenes, with 10 carbons, sesquiterpenes, with 15 carbons, and to a lesser extent diterpenes, with 20 carbons. Terpene compounds are very varied in essential oils. When functional groups (alcohol, ketone, aldehyde, etc.) are present, they are called terpenoids. Thus, according to the number of carbons and functional groups, there will be a multitude of terpenes ... Uh terpenoids sorry. Between monoterpenol, sesquiterpene carbide or terpene epoxide, the choice is as dense as varied!
Examples: limonene, pinenes, terpinenes, paracymene, sabinene, camphene, beta-phellandrene,...Main essential oils containing it: citrus essences (Lemon, Orange, etc.), Black Spruce, Scots Pine, Cistus, Coriander, Thyme, Mountain Savory, Ravintsara
Anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, spasmolytic, calming.
Examples: beta-bisabolene, alpha-humulene, beta-caryophyllene, D-germacrene...
Main essential oils containing: Balsam Fir, Oregano
anti-infectious (bactericide, virucide, fungicide, parasiticide), general tonic, immunomodulating, spasmolytic.
Examples: linalool, geraniol, citronellol, terpinen-4-ol, thujanol-4, menthol, borneol...
Main essential oils containing: Thyme, Fine Lavender, Palmarosa, Rose Geranium, Tea Tree, Shell Marjoram, Field Mint...
Tonic, venous and lymphatic decongestant, estrogen-like for some.
Examples: farnesol, elemol, viridiflorol, cedrol, sandalwood, patchoulol, globulol
Main essential oils containing it: Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang, Niaouli, Patchouli, Eucalyptus globulus,...
Aldehydes are derived from alcohols, but are present in traces in essential oils. Much more volatile, they are dermocaustic and photosensitive. There are 2 types of aldehydes, terpenic and aromatic.
Anti-infectious (anti-bacterial, antifungal, antiviral), anti-inflammatory, general tonic, calming the nervous system, immunomodulating, digestive.
Examples of monoterpene aldehydes: citrals (neral and geranial), citronellal
Main essential oils containing: Java citronella, Lemon Eucalyptus, Lemon balm, Lemon,...
Examples of aromatic aldehydes: cuminic aldehyde, cinnamic aldehyde
Main essential oils containing it: Cumin, Cinnamon...
Ketones are organic compounds with a double bond between a carbon atom and an oxygen atom. They are called carbonyl groups. They present a high risk of toxicity on the nervous system on the one hand, and an abortive risk on the other. Essential oils containing them should therefore not be used in too high a dose or in repeated doses. To recognize them it is easy, it has a suffix in "one".
Anti-infectious (antifungal, antibacterial, antiparasitic), mucolytic, healing, lipolytic, antihematoma, nerve tonic (in low doses), analgesic, anti-inflammatory, cholagogue and choleretic.
Examples: verbenone, thujone, borneone (camphor), fenchone, menthone, carvone, italidiones...
Main essential oils containing: Rosemary Verbenone, Sage officinale, Rosemary Camphor, Lavandula Stoechas, Peppermint, Caraway, Italian Helichrysum...
Oxides are compounds resulting from the combination of an oxygen with another substance. In essential oils, monoxides, dioxides and terpene epoxides are found. They will have an action on the exocrine glands of the respiratory and digestive mucosa.
Anti-infectious (anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, antifungal), expectorant, stomachic, carminative, immunomodulating.
Examples: 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), linalool oxide
Main essential oils containing it: Eucalyptus, Noble Laurel, Ravintsara, Niaouli, Cajeput,...
Monoterpenic esters will act mainly on the nervous system, via the ionic channels, hence the properties which result from it.
Antispasmodic, calming, anti-inflammatory, antiarrhythmic.
Examples: bornyl acetate, linalyl acetate, geranyl formate, neryl acetate, benzyl benzoate...
Main essential oils containing: Siberian Fir, Black Spruce, Clary Sage, Petit Grain Bigarade, Rose Geranium,...
Antispasmodic, anti-allergic, analgesic
Examples: methyl chavicol, apiol, safrol, myristine
Main essential oils containing: Basil, Tarragon, Sweet Fennel
Lactones are characterized by the presence of a ketone function in a ring. Therefore, they present the same risks as ketones, they are neurotoxic and abortive in high doses, but are much rarer.
Mucolytic, expectorant, anti-infectious (anti-bacterial and anti-fungal), immunomodulating, antispasmodic, hepatostimulant
Examples: alantolactone, xanthatin, santalolactone, costunolide
Main essential oils containing: Scented Inula, Noble Laurel, Roman Chamomile, Italian Helichrysum...
The action of phenols is very powerful, it is necessary to pay a particular attention to their use in order to avoid accidents and side effects. Moreover, essential oils containing high doses of phenols are dermocaustic, so avoid skin applications.
Powerful anti-infectious (bactericide, virucide, fungicide, parasiticide), anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, analgesic, general tonic
Examples: carvacrol, thymol, eugenol
Main essential oils containing: Oregano Compact, Thyme Thyme, Clove, Mountain Savory
Coumarins are indeed aromatic molecules this time. Present in small quantities in essential oils, they are no less powerful! Sensitive to UV rays, coumarins are photosensitizing.
Sedative, nervous calming, spasmolytic, anticoagulant, hypotensive
Examples: bergapten, herniarin, limettin, angelicin...
Main essential oils containing it: Cinnamon, Bergamot, Lemon, Lovage, Tangerine...
Phthalides are related to coumarins. They possess an action on the liver and kidneys by stimulating their elimination action.
Activity of phthalides: Anti-infectious (bactericide, fungicide, parasiticide), hepatocyte detoxifying, toning, calming
Examples: Z-ligustilide, z-butylidenphthalide,...
Main essential oils containing: Lovage, CeleryHealing with oils... Theophane de la Charie
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