Why is essential oil chemistry important?
Essential oil chemistry is important because it provides aromatherapists with a breakdown of the naturally occurring chemical compounds extracted from plants.
The chemistry of essential oil is analyzed by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).
GC/MS is a detailed report of chemical families, components, percentages, country of origin, Latin name, distillation date, and batch number.
Why is it important to aromatherapists?
For aromatherapists, chemistry is extremely important as it is the blueprint for an effective custom blend. More importantly, the safety of the blend!
The chemical families and therapeutic properties of these compounds provide aromatherapists with the valuable information needed to blend based on chemistry, aroma, intention, or all the above.
Knowledge of chemical components broadens the aromatherapist’s blending capabilities and allows for suitable substitutions between essential oils. Not knowing the chemical makeup of an essential oil and the effect it can have on the body may have detrimental effects.
- Allergic reactions
- Skin issues
ThoughtCo.com’s definition of chemistry:
Chemistry is important because everything you do is chemistry! Even your body is made of chemicals. Chemical reactions occur when you breathe, eat, or just sit there reading. All matter is made of chemicals, so the importance of chemistry is that it’s the study of everything!ThoughtCo.Com
Essential Oils Are Natural …
How pure is this oil?
The most effective way to know the purity of essential oils is by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).
Wait … say that again!
Let’s just call it GC/MS for simplicity’s sake 😊
What is GC/MS?
GC/MS is a report that identifies the chemical compounds within a specific oil. It helps to answer a few valid and important questions.
Gas Chromatography separates the volatile (easily evaporates) compounds from the individual components, such as menthol in Peppermint (Courtesy: Aromatics.com). Menthol is the main chemical compound of Peppermint.
Mass Spectrometry identifies these individual components and provides the percentages for each of them.
This is extremely important for blending purposes as it allows the aromatherapist to target essential oils based on their chemical make-up.
GC/MS reports also reveal when essential oils have been adulterated. That is, mixed with other substances, which unfortunately is a common practice today.
Could I get a little Lavender with that? Yuck!
Here is a wonderful and insightful blog by Aromatics International on what to look for when purchasing essential oils and the types of questions to ask.
Blending Based on Chemistry
I realize, now, how chemistry infuses every area of my life; chemistry of ingredient labels, household, and beauty products, to researching chemical families and components for essential oil creations. Funny … I hated chemistry in school! 🙂
To help ease my joint inflammation, I made a butter blend formulated purely on the chemistry of the essential oils and properties of the carrier butter …
Today, you only have to look around you to notice that many people are now more aware of what they put into and onto their bodies. With the ever-increasing movement towards living a healthier lifestyle, there is an abundance of information for the consumer to choose from.
As with anything in life, awareness is key to understanding and understanding is key to life. So, be aware and adopt a “Safety First” approach to understanding essential oil use in your life. All the time, every time!
As a side note. I do not advocate ingesting essential oils. Please seek a Clinical Aromatherapist’s advice for the sake of safety. Your internal organs will thank you.
Should You Ingest Essential Oils?
Consult a Clinical Aromatherapist