In many of the medicinal descriptions of plants I note the chemical constituents of plants. For those who know of such things these chemicals will indicate the healing potential of the plant. Essential oils can be drawn from a plant in a number of ways. The two most important being a steam extraction of the oil or the oils that are extracted via alcohol when making alcohol based tinctures. Steam extracted essential oils are 100% pure essential oil whilst tinctures contain many more of the plants other constituents and the essential oil is but a small fraction of the liquid.
Below are listed some of the more commonly noted essential oil constituents and their medicinal benefits. These benefits are delivered by using the oils topically or internally (See CAUTION).
Essential oils are highly concentrated extractions. Many are irritants and must not be used directly on the skin without first being diluted in a carrier oil (1). Some oils are outright poisonous if eaten and many can induce abortion in pregnant women. Essential oils MUST NOT be taken internally unless directed by a qualified practitioner. A child can easily be poisoned if they drink an essential oil (2).
- carrier oils are edible oils used to dilute essential oils so they can be used without irritating sensitive skin (think children/babies/the elderly, mucous membranes – mouth/vagina). Olive oil, sweet almond oil and jojoba oil are commonly used – although any edible oil can be used and many carrier oils (ie olive oil) have their own medicinal qualities
- The best way to administer essential oils to children is through the feet. Dilute the oil as appropriate in a carrier oil and massage the oil into the soles of the childs feet.
Some of the constituents that may be listed in various Posts are as follows. Each has a small explanation of the medicinal properties of the constituent. These are but a few of the phytochemicals to be found in essential oils.
• Inhibits the conversion of pyruvate to lactate by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) isoforms LDH1 and LDH5. It is more effective than stiripentol at reducing seizures in mice, suggesting utility in managing epileptic seizures.
• a diterpene alcohol from Chlorophyll, as a Drug against the tropical disease Schistosomiasis
• Anxiolytic-like effects : Possible involvement of GABAergic transmission
• Induces Apoptosis and ROS-Mediated Protective Autophagy in Human Gastric Adenocarci-noma AGS Cells
• neuroprotective effects
• ameliorates depression,
• reduces dopamine-induced neurotoxicity
• blocks autophagy
• Inhibits apoptosis. While β-asarone inhibits apoptosis in neurons, it induces apoptosis in colon cancer cells.
• Anti-microbial effects.
• Anti-oxidant – strong radical-scavenging activity
• Anti-inflammatory – exhibited anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory cytokines, namely tumour necrosis factor alpha and interleukin.
• Anti-microbial – strong anti-microbial activity against Salmonella typhi,
• used to treat inflammation on the skin. It is also used for the treatment of dermatophytosis and other inflammatory conditions.
Among myrcenes potential health benefits include easing the symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation. Terpenes assist cannabinoids in absorbing into the blood brain barrier, binding to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, helping to encourage analgesic responses.
It synergizes the antibiotic potential of other terpenes.
• Analgesic – pain relieving
• Anti-bacterial – Slows bacterial growth.
• Anti-diabetic – Helps mitigate the effects of diabetes.
• Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.
• Anti-Insomnia – Aids with sleep.
• Anti-Proliferative/Anti-Mutagenic – Inhibits cell mutation, including cancer cells.
• Anti-psychotic – Tranquilizing effects relieve symptoms of psychosis.
• Anti-spasmodic – Suppresses muscle spasms.
• Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.
• Anxiolytic – Relieves anxiety.
• Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux – Reduces acid reflux.
• Immunostimulant – Stimulates the immune system.
• Mucous membrane tonic
• Nasal decongestant
• Nematicidal – a type of chemical pesticide used to kill soil-borne plant-parasitic nematodes. The root exudate of marigold (Tagetes) is also found to have nematicidal action
• Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
• Strong antimicrobial
• Anti-inflammatory properties. The bacteria in concern were Enterococcus faecalis, staphylococci and micrococci, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
• Anti-inflammatory (on injured tissue)
• Antibiotic – effective in the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and when used as a topical agent, it helped to get rid of nasal or extra-nasal colonization of the microorganism.
• Terpinen-4-ol can suppress pro-inflammatory mediator production by activated human monocytes.
• Pheromone used by bee colonies
• Some studies show it as an aid in memory retention
Ali, Babar & Al-Wabel, Professor Dr. Naser & Shams, Saiba & Ahmad, Aftab & Khan, Shah & Anwar, Firoz. (2015). Essential oils used in aromatherapy, A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 5. 589-598. 10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007.