In general, pure essential oils can be subdivided into two distinct groups of chemical constituents; the hydrocarbons which are made up almost exclusively of terpenes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes), and the oxygenated compounds which are mainly esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols, and oxides.
Terpenes - inhibit the accumulation of toxins and help discharge existing toxins from the liver and kidneys.
Esters - are the compounds resulting from the reaction of an alcohol with an acid (known as esterification). Esters are very common and are found in a large number of essential oils. They are anti-fungal, calming and relaxing.
Aldehydes - are highly reactive and characterized by the group C-H-O (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen). In general, they are anti-infectious with a sedative effect on the central nervous system. They can be quite irritating when applied topically (citral being one example), but may have a profound calming effect when inhaled.
Ketones - are sometimes mucolytic and neuro-toxic when isolated from other constituents. However, all recorded toxic effects come from laboratory testing on guinea pigs and rats. No documented cases exist where oils with a high concentration of ketones (such as mugwort, tansy, sage, and wormwood) have ever caused a toxic effect on a human being. Also, large amounts of these oils would have to be consumed for them to result in a toxic neurological effect. Ketones stimulate cell regeneration, promote the formation of tissue, and liquefy mucous. They are helpful with such conditions as dry asthma, colds, flu and dry cough and are largely found in oils used for the upper respiratory system, such as hyssop, Clary sage, and sage.
Alcohols - are commonly recognized for their antiseptic and anti-viral activities. They create an uplifting quality and are regarded as non-toxic.
Terpene Alcohols stimulate the immune system, work as a diuretic and a general tonic, and are anti-bacterial as well.
Sesquiterpene Alcohols are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-mycotic, and ulcer-protective (preventative).
Phenols - are responsible for the fregrance of an oil. They are antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and strongly stimulating but can also be quite caustic to the skin. They contain high levels of oxygenating molecules and have anioxidant properties.
Oxides - According to The American Heritage™ Dictionary of the English Language, an oxide is "a binary compound of an element or a radical with oxygen".
All pure essential oils have some anti-bacterial properties. They increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight infectious illnesses. It is through these properties that aromatic herbs have been esteemed so highly throughout the ages and so widely used during the onsets of malaria, typhoid, and of course, the epidemic plagues during the 16th century. Research has found that people who consistently use pure essential oils have a higher level of resistance to illnesses, colds, flues, and diseases than the average person. Further indications show that such individuals, after contracting a cold, flu, or other illness, will recover 60-70 percent faster than those who do not use essential oils.
The information on this page is from the Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley. For more information on this subject, see also the book, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, by David Stewart.
Essential oils aren’t just something that makes the room smell good. Most people have no idea that essential oils can help bring balance back into the body. We certainly didn’t before we started using Young Living oils. Essential oils have been used to support healing for centuries. People have been using plants as medicine since the beginning of time!
So, what ARE essential oils? Essential oils are the living fluid inside the plant that acts as their immune system. These plant fluids are the regenerating, oxygenating, and immune-strengthening properties of plants. They are necessary for the plant to live and contain vibrational energy that helps to give them therapeutic properties. When these fluids are distilled and extracted using a highly regulated, low-heat, slow-steam process and then used topically, aromatically or internally, they can help bring that vibrational energetic level that is lacking in our bodies back into balance. Essential oils are composed of microscopic molecules that are able to penetrate into the DNA/cellular level of every cell in our body (even crossing the blood-brain barrier) and can help to support our body’s natural healing systems.
Pretty cool, right?
BUT - be warned! Not all essential oils are created equal. Many of us started out by using health food store essential oils thinking that there wasn’t any difference. Oils found at the health food store are usually aromatic-grade oils meant for smelling, not for topical use and definitely not for internal use. Many store bought oils contain additives or synthetics or may have been distilled in a way that doesn't guarantee a high quality of therapeutic constituents. That’s why it is so important to know where your oils come from, how they are distilled and how they are processed. You definitely get what you pay for. Truly pure & natural quality essential oils do cost more. Cheaper essential oil products that are legally labeled as “100% Pure” are actually only required to have 5% of the essential oil present in their product. When you consider that it takes 22 pounds of rose petals to make a 5mL bottle of Rose oil, you can start to understand why the real thing costs more.
This is why Apothecary Society members chose Young Living Essential Oils. They have a Seed to Seal guarantee that ensures that from the dirt (no pesticide residue) to the seed (no GMOs) to the harvest time and procedure (sometimes in the daytime, sometimes at night, sometimes by hand/tool/machine) to the distillation process (slow steam, low heat, one distillation, medical grade stainless steel machinery) to the multitude of testing to ensure only the highest quality and purity to the bottling of the product - everything is overseen and quality is ensured. NO other essential oil company owns their own farms or partners with farms that are willing to live up to Young Living’s high standards. Owning farms all over the world gives Young Living the ability to truly know what the product is that they’re selling - and this is what has made us oil lovers.*
*Reproduced from The Apothecary Society a great resource for our group of Young Living users!