What Are Sesquiterpenes?
An article by Nancy Sanderson
Now some of you that are new to essential oils may be wondering what are Sesquiterpenes?
Well it is just one of the constituents in essential oils. Sesquiterpenes, which are found in some essential oils, are:
- soothing to inflamed tissue
- can produce profound effects on emotions and hormonal balance
- work on the liver
- are a gland stimulant
- increase oxygen around the pineal and pituitary gland
- have the ability to go beyond the Blood Brain Barrier (meaning they can cross the blood brain barrier increasing the oxygen to the brain).
Unlike synthetic chemicals, essential oil chemicals or constituents are diverse in their effects. No two oils are alike.
- Some constituents, such as aldehydes found in lavender and chamomile, are antimicrobial and calming, Esters and aldehydes have a stimulating and sedating effect on the nerve endings.
- Eugenol, found in Cinnamon and clove, is anti-septic and stimulating.
- Ketones, found in lavender, hyssop, and patchouli, stimulate cell regeneration and liquefy mucous.
- Phenols, found in oregano and thyme oil, are highly anti-microbial. Phenols are antiseptic and kill bacteria, an are anti-oxidant which increase the oxygen into the tissue to relieve muscles spasms. Phenols also increase the velocity in the blood by increasing the oxygen and moving it along.
Young Living’s Basil has 72% metha charvicol which works great on spasmodic muscles. If the muscle doesn’t relax then the nerve may be affected, so you would want to look for an oil that has Esters in, which is calming and relaxing to the nerve. For instance apply1 drop Basil, 3 Eucalyptus to the chest and it may help relax the lungs and increase the oxygen. Or you may use 3 Basil and 1 Black Pepper in the Raindrop Therapy up the spine for the anti-viral effect.
Use less drops of the one with the highest Phenols, because the less you use, it pushes the effect you want. For skin problems such as Shingles and Herpes Simplex, you can relieve the pain and itching by using 7 drops Bergamot (for the calming and soothing feeling), 3 Melissa (for a soothing effect), 5 Lavender ( for balancing). When the problem is better reduce the Lavender and add Myrrh for the healing effect.
People with high acid need to use oils that are high in Sesquiterpenes. If you are attracted to phenols then you may have a bacteria in the body. If the body is building mucous then use Lavender to balance the parasympathetic system that produce mucous and get your body in an alkaline state.
Most viruses, fungi and bacteria cannot live in the presence of many essential oils, specially those high in phenols, carvacrol, thymol, and terpenes. This, perhaps, offers a modern explanation why the Old Testament prophet Moses used aromatic substances to protect the Israelites from the plagues that decimated the ancient Egyptians.
A vast body of testimonials suggest that those who use essential oils are less likely to contract infectious disease. Moreover, oils users who do contract an infectious illness tend to recover faster than those using antibiotics. The complex chemistry of essential oils make them ideal for killing and preventing the spread of bacteria, since microorganism have a difficult time mutating in the presence of so many different anti-septic compounds.
At the March 2000 International Symposium in Grasse, France, Dr. Berangere Arnal-Schnebelen presented a paper showing the anti-bacterial properties of essential oils against several infectious agents. Spanish oregano and cinnamon essential oils tested at above 95% efficiency against Candida albicians, E.Coli, and a Streptococcus strain. This is significant as we face life-threatening, drug-resistant viruses and bacteria.
The Essential Oils of ravensara, melissa, oregano, mountain savory, clove, cumin, cistus, hyssop and frankincense are highly anti-bacterial and contain immune supportive properties that have been documented by many researchers, such as Daniel Penoel, MD, and Pierre Franchomme. These oils are found in varying amounts in the immune support and anit-microbial essential oil blends.
To add this info which I feel is important when you are wanting to use essential oils for the first time. Make sure you have 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oil. Young Living’s oils are run through a number of tests and are stamped with the AFNOR standard stating they are 100% pure therapeutic grade. Most over the counter oils are adultrated and are not pure.
An essential oil may be labeled as “basil” and have a botanical name (Ocimun basilicum), but it can have widely different therapeutic actions, depending on its chemistry. For example, basil high in linalol or fenchol is primarily used for its antiseptic properties. However, basil high in methyl chavicol is more anti-inflammatory than antiseptic and is anti-spasmodic. A third type, basil high in eugenol, has both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect.
Of even greater concern is the fact that some oils are adulterated, engineered or “extended” with the use of synthetic chemical. They can be very detrimental, causing rashes, burning, skin irritations, allergic reactions, and etc., besides being devoid of any therapeutic effects. For example, pure frankincense is often extended with colorless, odorless solvents, such as diethyplhthalate or dipropylend glycol. The only way to distinguish the “authentic” from the “adulterated” is to subject the essential oil to rigorous analytical testing using state of-the-art gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, and NMRI carbon testing.
Also oils that are subjected to high heat and pressure have a distinctly simpler and inferior profile of chemical constituents, since excessive heat and temperature fractures and breaks down many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the oil – some of which are responsible for its therapeutic action.
In addition, oils that are steam distilled are far different from those that are solvent extracted. Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) has 187 constituents and synthetic lavender only has 4 constituents. How can you get any benefit from using over the counter lavender?
Adulterated and mislabeled essential oils present dangers for consumers. One woman who had heard of the ability of lavender oil to sooth burns, used lavender oil from a local health food store when she spilled boiling water on her arm. But the pain intensified and the burn worsened, so she later complained that lavender oil was worthless for soothing burns. When her “lavender” oil was analyzed, it was found to be lavandin, a hybrid lavender that is chemically very different from pure Lavendula Angustifolia. Lavandin contains high levels of camphor (12-18%) and can itself burn the skin, which intensified her burn. The Lavendula Angustifolia, contains virtually no camphor and has a burn soothing agent which is not found in lavandin.
Here is another testimony I would like to share.
“I thought you might be interested in an experience I had. Yesterday a co-worker got mixed up with a large grinder here at work. It peeled the hide off three of his fingers, one finger nail was ground clear through. I called Delene and had her bring the lavender over. He wasn’t sure he wanted to put it on because it might burn. I told him that if anything it would take the burn out of the burn. We applied it and it really helped. The pain was mostly gone and the stiffness went out of it. I applied the lavender about once an hour and as he was going home offered the bottle. His response was, that’s ok, we have some at home. I explained that the training I had, had warned us about some of the “cheap” lavenders and what they did to burns. He assured me that he had “good” stuff and left. This morning as soon as he got here he looked me up. Seems like his “lavender” isn’t the good stuff. He said that when he put it on it about set his hand on fire. He has to fly out to Washington state tomorrow and says he is going to stop at the farm on the way and get some “good” lavender.”
Now one last thing I would like to share with you is that distilling Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils is an art. Take for instance the distillation of therapeutic essential oils. It is very crucial that they are distilled at low temperature and low pressure or it will fracture the molecule. When that happens then you no longer have therapeutic essential oil. Also the length of time in distilling is very important.
Let’s talk about Cypress. Cypress has 280 properties. If it is distilled for 20 hours you only get 20 of the 280 properties. If distilled for 26 hours you get 0 properties. But if distilled 24 hours, which is the correct length of time for distilling cypress to have 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oil, you will then get the full 280 properties. Most distillers distill cypress for 3 1/2 hours. So are you going to get any value out of cypress that has been distilled for 3 1/2 hours? No you’re not!
That is why it is important to tell your people the difference between pure therapeutic essential oil verse other oils. They can say they are pure, which they have the right, if there is one drop of pure oil in the bottle. But most of the time when you ask how it was distilled they can not tell you.
The plant material should also be free of herbicides and other chemicals. These can react with the essential oil during distillation to produce toxic compounds. Because many pesticides are oil-soluble, they can also mix into the essential oil. This is why when Gary is buying from other companies he goes and sees how they distill and makes sure that they are grown in virgin soil so the we get the purest therapeutic grade essential oils. And if it isn’t, he doesn’t buy it.
Also when the oils come in they go through the AFNOR/ISO Standards. (Association French Normalization Organization Regulation) or ISO certification. This standard is more stringent and differentiates true therapeutic grade essential oils from similar Grade A essential oils with inferior chemistry. The AFNOR standard was written by a team headed up by the government certified botanical chemist Doctor Casabinca. Dr. Casabianca introduced these standards into North American when he collaborated with Sue Chao at Young Living Essential Oils in 2000, when Young Living’s essential oils were calibrated according to the European standards. Dr. Casabianca combined his studies with other research scientists and other doctors to make sure that everyone who wants therapeutic grade oil will get therapeutic grade oil.
I hope this helps you all to understand the constituents a little bit and why it is so crucial to make sure you are using pure therapeutic grade essential oils.