A little Chemistry....
THE CHEMISTRY OF ESSENTIAL OILS
The Oil Chemistry Wheel is a tool designed to help individuals better understand the chemistry behind essential oils. In understanding the basic chemistry of each oil, individuals can more fully understand when and how to use the oils to achieve the desired benefit.
The oils in the Chemistry Wheels are grouped according to their shared key properties. The shared key properties provide a starting point for understanding how to use the oils. The combination of these different groupings enables individuals to begin to understand the characteristics and properties of these amazing little brown bottles.
Clarifying: As the name implies, these are oils that help to “make clear.” Topically they are used for improved skin tone and appearance, and aromatically they can be used to help settle and resolve ambiguous, uncertain feelings.
Calming: These are classic oils for feelings of relaxation, both physically and mentally. These oils are typically used for stress relief, meditation, and preparation for sleep.
Restoring: These are oils for emotional and physical support. They are meant to help revive, strengthen, and rejuvenate the body and the senses.
Uplifting: These oils are meant to be inspiring. They encourage feelings of exhilaration and refreshment.
Soothing: These are oils that help ease and alleviate issues, both emotional and physical. They are meant to reassure and console as needed.
Energizing: These oils are used to bring feelings of motivation and activation. They tend to be brisk, naturally stimulating oils that help wake up the mind and body.
Stabilizing: These are oils that help steady the nerves, helping you feel that you are on an even keel. By analogy, stabilizing oils encourage a person’s feelings and emotions
ESSENTIAL OIL CATEGORIES
Essential oils can be loosely ordered into categories – I say ‘loosely’ as some fit into multiple categories.
• Citrus oils smell light, fruity, and clean, they are uplifting (thanks to the limonene they contain) and are almost always top notes
• Examples are Wild Orange, Lemon, Lime, Bergamot, Grapefruit
• Spicy oils are warm-smelling, and some are described as balsamic, which means they tend to have a richer earthy/woodsy note with a sweet vanilla-like tone. They are aldehyde and phenol-rich, with a restorative quality to them
• Examples are Cinnamon, Cassia, Clove, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Lemongrass, Oregano, Thyme, Cumin Herbaceous
• These oils are fresh, sharp, and clarifying. They are often middle notes
• Examples are Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Marjoram, Patchouli, Cypress
• Woodsy scents are derived from trees, they are grounding, centering, strengthening, soothing. They’re also often base notes
• Examples are Arborvitae, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Siberian Fir, Cypress, Copaiba
• The resins come from wounded trees – so I like to think of them supporting the healing of our own inner wounds. They’re rich, deep, ancient, very special oils
• Examples are Frankincense, Myrrh Earthy
• Earthy essential oils are often derived from roots and rhizomes.
Earthy scents are reminiscing of freshly dug roots, earth and soil, moss, and damp leaves. They’re comforting, grounding, stabilizing – and are typically base notes
• Examples are Vetiver, Ginger (which is also ‘spicy’), Clary Sage, Patchouli, Myrrh Floral
• Floral oils tend to be soft, sweet, and powdery. They can be nurturing, calming,
passionate. Usually, middle notes – and not often a category the lads are drawn
• Examples are Geranium, Rose, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile
• These scents indeed smell medicinal! They’re strongly aromatic, stimulating, invigorating, vitalizing. You might also see them referred to as camphoraceous scents which just means they contain a good amount of cineol
• Examples are Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Marjoram, Sage Minty
• Minty essential oils are also strongly aromatic, uplifting, invigorating, cooling. Often top or middle notes
• Examples are Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen
ESSENTIAL OIL SYNERGY
Some oils have the ability to enhance the effect on each other when they are blended together, that is – they create synergy. Synergy can be described as the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
Once you’ve identified a few categories, you can review whether they will be complementary in scent to each other. Here are some examples of essential oil categories that have great synergy:
• Citrus: blends well with other citrus + floral + minty + spicy + woodsy
• Spicy: blends well with other spices + citrus + floral + woodsy
• Herbaceous: blends well with other herbs + mints + woodsy
• Woodsy: blends well with other woods + citrus + spicy + floral
• Resinous: blends well with other resins + woodsy + citrus + spicy
• Earthy: blends well with other earth scents + woodsy + mints • Floral: blends well with citrus + mints + woodsy + spicy
• Medicinal: blends well with other medicinals + woodsy + herbaceous + citrus
• Minty: blends well with other mints + citrus + herbaceous + woodsy
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