Monday, January 19, 2009
A simple flower is a complex chemistry of beauty
The sight of a beautiful flower is lovely, of course, and its essential oil contains fractals of all of those constiuents that make us love their sight, smell and emotional, even spiritual responses...
but do we really have any idea what essential oils are actually composed of?
What makes them smell the way they do, or look the way they do?
Scientists have been studying for years the complexities of the chemical compounds that make up our world's flora.
Here's a great article about just that:
Simple Flower, Complex Chemistry
The simplicity of a single flower disguises the complexity of its fragrant aroma. Looking past its structural beauty, we are awed by thousands of individual constituents, or ingredients, as they whirl in perfect order to form a fragrance that elicits physical, emotional, and even spiritual responses. Such is the intricate beauty of a single flower; such is the intricacy of its essential oils.
Essential oils are very complex in chemical compounds. Their chemistry, when charted on paper, boggles the imagination and often leaves all but the most advanced chemist with feelings of stupor. One single oil may contain thousands of individual constituents that exert specific actions. Take one substance from its normal surroundings, and combine it with a different component, and it acts in an entirely different manner. This makes it quite difficult to define any constituent's action, for its true action is often determined by the relationship it has with all the substances around it. In nature, no constituent ever works alone, but instead works in perfect harmony with all the other ingredients to create a perfect, whole essential oil.
Nevertheless, for the sake of simplicity, scientists isolate, observe, and report single actions and try to identity, name, and categorize individual components. The essential oils that share a high proportion of similar constituents are grouped together and are said to have similar actions. To help one understand the actions of the oils, scientists divide the oils' identified constituents into family units and assign them names like esters, aldehydes, and phenols.
Oils with a high number of common constituents tend to mix well with each other when creating aromatic blends. The effect of essential oils may be predicted according to the major constituents present. The identified chemical make-up helps one discover the potential properties that are exerted on the physical and mental body. But once again, this may all change when the single constituent is blended with new components. The action of the component may also change depending on how it is used. Is it inhaled, rubbed on, or taken internally? How it is taken helps determine the action of the main constituent.
When mingling with other essential oil users, you may hear the following terminology. This chart and glossary will prove useful for the beginning oil enthusiast, with descriptions and simplified keys to assist you in peeking into the complex world of essential oil chemistry.
(finish reading online http://essentialsoflife.net/web/oilchart.htm)
The information in this email is intended for educational purposes only. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any illness or disease of the human body.