The Grandmothers of Aromatherapy Sesquiterpenol

Based on their distinguishing qualities, each of the 12 chemical families can be divided into 12 Archetypes and their characteristic Elemental Powers.

These 12 archetypes, and their chemical families, tell us about the therapeutic properties, actions and effects of essential oils.

You can select essential oils to use alone, or in a formulation, to promote healing for specific conditions, based on their specific archetype and therapeutic chemical properties, actions and effects.

PLEASE NOTE: Depending upon the percentage(s) of a chemical component that comprises an oil, it can be classed in more than one chemical family.

Sesquiterpenol (subclass of alcohols) - Archetype: Wise Elders & Compassionate Ones

Grand Mothers, Guardians, Teachers, Ground, Soothe & Comfort


A naturally occurring 15-carbon organic compound similar to sesquiterpene structure, but with an added alcohol group. 

When adding an -OH (alcohol) group to a sesquiterpene the family is called a sesquiterpenol. Adding an additional oxidation pathway can lead to more synergistic effects. 

Enhanced synergistic effects acts to boost the effect of a single oil in its action, especially when in combination with other essential oils, botanical plants and extracts, or even when used with pharmaceutical agents. 

Sesquiterpene alcohols are not commonly found in essential oils, but when present offer outstanding healing effects.

A study on the effects of sesquiterpenol reported that an extract of sesquiterpenol potently suppresses inflammation in macrophages (white blood cells) and mice skin and prevents chronic liver damage.

Types of sesquiterpene alcohols include:

a-Santalol (alpha santalol) - is found abundantly in East Indian Sandalwood oil (55-70+%). A study on the effects of inhalation of Sandalwood oil on the emotional behavior of mice showed sandalwood is responsible for sedative effects in mice. Alpha santalol has a smooth, sweet, richly woody scent.

α-Bisabolol (alpha bisabolol) - is a sesquiterpene alcohol found abundantly in chamomile essential oil. Bisabolol is a cannabis terpene with a delicately sweet and floral aroma and with subtle hints of citrus and spice.

Studies showed alpha bisabolol was effective for decreasing intense inflammation due to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a severe clinical condition of the respiratory system with different causes. 

Farnesol - a natural sesquiterpene alcohol in essential oils, was found to have potential for alleviating massive inflammation, oxidative stress and lung injury. Found in rose, tuberose and neroli, farnesol has a soft, light and floral aroma with subtle woody notes.

Sesquiterpenol Actions & Effects

Anti-inflammatory - alleviates inflammation.
Antispasmodic - prevents and eases spasm and relieves cramps.
Analgesic - pain reliever.
Anti-allergic - prevents, halts allergic reactions.
Anti-oxidant - inhibits oxidation and free radical damage.
Anxiolytic - promotes relief of anxiety.
Cicatrizant - skin and wound healing, promotes formation of scar tissue.
Regulator - stabilizing, promotes balance and harmony.
Relaxant - relaxing, soothing effect, causing relaxation, relieving strain or tension.
Sedative - calming.
Stimulant (liver & glandular) - quickens the physiological functions of the body, temporarily increases body or organ function, cleansing effect on liver and hormonal systems.

Essential Oils in this Class (partial list)
Preferred distillation method, part of plant used, and some best locations for production. 

CHAMOMILE, GERMAN - (Matricaria recutita), steam distilled flowers, Bulgaria.
CARROT SEED - (Daucas carota), hydrodiffusion seeds, France.
PATCHOULI - (Pogostemom cablin), steam distilled leaf, India.
GINGER - (Zingiber officinale), steam distilled fresh root, Madagascar.
HELICHRYSUM - (Helichrysum italisum - Everlasting Immortelle), Steam distilled flowers, Corsica.
NEROLI - (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara), Steam distilled flower blossoms, Tunisia.
ROSE OTTO - (Rosa damascena), Steam distilled flower blossoms, Bulgaria & Turkey.
SPIKENARD - (Nardostachys jatamansi), steam distilled wild root, Nepal (endangered).
SANDALWOOD - (Santalum album), steam distilled heartwood, India. (endangered).
VALERIAN - (Valerian officinalis), steam distilled root, India.
VETIVER - (Vetiveria zizanioides), hydrodiffused root, Haiti.

CAUTIONS: None known. Please check each individual oil for more specific cautions. 

READ first article in this series, Aromatherapy Archetypes - 12 Natural Healers - The Male Athlete.

†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All statements on this website are intended for informational purposes only.

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