The Lovers of Aromatherapy - Alcohols

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.

Alcohols - The Lovers of Aromatherapy 

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Some of the most well-known and beloved essential oils in aromatherapy are in the alcohol chemical class. Alcohols are friendly oils that blend well with most other essential oils.

Alcohols are a varied group of terpene derived essential oils. Like phenols, they are a hydroxyl functional group. Meaning, they contain oxygen bonded to hydrogen. 

All alcohols always end in -ol. Monoterpene alcohols are found in a large number of essential oils. Whereas, sesquiterpene alcohols occur only in a few essential oils. 

Adding an additional oxidation pathway, such as with monoterpenols and sesquiterpenols, can lead to more synergistic effects. A synergistic effect is observed when the combination of substances is greater than the sum of the individual effects.

The synergistic quality of alcohols is what makes them stand out and worthy of being in a class of their own.

The synergistic effect of alcohols is why I call this class of oils “The Lovers” of aromatherapy. There’s a characteristic quality to these oils that makes them suitable for blending with most other essential oils. Their synergistic quality enhances any blend’s healing properties, actions and effects.

The scent of alcohol containing oils varies from balsamic and herbal to fruity and floral.

Essential oils containing terpene alcohols have the highest antibacterial action, after phenols and aldehydes.

Monoterpene alcohols (monoterpenols) are good antiseptics and anti fungal agents. Find out more about monoterpenols here

Alcohols are generally nontoxic, non-irritating, nonallergenic and nonmutagenic (do not cause cell mutations or genetic alterations).

There has been considerable research on Rose Otto, one of the most legendary monoterpenols, as a healing agent. One such study, shows Rose essential oil’s activity as hypnotic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant.

East Indian Sandalwood Oil is a sesquiterpenol renowned for its use as a therapeutic healing agent since antiquity. Numerous research studies have been conducted showing Sandalwood’s effective use for many different conditions.

One study shows, East Indian Sandalwood Oil (EISO) 'Alleviates Inflammatory and Proliferative Pathologies of Psoriasis.' These clinical findings indicate that the healing responses are due to the EISO anti-inflammatory properties. 

Alcohol Actions & Effects

Anti-depressant - used to alleviate depression.
Anti-infectious - prevents infection.
Analgesic - pain reliever.

Rubefacient - Warming, agent which reddens skin, dilates vessels increase blood flow.
Cicatrizant - skin and wound healing.
Antiviral - prevents/inhibits viral activity.
Anti-inflammatory - reduces inflammation, pain and swelling.
Anti fungal - prevents/inhibits fungal infection.
Antiseptic - inhibits and destroys micro organisms.
Bactericidal - prevents, kills bacteria.
Tonic - strengthens and enlivens the whole or specific parts of the body.
Immune stimulant - stimulates immune function.
Regulator - stabilizing, promotes balance and harmony.
Stimulant - quickens the physiological functions of the body, temporarily increases body or organ function, cleansing effect on liver and hormonal systems.
Relaxant - relaxing, soothing, calming effect, relieves strain or tension. 

Essential Oils in this class include:
Preferred distillation method, part of plant used, and some of best locations for production.

ROSE OTTO - (Rosa damacena), steam distilled flowers, Turkey or Bulgaria - Monoterpenol.
NEROLI - (Citrus aurantium var amara), steam distilled blossoms, Tunisia - Monotepenol.
GERANIUM ROSE - (Pelargonium roseum), steam distilled leaf, Renunion Islands, Madagascar or Albania - Monoterpenol.
LAVENDER - (Lavandula angustifolia), steam distilled flowers (high altitude), Bulgaria & France - Monoterpenol.
CYPRESS - (Cupressus sempervirens), steam distilled leaf, Crete, Mediterranean region.
JUNIPERBERRY - (Juniperus communis), steam distilled berry, Bosnia - Monoterpnol.
PEPPERMINT - (Mentha piperita), steam distilled flowering tops, USA - Monoterpenol.
SWEET MARJORAM - (Origanum majorana ), steam distilled flowers and leaf, Egypt - Monoterpenol.
PALMAROSA - (Cymbopogon martinii), steam or hydro distilled grass, Nepal - Monoterpenol.
MYRTLE - (Myrtys communis), steam distilled leaf, Morocco - Monoterpenol.
ROSEWOOD - (Aniba rosaeodora), steam distilled wood, Brazil (endangered) - Monoterpenol.
BERGAMOT - (Citrus bergamia), cold pressed peel, Italy - Monoterpenol.
CORIANDER - (Coriandrum sativum), steam distilled seed, USA - Monoterpenol.
TEA TREE - (Melaleuca alternifolia), steam distilled leaf, Australia - Monoterpenol.
CARROT SEED - (Daucus carota), steam distilled seed, France - Sesquiterpenol.
CHAMOMILE GERMAN - (Matricaria chamomila), steam distilled flowers, Bulgaria - Sesquiterpenol.
PATCHOULI - (Pogostemom cablin), steam distilled leaf, Indonesia - Sesquiterpenol.
VETIVER - (Vetiveria ziazaniodes), hydrodiffused grass, Haiti - Sesquiterpenol.
SANDALWOOD - (Santalum album), steam distilled heartwood, India - Sesquiterpenol (endangered).
Nardostachys jatamansi), steam distilled, Indonesia - Sesquiterpenol (endangered).
CEDARWOOD ATLAS - (Cedrus atlantica), steam distilled wood, Morocco - Sesquiterpenol (endangered).
CEDARWOOD HIMALAYAN - (Cedrus deodora), steam distilled wood, Nepal - Sesquiterpenol.

CAUTIONS: None, generally nontoxic and non-irritating to the skin. Please check each essential oil for more specific safety cautions.

READ next article in this series, Aromatherapy Archetypes - 12 Natural Healers - The Cleaners of Aromatherapy: Aldehydes.

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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