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.
Ester - Archetype: The Protectors & Nurturer
Mother, family, tribe and community.
Essential oils with esters are usually very fragrant with fruity notes. Their therapeutic actions and effects are characteristically sedating and antispasmodic. And, as with most essential oils, esters have a broad spectrum of anti-microbial action.
Esters are formed from alcohols and acids, and named after both their original molecules with the alcohols dropping the "ol" and gaining a "yl" and the acids dropping the "ic" and gaining an “ate."
An example of this transposition is linalyl acetate which is probably the most well known ester and found in lavender, bergamot and clary sage. In most cases ester components are quite gentle and easy to use with little or no cautions.
Other examples of esters formed from alcohols and acids with this transposition are Benzyl benzoate found in Ylang Ylang oil and Geranyl acetate found in Geranium oil.
A research study on the effects of linalyl acetate for hypertension and stroke showed that linalyl acetate can be used as a tPA* to prevent hypertension-related ischemic injury from stroke. Ischemic stroke is a leading cause of disability and mortality. Early delivery of a tPA - 3 to 4.5 hours after ischemic stroke onset, to patients that satisfy eligibility requirements to receive the treatment, has been demonstrated to reduce disability. *tPA is a systemic thrombolytic (clot-busting) agent and is used in the treatment of heart attack and stroke.
Ester Actions & Effects:
Anti-fungal - destroys or inhibits growth of fungus.
Anti-inflammatory - alleviates inflammation.
Anti-spasmodic - prevents and eases spasms and relieves cramps.
Antiseptic - destroys, inhibits bacterial growth.
Relaxant - relaxing, soothing effect, causing relaxation, relieving strain or tension.
Nervine - calming to CNS, relieves tension, strengthens and tones nerves and nervous system.
Sedative - tranquilizing and sleep inducing.
Regulator - promotes balance and harmony
Calmative - a sedative.
Cicatrizant - skin, wound healing.
Tonic - especially nervous system.
Essential Oils in this class include:
Preferred distillation method, part of plant used, and some of best locations for production.
AMMI VISNAGA - (Ammi Visnaga), steam distilled herb, Morocco and Tunisia.
BERGAMOT - (Citrus bergamia), cold pressed peel (Linalyl acetate), Italy.
BIRCH* - (Betula lenta), steam distilled bark, Canada.
CARDAMON - (Elettaria cardamomum), hydrodiffused or steam distilled seed, Guatemala and India.
CHAMOMILE, ROMAN (Anthemis nobilis), steam distilled flowers, Bulgaria.
CISTUS - (Cistus ladaniferus - Rock Rose), steam distilled leaves/stalk, Spain.
CLARY SAGE - (Salvia sclarea), hydrodiffused flowers (Linalyl acetate), USA.
GERANIUM - (Pelargonium graveolens), steam distilled leaf (Geranyl acetate), Reunion Island Madagascar.
HELICHRYSUM - (Helichrysum italicum - Immortelle), steam distilled flowers, Corsica.
INULA - (Inula graveolens), steam distilled flowering herb, Corsica.
LAVENDER (Lavandula angustifolia), steam distilled flowers (Linalyl acetate), high altitude France and Bulgaria.
PETITGRAIN - (Citrus aurantifolia), steam distilled leaf, Italy.
BLACK SPRUCE (Picea mariana), steam distilled needles, Canada (Bornyl acetate)
YLANG YLANG - (Cananga odorata), steam distilled flowers (Benzyl benzoate), Madagascar.
*Birch oil is considered extremely toxic because of its high methyl salicylate content which can be as high as 95-99%. As well, it's difficult to find pure, unadulterated distillations of Birch oil on the world market at this time.
CAUTIONS: Avoid in pregnancy with babies and children. Generally gentle action and free from toxicity except as noted above for Birch oil. Please check each essential oil for more specific safety cautions.
READ next article in this series, Aromatherapy Archetypes - 12 Natural Healers - The Spiritual Directors of Aromatherapy - Lactones.
READ first article in this series, Aromatherapy Archetypes - 12 Natural Healers - The Male Athlete.
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