Essential Oil Constituents


What is Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oil? Therapeutic-grade generally means “Higher Quality” for maximum results. While there are no “legal” guidelines that regulate the term “therapeutic-grade”, one of the factors that determines the purity of an oil is its chemical constituents or properties. These constituents can be affected by a vast number of variables, including: the part(s) of the plant from which the oils was produced, soil condition, fertilizer (organic or chemical), geographical region, climate, altitude, harvesting methods, and distillation processes. For example common thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) produces several different chemo types (biochemically unique variants within one species), depending on the conditions of its growth, climate, and altitude. One chemo type of thyme will yield an essential oil with high levels of thymol, depending on the time of year it is distilled. The later it is distilled in the growing season (mid summer or fall, more thymol the oil will contain. The action Thymol has, is that it is highly antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, uterine tonic, cardiotonic.

The key to producing a therapeutic-grade essential oil is to preserve as many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the essential oil as possible. Fragile aromatic chemicals are easily destroyed by high temperature and pressure as well as contact with chemically reactive metals, such as copper or aluminum. This is why all therapeutic-grade essential oil should be distilled in stainless steel cooking chambers at a low pressure and low temperature. Gary Young, President and Founder of Young Living Essential Oils has only stainless steel cookers.


Young Living Steam Distillation Young Living Steam Distillation Young Living Steam Distillation

“Young Living has united modern stainless steel technology (to prevent chemical reactions of oils to metal) with Old-World gentle distilling techniques to create full-bodied essential oils that are far different from what we normally see.”

James Kababick, Director
Flora Research (Independent analytical lab)


It is so important to know why you should be using Pure Therapeutic Essential oils.

Take for instance in the distillation of therapeutic essential oils. It is very crucial that they are distilled at low temperature and low pressure or it will fracture the molecule. When that happens then you no longer have therapeutic essential oil. Also the length of time in distilling is very important. Let talk about Cypress for instance: It has 280 properties. If it is distilled for 20 hours you only get 20 of the 280 properties. If distilled for 26 hours you get 0 properties. Distilled 24 hour, which is the correct length of time for distilling cypress, you will get the full 280 properties. Most distillers distill cypress for 3 1/2 hours.

So are you going to get any value out of that cypress that has been distilled 3 1/2 hours? No your not! That is why it is important to tell your people the difference between pure therapeutic essential oil verse other oils. They can say they are pure, which they have the right, if there is one drop of pure oil in the bottle. But most of the time when you ask how it was distilled they can not tell you.

The plant material should also be free of herbicides and other chemicals. These can react with the essential oil during distillation to produce toxic compounds. Because many pesticides are oil-soluble, they can also mix into the essential oil. This is why when Gary is buying from other companies he goes and see how they distill and make sure that they are grown in virgin soil so the we get the purest therapeutic grade essential oils. And if it isn’t, he doesn’t buy it.

Also when the oils come in they go through the AFNOR/ISO Standards. (Association French Normalization Organization Regulation) or ISO certification. This standard is more stringent and differentiates true therapeutic–grade essential oils from similar Grade A essential oils with inferior chemistry. The AFNOR standard was written by a team headed up by the government certified botanical chemist /and Doctor Casabinca. Dr. Casabianca introduced these standards into North American when he collaborated with Sue Chao at Young Living Essential Oils in 2000. When Young Living’s essential oils was calibrated according to the European standards. Dr. Casabianca combined his studies with other research scientists and other doctors to make sure that everyone who wants therapeutic grade oil will get therapeutic grade oil.

For instants, Essential oil may be labeled as “basil” and have a botanical name (Ocimun basilicum), but it can have a widely different therapeutic actions, depending on its chemistry. For example, basil high in linalool or fenchol is primarily used for its antiseptic properties. However, basil high in methyl chavicol is more anti-inflammatory than antiseptic and is antispasmadic. A third type, basil high in eugenol, has both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect.

Of even greater concern is the fact that some oils are adulterated, engineered or “extended” with the use of synthetic chemical. They can be very detrimental, causing rashes, burning, skin irritations, allergic reactions, and etc., besides being devoid of any therapeutic effects. For example , pure frankincense is often extended with colorless, odorless solvents, such as diethyplhthalate or dipropylend glycol. The only way to distinguish the “authentic” from the “adulterated” is to subject the essential oil to rigorous analytical testing using state of-the-art gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, and NMRI carbon testing. Also oils that are subjected to high heat and pressure have a distinctly simpler and inferior profile of chemical constituents, since excessive heat and temperature fractures and breaks down many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the oil–some of which are responsible for its therapeutic action. In addition, oils that are steam distilled are far different from those that are solvent extracted.

Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) has 187 constituents and synthetic lavender only has 4 constituents. How can you get any benefit from using over the counter lavender? Adulterated and mislabeled essential oils present dangersfor consumers. One woman who had heard of the ability of lavender oil to sooth burns used lavender oil from a local health food store when she spilled boiling water on her arm. But the pain intensified and the burn worsened, so she later complained that lavender oil was worthless for soothing burns. When her “lavender” oil was analyzed, it was found to be lavandin, a hybrid lavender that is chemically very different from pure Lavendula Angustifolia. Lavandin contains high levels of camphor (12-18%) and can itself burn the skin which intensified her burn.. The Lavendula Angustifolia, contains virtually no camphor and has a burn soothing agent which is not found in lavandin.

How many tons of lavender were produced worldwide in 2002: only 70 tons. Down significantly from past years. Majority came out of France. 60 tons sold to perfume/fragrance industry. 10 tons to be sold to pharmaceutical industry. Out of 10 tons for pharmaceutical use, Young Living bought 4 tons, leaving 6 tons for world market for aromatherapy & medical use.

A company [sorry, couldn’t catch the name] bought up the majority of the 6 tons….as well as large quantities of lavendin. They market lavender at 50% of what they paid for it in France. How can they do that???? Answer: Lavender is cut 10 times or more, so can afford to sell cheaper.

I Thank Gary for teaching us the difference in knowing what is pure therapeutic-grade oils, verses other grades of oil. What other company teaches you about the different grades of oil and their dangers? If Gary didn’t care and only cared about the dollar we would not know that Oregano (Origanum Compactum) is the only Oregano that will get the desired effect we get when we apply the Raindrop application. Our Oregano had 72% phenol in and others species don’t.


What are the Constituents?

The heterogenitic benefits of an oil depend greatly on its chemical constituents; and not only on the existence of specific constituents, but also their amounts in proportion to the other constituents that are present in the same oil. Some individual oils may have anywhere from 200 to 800 different chemical constituents. However, of the possible 800 different constituents, only about 200 of those have so far been identified. Although not everything is known about all the different constituents, most of them can be grouped into a few distinct families, each with some dominant characteristics. The following provides greater insights into these constituents families.

In general, pure essential oils can be subdivided into two distinct groups of chemical constituents:
The hydrocarbons which are made up almost exclusively of terpenes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes)

The oxygenated compounds which are mainly esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols, and oxcides.

Terpenes inhibit the accumulation of toxins and help discharge existing toxins from the liver and kidneys. Liver problems shows up as a bad skin condition. The oils that work to pull the toxins out of the liver are, ledium, helichrysum, celery seed, black pepper, pine, angelica, ravensara, melaleuca alternifolia, geranium, oregano, thyme, spruce and fir.

Sesquiterpenes are anisepitic and anti-inflammatory. They work as a liver and gland stimulant and contain caryophyllene and valencene. Research from the universities of Berlin and Vienna show increased oxygenation around the pineal and pituitary glands. Further research has shown that sesquiterpenes have the ability to surpass the blood-brain barrier and inter the brain tissue. Some of these oils are sandalwood, frankincense, yarrow, ylang ylang, cedarwood, myrrh, cypress, hyssop, eucalyptus dives, ecualyptus globulus, helichrysum. Other sesquiterpenes, like chamazulene and farnesol, are very high in anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial activity. Chamazulene may be found in chamomile, tansy, and yarrow.

Sesquiterpenes predominant in vetiver, cedarwood, and sandalwood, are highly soothing to inflamed tissue and they produce profound effects on emotions and hormonal balance.

Farnesene is anit-viral in action. These oils are ylang ylang, and german chamomile.

Limonene has strong anit-viral properties and has been found in 90% of the citrus oils.

Pinene has strong anitseptic properties and may be found in high proportions in the conifer oils such as pine, fir, spruce, and juniper.

Other terpenes include camphene, cadinene, cedrene, dipentene, phellandrene, terpinene, sabinene, and myrcene.

Esters are the compounds resulting from the reaction of an alcohol with an acid (known as esterification). Esters are very common and are found in a large number of essential oils. They are anti-fungal, calming and relaxing. They are sedating and calming and here is a list of some of those oils, lavender, mountain savory, clary sage, roman chamomile, petigrain, bergamot, juniper, cinnamon.

Linalyl acetate may be found in bergamot, Clary sage, and lavender.

Geraniol acetate may be found in sweet marjoram.
Other esters include bornyl acetate, eugenol acetate, and lavendulyl acetate.

Aldehydes are highly reactive and characterized by the group C-H-O (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen). In general, they are anti-infectious with a sedative effect on the nervous system. They can be quite irritation when applied topically (citral being one example), but may have a profound calming effect when inhaled.

Citral is very common with a distinctive antiseptic action. It also has an anit-viral application as with melissa oil when applied topically on herpes simplex.

Citronellal is also very common and has the same lemony scent as citral. Along with citral and neral, citronellal may be found in the oils of melissa, lemongrass, lemon, mandarin, lemon-scented eucalyptus, and citronella.

Elements of aldehydes have also been found in lavender and myrrh. Other aldehydes include benzaldehyde, cinnamic aldehyde, cuminic aldehyde, and perillaldehyde.



Keytones are sometimes mucolytic and neuro-toxic when isolated from other constituents. However, all recorded toxic effects come from laboratory testing on guinea pigs and rats. No documented cases exist where oils with a high concentration of ketones (such as mugwort, tansy, sage, and wormwood) have ever caused a toxic effect on a human being. Also, large amounts of these oils would have to be consumed for them to result in a toxic neurological effect. Keytones stimulate cell regeneration, promote the formation of tissue, and liquefy mucous. They are helpful with such conditions as dry asthma, colds, flu, and dry cough and are largely found in oils used for the upper respiratory system, such as hyssop, Clary sage, and sage.

Keytones as a mucolytic, breaks down mucus and helps discharge and expel excess mucus from the tissue. They stimulate cell regeneration, promote the formation of tissue and liquefy mucous. They are helpful with such conditions as dry asthma, cold, flu, dry cough. These oils are yarrow, cistus, myrrh fir, lavender, roman chamomile, eucalyptus pollybracteata, frankincense. Sage is one of the oils that is high in ketones and its also a very powerful oil for increasing estrogen production, so it would be classified as a stimulant to the parasympathetic system. Ketones is responsible for the fragrance of the oil.

Keytones are found in Lavender, Hyssop, and Patchouly, stimulate cell regeneration and liquefy mucous.

Thujone is one of the most toxic members of the ketone family. It can be an irritant and upsetting to the central nervous system and may be neuro-toxic when taken internally as in the banned drink Absinthe. Although it may be inhaled to relieve respiratory distress and may stimulate the immune system, it should only be administered by an educated and professional aroma therapist. They are immune stimulate, respiratory problems. B thujone will build I.G.A.”s secretion for the immune system. Thujone fights and kills candidia overgrowth. Found in Idaho Tansy.

Jasmone (found in jasmine) and fenchone (found in fennel) are both non-toxic.
Other ketones include camphor, carvone, menthone, methyl nonyl ketone, and pinocamphone.

Alcohols are commonly recognized for their antiseptic and anti-viral activities. They create an uplifting quality and are regarded as non-toxic.

Terpene Alcohols stimulate the immune system, work as a diuretic and a general tonic, and are anti-bacterial as well. Dr. Gatteffosse considered terpineols to be decongestant. Found in oregano, pine, coriander, helichrysum, clary sage, anise seed.

Linalol can help relieve discomfort. It may be found in rosewood and lavender. Are anti-bacterial, immune stimulating, sedative, and diuretic, tones without irritating. Such oils that contain Linalol are lavender, clary sage, basil, chamomile, sage and oregano.

Citronellol may be found in rose, lemon, eucalyptus, geranium, and others.

Geraniol may be found in geranium as well as plamarosa.

Farnesol may be found in chamomile. It is also good for the mucous membranes and prevents bacterial growth from perspiration. Are anit-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, prevent bacterial growth from perspiration, good for skin conditions, mucous. Frankincense and black cumin, with ylang ylang and German chamomile which contains aldehydes make the anti-inflammatory action not as strong.

Other terpene alcohols include boreol, menthol, nerol, terpineol (which Dr. Gattefosse considered to be a decongestant), vetiverol, benzyl alcohol, and cedrol.

Sesquiterpene Alcohols are anit-inflammatory, anit-bacterial, anti-mycotic, and ulcer-protective (preventative).

Bisabolol is one of the strongest sespuiterpene alcohols. It may be found in chamomile oils where it also functions well as a fixative.

Phenols are responsible for the fragrance of an oil. They are antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and strongly stimulating but can also be quite caustic to the skin. They contain high levels of oxygenating molecules and have antioxidant properties. Phenols increase the velocity in the blood by increasing the oxygen and moving it along. Phenols are antiseptic, and kills bacteria, an are antioxidant which increases the oxygen into the tissue to relieve muscles spasms. Are high in levels of oxygenating molecules and have high anit-oxidant properties when dealing with any type of bacteria, fungus, or virus also anti-septic. Like oregano with 72% phenol, thyme, mountain,. savory, clove, basil, tarragon, anise seed, fennel, nutmeg, cinnamon. Phenols found in oregano and thyme oil, are highly antimicrobial.

Eugenol are very anti-septic, stimulating and numbing, and here we have clove, cinnamon, basil.

Thymol is found in thyme and may not be as caustic as other phenols. Is strongly anti-septic but not as caustic as phenols.

Carvocrol may be found in oregano and savory. Researchers believe it may possibly contain some anti-cancerous properties. Are anti-septic, possible anti-tumoral, energizing, oils such as oregano, thyme and mountain savory contain carvacrol

Others in the phenol family include methl eugenol, mtheyl chavicol, anethole, safrole, myristicin, and apiol.

Oxides According to The American Heritage, Dictionary of the English Language, an oxide is “a binary compound of an element or a radical with oxygen.”



Cineol (or eucalyptol) is, by far, the most important member of this family and virtually exists in a class of its own. It is anesthetic, antiseptic, and works as an expectorant. Cineol is well known as the principal constituent of eucalyptus oil. It may also be found in rosemary, cinnamon, melissa, basil, and ravensara. Are anesthetic, and anti-septic, expectorant, and these oils in this category are cinnamon, hyssop, helichrysum, eucalyptus, oregano, rosemary, laurel, basil, Melaleuca.

Other oxides include linalol oxide, ascaridol, bisabolol oxide, and bisabolone oxide.

All pure essential oils have some anti-bacterial properties. They increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight infectious illnesses. it is through these properties that aromatic herbs have been esteemed so highly throughout the ages and so widely used during the onset of malaria, typhoid, and of course, the epidemic plagues during the 16th century. Research has found that people who consistently use pure essential oils have a higher level of resistance to illnesses, colds, flues, and diseases than the average person. Further indications show that such individuals, after contracting a cold, flu, or other illness, will recover 60-75 percent faster than those who do not use essential oils.

Here is just a little more info on some of the constituents we talked about. There are books available that go into much greater detail of essential oil chemistry. When you join Young Living, the education is never ending!

Esters and aldehydes have a stimulating and sedating effect on the nerve endings. Remember basil has 72% metha charvicol which works great on spasmodic muscles. If the muscle doesn’t relax then the nerve may be affected ,so you would want to look for an oils that has Esters in which is calming and relaxing to the nerve. For instance by using 1 drop Basil, 3 Eucalyptus you apply it to the chest it may help relax the lungs and increase the oxygen. Or you may use 3 Basil and 1 Black Pepper as a raindrop up the spine for the anti-viral effect. You use less drops of the one with the highest Phenols, because the less you use, it pushes the effect you want. For skin problems such as shingles and herpes simplex, you can relieve the pain and itching by using 7 drops Bergamot (for the calming and soothing feeling), 3 Melissa (for a soothing effect), 5 Lavender (for balancing). When the problem is better reduce the Lavender and add Myrrh for the healing effect. People with high acid need to use oils that are high in Sesquiterpenes.

Most viruses, fungi and bacteria cannot live in the presence of many essential oils, specially those high in phenols, carvacrol, thymol, and terpenes. This, perhaps, offers a modern explanation why the Old Testament prophet Moses used aromatic substances to protect the Israelites from the plagues that decimated the ancient Egyptians.


A vast body of testimonials suggest that those who use essential oils are less likely to contract infectious disease. Moreover, oils users who do contract an infectious illness tend to recover faster than those using antibiotics. Essential oils are aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. Vegetable oils can become oxidized and rancid over time and are not antibacterial. Essential oils on the other hand cannot go rancid and are powerful antimicrobial.

They are chemically very complex, consisting of hundreds of different chemical compounds. Moreover, they are highly concentrated and far more potent then dried herbs.


They are oxygenating and help transport nutrients to the cells of the body. Without oxygen, nutrients cannot be assimilate; therefore, the oxygenating essential oils can help us maintain our health.

Unlike synthetic chemicals, essential oil chemicals are diverse in there effects and actions. Various constituents in essential oils have been proven to increase oxygen intake of the cells as well as their ability to use oxygen from other source. No two oils are alike.


The complex chemistry of essential oils make them ideal for killing and preventing the spread of bacteria, since microorganisms have a difficult time mutating in the presence of so many different antispetic compounds. At the March 2000 International Symposium in Grasse, France, Dr. Berangere Arnal-Schnebelen presented a paper showing the antibacterial properties of essential oils against several infectious agents. Spanish oregano and cinnamon essential oils tested at above 95% efficiency against Candida Albicans, E. Coli, and a Streptococcus strain. This is significant as we face life-threatening, drug-resistant viruses and bacteria.


The essential oils of ravensara, melissa, oregano, mountain savory, clove, cumin, cistus, hyssop , and frankincense are highly antibacterial and contains immune supportive properties that have been documented by many researchers, such as Daniel Penonel, MD, and Pierre Franchomme.

Essential Oil Constituents Aldehyde are anti-infectious, sedative and when inhale are calming. Here are some of the essential oils that have aldehyde in. Lavender, eucalyptus citradora, grapefruit, fennel, cistus, black pepper, bergamot, citronella, lemongrass, and cinnamon.



Azulene are anit-inflammatory, stimulates liver, regeneration, asthmatic conditions, skin disease, infectious disease. Azulene prevents discharge of histamine (amino acid) from the tissues by activating the pituitary-adrenal system causing the release of cortisone. It may be useful for asthmatic conditions. Azulene causes histamine release-activating cellular resistance and speeds up the process of healing. It contains trace elements of blue mineral and copper. Oils in that category are yarrow, German chamomile, blue tansy and tarragon.



Bisabolo are the strongest of the sesquiterpene alcohol’s, which are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacteria. They have four different kemotype, oxicide A & B. These oils are German chamomile and roman chamomile.



Citral Is part of the aldehyde family, they are sedative, anti-infectious, anti-viral application as melissa oil when applied topically on herpes simplex, lemongrass, bergamot, citronella.



Flavonoids they have the benefiting effects on the capillaries. The pituitary and adrenals, and are stimulating, anti-inflammatory and work on arthritic conditions. These oils are high in pycongenol. Citrus oils such as lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, orange are very high in flavonoids. The orange oils is high in acids and the lemon is lower in acids great to detox with.



Monoterpenes are in the majority of all the oils. It is predominate in rosewood, coriander, petitgrain, fir, yarrow, angelica, thyme, neroli, clary sage, lavender, German chamomile, rose, spruce, cypress, nutmeg, palmarosa, marjoram, orange, juniper, pine, lemon, mountain savory, and a few others. The monoterpene family includes pinene, camphene, sabinene and limonene.



Terpene Hydrocarbons are anti-viral and contain constituents such as limonene, pinene, and sebanine. List of are the same in Terpene Alcohol’s.