Aromatherapy Oasis
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Do You Know The Thyme?

I still mention and will always mention my unsafe use of essential oils before being properly trained.  I want to educate others about some of the choices we make when we purchase essential oils.  So do not worry because essential oil usage is relatively safe when used properly.  I am not stating that everyone that uses essential oils must go through extensive training but a little knowledge is key.  I will not cover every aspect of safety for this particular post.  I will stress knowing what you are using.  You must know your essential oils.  When I first started purchasing essential oils I shopped according to price.  I was looking for the best deal that I could find.  After research, I was made aware about adulteration.  So at this point I looked for what I felt were better suppliers and even contacted some of them.  I am not implying that a high price tag is a better oil.

Here are some helpful hints when purchasing your essential oils.  The label.  That is right.  Labeling is not the only part but it is a very important part of using essential oils safely.  So now you might ask the million dollar question.  What should I look for in a label or and what information should be located on the website.  Here is a list below.

  • Name of essential Oil (Ex: Thyme ct linalool)
  • Latin Name or botanical name (Thymus vulgaris ct linalool)
  • Plant part used
  • Safety information

When I first started purchasing essential oils, some of the companies did not provide all of the listed information.  I believe it is a requirement now to have the above information listed.

The reason for this post is to let you know that even though a plant such as thyme may look the same; the chemical composition may be different.  Essential oils are very special because a few factors affect the outcome of the oil.  I will list a few below:

  • Climate
  • Soil
  • Altitude
  • Rainfall
  • Demographics

Due to some of the above factors, chemotypes are developed within certain aromatic plants.  The aromatic plant will still have the same outward appearance but internally they are different.   Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) may be assigned to one of seven different chemotypes based on the dominant component.  For example you have Thymus vulgaris ct linalool, Thymus vulgaris ct thymol, Thymus vulgaris ct carvacrol to name a few.

I will explain the difference between the chemotype thymol and linalool.  Try not to get confused by the chemistry but this is just to show the vast difference in the two oils of the same genus and species.  Thymus vulgaris ct thymol is usually mostly comprised of monoterpenes and phenols.  Monoterpenes and phenols are chemical families.  This essential oil is very supportive for the cold and flu and is highly anti-infectious to name a few of its properties.  Because of the presence of phenols it makes this oil have certain safety precautions.  Thymus vulgaris ct thymol should be used with awareness because it can be very irritating to the skin and mucous membranes.  This oils should be very well diluted and used for a short amount of time.  A patch test should be conducted upon first use of this oil.  This oil should not be used in inhalers, for baths or in diffusers.  This is a very powerful and stimulating oil but you must utilize safety.

Thyme vulgaris ct linalool is also very supportive of the immune system and anti-infectious.  Unlike thymus vulgaris ct thymol, this oil can be used for a longer period of time.  This oils belongs to the monoterpene and monoterpenol family.  Essential oils high in monoterpenols are generally regarded as safe and healing for the skin.

To summarize I purchased a bottle of thyme essential oil many years ago and used it in a steam blend.  The only problem is that I did not know which thyme I was using.  I did not even realize that chemotypes existed.  I must also admit that I used too many drops for the blend and it was not pleasant.  I write this post in an effort to keep my readers informed and sharing is caring.

 

References:

Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemotype

*Please note:  This information is not to replace physician advice or to be used as treatment or diagnose of a disease.

*Image courtesy of Jade Shutes/EWSAS  (www.theida.com)

 

2 Comments

  1. Andrea Butje says:

    Great post Yolanda, so helpful and clear! 

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