Camphor: Camphor is a Carvone, one of the Ketones. In the +
isometric form is found in the oil of Caraway seed, in
the - isometric form it is found in feverfew and some lavender subspecies. In
the - form -Carvone is the major constituent in Oil of Spearmint (Mentha
Camphor is commercially extracted in the + isometric form from the wood of Cinammomum Camphora,
the Camphor Laurel
is antipruritic, mucolytic and expectorant. Camphor is also toxic in significant
doses and can cause contact dermatitis.
In the cosmetic and beauty therapy industry Camphor is widely used for its
preservative properties in creams, hair products, after shave lotions and other
skin products as it has the added benefit of giving a cool refreshing feeling to
the skin. Pure camphor oil has been used through the centuries as a moth
repellent and an ingredient in liniments. The FDA has banned Camphor as a
liniment as it is readily absorbed through the skin and is toxic in larger doses
even when applied topically.
In Lavender Essential oil although present Camphor is regarded as
an undesirable constituent thereby increasing the price of Lavandin, Lavender
and even Lavender-Spike (in which higher levels of Camphor is expected) where
the aroma lacks the distinct Camphor smell.
Ketones: Monoterpenoid Ketones are stable molecules formed by
oxidation of alcohols. Monocyclic Ketones like Pulegone and Thujone are toxic
and should be avoided in any significant volumes in any treatment. Ketones are
expectorant and a respiratory tonic.
Safrole: A Phenolic Ether is suspected to have carcinogenic
properties. The use of this oil has been restricted in many countries.
Phenolic Ethers: Phenolic ethers on their own are irritant and
toxic Phenylpropane derivatives. Where Phenolic Ethers are present in essential
oils these oils must be used with care and extreme dilutions as even small
amounts of phenolic ethers are toxic.
Borneol: One of the terpene alcohols, found most abundantly in
rosemary oil, has many of the properties of other terpene alcohols. It is used
as a skin tonic, a local anaesthetic, sedative and antispasmodic.
Terpene Alcohol: Valued for their fragrance,
gentle reaction on the skin and membranes and healing properties Terpene
Alcohols have earned the name of "Friendly Molecules". Alcohols are amongst the
strongest antimicrobial compounds in essential oils but lack the irritant
properties of other antimicrobial constituents like phenols.
Camphene: No current data available
Pinene: Commonly found in Oil of Turpentine extracted from Pinus
specie trees, pinene (alpha-pinene and beta-pinene) is also widely distributed
in other plants. It is used for Rheumatism as a liniment but is best known by
Aromatherapists and a tonic of the mucus membranes of the respiratory system.
Pinene is also important for its pleasant fragrance and is believed to have
diuretic properties by many.