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.
Linalyl Acetate: An Ester (see below) Linalyl Acetate is the
primary constituent, along with Linalool in Lavender oil, although small amounts
are found in other plants.
Esters: Mainly found in small amounts in flowers, Esters are
responsible for the characteristic fragrances of the flowers and volatile oils.
are mostly sedative and antispasmodic and generally non-irritant and mild,
although some, like Methyl Salicylate, found in wintergreen, are more irritant.
Linanool: Linalool one of the terpene alcohols is widely
distributed in the plant kingdom. Linalool has strong effects on the nervous
system and is therefore widely used by aroma therapists and herbologists as a
sedative, spasmolytic and local anaesthetic. It is also used against many skin
complaints, mostly in the form of tea tree oil.
Limonene: Limonene has been studied for the anti-tumour effect
noticed in mice. Herbalists often prescribe herbs with this constituent as an
antioxidant and cancer or tumour inhibitor although there is evidence that these
properties are volatile and may be lost as a result of processing of the herb.
Limonene also has antiviral properties.
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.