Essential Oils


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North America: Tea Tree and Monarda - 2

Essential oil Activity on the Cellular Plane
While conventional research led to many invaluable revelations about the healing properties of essential oils, many of the insights that have emerged more recently arise from innovative research taking place at the interface between chemistry and biology. To facilitate our discussion of these newly evolving concepts, we shall briefly present the understanding of cells, their makeup, and especially some of the relevant processes on the cellular level as they have been expressed in bio-and cellular chemistry in the last decades of the twentieth century.

General Composition
Water 80-85%
Proteins 10-15%,functional components, enzymes receptors, etc
Lipids 2-5%, phospholipids, membranes
DNA 0.5% genetic code
RNA 0.5-1% linked chains, backbone of the double helix.
Salt (Ions) 1.5%, vital for signaling

Amino Acids and Proteins
The 10,000 different proteins of the human body are built of 20 amino acids.
Essential amino acids are not produced by the human body.
Amino acids have a carboxylic acid (acidic) and an amino group (alkaline).
The presence of amino acids results in an amphoteric character.
Carboxyl can bond with the amino group and form a peptide bond: by repeating this process amino acids can build chains.
Long amino acid chains twist, fold and rotate to form three-dimensional proteins.
hence proteins have the following types of structures:*Primary,* Secondary (a-Helix, b-Sheet)*Tertiary,*Quaternary

Phospholipids: The Skeleton of Biomembranes
Glycerin is a C -3 molecule, where a hydroxyl (alcohol) group is attached to each carbon atom.
As alcohols react with acids to form esters, both fatty acids and phosphoric acid react with glycerin to form a triester.
Fatty acids are acidic because of their carboxyl group. Unsaturated fatty acids are a vital component of membrane phospholipids.
Phosphoric acid is H-3PO-4
Phosphoric acid + glycerin = glycerin-3phosphate (phosphoglycerin).
Fatty acids can esterify with phosphoglycerin.
The phosphate residue can continue to esterify (e.g. with cholin = trimethylethanolamin).

Sugar and Carbohydrates
Sugars are polyalcohols with an aldehyde- or keto-group, called aidoses or ketoses.
Sugars are named according to the number of C-atoms,trioses,tetroses, pentoses,hexoses and so on.
Sugars easily form rings: pyranoses, furanoses in many different stereo-isometric forms.
Sugar can bond with sugar; the elimination of water creates a glucosidic bond.
Several sugar molecules of the same or different kind can form chains.

Nucleic Acids
DNA and RNA are nucleic acids: multiple molecules of different categories.
Nucleic acids are natural polymers consisting of many nucleotide building blocks.
Nucleotides consist of phoosphoric acid, sugar (pentose), and base (pyrimidine and purine.)
DNA: the sugar is D-Deoxyribose; the bases can be thymine, cytosine, adenine, and guanine.
RNA: the sugar is D-Ribose; the thymine base is replaced by uracyl.

Induction of Liver Detoxification Enzymes
Many popular aromatherapy texts mention the ability of essential oils to stimulate detoxification. The Practice of Aromatherapy (the English translation of Jean Valnet's foundation text, Aromatherapie, published in 1964) states that Lemon oil is effective against liver stagnation. Today cellular and molecular biology let us understand why this is so!

A large proportion of essential oil components induce the so-called Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification enzymes. That this capacity was recognized by traditional healing systems specifically for Lemon oil is probably more a consequence of its simple availability and easy use than singular efficacy.

Liver detoxification is a two-tiered process. First the cytochrome P 450 enzymes (CYP), a large group of enzymes with a variety of functions, modify substances foreign to the body through oxidative degradation (breakdown of molecules as a consequence of oxidation). Just one of the sub-forms of CYP-CYP 3A4-metabolizes approximately 50 percent of all pharmaceuticals, while CYP 2D6 metabolizes approximately 30 percent and CYP 2C9 approximately 10 percent.

Once oxidation by Phase 1 enzymes has made foreign substances chemically more responsive, the Phase 2 enzymes add water-soluble "soft" molecules to the reaction products of the Phase1 transformation. The end result is a composite molecule, which can be easily eliminated via the urinary tract.

Scientific Context - Eliminating Alcohol from the Body
The intense way in which we depend on our liver detoxification enzymes in daily life is illustrated by the removal of alcohol , as in wine cocktails.

The oxidation of alcohol (ethanol) is a culturally important enzymatic reaction. If the specific cytochrome enzyme 2E1 did not deploy rapidly after we start drinking a glass of wine, alcohol concentrations in the body would reach dangerous levels quickly.

In this context it is interesting to note that not all xenobiotics induce Phase 1 enzymes. some also inhibit their release, for instance the mix of essential oils and flavors in Coca-Cola. As Coca-Cola inhibits Phase 1 CYPs, alcohol is removed more slowly : as a result, rum and Coke is perceived as more intoxicating than an equivalent quantity of rum, let's say, soda water!

A general representation of the Plasma Membrane of a Nerve cell.
Phospholipids (the major structural lipids of most cellular membranes except the chloroplast) as oriented toward the inside and outside of the cell.

Glycolipids are exclusively oriented toward the outside. There is no general hypothesis for almost total glycolization of surface proteins in nerve cells.

It appears obvious that galactose, though situated at the outside of the membrane, contributes directly (as well as by forming bonds with ligands) to vital information and control processes in the body. Galactose (a sugar similar to glucose), along with the phospholipids and cholesterol, is a fundamental and structural substance for cells, cell walls, and intracellular matrix.

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Reference: The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.


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