With the wide variety of essential oils available, learning their groupings and categorizations can be extremely useful. There are approximately thirteen different families of major constituent groups of essential oils; they combine in different ways and in different proportions to make different essential oils. Today, we will focus on two of these constituent groups–esters and aldehydes–that provide calming, relaxing, or sedative effects.
Esters (whose names usually end in -ate) are oxygenated compounds that contain an alcohol and a carboxylic acid functional group. Common esters found in essential oils are methyl salicylate, linalyl acetate, and neryl acetate. These esters often have soothing, stress-relieving, mood-balancing, and emotion-releasing properties.
A few Esters you can find on our shelves include Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Lavandin Grosso, and Neroli. Bergamot (which is 22-36% linalyl acetate) is calming and mood-lifting, often used to treat agitation, anxiety, and insomnia. Roman Chamomile (which is 52-93% various esters) is relaxing, calming, and stabilizing, and is used to relieve restlessness, stress, or insomnia. Clove (8-15% eugenol acetate) encourages sleep and stimulates dreams. Lavender (24-45% linalyl acetate) is relaxing, calming, and balancing, and is used to treat insomnia. Lavandin Grosso (28-35% linalyl acetate) has a similar, though less powerful, calming effect. Neroli (3-15% linalyl acetate) is a relaxant similarly used to relieve anxiety and insomnia.
Aldehydes (whose names usually end either in -al or -aldehyde) are oxygenated compounds named after the functional group that contains a carbon double bonded to an oxygen and a hydrogen that is present at the end of the carbon chain. Common aldehydes found in essential oils include cinnamaldehyde, geranial, and neral. Aldehydes have calming properties when inhaled.
A popular aldehyde, Melissa officinalis, commonly known as lemon balm, is 25-35% geranial and 18-28% neral, and has relaxant and calming properties and is used to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Some of Essentique’s essential oil blends have been formulated with esters and aldehydes to take advantage of these calming properties.
Essentique’s Zzzzz contains Organic Roman Chamomile, Organic Sweet Marjoram, Organic Lavender and Organic Sweet Orange makes it an excellent blend for people with insomnia or having difficulty going to sleep.
Essentique’s Reverie includes lavender and bergamot, plus calming cedarwood and uplifting bitter orange, to carry you to deep, untroubled sleep.
Essentique’s Agonease has Roman chamomile essential oil for a relaxing fragrance influence, while the other essential oils treat sore muscles and other body aches.
So, if you find yourself unable to sleep, or in need of something to help you relax, turn to one of these essential oils (or blends) with esters or aldehydes. You can diffuse them in your space, massage them onto your body (diluted in a carrier oil), inhale them directly, or add a few drops to your bath.
By Gabrielle Candes