Learn How To Use Essential Oils

Aromatherapy Ambiance

Aromatherapy Ambiance

Aromatherapy, a word often associated with calm, sweet smelling and relaxing surroundings. Made famous for its mostly relaxing indulgent  feature, using aromatherapy has also been known to be related to have medicinal qualities.

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Learn How To Use Essential Oils

These aromatherapy eBooks are good for beginners and folks who just wanna make stuff. They cover some basic essential oil education, but they focus most on recipes and blending. They're written to help you play and experiment and learn how to use essential oils in your every day life. Learn how to make more than 40 natural home remedies & recipes using Lavender, Lemon, Oregano, Peppermint & Tea Tree. Over 70 Instant Tips to get started right away.

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Essential oils that are safe during pregnancy

Some essential oils can be safely used as aromatherapy during pregnancy, based on traditional and historic use. There are no evidenced-based studies that will assure their safety. They should always be used carefully, in a well-diluted form, and should not be ingested. They should be used in an aromatherapy diffuser. Such oils, and their uses, are listed in Table 2.19.1. (See Low Dog 2005, Fleming 2004, Blumenthal 2003, Weed 1986.) Table 2.19.1 Essential oils considered to be safe during pregnancy

Essential Oils

Parts, with myrcene (for example) being 3.2 of the oil from female flowers, but only 0.8 of that from female leaves, whereas the figures were 6.0 and 1.1 for males (in one study). Corresponding figures for another constituent were 0.6 and 1.6 for females and 1.3 and 0.5 for males. What all this boils down to is that there seems to be no precise correlation between any given terpenoid in the oil and the cannabinoids, and there is probably little hope for establishing any solid correlations of terpenoids with sex, age or seed strain. Nevertheless, we all know that even taking account of variations in curing, the aroma and taste of marijuana varies greatly. Furthermore, the very striking minty odor emitted by some varieties while growing has often been noted. The cannabinoids do not produce the characteristic smell of marijuana when burned, so the essential oils are probably responsible. Besides the caryophyllenes, beta-farnesene, alpha-selinene, beta-phellandrcne, limonene and...


Aromatherapy is a highly popular form of complementary medicine usually entailing the application of essential plant oils to the skin by gentle massage. It has been shown to have relaxing effects but other claims have not been substantiated by reliable trial evidence (121). Allergic airborne contact dermatitis occurred in a patient who had previously used several essential oils for aromatherapy (122). The toxicity of essential oils has been reviewed (123). Four cases of allergic contact dermatitis caused by essential oils used in aromatherapy have been described (124). A survey of UK aromatherapists (no details provided) yielded 11 reports of adverse effects (125). Most of these cases seemed to relate to allergic reactions to the essential oils. A therapist also reportedly developed an allergy to ylang-ylang oil used in aromatherapy (126). Japanese dermatologists have reported an increase in positive patch tests to lavender oil from 1.1 in 1990 to 14 in 1998 (127). The authors argued...

Novel Bioactive Phytocompounds Against Multidrug Resistant Bacteria Fungi The Management of Infectious and Chronic

Long before the discovery of the existence of microbes, the idea that certain plants had healing potential, indeed, that they contained what we would currently characterize as antimicrobial principles, was well accepted. Since antiquity, humans have used plants to treat common infectious diseases, and some of these traditional medicines are still included as part of the habitual treatment of various maladies. For example, the use of bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and cranberry juice (Vac-cinium macrocarpon) to treat urinary tract infections is reported in different manuals of phytotherapy, while species such as lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), garlic (Allium sativum), and tee tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) are described as broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents. That being said, it has generally been the essential oils of these plants rather than their extracts that have had the greatest use in the treatment of infectious pathologies in the respiratory system, urinary tract,...

New Finding Three Species of Cannabis

not only in the cannabinolic content but in other constituents, such as the essential oils, flavonoids and possibly several other classes of secondary compounds. Lamarck suggested as early as 1783 that the content of the intoxicating principle was higher in Cannabis indica than in C. sativa. In the intervening 200 years, during which the epithet indica has been used, there has usually been the inference that it is a more strongly intoxicating form of Cannabis. Unfortunately, however, almost no chemical studies have been made in association with taxonomic studies nor on the basis of voucher specimens. Throughout the modern Russian literature there exists the inference, if not outright claim, that the cannabinolic content of Cannabis indica is higher than that of C. saliva and C. ruderalis. Pertinent to species differentiation on a chemical basis may be the unexpected, recent discovery, made independently by several workers, that chemical differences in Cannabis appear to be based more...

Cann Abutter From Seeds

Cannabutter can be prepared by simmering 1 cup of seeds in V2 pound of butter or ghee at a low temperature for about 5 minutes. Because of their nonporous texture it is easier to strain the butter from the seeds than from the leaves. Also there are hardly any essential oils or terpenes on the seeds. The resultant cannabutter is virtually tasteless and can be used either by persons who do not favor the taste of cannabis, or to surreptitiously turn on a parent teacher, boss, governor, president, etc.

Hempseed Humanitys Best Single Food Source

Of the 3 million plus edible plants that grow on Earth, no other single plant source can compare with the nutritional value of hempseeds. Both the complete protein and the essential oils contained in hempseeds are in ideal ratios for human nutrition. Only soybeans contain a higher percentage of protein. However, the composition of the protein in hempseed is unique in the vegetable kingdom. Sixty-five percent of the protein content in hempseed is in the form of globulin edestin.1 (The word edestin comes from the Greek edestos, meaning edible.) Even more important for building a strong immune system, hempseeds are the highest source in the plant kingdom of essential fatty acids. These essential oils, linoleic and linolenic acids, are responsible for the luster in your skin, hair, eyes, and even your thought processes. They lubricate (clear) the arteries This, as well as other research, prompted William Eidelman, M.D., UCLA, and R. Lee Hamilton, Ed.D., Ph.D. Medical Researcher-Biochemist...

Order Myrtales Lindley 1833

The order Myrtales consists of 12 families and more than 9000 species of tropical trees, shrubs, climbers and herbs thought to have originated from the order Rosales (Appendix I). About three-fourths of the species belong to the family Melas-tomataceae (4000) and to the family Myrtaceae (3000). The medicinal properties of Myrtales are often attributed to tannins or essential oils. Tannins are astringent, antioxidant, cytotoxic, antimicrobial but may cause neoplasia. Essential oils of several plants species classified within the family Myrtaceae are of therapeutic value Eucalyptus globulus Labill. and Eugenia aromatica O. Ktze. (cloves).

General Information

Herbal medicine continues to be a growth area. In the UK, retail sales of complementary medicines (licensed herbal medicines, homoeopathic remedies, essential oils used in aromatherapy) were estimated to be 72 million in 1996, an increase of 36 in real terms since 1991 (4). This, however, is likely to be a gross underestimate as popular products sold as food supplements, including Ginkgo biloba and garlic, were not included. According to a detailed analysis of the herbal medicines market in Germany and France, total sales of herbal products in those countries in 1997 were US 1.8 billion and US 1.1 billion respectively (5). In 1994, annual retail sales of botanical medicines in the USA were estimated to be around US 1.6 billion in 1998, the figure was closer to US 4 billion (6).

Thin Layer Chromatography Bioautography

While the methods above are used to test whole extracts or extracts fractionated at another time there is an increasing interest in bioassay-guided fractionation, where the separation of extracts into fractions is completed simultaneously with identification of bioactivity. In this method TLC is performed using crude extracts, extract fractions, or whole essential oils. The developed TLC plate is then sprayed with, or dipped into, a bacterial or fungal suspension (direct bioautography) or overlain with agar and the agar seeded with the microorganism (overlay bioautography) 34-37 . The latter method has been particularly used for determining the activity of extract against yeasts such as Candida albicans, however Masoko and Eloff 38 suggest that use of fresh cultures of yeasts and shorter incubation times eliminated the previously reported difficulties of using the direct method with yeasts 39 . Following incubation zones of inhibition are observed, either unaided or following...

In Vivo Assessment of Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity

The preceding discussion clearly demonstrates the similarity in methods used for in vitro antibacterial and antifungal assays of plant extracts and there are many papers in the literature using one of more of the methods. Much of this literature is focussed towards screening of traditional remedies for potential therapeutic agents 4, 5, 47 , food preservation 59-61 , or investigations of mechanisms of action 33, 45, 62, 63 . A smaller number of research groups have moved beyond the in vitro environment and are investigating the in vivo efficacy of those extracts that show promise in the laboratory. This is a more complex and costly activity as not only does the activity against the microorganisms need to be evaluated, there must also be consideration of mammalian cell toxicity and allergic reactions 64 . To date most in vivo testing of plant extracts has involved the use of essential oils against human skin infections, particularly fungal infections, and testing of extracts follow...

Methods for Assessing Antiviral Activity

Abad et al. 73 tested 10 extracts (both aqueous and ethanol) and demonstrated that aqueous extracts of five plants showed activity against HSV-1 and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) with one extract showing activity against poliovirus. These authors suggest that antiviral activity is more likely to be found in aqueous rather than ethanol extracts this is in contrast to antibacterial and antifungal assays where activity is more commonly seen in solvent extracts and essential oils. However, other studies have identified activity in both aqueous and solvent (ethanol or methanol) extracts of a wide range of plants against the hepatitis C virus 74 , H SV-1, VSV 75, 76 , and human parainfluenza virus type 2 (HPIV-2) 77 . Few plant extracts essential oils have been shown to demonstrate antiviral activity in vivo 78, 79 with work by Nawawi et al. 76 showing that, as with other in vitro assays, activity in vitro is not always matched by a similar level of activity in vivo.

Plant Materials with General Antimicrobial Activity Including some Drug Resistant Strains

Uents likely to be responsible for the activity 4-18 . Others screen several plant species chosen because of their peculiar characteristics, such as traditional medicinal use, native area location, or source. Examples are studies of plants from Argentina 19 , northern Argentina 20 , British Columbia 21 , Palestine 22 , Scotland 23 , the island of Soqotra 24 , as well as essential oils from commercial sources 25, 26 . Most of these papers report the activity of crude extracts evaluated by disk diffusion and or minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) methods. Only a few describe the effects of pure compounds isolated from the active plants or choose one particular plant with significant antibacterial activity and study its activity in combination with antibiotics 20 .

Ethnomedicines and Drug Discovery

Plants can produce far more compounds than are necessary for their survival and propagation. These secondary metabolites are species strain-specific with diverse structures and bioactivities (like flavors, colors, dyes, fragrances, insecticides and drugs), synthesized mainly for defense against predators. These toxic, foul-tasting chemicals are the natural version of chemical warfare. The plant metabolites can be broadly grouped into phenolics (anthocyanins, coumarins, flavonoids, quinones, and tannins), terpenoids (essential oils, saponins, sterols, and cucurbit-acins), alkaloids, proteins, and peptides.

Broth Dilution Methods

As with other testing methods incorporation of hydrophobic compounds and essential oils into the aqueous media is problematic, and as there is no solid phase to trap these compounds they rapidly separate from the media and form a layer across the surface of the media. For organisms sensitive to oxygen tension in the media this can present an additional problem as the oil can inhibit gaseous exchange. Tween or ethanol may be used to enhance incorporation into the aqueous media, however as previously discussed these compounds may interfere with the assay results. Work in our laboratory has shown that essential oils can be stably in Micro-broth methods have also been developed, which utilize microtiter plates, thus reducing the volume of extract needed, and have endpoints that can be determined spectrophotmetrically, either a measure of turbidity or use of a cell viability indicator (e.g. resazurin, methylthiazoldiphenyltetrazolium (MTT)) 33 . Mann and Markham 33 propose that the cell...

Convolvulus pleuricaulis

Also called a kunkumam or keshara in Ayurveda. It is a small perennial cultivated in certain parts of the Jammu, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand states of India. The medicinally useful part is the stigma, which is dried and marketed as saffron. The important constituents of saffron are its pigments (crocin-1,2,3,4) and essential oils. Four crocetins (F, G, H, I) have also been isolated 51 . The alcoholic extract of saffron ameliorates the impairment effect on learning and memory processes. It has been also shown that crocin inhibits neuronal death induced by both internal and external apoptotic stimuli 52 , thus it is considered as neuroprotector. Crocin prevents the activation of c-jun kinase phosphorylation, which is involved in the signaling cascade for neuronal death 53 . Known as mustaka in Ayurveda, Cyprus rotundus is a perennial grass growing almost everywhere in India. Its tubers contain medicinally useful essential oils (sesquiterpenoids, monoterpenes, aliphatic...

Phenolics and Polyphenols

Terpenoids and Essential Oils The essential oil or quinta essentia is responsible for the fragrance of plants. Phenolic compounds with a C-3 side-chain and at a lower level of oxidation without any oxygen are classified as essential oils. The oils that are highly enriched in the iso-prene structure (Fig. 15.14) are called terpenes, having the general chemical formula C10H16. They occur as di (C20), tri (C30), and tetraterpenes (C40), as well as hemi (C5) and sesquiterpenes (C15). When they contain additional elements such as oxygen, they are called as terpenoids, which are active against many viruses. The furanoditerpene caesalmin, isolated from Caesalpinia minax seeds, has been shown to inhibit parainfluenza 3, while ovatodiolide from Anisomeles indica had anti-HIV activity and the triterpenoid betulinic acid can inhibit HIV 83 . The tetracyclic furanoditerpenoid caesalmin is more potent than the furanoditerpenoid lactone. The triterpene vaticinone isolated from Vatica cinerea of...

Safrole and Sassfras Oil are Used in the Illicit Manufacture of MDMA

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and state local law enforcement authorities throughout the United States have noted an alarming trend involving illicit MDMA production. MDMA (Ecstasy) is a major drug problem in the United States. All businesses engaged in the sale of safrole and essential oils rich in safrole, such as, sassafras oil, brown camphor oil or camphor oil 1.070, also referred to as Chinese sassafras oil, should be aware of the use of these products by clandestine MDMA laboratory operators. Make you aware that safrole and essential oils rich in safrole, such as sassafras oil, and brown camphor oil or camphor oil 1.070, are List I chemicals

Ethnomedicinal Antivirals Scope and Opportunity

Viral diseases, including emerging, reemerging, and chronic infections, are an increasing health concern throughout the world. As a consequence, the development of new antivirals from plants, particularly from ethnomedicinal practices, has assumed more urgency today. Ethnomedicines provide a diverse range of natural products with antimicrobial and immunomodulating potential. A wide variety of active phytochemicals such as alkaloids, coumarins, essential oils, flavonoids, phy-tosterols, polysaccharides, polyphenols, tannins, saponins, proteins, and peptides from hundreds of plants, culinary herbs, spices and teas have complementary and overlapping mechanisms of action, including inhibition of viral reproduction or genome formation. Immune-related conditions with a high unmet clinical need still exist, along with the problem of increasing antiviral resistance in many viral infections. The ethnomedicinal phytochemicals might be able to provide an alternative to the costly antivirals and...

Lavandula angustifolia

The volatile oil of Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) contains linrayl acetate and linalool, and lavender also contains coumarins. It has been used in aromatherapy to treat insomnia and headaches, and may have small beneficial effects (5). A 53-year-old patient with relapsing eczema had contact allergy to various essential oils used in aromatherapy (7). Sensitization was due to previous exposure to lavender, jasmine, and rosewood. Laurel, eucalyptus, and pomerance also produced positive tests, without previous exposure.

Mutagenicity of Plant Extracts and Phytocompounds

Mutagenicity testing of the plant essential oils and their monoterpenoid constituents such as citral, citronellol (+ -), camphor compound, 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol), terpineol, and C-1-menthol revealed terpineol to be mutagenic in TA102 tester strains both in the presence and absence of S9 mix. Other monoterpanoids have been reported to be nonmutagenic in TA97a, TA98, TA100, and TA102 tester strains in Ames test 85 .

Adulteration of Herbal Drugs

Foreign matter such as other parts of the same plant with no active ingredients, sand and stones, manufactured artifacts, and synthetic inferior principles are used as substitutes 29 . The practice of intentional adulteration is mainly encouraged by traders who are reluctant to pay premium prices for herbs of superior quality, and hence are inclined to purchase only the cheaper products. This encourages producers and traders to sell herbs of inferior quality. Rarity of a herbal product is another factor that influences adulteration. Sometimes sale of inferior products may be unintentional. In the absence of proper means of evaluation, an authentic drug partially or fully devoid of the active ingredients may enter the market. Factors such as geographical sources, growing conditions, processing, and storage are all factors that influence the quality of the drug. Deterioration may contribute to indirect adulteration, and crude drugs are often prone to deterioration,...

Taberhanthe tenuiflora Synonym for Tabernanthe iboga

A dark brown or black bituminous usu. odorous viscous liquid obtained by destructive distillation of organic material as wood, coal, or peat. 2. A substance in some respects resembling tar esp a condensable residue present in smoke from burning tobacco that contains combustion by-products as resins, acids, phenols, and essential oils. 3. Colloquial term for opium. 4. Colloquial term for heroin. Tar baby Colloquial term for heroin. Tar stick Colloquial term for opium. Tar, black Colloquial term for deadly heroin. Tar, on the Colloquial term for being addicted to opium.

Family Rutaceae A L de Jussieu 1789 nom conserv the Rue Family

Physical description The family Rutaceae consists of 150 genera and 1500 species of treelets or shrubs closely allied to Simaroubaceae and Meliaceae. Rutaceae are known to abound with essential oils (limonene), bitter oxygenated triterpenes (limonoids), essential oils, flavonoids (hes-peridin), furanocoumarins, and several types of alkaloids, notably carbazole and acridone alkaloids. The leaves of Rutaceae are mostly compound, spiral, alternate or opposite, without stipules and the petiole is often winged or knee-shaped. Rutaceae are identifiable in field study by close examination of the blade which is dotted with translucent essential oil cells. Crushing leaves of Rutaceae often releases a lemon-like fragrance. The flowers are hermaphrodite, pure white and ephemeral. The calyx consists of 4-5 sepals which are imbricate, free or connate. The corolla is made of 4-5 petals which bend downwards. The andrecium About 50 species of plants classified within the family Rutaceae are of...

Quality Control of Herbal Drugs

Natural products in medicine constitute a vast array of raw materials, making clear definitions important. Quality criteria are based on clear scientific definitions of the raw material. The term herbal drugs denotes plants or plant parts that have been converted into phytopharmaceuticals by means of simple processes involving harvesting, drying, and storage 46 . Hence they are capable of variation. This variability is also caused by differences in growth, geographical location, and time of harvesting. A practical addition to the definition is also to include other crude products derived from plants, which no longer show any organic structure, such as essential oils, fatty oils, resins, and gums. Derived or isolated compounds in the processed state such as extracts or even isolated purified compounds (e.g. strychnine from Strychnos nux-vomica) or mixtures of compounds (e.g. abrin from Abrus prec-atorius) are, as a rule, not included in the definition. Combinations with chemical A...

Citrus grandis L Osbeck

Pharmaceutical interest The peel of Citrus grandis (L.) Osbeck abound with neohesperidosideflavanones and essential oils which are responsible for their carminative and anti-inflammatory properties. Note that flavonoids of Citrus or citroflavonoids are of value for the treatment of vascular disorders (Hesperidin, Mar-tindale, 1967). Citrus grandis (L.) Osbeck is also known to produce coumarins, limonoids, and acridone alkaloids (Wu TS et al., 1993 1996). It will be interesting to learn whether a more intensive study of the acridone alkaloids of this plant, such as buntan-bismine, will reveal any molecules of therapeutic interest.

Family Pittosporaceae R Brown in Flinders 1814 nom conserv the Pittosporum Family

Physical description The family Pittosporaceae consists of 9 genera and 200 species of shrubs and small trees that are widely distributed in the tropical and warm temperate parts of the world, especially in Australia. The array of chemical repellents in Pittosporaceae is broad and includes triter-penoid saponins, essential oils, polyacetylenic fatty acids, and proantho-cyanins. About 150 species of Pittosoraceae belong to the single genus Pittosporum. The leaves of Pittosporaceae are simple, alternate, leathery, glossy, and without stipules. The inflorescences are axillary, cymose or racemose. The flowers are perfect, regular, hypogynous and pentamerous. The stamens alternate with the petals. The gynecium consists of 2-5 carpels united to form a compound, unilocular ovary with a single style and a capitate stigma. The ovary encloses numerous ovules attached to parietal placentas. The fruits are dehiscent capsules or berries. The seeds are often embedded in a viscous pulp and include a...

Family Poaceae Barnhart 1895 nom conserv the Grass family

Pharmaceutical interest Examples of Poaceae are Triticum species (wheat), Zea mais L. (corn), Avena sativa L. (oat), Saccharum officinarum L. (sugar cane), Sorghum bicolor L. (sorghum), Hordeum vulgare L. (barley) and Poa species (bluegrass). Wheat bran, representing approximately 20 of the weight of caryopsis, has become popular in normalizing bowels transit and in lowering cholesterolemia. The starch obtained from wheat, rice and corn is of interest to pharmacies. An interesting feature of Andropogon species, Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf and Vetiveria zizanioides is that they elaborate essential oils used in manufacturing perfumes. Tabasheer, a concretion of almost pure silicic acid produced by bamboos, is used by Asians to treat various ailments. The pharmacological potentials of this very large family are practically unknown. However, a number of plants classified within the family Poaceae, are known to contain antibiotic principles. About a hundred species of plants classified...

Sole Heirs Of The Universe

MMDA (3-methoxy -4,5-meth ylene-d ioxyphen y1-isoprophylamine) is a synthetic compound derived from one of the essential oils in nutmeg (myristicine). It differs from MDA only in the presence of a methoxyl group in the molecule. Its psychic effects also differ in that there is a peak to the experience-but one of calm and serenity, and the trip is only about half as long. Naranjo characterizes this drug as a feeling-enhancer of the present, the eternal now, whereas with MDA one is more apt to recall llie past

Medical Values of Terpenes

Only recently have Cannabis essential oils become economically important as flavorings and fragrances (17). Early Cannabis medicines were formulated from alcoholic whole flower or resin extracts and contained terpenes, although they were not recognized to be of medical importance. Several of the monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes found in Cannabis and derived from other botanical and synthetic sources are used in commercial medicines. Other as-yet-unidentified terpenes may be unique to Cannabis. The highly variable array of terpenoid side-chain substitutions results in a range of human physiological responses. Certain terpenes stimulate the membranes of the pulmonary system, soothe the pulmonary passages, and facilitate the absorption of other compounds (15). Terpenoid compounds are incorporated into pulmonary medical products such as bronchial inhalers and cough suppressants. Casual studies indicate that when pure THC is smoked, it produces subjectively different effects than it does...

Family Geraniaceae A L de Jussieu 1789 nom conserv the Geranium Family

Physical description The family Geraniaceae consists of 11 genera and about 700 species of herbs or shrubs known to produce hydrolysable tannins, and essential oils. Geraniaceae are widespread in temperate and warm-temperate regions. The largest genera are Geranium (300 species) and Pelargonium (250 species). The leaves of Geraniaceae are alternate or opposite, mostly lobate, dissected or compound, and stipulate. The stipules are often paired. The flowers are hermaphrodite, actinomorphic, axillary, and solitary to subumbellate. The calyx comprises of 4-5 vestigial sepals which are free or connate to the middle. The sepals are imbricate or, rarely, valvate, with the dorsal one sometimes spurred. The corolla consists of 5 petals which are imbricate. The andrecium consists of 12-15 stamens. The filaments are connate at the base. The anthers are 2-locular and open lengthwise. The gynecium consists mostly of 5 carpels joining to form a compound and plurilocular lobed or grooved ovary, with...

Studies On The Production

Phenylacetone Plant

A much more low-profile synthetic route is possible using calamus oil as the raw material. A couple of patents granted in the late 80s have completely changed the field of psychedelic amphetamine manufacture from the way Dr. Shulgin knew it during his days of cooking in the 60s. Previous to the publication of these patents, the Knoevenagel condensation of benzaldehydes to yield the nitroalkene, followed by the reduction of the nitroalkene to the amphetamine, was far superior to an alternative route making use of the common essential oils. Many essential oils have as major components substituted allylbenzenes. For example, sassafras oil is 80-90 safrole My search for calamus oil of Indian origin came up empty. In fact, the health-food store in my town, which is well-stocked with various oils for use in aromatherapy, had never heard of the stuff, nor was it listed for sale in their catalogs. This left one alternative dig up the roots of North American calamus, and steam-distill the oil...

Antimicrobial Bioactive Phytocompounds from Extraction to Identification Process Standardization

Medicinal Plant Work Flow Chart

In Fig. 1.2 an extraction-to-identification flowchart is proposed in order to optimize bioactive phytocompound identification. For screening selection, plants are collected either randomly or by following leads supplied by local healers in geographical areas where the plants are found. Initial screening of plants for possible antimicrobial activities typically begins by using crude aqueous or alcohol extractions followed by various organic extraction methods 16 . Plant material can be used fresh or dried. The aspects of plant collection and identification will be discussed further in this chapter. Other relevant plant materials related to antimicrobial activity are the essential oils. Essential oils are complex natural mixtures of volatile secondary metabolites, isolated from plants by hydro or steam distillation and by expression (citrus peel oils). The main constituents of essential oils (mono and sesquiterpenes), along with carbohydrates, alcohols, ethers, aldehydes, and ke- tones,...

Antimicrobial Properties

The methods used to study Moroccan plant extracts are the agar dilution or diffusion methods. It is well known that many factors such as temperature 21 , inoculum size, and medium composition 22 can influence the results and then make it difficult to compare results from different authors. Rios et al. 23 have reported a review of the methods used to screen natural products with antimicrobial activity. They suggested the use of the agar dilution method for essential oils and nonpolar plant extracts and the diffusion method for preliminary screening of pure substances. They also recommend that the diffusion method should never be used as a definitive method or to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) value of a sample. In addition, it has also been shown that the extraction procedure has strong effects on the antimicrobial activity of a selected plant, especially the pH of the extracting medium 24 . Regarding the different Moroccan publications on antimicrobial activity...

Mode of Action of Bioactive Phytocompounds and their Interactions with Macromolecules and Toxicity

The mode of action of antimicrobial agents depends on the type of microorganism under consideration and is mainly related to their cell wall structure and the outer membrane arrangement. Gram-negative bacteria (e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa) display an intrinsic resistance to a wide variety of essential oils, which is associated with the hydrophilic surface of their outer membrane, rich in lipopolysaccharide molecules. A permeability barrier against toxic agents is formed. Small hydrophil-ic molecules are not prevented from passing through the outer membrane because of the action of abundant porin proteins. However, hydrophobic macromolecules, such as essential oils constituents, are unable to penetrate the barrier. It has been proved that the effectiveness of the antibacterial agent generally increases with its lipophilic properties as a result of the action on cytomembranes. On the other hand, essential oils usually express low aqueous solubility, which prevents them from reaching a...

Disk Diffusion Method

One of the major criticisms of this method is that it relies on the ability of the extract to diffuse through agar and any component of the extract that does diffuse away from the disk will create a concentration gradient, potentially creating a gradient of active antibacterial compounds. All of the antibacterial testing methods use an aqueous base for dispersion of the test substance, either via diffusion in agar or dispersion within nutrient broth, consequently assays using extracts with limited solubility in aqueous media (e.g. essential oils) may not reflect the true antibacterial activity. This has been investigated by Griffin 18 and Southwell et al. 27 who have demonstrated that many terpenoids, due to their poor water solubility, will not diffuse through aqueous media and hence essential oils high in these terpenoids (e.g. linalool, linalyl acetate, p-cymene) will give a false result in these assays. There is also no consensus on the best agar to use for these assays. Oxoid's...

Hook up the reindeers Colloquial term for

Either of two species of the genus Humulus, nonwoody annual or perennial vines in the hemp family Cannabeceae native to temperate North America, Eurasia, and South America. The hops used in the brewery industry are the dried female flower clusters (cones) of the common hop H. lupulus. The Japanese hop H. japonicus is a quick-growing annual species used as a screening vine. Hops have been used almost exclusively for brewing purposes for 1,200 years. The brewing value of the cones is based on their content of bitter (soft) resins, essential oils, and tannins. These constituents, which are extracted from hops by boiling in wort (an aqueous infusion of malt), impart the desired mellow bitterness and delicate hop aroma to brewed beverages and aid in their preservation. 2. Colloquial term for opium. 3. Colloquial term for a dose of morphine. 4. Colloquial term for a dose of heroin.

Acetylcysteine and other mucolytics

Carbocisteine, guaiacol, guaifenesin, mesna, and preparations with essential oils such as cineol, myrtle, lime, and eucalyptus are probably also well-tolerated during breastfeeding, but here too there are no systematic studies to date. Essential oils can change the taste of the milk and lead to feeding problems.

Citrus auranticum bergamot

Skin In aromatherapy volatile plant oils (often incorrectly termed essential oils) are used and are usually applied by gentle massage. Bergamot oil (Citrus auranticum spp. bergamia) is often used in this way. It has photosensitive and melanogenic properties and is potentially phototoxic and photomutagenic. Two patients had localized and disseminated bullous phototoxic skin reactions 48-72 hours after exposure to bergamot aromatherapy and ultraviolet light (30A). One developed bullous skin lesions after exposure to aerosolized aromatherapy oil in a sauna.

Order Magnoliales Bromhead 1838

The order Magnoliales is the most primitive order of the subclass Magnoliidae (Appendix I). This order consists of 10 families and about 3000 species of trees or shrubs, the therapeutic potential of which is still waiting to be discovered. Magnoliales are living fossils rich in isoquinolines and indoles alkaloids, lig-nans, essential oils, diterpenes, triterpenes, tannins, and phenylpropanoids. Of particular interest in this order are alkaloids which might hold potentials for the treatment of cancers, microbial infections, anxiety, mood disorder, hypertension and Alzheimer's and Parkinson diseases.

Family Aristolochiaceae A L deJussieu 1789 nom conserv the Birthwort Family

Physical description The family Aristolochiaceae consists of about 5 genera and 300 species of foetid climbers and herbs thought to have originated directly from the order Magnoliales from which is inherited the ability to produce toxic isoquinolines and their derivatives nitrophenanthrene alkaloids, and essential oils (Appendix I). Aristolochiaceae are usually bitter. The stems of woody species are articulate and show broad Menispermaceae-like medullary rays in cross-section. The leaves are simple, without stipules, often with oil-secreting cells, alternate, entire or lobed. Aristolochiaceae can be easily spotted in the field because of their flowers which are 3-lobed or pipe-shaped. The andrecium consists of 6 or more stamens in 1 or 2 whorls around the apex of the ovary or stylar column. The ovary is 4-6-celled and the style is columnar. The fruits are capsular or baccate.

Field Crop Production

Of North American illicit marijuana cultivators began to grow sinsemilla (Spanish for without seed) marijuana that within a few years became the predominant style of North American and European marijuana production. The sinsemilla effect is achieved by eliminating male plants from the fields, leaving only the unfertilized and therefore seedless female plants to mature for later flower and or resin harvest.* In lieu of setting seed in the earliest flowers, the female plants continue to produce additional flowers covered by resin glands, which increases the percentage of psychoactive and medically valuable A9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or other cannabinoids in these flowers. Yields of terpenoid-rich essential oils produced in the resin glands along with the closely related terpenophenolic cannabinoids are also significantly raised in seedless flowers (7). Throughout the 1980s, the vast majority of domestically produced North American and European drug Cannabis was grown from seed in...

Nutmeg and Psychotherapy

The two drugs mentioned above, MDA and MMDA, do not occur in nature. They are the result of amination of the essential oils of nutmeg. If similar processes occur naturally in the human body it would help to explain the subjective effects of nutmeg. MDA (methylene dioxyamphetamine) is an amination product of safrol, and the closely related MMDA (3-methoxy-4,5-methylene dioxyphenyl isopropylamine) is a synthetic compound derived from the addition of ammonia to myristicin, the most important primary constituent of nutmeg. Safrol is also present in other spices, most prominently in oil of sassafras, which consists about 80 percent of safrol. In modest quantities sassafras oil serves as a flavoring, in larger doses it has been used as a medicament, and of course sassafras tea has long been widely enjoyed. Neither sassafras oil nor sassafras tea, however, have the reputation of nutmeg as a psychoactive agent (Shulgin eta ., 1967).

Screening of Plant Extracts for Antiparasitic Activity

Trations (IC50), minimum lethal concentration (MLC), or graphed as a percentage of controls over the length of the incubation period. As with other antimicrobial assays the aqueous environment used in assays for antiparasitic activity can pose difficulties and the need for repeated cell counts makes the assay labor intensive. Mi-crotiter plate methods are less time consuming but have high variability in terms of the gaseous environment in each well, important for anaerobic protozoa, and they cannot be used with essential oils that eat plastic. Evaluation of extracts against intracellular parasites (e.g. Leishmania and Plasmodium) also requires access to an appropriate host cell line, cell culture facilities, and staff with expertise in cell culture. Despite these difficulties, a large number of plant extracts have been tested against Leishmania, Giardia lamblia, Trypanosoma spp., and Plasmodium spp. 82-84 , and studies of this nature are regularly published in Phytotherapy Research...

Bioactive Molecules of Medicinal Plants

Plant cells produce two types of metabolites. Primary metabolites are involved directly in growth and metabolism, viz. carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Primary metabolites are produced as a result of photosynthesis and are additionally involved in cell component synthesis. Most natural products are compounds derived from primary metabolites such as amino acids, carbohydrates and fatty acids and are generally categorized as secondary metabolites. Secondary metabolites are considered products of primary metabolism and are generally not involved in metabolic activity viz. alkaloids, phenolics, essential oils and terpenes, sterols, flavonoids, lignins, tannins, etc. These secondary metabolites are the major source of pharmaceuticals, food additives, fragrances and pesticides 4, 6, 32, 33 .


As a multidisciplinary science, research in the phytosciences is almost unlimited, which makes it impossible to discuss all aspects of this emerging science in just one chapter. Therefore, we have focussed here mainly on the antimicrobial activity of bioactive phytocompounds, discussing their use against multidrug-resist-ant (MDR) bacteria and fungi, their mechanisms of action, and their interactions with macromolecules and potential for toxicity in mammalian cells. Technical aspects regarding the development of fast and reliable methods of extraction, highoutput screening systems, and bioautography of essential oils and crude extracts and fractions have also been discussed. Problems related to the efficacy, stability, drug delivery systems and quality control are also commented on.


The second biosynthesis route to terpenes is referred to as either the MEP (methylerythriol-4-phosphate) or DOX (1-deoxy-D-xylulose) pathway 74 . When first discovered, this new plastid-bound pathway was distinct biochemically and was identical to that found in bacteria and probably is a legacy of prokaryotic endosymbiotic ancestors 75 . In this case, IPP is derived, not from MVA, but from 1-deoxyxylulose 5-phosphate (1-DXP), formed from the glycolytic intermediates glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate and pyruvate. The key step in the biosynthesis is the skeletal rearrangement and reduction of 1-DXP to form 2C-methylerythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) using the biological reducing agent NADPH as cofactor. MEP is converted to IPP via a chemical sequence involving the removal of three molecules of water. Thus, in higher plants, there are two pathways for generating terpenes. Here, IPP is formed in the chloroplast, mainly for the synthesis of more volatile mono- and diterpenes (Fig. 2.7). The evidence...

Analytical Methods

TLC fingerprinting is of key importance for herbal drugs made up of essential oils, resins, and gums, which are complex mixtures of constituents that no longer have any organic structure. It is a powerful and relatively rapid solution to distinguish between chemical classes, where macroscopy and microscopy will fail. Chromatograms of essential oils, for example, are widely published in the scientific literature, and can be of invaluable help in identification.


Sheldon Saul Hendler, M.D., Ph.D., recommends no more than two cups of tea or two capsules of 500 mg each per day. Ray Sahelian, M.D., recommends 300 to 500 mg day of concentrated root extract containing 0.5 to 1 percent of essential oils about one-half to two hours before sleep, and 100 mg day to reduce anxiety. Valepotriates are very unstable, and their levels in products may decline after a few months. With the dried root, the potency is directly related to the strength of its smell.

Hempseed Nutrition

Pioneers in the fields of biochemistry and human nutrition now believe cardiovascular disease (CVD) and most cancers are really diseases of fatty degeneration caused by the continued over-consumption of saturated fats and refined vegetable oils that turn essential fatty acids into carcinogenic killers. One out of two Americans will die from the effects of CVD. One out of four Americans will die from cancer. Researchers believe cancers erupt when immune system response is weakened. And more Americans are succumbing to immune deficiency diseases than ever before. Promising studies are now under way using the essential oils to support the immune systems of HIV virus patients.

Illicium species

Safrole is a mutagenic and animal carcinogenic mono-terpenoid. It is the major component of oil of sassafras, and lesser quantities occur in essential oils from cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and star anise. Some of its known or possible metabolites have mutagenic activity in bacteria and it has weak hepatocarcinogenic effects in rodents. Experiments in mice have suggested the possibility of transplacental and lactational carcinogenesis.


These are poisonous plant compounds that cause what might be called secondary hallucinations or pseudohallucinations. Though not true hallucinogenic agents, they so upset normal body functions thot they induce a kind of delirium accompanied by what to all practical purposes are hallucinations. Some components of the essential oils the aromatic elements responsible for the characteristic odors of plants appear to act in this way. Components of nutmeg oil are an example. Many plants having such components are extremely dangerous to take internally, especially if ingested in doses high enough to induce hallucinations. Research has not yet shed much light on the kind of psychoactivity produced by such chemicals.

Antibacterial Assays

Essential oils may not remain in solution for the duration of the assay emulsifiers and solvent may interfere with the accuracy of results Labor and time-intensive if serial dilutions are used to determine cell counts Essential oils may not remain in solution for the duration of the assay Essential oils may not remain in solution for the duration of the assay

Agar Dilution Method

Methods, confounding antibacterial actions from volatiles, difficulty of achieving stable emulsions of essential oils in agar and restriction on the maximum concentration that can be used before the agar becomes too dilute to solidify properly. Perhaps the most frustrating of these is the difficulty of stably incorporating essential oils and other hydrophobic extracts into aqueous environments. This problem occurs not just in agar dilution assays but also in broth dilution and other antimicrobial assays. Many a researcher has thought they had incorporated their essential oil into nutrient broth or other media only to find that, on return to the experiment after an hour or so, the oil had separated out and was floating on top of the media. Griffin et al. 18 in their work on tea tree oil found that at concentrations above 2 v v the oil separated from the agar substrate and was seen as droplets on the agar surface. The most commonly utilized method to overcome this problem is the use of...

Antifungal Assays

When the well diffusion and disk diffusion techniques are used, fungal plugs are removed from an actively growing colony and placed at a predetermined distance (typically 2 cm) from the center of an agar dish. A well is then bored in the center of the agar and test substance added to the well, or the test substance is added to a paper disk and the disk placed in the center of the agar. (The specific agar to be used, and temperature and time of incubation, will be determined by the fungi to be used.) The growth of the fungi is monitored and any inhibition of mycelial growth noted. This inhibition of growth is then expressed as a percentage of the growth of control colonies. In the agar dilution method (also known as the poison food technique) the test substance is incorporated into the agar substrate and then a sample of actively growing fungus is placed at the center of the plate. The radial growth of the fungus after an appropriate time, depending on the growth characteristics of the...

Other Mechanisms

Microorganisms in biofilms are known to be less susceptible to conventional antibiotic treatment than their planktonic counterparts. The mechanisms of lowered susceptibility in biofilms depend on many factors, including poor antibiotic penetration, nutrient limitation, slow growth, and adaptive stress responses 178 . The discovery of more effective antimicrobial agents that are active on biofilms and able to prevent, or at least interfere with biofilm formation would be a considerable achievement. The antibiofilm activity of nonantibiotic compounds such as allicin and carvacrol, and formulations containing essential oils have been reported 179-181 . Essential oils that can penetrate plaque biofilms and kill plaque-forming microorganisms by disrupting their cell walls, could be used as plaque control agents 182 .

Rhodiola rosea

The root of Rhodiola rosea L. (Crassulaceae) is used as a hemostatic and tonic and for contusions. Rhodiola plants demonstrated antifatigue, antianoxia, and memory-enhancing effects. The major compositions of rhizomes of R. rosea are phenols such as salidroside and its aglycon tyrosol, and cinnamic glycosides such as rosin, rosavin, and rosarin. Other important constituents are flavonoids, tannins, gallic acid and its esters and essential oils. Administration of R. rosea extract for 10 d yielded protection against impairment in memory, as assessed by step-down passive avoidance, induced by electroshock in rats 114 . Several constituents of R. sacra and R. sachalinensis showed protective effects against beta-amyloid toxicity, oxidative stress, and apoptosis 115 . Phenolic compounds exhibited significant scavenging effects against DPPH free radicals 116 . R. sachalinensis treatment reduced infarct volume and attenuated COX-2 induction and microglial activation after tMCAo in rats 117 .


So where does one go to get sassafras oil Well, if one were to go down to one of those sickening hippie health food stores or incense shops there, on the shelves, will be small bottles of 80-90 ecstacy starting material labeled as sassafras oil. Larger quantities are ordered rather cheaply from fragrance or perfume supply companies that one can find in any big city yellow pages. Now the people at these companies aren't stupid. They have a general idea of what some of their essential oils can be used for so they might ask. But they still have no legal reason not to sell these things to the chemist. After all, the same stuff is being sold over the counter to hippies just down the street. Just to make every--30- thing easier for all involved the chemist informs the company of the fake name of her business and that she makes soaps, incense, potpourri or is an aromatherapist (no kidding). Other places to order essential oils would be home care products houses, toiletry base companies, soap...

Other Precursors

You people won't believe the potential amphetamine precursors just sitting around in naturally occurring oils and essential oils 6, 7 Essential oils from plants are technically known as 'volatile' oils. This means, among other things, that most every component of them will eventually evaporate if left to stand. So there is a definite boiling range for these oils which, compared to other things in nature, is relatively low. Strike means to say that when these oils were extracted from the plants they come from, they were taken by steam distillation where steam was the carrier. This leaves you with compounds that have relatively low boiling points with 300 C being close to the max. And Strike can tell you right now that in oils that carry allylbenzenes, those same allylbenzenes are almost always going to be the highest boiling compounds. Usually the bulk of the oil is constituted with compounds that boil well below the allylbenzenes.


Volatile plant oils (often incorrectly termed essential oils'') are used in aromatherapy and are usually applied by gentle massage. The oil of C. auranticum (bergamot) is often used in this way. It has photosensitive and melano-genic properties and is potentially phototoxic and photo-mutagenic. Two patients had localized and disseminated bullous phototoxic skin reactions 48-72 hours after exposure to bergamot aromatherapy and ultraviolet light (4). One developed bullous skin lesions after exposure to aerosolized aromatherapy oil in a sauna.


The active constituents in Padma 28 can be divided into several therapeutically important groups essential oils with the main terpene components, e.g. D-camphor (in higher doses a circulatory stimulant) and eugenol (antibacterial and local analgesic) as well as flavonoids (anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, metal chelating), polysaccharides (e.g. immune-modulatory), saponines (e.g. anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminergic) and tannins (locally anti-inflammatory, antioxidative) 71, 72 .

Sassafras albidum

In one case sassafras tea caused sweating (16). In Germany, the health authorities have proposed the withdrawal of sassafras-containing medicines, including homeopathic products up to D3, from the market (17). Of particular concern is the uncontrolled availability of sassafras oil because of its use in aromatherapy. Internal use of sassafras oil in recommended doses up to 12 drops day can lead to a daily intake up to 0.2 g of safrole (18).

Camphor and menthol

A small amount of camphor applied to the skin has a cooling and local anesthetic effect. Rubbing it in vigorously enhances the circulation to the skin. Because of these effccts, camphor and other essential oils arc included in a large number of hyperemia-causing dcrmatological products. Recommendation. Camphor and other essential oils may be used topi cally during pregnancy.