Thyme for Rosemary

Posted by on Jul 14, 2012 in Aromatherapy Tips | Comments Off

Different species of a particular plant can produce an essential oil of a different composition.  Did you also know that there are cases where plants of the same botanical species can also produce an oil of distinctly different compositions?  This phenomenon is called chemical polymorphism.  Two such examples are rosemary and thyme.
The reason for this phenomenon is not totally understood. However, geographical location, climate, and genetics are 3 contributing factors.

In labeling these oils, the Latin name of the plant is followed by the chemical component  most characteristic to that particular type of oil.  According to essential oil expert Kurt Schnaubelt, in the case of rosemary officinalis, there  are 3 main chemotypes.  They are:
Camphor – Borneol type, usually grown in Spain and Croatia
1.8-Cineole type, found in Tunisia and Morocco
Verbenon type, grown in Corsica

Rosemary flower

Because of their different chemical compositions, each of these oils are used in various ways for the most effectiveness.  The Borneol type is commonly used as a stimulant to increase energy.  The Cineole type helps to cleanse the liver and kidneys, and is used to clear lung congestion.  Because of its strong, fresh aroma, it can be used to help increase mental clarity.  The Verbenon type is the most gentle, and is commonly used in skin care products because of its mild, regenerative nature.  It’s also used to strengthen the liver and gall bladder.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about the different types of thyme and their uses.