Synergism and Synergy of Pure Essential Oils « Alternative Medicine

Synergism and Synergy of Pure Essential Oils

Posted by Alternative Medicine on September 29, 2010 in Aromatherapy with No Comments

The Phenomenon of Synergy

The fact that essential oils can be blended together to create a completely different aroma as well as increase the healing power of certain oils is called ‘oil synergy’. Dr Jean Valnet during his experiments found that certain oils when blended together produced an even more powerful ‘combined oil’ and could often work better than a single essence. This is due to the mutually enhancing effect that each oil has on the other and the numerous amounts of trace chemicals which are found in the oils.

Many of these chemicals are considered pharmacologically inactive and have little or no effect t on the body or the aroma of the oil, however, it is these very substances which increase the efficacy of the active properties in the oil and also act as a buffer to the harmful components. A good example of this is citral in Lemongrass. If this substance were applied neat to the skin it could easily cause a nasty rash and skin irritation, however, due to the other chemical elements in Lemongrass, the effect of citral is reduced and the oil becomes relatively safe to use.

The blending of oils not only increases or decreases effects of some of the chemical constituents but can also change the odour of the oils. An oil which may be considered by some to have an unpleasant smell can be transformed into something more pleasing when blended.

Synergistic Blending

Just as a perfumier strives to create the perfect scent aromatherapists use various methods for blending. In most cases, all that the aromatherapist in aiming to achieve is a relaxing blend which the client likes and which evokes pleasant ‘smell memories’.

However, on a more technical level, should the aromatherapist be blending the oils for a specific ailment or condition, the chemistry of the oils would need to be investigated more thoroughly.

Oil Volatility – Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes

In ‘perfume speak’, each smell or aroma is considered as either a top, middle or base note and, in an ideal world, a perfect blend should consist of one of each of these. Whether an oil is classed as top, middle or base will to a certain extent depend on its ‘volatility’ – the speed at which it evaporates.

Citrus oils are top notes and their smell is taken up quite quickly, whereas the deep woody smells such as Sandalwood and Patchouli are heavy, base notes. Their smell will linger much longer. This will also be true of the amount of time it takes for the oils to effect the body, another good reason for blending – ‘zingy’ citrus oils will kick-in first so the client won’t feel too dopey immediately after the treatment whilst deep woods and herbs can take as long as 12 – 15 hours to take effect.

Strangely enough, although oils blend extremely well together, research has shown that more than 5 oils blended can actually lower the potency of the oils – almost as if the chemicals begin to cancel each other out.

Blend Testing

Almost any oil can be blended with another although, naturally, some blend better than others. You can easily ‘test’ the blends which you are creating without wasting too much oil.

1. Smell strips may be used – normally used for single oils rather than blends although this is the inside crease of your elbow. This will not only give you an idea as to whether the aroma suits you but also show if you skin will react to the blend possible. Use a piece of blotting paper and waft the sample around for a few seconds to encourage vapourisation, this will

2. Patch testing. Blend 2 teaspoonfuls of carrier oil with up to 5 drops of essential oil. Apply to either your wrist or give you more of an idea as to what the oil will smell like eventually.


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