Scientific Aromatherapy

In view of the latest studies a new branch of modern Aromatherapy is gaining ground. It could be defined as Scientific and aims to use essential oils as unique adjuvants to solve specific problems. 100% pure essential oils are proving to be unavoidable tenets for a therapeutic approach to everyday problems, both for people and animals. In this regard it is fundamental to approach Aromatherapy with a scientific method, making use of state of the art instruments to identify the known phytocomplex and the chemotype, in order to have a global evaluation of the characteristics of the specific essential oil and a correct and rational use in a healthy way. It is not only about “essential oils as food and cosmetic aromas”: they are also supplements  for common necessities, to support a new kind of medicine, not alternative but integrative.

From holistic well-being to Scientific Aromatherapy

Modern studies made it possible for essential oils to be considered as pharmacological remedies of a branch we might define aromatherapy or aromatic medicine, for an in-depth analysis of these chemical complexes, products of vegetable drugs then transformed by human action through various techniques.
Essential oils are becoming an un unavoidable tenet for a therapeutic approach to microbial diseases in complementary and/or integrative human and veterinary medicine, as well as for food and environment decontamination  and for the formulation of healthy and cosmetic products.
It is proven that essential oils are not just substances with a particular fragrance and aromatic notes anymore, but complex biochemical mixes containing hundreds of different substances( monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, phenols, alcohols, aldehydes, oxides, ketones, ethers, esters, etc.) with important pharmacologic properties but also a certain grade of toxicity. They must not be mistaken for “essences”, which are probably  made of isolated chemical substances of natural or synthetic origin, whose scent only resembles that of a real essential oil.
The extraordinary power of penetration and diffusibility typical of essential oils thanks to their lipophilia
Essential oils have an extraordinary power of penetration and diffusibility thanks to their lipophilia, better if vehiculated through suitable pharmacological means. For this reason their external application has strengthened through the years, making it possible to have relevant results even from some essential oils that would be difficult to use otherwise (because of toxicity or causticity) with internal application.

Today the use of pure essential oils of certificated organic origin in medicine finds application in many clinical situations and in particular in dermatophyes of different etiologies, even infected and with overlapping of bacteria and fungi; in bacterial or viral affections of the respiratory tract (with modification of secretions activities and antiphlogistic, antiseptic-balsamic and antispasmodic  action), in gastro-intestinal diseases (from meteorism to irritable colon and intestinal infections),in bacterial urinary tract infections, in the treatment of intestinal parasites, in other microbial infectious diseases and in arthritis as well, by direct application of the essential oil rich in anti-inflammatory and antalgic active principles.
Scientific Aromatherapy can also be used in case of diseases of specialized fields, sometimes initially approachable by the health worker, as in neurology (anxiety, insomnia) and in the field of gynecology ( vaginosis and vaginitis) .
The use of these precious “extracts” (steam distillation, pressing) can also be suggested as supplement to the conventional medical therapy, according to criteria of pharmacological synergy and effectiveness.
Some chemotyped essential oils have a targeted application in this context. They are identified for some components that are more present and active in the phytocomplex, thanks to base methods such as gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry, which can direct their specific therapeutic application.
Modern rational and scientific Aromatherapy cannot take into account parameters such as quali-quantitative aromatogram , which indicates ,in laboratory,  inhibition halos and precise data of sensitivity, like minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC)  during the first microbiological approach. It is important to take into consideration the possibility that a patient might experience skin hypersensitivity  towards an essential oil, without ignoring their low therapeutic index (gap between the beneficial effect and the toxic one), which influences their use only after accurate evaluation and experience, especially if taken orally.

Dr. Professor Paolo Campagna
MD, Professor in the Course of Specialization in Phytotherapy at the Tuscia University in Viterbo, SIROE PRESIDENT

What is an Essential Oil chemotype?

Not all essential oils coming from the same plant are the same. Depending on biotype (climate, soil, altitude, irrigation, stress) the same plant can produce chemically different essential oils. It is fundamental for a therapist to have an in-depth knowledge of the chemical constituents of the phytocomplex and the prevailing ones.
This chemical variation allows us define precisely the nature of the specie, the subspecie  and the variety of aromatic plants in the same botanic specie. This chemical variation creates the notion of: chemotype or chemical race. An important notion for the conscious implementation  of scientific Aromatherapy. It is important to remember that different chemotypes mean different properties.

Example of thyme chemotype: the following essential oils are all extracted from thyme (Thymus vulgaris) but present different biochemical characteristics that correspond to different properties.
•    Thymus vulgaris thymol chemotype better antinfective properties
•    Thymus vulgaris linalool chemotype antibacterial, antimycotic (dermatitis , herpes),  viricide, parasiticidal properties.
•    Thymus vulgaris thujanol chemotype neurotic and antimicrobial properties
•    Thymus vulgaris cineol chemotype decongestive, antiviral, bronchopulmonary properties
•    Thymus vulgaris carvacrol chemotype better antimicrobial properties (and anti- inflammatory)
•    Thymus vulgaris paracymen chemotype antalgic properties, to use in case of arthritis
•    Thymus vulgaris geraniol chemotype antibacterial, antimycotic, antiviral properties
•    Thymus vulgaris terpineol chemotype antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Dr. Professor Paolo Campagna
MD, Professor in the Course of Specialization in Phytotherapy at the Tuscia University in Viterbo, SIROE PRESIDENT

Use and precautions of essential oils

Essential oils are active substances with numerous properties but, as with any other natural or organic substance, they must be used with intelligence and rationality, clinical and pharmacological experience and extreme carefulness. They are indeed extremely concentered oils and, if used improperly or taken without a medical prescription, can cause problems especially during pregnancy, breastfeeding, with children and subjects suffering from kidney, hepatic or neurological diseases.

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