Monoterpene-rich Essential Oils

Essential Oil Science & Chemistry Corner

Some of us are really curious about the chemistry of Essential Oils. I have so many questions in my head at times as my Aromatherapy Certification doesn’t leave any details out. The reason I personally think it is important to understand the chemistry of our oils, is beyond the aroma only. I can’t tell you how empowering it is, being able to help somebody by understanding my oils and to mix the right oils together for a therapeutic effect.

With the growth of Essential Oils in our regular lives, many of us start out with Essential Oils and might feel lost after a while. The options of mixing truly working blends is an art and it is chemistry.

Essential Oils are fascinating to me and for my own good I created the “Essential Oil Science & Chemistry Corner”. For the real nerdy ones. It will be my reference guide and maybe you will find some use in it too. Let me know if you have anything to add or discuss. I’m happy to chat.

Let’s get started with the first write-up of a total of 10 Chemical Families total.

It is also the right season to have those little oils handy. May I present the Chemical Family of:


  • Black Pepper – Piper nigrum
  • Bergamot – Citrus bergamia
  • Cypress – Cupressus sempervirens
  • Frankincense – Boswellia carterii
  • Grapefruit – Citrus paradisi
  • Juniper Berry – Juniperus communis
  • Laurel Leaf – Laurus nobilis
  • Lemon – Citrus limon
  • Neroli – Citrus aurantium var. amara 
  • Nutmeg – Myristica fragrans
  • Opopanax – Commiphora guidotti
  • Orange – Citrus sinensis
  • Ravintsara – Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole
  • Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis ct. camphor/1,8 cineole
  • Siberian Fir – Abies sibirica
  • Sweet Marjoram – Origanum majorana
  • Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
  • Thyme ct. linalool – Thymus vulgaris ct. linalol

Although there are many more oils available with monoterpenes, those mentioned above present a higher amount of monoterpenes than others.

Properties of monoterpene-rich oils:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Decongesting (some of them)
  • Penetrate fast due to smaller molecules (absorb quickly into the skin)
  • Great airborne deodorizer
  • Uplifting and energizing (Orange Lemon, Grapefruit – all mood enhancers)


  • Monoterpene-rich oils oxidize quickly as they are highly volatile and can become a skin irritant. Please consider patch tests before using it liberally. Especially after the oil was open for a long time or exposed to sunlight and such.
  • Some of them are “Hot oils” (Black Pepper & Nutmeg etc). Extra caution is required.
  • Phototoxicity plays a big role in Citrus Oils (Especially Bergamot, Grapefruit, Orange and Lemon). Distilled Lime is fine.

No matter where you get your oils from. If you would like to mix for therapeutic effects you will need to know and familiarize yourself with the suppliers GC/MS reports. They must provide you with the reports and preferable BEFORE you buy your oils. There is so many fake oils on the market and suppliers can label them as they’d like due to missing label guidelines.

For me it is very simple, if my supplier doesn’t supply me with the GC/MS report, I will not buy from them. You do want to know what you spend your money on. Especially when they are supposed to be “therapeutic, pure, organic oils”.

My inhaler recipe for you for this winter season:

1 Inhaler (here they offer them in many colors)

5 Drops Ravintsara – Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole

5 Drops Siberian Fir – Abies sibirica

5 Drops Opopanax – Commiphora guidotti

Mix all oils. Soak the white cotton piece in the oils. Put the soaked cotton piece into the inhaler (maybe with a glove or tweezers). Screw the top on tight.  Inhale into each nostril as needed! It does wonders!

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 6.06.23 PM

As always, Thank you for reading!

~ Katrin


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