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Chemotypes? Rosemary is Rosemary... Right?

Rosemary is one of the most commonly used essential oils; yet, do you know what type of Rosemary oil is in your cabinet? Rosemary is Rosemary… Right? As long as you’re buying pure, high quality Rosemary, that’s all that matters… Right?                   


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oil is available in 6 different chemotypes (ct.), each of which has dramatically different constituents (natural chemical components); therefore, have dramatically different usages. The differences between two chemotypes of rosemary are as drastic as the difference between white potatoes and sweet potatoes. They may have the same name and the plants look similar, but the vitamins and nutrients within are not even close to one another.   


Rosemary’s chemotypes are: camphor; borneol; cineole; limonene; verbenone; and Pinene. Cineole (or 1,8 Cineole) is the most common and one of the less expensive forms of rosemary; however, most people purchase rosemary essential oil for its benefits in hair and skin care. The problem is that Rosemary ct. cineole doesn’t have much of a positive effect on your hair or skin – You’re seeking Rosemary ct. verbenone.


There are many other oils which, like rosemary, have multiple variations beyond what is revealed by the specific plant species (botanical name). Several other oils (such as thyme, sage, basil, and others) also have varying chemotypes. Even further, the series of extraction not commonly revealed makes a huge difference as well. In the case of Ylang Ylang, which is distilled in 4 stages, a complete distillation of Ylang Ylang will bear the most therapeutic benefit; whereas Ylang Ylang Extra is extracted only from the last 2-3 hours of distillation and has a more fragrant aroma but is lacking in therapeutic value.    


Always be aware of exactly what you are buying and avoid any companies who do not openly provide information such as chemotypes and distillation stages on these specific oils.

December 19, 2016 by Jennifer Lanham

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