Essential Oils, Chemistry and Aroma

by Andrea Butje on February 1, 2013

essential oil chemistry

I love exploring essential oil chemistry!

We can break down essential oil chemistry to see the precise components in each oil with GC/MS testing (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry). Seeing the GC/MS report for each new batch of essential oil is always exciting! Even the same plant growing in the same area can produce a different essential oil year to year depending on factors such as the weather, when the plant was harvested, and how the oil was extracted.

This means the chemical component percentages might change, and the aroma of the oil could be different. Personally, I find that fascinating! I’m not creating products that need to be exactly the same every time I make them, so the variation intrigues me.

Have you noticed variations in aroma when you buy essential oils year to year?

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Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Mpundu Tifo June 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I have a chemistry background so it would be very interesting to see the merging of my academic qualification with my past-time hobby! 🙂


Andrea Butje June 19, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Exactly!! 🙂


Lynn April 14, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Hi Melanie. I’ve taken a level 1 course here in Atlanta and very interested in the basic chemistry I see you are learning about now – can you tell me thru what vehicle you are learning it? I want to learn for my own knowledge – I have no business inclinations, but a very big and passionate interest. Thank you.


melanie March 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

I am currently studying for my level 1 and am in the process of learning the basic chemistry of essential oils, I find it fascinating and overwhelming at the same time, there is so much to learn!


Andrea Butje March 10, 2013 at 10:14 am

Hi Melanie,
There is a lot to learn, but you can do it!! I taught myself essential oil chemistry and love teaching it. Come to Ithaca this summer for a great 3 day class all on the chemistry using pine, spruce, fir and helichrysum oils.


katrina March 10, 2013 at 9:56 am

As a pharmacist I find this intriguing. In Australia we have a regulation through the therapeutic goods administration that if a product has an aust l or aust r number it must meet criteria regarding its contents and percentages. Inessence range meet this


Megan March 10, 2013 at 1:47 am

That makes so much sense! Its important to remember that when using mother nature’s ingredients there will always be variability!


Andrea Butje March 10, 2013 at 8:26 am

Megan, Exactly and I love that!


Susan March 9, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thanks so much for the information!! Love learning all about EO’s and aromatherapy!


Andrea Butje March 9, 2013 at 3:57 pm

My pleasure!


Melinda Brown-Vega March 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I would love to learn more about the chemistry and quality of EO’s as well as how they are extracted.


Andrea Butje March 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

It is really interesting! I do offer classes online and in-person:
Thanks for your interest! 🙂


Deborah Coussoulis March 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I think this is so interesting and the same goes for the foods that we eat. I also believe it is part of nature doing what it has to do. Can’t wait to take your classes Andrea, I have already recommended your courses to friends. Speak soon. Thank you for being a caring person!


Andrea Butje March 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Hi Deborah,
I totally agree about food. Thanks for your great comment!! I appreciate referrals so much, word of mouth is always my favorite way to learn about something new. Thanks for your generosity. I can’t wait to have you in class.


Lisa March 9, 2013 at 10:45 am

What does this mean for therapeutic usage.


Andrea Butje March 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

Simply that once you have a GC/MS report you can learn a lot about the therapeutic properties of that specific batch of oil.


Liz Fulcher February 2, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I have! I purchased a Rosemary ct camphor from AI and the next batch was very nice, but also quite different. When I compared the two GC/MS reports, I understood immediately that one had more camphor than the other. It is so empowering to have knowledge of essential oils chemistry!


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