Category Archives: organic chemistry

CO2 Extracts for Aromatherapeutic Use

 

CO2extracts

Image: naturalwisdom.co.uk

What are CO2s?

Aromatics produced via carbon dioxide extraction (CO2 extracts) have been around and in use for the past 15-20 years. While some, like German Chamomile and Calendula have become commonplace within the aromatherapy world, there are still many CO2 Extracts with little to no information available.

CO2 extracts are oils similar to distilled essential oils that can be used in Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine. They can be more subtle in fragrance and perhaps a little stronger in flavor as compared to essential oils. CO2 extracts have a different chemistry than their essential oil counterparts making them more suitable in a variety of aromatherapeutic preparations. CO2 extracts have the taste and aroma closer to that of the fresh plant, are more shelf stable and cost effective.

CO2 extracts are produced by using carbon dioxide under high pressure (solvent) to extract the aromatic compounds. Subcritical carbon dioxide processing carefully extracts only the aromatic compounds (Select CO2) while Supercritical carbon dioxide processing extracts the aromatic compounds, as well as the heavier non-volatile molecules like colors, resins and waxes (Total CO2). The process is done at low temperatures (just above room temperature) so it does not alter the extracted compounds. The process is efficient and yields little waste.

CO2 extraction technology video – YouTube © Nisgara Biotech 2014

Supercritical CO2 is used as a solvent to extract lipophilic compounds from natural herbs. These extracts are concentrated as high as 250 times as compared to the raw herb. Thus a small quantity in any product is enough, leading to cost effectiveness as compared to other products from different extraction techniques. This technology is environment friendly with minimum carbon footprint and CO2 is recycled as much as 95% in the system.

Visit http://www.nisargabiotech.com for more information.

Want to learn more?

The International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (IJPHA) is hosting a 2-day seminar entitled CO2 Extracts: The How, What, When, Where and Why in Aromatic Therapies with Mark Webb, B.Sc. in Boulder, Colorado October 15-16, 2016. Participants will earn 12 CPDs (continuing professional development credits).

mark webb 2Mark Webb holds a B.Sc. Degree in Biochemistry and Plant Physiology and Biology from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He is an associate member of the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association (IAAMA), and a member of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (ASCC).  Mark has over a decade of experience formulating with CO2 extracts. Making him well placed to discuss their uses within the fields of cosmeceutical and aromatic therapies applications. His knowledge about how to incorporate these extracts in food and beverages for both therapeutic and non-therapeutic use enables him to provide a broad range of practical and day to day examples. If you have been curious about using CO2 extracts, this is the workshop to answer your questions

In this 2-day workshop, Mark will delve deeply into the world of CO2 Extracts, looking firstly at the production technology and how this effects the end product. He will compare and contrast a range of volatile and non-volatile, Select and Total CO2 extracts with their essential and fixed oil counterparts and oleoresins, discussing safe and effective usage within topical and internal formulations.

Learner outcomes include:

  • An overview of what CO2 extracts are & how they compare to essential and expressed oils, absolutes and oleoresins.
  • A detailed look at of how CO2 extracts are made and the differences between Select, Total, volatile and non-volatile extracts.
  • Comparing and contrasting the chemistry of CO2 extracts to other aromatics; such as essential oils.
  • Discussing the various applications of CO2 extracts across a variety of dose forms and application techniques.
  • Safe use and handling of CO2 extracts, recognizing which extracts to watch for and the importance of dilution within formulating.

Webb.4For more information about this class and to register, visit our website at http://www.ijpha.com.

 

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Cancer and Essential Oils

Frankincense resinCancer is a concern that affects millions of people around the world. With such a prominent disease there are a lot of researchers working diligently to develop treatments. A treatment that has been gaining a lot of traction in the most recent years involves the use of essential oils; more specifically, the use of Frankincense (Boswellia Carterii) essential oil. Despite the links to Frankincense essential oil and the treatment of cancer, it is not a miracle cure. In world where news sources are posting misleading articles it is important to discern what is good research to determine what benefits Frankincense actually possesses.

Frankincense resin  

It is important to understand how and why Frankincense is being linked as a cancer treatment. This essential oil is produced from the Boswellia trees found in India and Africa. The cancer treating chemical in Frankincense is boswellic acid which has anti-neoplastic properties. Anti-neoplastic properties have the ability to prevent or inhibit the development of a tumor. This information is where most claims regarding Frankincense being a cure for cancer are derived. However it is important to know that Frankincense oil does not actually contain boswellic acid, as the molecule is too heavy to be volatile (Tisserand, 2016) and therefore does not come out in the distillation process. Boswellic acid can be found in Frankincense resin because the molecular weight can be supported. So far there is limited research involving Frankincense resin and cancer. While some of the results are promising there isn’t enough to conclude the resin as a treatment.

Good research              

When it comes to Frankincense research most studies are done in vitro. In vitro studies are studies conducted outside the body’s biological context in single case. This type of research isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means the research is a long way away from being a treatment. Researchers Mark Barton Frank, Qing Yang and their colleagues did a study testing Frankincense oil.This study involved a range of concentration of Frankincense oil in which the oil was able to distinguish cancerous cells from normal bladder cells (Frank and Yang, 2009). Frankincense oil was able to induce bladder cancer cell death via multiple pathways activated by the oil. The important thing to note about this study is that it states that this isn’t a cure for cancer and more research is needed. Overall the study provided good evidence that could suggest future treatments involving Frankincense.

This research article makes no claims. As stated before, Frankincense oil contains no boswellic acid, but the resin does. This study tested the oil and had results regarding cancer cell death. The researchers further explain that this study is in vitro in an attempt to explain the benefits of Frankincense oil however in vitro testing (in a petri dish) does not necessarily translate to the same or similar effect in the human body. Acknowledging that Frankincense resin has anti-tumor properties allows for further research with the oil to determine if the oil has these similar properties. A follow-up study can be done to see if the resin has a greater effect on bladder cancer cells than the oil. While this research is well done, the final results show some promise but further research needs to be done to prove Frankincense oil as a treatment.

False claims      

In the last couple of months, there has been an article floating around on various Aromatherapy groups making false claims regarding Frankincense oil. Most of the people in the (facebook) Aromatherapy groups were debating the accuracy and credibility of the article. This article made outrageous statements with regard to breast cancer. It stated that topical treatment of Frankincense oil can cure cancer, as it claimed to have cured the author’s own cancer. This is a single claim by one person and one that has not been validated by credible source. It could be true that this author had their cancer cured, but that doesn’t mean that it was cured by Frankincense oil nor does it guarantee it will work for everyone. This claim also doesn’t include any other methods or treatments the author was receiving that could have contributed to their cure. It is also important to note that since doing research and writing this blog post the article has been taken down. There are no current records of this article, and the group posts have been deleted.

If this author did cure her breast cancer that is a wonderful thing and nothing should take that away from her. The problem is suggesting that it can cure all breast cancer and it puts light on the Aromatherapy industry. Making these claims without any research can give people false hope that their cancer can be cured. The article then goes into detail making more individual cases of Frankincense curing cancer, which is nothing more than shared testimonials that have not been evaluated and validated. There is no definitive research available on the oil or resin that suggest Frankincense can cure any form of cancer. Research is being done to determine the connection between the oil or resin and treatment.

For a fun look at the reality of scientific research check out this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rnq1NpHdmw

References  

Frank M B, Yang Q, Osban J, Azzarello J T, Saban M R, Saban R, Ashley R A, Welter J C, Fung K-M, Lin H-K. (2009). Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity. BMC Complement Altern Med. 9 (6). Published online. Available: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664784/. Last accessed 8 March 2016.

Tisserand R. (2016). Frankincense Oil and Cancer in Perspective.  Available: http://tisserandinstitute.org

Additional resources/reading

http://tisserandinstitute.org/frankincense-oil-and-cancer-in-perspective/

http://roberttisserand.com/2015/03/frankincense-essential-oil-and-cancer/

http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=15052

 

http://tisserandinstitute.org/citrus-oils-and-breast-health/

by Bryant Hernandez, Graduate in Integrative Health Technologies

Book Review: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition

EO Safety

Essential Oil Safety, 2nd edition                                                                                                     By Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young PhD

It has been 12 years since the original edition of “Essential Oil Safety” was published. In that time the world of essential oils has changed rapidly, this work reflecting those changes in a highly critical and comprehensive manner.

When I first opened the second edition and browsed the contents, there was only one word that came to mind – ‘WOW’! As a lecturer in Aromatic Medicine and a formulator,  the chemistry of essential oils is an integral part of my day-to-day working life.  This work has become my go-to reference for toxicity data, drug interactions, regulatory body recommendations and so much more.

The meticulous level of detail that both authors have achieved is easily seen when browsing the essential oil profiles which have been expanded from 95 to 400 (including many newer essential oils such as Fragonia and Honey Myrtle). Each profile now includes detailed constituent chemistry data, safety hazard data from various sources including the EU and IFRA, regulatory guidelines for safe and appropriate usage, organ specific and systemic effects plus general comments. The inclusion of chemotypes of commonly used species, such as Niaouli, Rosemary and Thyme, is a useful feature for both formulators and therapists alike.

The new organ system specific chapters are a goldmine of information for therapists wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the interaction of aromatic compounds with the human organism. Sensible, balanced information is given in a highly readable format about some fairly heavy subject matter. This clear, easy-to-read style of information delivery is a testament to the authors and editors commitment to the target audience making this an ideal addition to course textbook lists.

When it comes to the chemical constituent profiles, these too have been expanded in a similarly detailed manner. Natural sources of each constituent >1% are listed facilitating easy substitutions during formulating. Pharmacokinetic, dermal and oral LD50 data along with the neurotoxicity and mutagenicity/genotoxicity data make this section extremely important to pharmaceutical, perfumery and cosmetic formulators.

For food and beverage scientists this work is of equal importance as it covers the regulatory guidelines for both essential oils and isolated constituents, the suggested oral doses and any known adverse side effects.

One would expect this new, hugely expanded 2nd edition to have a similarly expanded price tag, but surprisingly the new edition is currently being offered by most book sellers for less than its predecessor.

This work is a must-have reference for anyone working with essential oils or their constituents regardless of profession or level of knowledge. If you only purchase one new referenced text this year, spend your money wisely and grab this long awaited and much-needed reference work.

This book review written by Mark Webb, BSc, MASCC appears in the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy Volume 2 Issue 3

To subscribe visit http://www.ijpha.com

The Mechanism of Antifungal Action of Essential Oil from Dill (Anethum graveolens L.) on Aspergillus flavus

Image

Abstract

The essential oil extracted from the seeds of dill (Anethum graveolens L.) was demonstrated in this study as a potential source of an eco-friendly antifungal agent. To elucidate the mechanism of the antifungal action further, the effect of the essential oil on the plasma membrane and mitochondria of Aspergillus flavus was investigated. The lesion in the plasma membrane was detected through flow cytometry and further verified through the inhibition of ergosterol synthesis. The essential oil caused morphological changes in the cells of A. flavus and a reduction in the ergosterol quantity. Moreover, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), acidification of external medium, and mitochondrial ATPase and dehydrogenase activities were detected. The reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation was also examined through fluorometric assay. Exposure to dill oil resulted in an elevation of MMP, and in the suppression of the glucose-induced decrease in external pH at 4 µl/ml. Decreased ATPase and dehydrogenase activities in A. flavus cells were also observed in a dose-dependent manner. The above dysfunctions of the mitochondria caused ROS accumulation in A. flavus. A reduction in cell viability was prevented through the addition of L-cysteine, which indicates that ROS is an important mediator of the antifungal action of dill oil. In summary, the antifungal activity of dill oil results from its ability to disrupt the permeability barrier of the plasma membrane and from the mitochondrial dysfunction-induced ROS accumulation in A. flavus.

Research article: Tian J, Ban X, Zeng H, He J, Chen Y, et al. (2012) The Mechanism of Antifungal Action of Essential Oil from Dill (Anethum graveolens L.) on Aspergillus flavus. PLoS ONE 7(1): e30147. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030147

Read the full article here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0030147

Editor: Bob Lightowlers, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

Copyright: © 2012 Tian et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This work was supported by the National Mega Project on Major Drug Development (2011ZX09401-302), the Commonweal Specialized Research Fund of China Agriculture (201103016), the Key Program of Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province of China (2010CBB02301), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (20103010101000185). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Image:  Holistic Photo

Check out the spring 2013 issue of the IJPHA for more information on Dill (Anethum graveolens).  www.ijpha.com

Alpha and Beta Pinene

Most essential oils are comprised of chemical compounds known collectively as “terpenoid” compounds. A typical essential oil profile will have several dozen different compounds, all of which have differing structures, aromas and therapeutic properties. In my book, “Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Essential Oils” which was published in 2003, I group the different compounds by their so-called “skeleton” and then by their functional group, which is a small part of the molecule usually containing double C=C bonds or an oxygen atom or two.

How pinene molecules interact with our body systems                      At the bacterial level, much interest is being shown in molecules that interact with bacterial chemical communication, one key feature of which is known as quorum sensing (Fig.2). This is the ability of a group of bacteria to sense when there are enough of them present to “go pathogenic.” Most bacteria that infect animals do so as single-celled creatures.  But when they have replicated to a critical number, the

Bacterial_Quorum_Sensing_by_CarolineDahl

Fig. 2 Quorum sensing    Caroline Dahl-Wikimedia Commons

chemicals they use to communicate with reach a high enough concentration to switch on other behaviours that allow the bacteria to work together, almost like a multi-cellular organism. They group together in colonies, produce mats of slime, and start pumping out nasty toxins that allow them to kill off competing bacteria, and in our case, body cells, all in an effort to control the access to nutrients which allow an even greater increase in numbers. Some plant compounds have been shown to either mimic or block the ability of bacteria to carry out quorum sensing (Table 1), which effectively blocks their ability to “go pathogenic,” and thus means that no disease state occurs (although the bacteria are still present, and in some cases, still alive). The essential oil compounds discovered so far that inhibit quorum sensing in various micro-organisms include citral (geranial-neral mixture), α-pinene, β-pinene, 1,8-cineole, α-zingiberene and pulegone (Jaramillo-Colorado et al, 2012). From a therapeutic point of view, particularly for dermal and mucous membrane infections (nose, throat, lung), there are exciting possibilities that continually vaporising essential oils containing these compounds could prevent existing bacteria in our respiratory systems from developing into infections and disease.

by E. Joy Bowles, PhD, BSc (Hons)

The full article can be seen in the Summer 2013 issue of the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (IJPHA-Vol. 2, Issue 1).  Go to http://www.ijpha.com to subscribe.