What is a “chemotyped” essential oil or HECT in Aromatherapy?
It is essential to know the concept of “chemotype” also called chemotype, defined biochemical race, as soon as we approach aromatherapy. This precision given to the essential oil makes it possible to define the biochemically active molecule (s) on a certain number of clinically studied pathologies.
Recognized internationally and widely used in scientific and academic publications, the precision of the chemotype of an essential oil, associated with the Latin scientific name, allows the perfect understanding of the mode of action of essential oils which will lead to the use of a therapeutic, aromatherapy, natural, powerful and effective. This identification allows above all, to know the level of quality of an essential oil. If, on the packaging of this one, this information is not specified, it is very likely that the quality of this essential oil is mediocre.
The highlighting of the chemotype is explained by the fact that the same aromatic plant, botanically defined, synthesizes an essence that will be biochemically different depending on the biotope in which it will develop. So, the nature of the soil, the altitude, the sun, the climatic conditions until the neighboring vegetal populations are all elements which will influence the essence made by the plant. An aromatic plant will therefore provide totally different essential oils depending on their place of harvest or origin. Biochemically different, two chemotypes will present not only different therapeutic activities but also highly variable toxicities.
One example among others, will allow us to illustrate this fundamental notion brought by Pierre Franchomme: the essential oil of THYM. THYM is a plant widely used for the therapeutic properties of its essential oil. Of course, there are many biotopes where this plant species grows easily.
The THYM’s Latin scientific name is thymus vulgaris, which is written in italics, like all words or expressions in a foreign language. 1st chemotype: Thujanol thyme Thymus vulgaris CT thujanol (CT4) Its essential oil with important anti-infectious properties has, moreover, a stimulating and regenerative action of the hepatic cells. Very safe to use, it has no side effects. 2nd chemotype: Thyme vulgaris with tymol Thymus vulgaris CT thymol Strongly antibacterial, its essential oil is also caustic for the skin and hepatotoxic at high and prolonged doses. The lack of knowledge of this crucial notion and the lack of precision leave the door open to therapeutic failures, but especially to the toxicity of certain essential oils.
Thus, in the face of the therapeutic power of HECT, a study based not only on knowledge but also on experience allows optimal use for a natural shock medicine for the third millennium. Some knowledgeable laboratories have understood this and are deploying costly and sophisticated analytical methods to ensure consistent, repeatable and faultless quality. All laboratories specializing in aromatherapy, which distribute essential oils in pharmacies, are forced by the French authorities to provide a certificate of analysis for each lot marketed. All essential oils distributed in the pharmacy network, ie in pharmacy, are analyzed and chemotyped by an independent laboratory, which then issues a certificate of analysis. The latter must be able to be consulted on request, for an optimal transparency between the distributor (pharmacist) and the customer (patient).
As a reminder here are the main biochemical families of essential oils in Aromatherapy:
Monoterpenes: stimulants of the immune system.
Monoterpenols: anti-infective, bactericidal, viricidal and fungicidal compounds.
Sesquiterpenes: slightly hypotensive, soothing and anti-inflammatory. Sesquiterpenols: good tonic and general stimulant.
Phenols: highly anti-infectious and immunostimulant. Diterpenols: hormonal regulators. Aldehydes: they are good anti-inflammatories.
Acids: hypothermic and hypotensive action.
Ketones: at low doses, they are soothing, sedative, hypothermic. At high dose or repeated doses, they are neurotoxic, stupefying and epileptisantes, even abortives.
Esters: anti-spasmodic and neurotonic properties, excellent nervous rebalancers.
Oxides: bronchopulmonary decongestants: mucolytics and expectorants.
Coumarins: neuro-sedatives, anticoagulants. Lactones: hypothermic action and mucolytic action more potent than ketones.
Diones: antispasmodic and anticoagulant, less toxic than ketones.