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Terpene Profile: Elemol

Elemol is a terpene used primarily outside of the perfume industry, for things like massage oils, skin care products, and vaporizer oil. With its instantly recognizable citrus scent, this fragrant alcohol is also often found in candles used to repel insects, or in an insect-repellant spray. It is a crystalline alcohol, to be exact, and is obtained primarily from the oil of Manila elemi, but also from citronella oil and a few other plants.

In its natural state, elemol is a pale yellow to yellow crystal solid that is soluble in both alcohol and water.

elemol Natural Sources

Elemi oil comes from a tree that grows only in the Philippines. The tree’s resin, a pale yellow oil, is harvested after the resin solidifies, and this “gum” is then divided by quality. Clean gum is sold as Primera, and crude gum is sold as secunda. The oil is then extracted from this gum via steam distillation, which also results in a resin. 1

Elemol is one of the six main chemical components that make up elemi oil. Separating just this alcohol results in this terpene.

Citronella oil is an essential oil that comes from the lemongrass plant, also called Cymbopogon. The oil is largely produced in China and Indonesia, but other areas that harvest this oil include South America, southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. Citronella oil is made up of six primary chemical compounds, one of those being elemol.

Other natural sources that contain small amounts of elemol include: 2

Uses in Aromatherapy

As part of other compounds, elemol has a great many uses in aromatherapy. Elemol is found in perfumes, candles, soaps, paints, and cosmetic products, as well as in tonics and other products meant to be taken orally or topically. In aromatherapy alone, elemol offers a variety of benefits for the health of the body and the mind.

Aids in Respiratory Function

Using elemol in aromatherapy can help ease your breathing. 3 Elemol is used in expectorants, which help to clear away congestion in the lungs and reduce phlegm to help keep coughing to a minimum. It does this by helping to loosen phlegm, which allows the congestion to be moved through the body easier. This can help you get over a cold faster, and can even help reduce the symptoms of flu.

Stimulates Circulation and Hormone Production

It can also be used as a stimulant for your circulatory system. It helps to boost the secretion of hormones that help stimulate healthy blood flow, and that also helps to boost the nervous system. All of that means that the entire body is getting a boost, from better blood flow and faster-reacting brain neurons. When used in aromatherapy, elemol can help to stimulate the secretion of breast milk for lactating mothers, help the brain to produce more “happy” hormones to reduce stress, and more.

Reduces Pain and Fever

Elemol can also help reduce pain and fever in the body, through the stimulation of blood flow and hormonal secretion. This means that joint pain, migraines, earaches, common cold, and a wide variety of digestive disorders can be treated.

Aids in Stress Reduction

When added to a vaporizer, elemi oil can help reduce stress and exhaustion, and feelings of “nervousness.” It is known for bringing a sense of peace and is often added to massage oil to create an aromatherapy experience to reduce stress and assist with calming you down as the massage goes on. You may find it blended with lavender, sage, or rosemary in this case.

Refreshes Sick Rooms

When elemol is found in citronella, its primary use is to repel insects. 4 However, it can also help to create a “refreshing” sense for those who have a cold, or for flu patients. Citronella oil is often used in vaporizers in hospitals where there are malaria patients, not only because it keeps away mosquitoes, but also because of the refreshing scent. You will find it blended with other citrus fruits like lemon and orange, as well as with things like lavender and pine. 5

ylang-ylang overactive bladder Additional Information on Elemol

The two main products that have elemol in them – elemi oil and citronella – are known for being a bit harsh on the skin, and can cause irritation for those with sensitive skin. These products are typically best used for aromatherapy, unless they come in a form specifically made to be used topically, such as massage oil or cosmetics.

When used topically from other sources, such as ylang-ylang or thyme, elemol may help kill bacteria and clean away infection in wounds. It has traditionally been used as both a preservative in the ancient Egyptian embalming process, and as a tonic that helped keep the respiratory system, digestive system, and nervous system healthy. It was even thought to boost immune systems when given to children on a daily basis.

Finally, another topical use for this chemical alcohol is skin care. You may see elemol in cosmetics and skin care products, where it helps to clean and disinfect the skin, to keep your skin looking young and healthy. Cosmetic products with grapefruit ingredients, or other citrus fruits like orange and lime, contain elemol that assists in brightening and firming the skin tone.

The primary note for elemol is citrus, but many people also categorize it as having a woody scent, which may make it blend nicely with other resin oils like myrrh and frankincense. In fragrances with citrus fruits, lemongrass, ylang-ylang, and black pepper, elemol helps to add the woody and fresh notes.

From ancient Egyptian embalming practices to modern-day massage techniques, elemol has made its mark in aromatherapy, natural medicine, and the cosmetics and perfume industries.

Molecular Formula: C15 H26 O

Molecular Weight: 222.37142 g/mol

Boiling Point: 289 °C (552.2 °F; 562.15 K)

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