The benefits of essential oils are due to in part the fact they contain aromatic terpenes. Terpenes have known benefits as individual medicinal compounds. Each terpene exhibits properties, such as antioxidant, anti-septic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and anti-cancer. They boost the immune system and they relax the nervous system. Their effects are dramatic and subtle. The whole plant also contains polyphenols, vitamins, minerals.
Science studies the individual terpenes from a plant, but it is the full spectrum, whole plant extract that provide a unique proportion of terpenes. Eucalyptus and citrus essential oils are showing promise in the treatment of inflammation and conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease.
Without the whole plant blend of terpenes the individual components are in most cases too strong or produce toxic effects if taken on their own.
In the study below strongly suggests that eucalyptus and citrus benefits Alzheimer's Disease. This is due to an effect they induce on inhibiting a compound in the body called acetylcholinesterase.
Antioxidant and antiacetylcholinesterase activities of some commercial essential oils and their major compounds.
The commercial essential oils of Citrus aurantium L., Cupressus sempervirens L., Eucalyptus globulus Labill., Foeniculum vulgare Mill. and Thymus vulgaris L., isolated by steam distillation by a company of Morocco were evaluated in terms of in vitro antioxidant activity through several methods. In vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity was also determined. Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f. oil was also studied, but it was obtained by peel expression. Concerning the acetylcholinesterase inhibition activity, E. globulus was the most effective.
The most recent experiments have focused their attention on the main wasted part of these fruit, the peel, in which citrus fruits is composed of a colored outer layer (skin) and a white inner layer (pith).
Present exclusively in plants of the genus Citrus are antioxidant, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, but above all neuroprotective properties, owing to a particular group of flavonoids called Polymethoxyflavones,
According to some experiments, Polymethoxyflavones could prevent the formation of senile plaques (extracellular formations composed of residues of amyloid protein and neuronal deposits) and neurofibrillary tangles (bundles of filaments formed around the nucleus of the neuron), by inhibiting two specific enzymes:
- the enzyme BACE-1 (responsible for cutting the precursor protein of the beta-amyloid that repairs the neurons) that, when it becomes hyperactive, causes the formation of a tangle of cut parts that blocks the transmission of the nervous impulse;
- the enzyme Acetylcholinesterase (responsible for demolishing the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine after it has transmitted the signal from the nerve cells to the muscle cells) which, when it no longer acts properly, lowers the Acetylcholine values.
The inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase is helped by the essential oils whole plant extract of eucalyptus globulus and citrus fruit. Citrus provides (Citrus limon) and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), thanks to the presence of coumarins and monoterpenes, which have also shown to increase memory capacity.
Essential oils of eucalyptus are an extracted from the leaves of the plant and citrus oils from the peel. Given the difficulty in consuming any considerable portion of these plant leaves or fruit skin, the extracted, concentrated essential oils are the preferred form for use.
Consider applying these to beverages, in diffusers (plug in or aromatherapy jewelry) or diluting into carrier oils as a topical for use on the neck or chest.
Avoid contact with the eyes and avoid sunlight exposure when wearing citrus essential oils.