The evolution of sophisticated techniques for chemical analysis (chromatography, mass spectrometry, magnetic resonance imaging), allowed us to deepen the knowledge on the complex molecular structures of essential oils. In a single drop, we can find over 500 different molecules, each with a defined function.
The chemotype is the main constituent of an essential oil, the molecule which characterizes the plant the most. The same botanic species can produce essential oils with widely different chemical compositions. More specifically, it can have a different chemotype depending on its growth environment: the soil make-up, culture, orientation to sunlight, weather, temperature and time of harvest can all impact the chemotype.
The chemotype is defined by chromatographic and spectroscopic analyses, which identify the various molecules in the plant.
The analysis and classification of a plant’s chemotype is highly important, as depending on the chemotype, the uses of essential oils may vary.
Let’s consider, for instance, thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and its chemotypes:
antibacterial, antiviral and neurotonic properties
antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties
antiviral and anti-micotic properties
antiparasitic properties for the intestine
decongestant properties for the lungs
antalgic properties for rheumatism and arthrosis
– Dr. Leonardo Paoluzzi, Phytos Olea, Morphema Editrice, (2013).