Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If essential oils are so great at being anti-oxidants, why don't we use them more in that capacity?

Essential oils can be fantastic anti-oxidants, and we do use them in that capacity all the time in cosmetic products. ROE, rosemary essential oil, powdered rosemary extract, green tea extract, and so on - we use all these things to prevent our oils from oxidizing in our products!

Although cinnamon, clove, and rosemary essential oils (to name a few) are good anti-oxidants, there is some dispute as to whether they are better than BHA and BHT. (Özcan, M., & Arslan, D. (2011). Antioxidant effect of essential oils of rosemary, clove and cinnamon on hazelnut and poppy oils. Food Chemistry, 129(1), 171-174, and other studies). Click here for more information on rosemary essential oil as an anti-oxidant.

The other problem with adding essential oils as anti-oxidants is that you have to have the fragrance that comes along with them. This is fine if you like the smell of lavender or sage or rosemary, but what if you hate those fragrances? What if you don't want the possible psychological effects of those essential oils, or what if you're going into the desert and the combination that works best for your shampoo or conditioner bars is almost the same as the combination that works to annoy snakes?

Finally, essential oils need to be respected for their effects - they might make us more or less alert, more or less drowsy, offer us relief from pain, penetrate our skin - which means they might not be the best choice as an anti-oxidant for our products.

Related posts...
Rancidity: A primer
Mechanisms of rancidity


ZaraAlyce said...

Hi, it is off the subject but I have tagged you in a post. I hope you will join in :)

chowsr said...

Chemistry and in vitro antioxidant activity of volatile oil and oleoresins of black pepper (Piper nigrum).
Kapoor IP, Singh B, Singh G, De Heluani CS, De Lampasona MP, Catalan CA.

Chemistry Department, DDU Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, India.

Essential oil and oleoresins (ethanol and ethyl acetate) of Piper nigrum were extracted by using Clevenger and Soxhlet apparatus, respectively. GC-MS analysis of pepper essential oil showed the presence of 54 components representing about 96.6% of the total weight. beta-Caryophylline (29.9%) was found as the major component along with limonene (13.2%), beta-pinene (7.9%), sabinene (5.9%), and several other minor components. The major component of both ethanol and ethyl acetate oleoresins was found to contain piperine (63.9 and 39.0%), with many other components in lesser amounts. The antioxidant activities of essential oil and oleoresins were evaluated against mustard oil by peroxide, p-anisidine, and thiobarbituric acid. Both the oil and oleoresins showed strong antioxidant activity in comparison with butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) but lower than that of propyl gallate (PG). In addition, their inhibitory action by FTC method, scavenging capacity by DPPH (2,2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical), and reducing power were also determined, proving the strong antioxidant capacity of both the essential oil and oleoresins of pepper.

There's another one I have somewhere too.