There are numerous hitches in trying to recreate a plant oil in a lab. The fragrant oils distilled from plants, called secondary metabolites, are part of a plant’s defense system against pests, predators, microbes, sunburn, and drought. They are also part of the plant’s reproductive system used to lure in friendly pollinators. These plant mechanisms are complex and interconnected with metabolic challenges as well as free radical and oxidative stress in the plant.
The potency and qualities of the secondary metabolites made by the plant are unique, reflecting the subtle differences in the plant’s environment, influenced by the soil it grows in and even by what is growing next to it. All of these factors contribute to the exceptional qualities of pure plant oil, and they cannot be recreated in a lab.
Perfumes made with only really real essential oils are magnificently multifaceted and unequalled by anything produced in a laboratory. A true, pure essential oil is greater than the sum of its parts. Lavender essential oil is more than just linalool, which is the component that most laboratories are producing under the guise of lavender scent. True lavender oil also has traces of other compounds like α-pinene, limonene, and 1,8-cineole.
All true essential oils are complex mixtures of phytochemicals and phytonutrients that work synergistically. “The property of the whole essential oil results from the limitless rearrangement and permutations of the basic components.” All of the trace components contribute significantly to the fragrance of the oil and how the fragrance affects us physiologically.
Nadine Artemis is the creator of Living Libations, an exquisite line of serums, elixirs and essentials oils for those seeking the purest of the pure botanical health and beauty products on the planet.