Scientific Aromatherapy

Essential oils


AROMATHERAPY: use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes

René-Maurice Gattefosé


The term "Aromatherapy" was used for the first time in 1928 by French biochemist René-Maurice Gattefossé.


What is an essential oil ?


An essential oil is the volatile essence extracted from aromatic plants using steam distillation.


What is aromatherapy ?


Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to harmonize physical and mental health. We use essential oils to strengthen the natural healing process. This is a natural method based on the activity of the biochemical molecules of essential oils.


What is scientific aromatherapy ?


Scientific aromatherapy or aromatology is the study of essential oils; it is a science that calls on a rigorous methodology and is based on solid scientific data, confirmed by laboratories.



Knowing how to choose a high quality essential oil


The essential oils used within the framework of scientific aromatherapy meet strict quality criteria that must unconditionally be known and abided by :


Certified botanical species


High quality essential oils must unconditionally come from botanically certified plants, i.e. they must be identified by two Latin names, as Latin is the universally recognized language in botany. The first name designates the genus, for example Cupressus; and the second the species: sempervirens, ever green cypress.

Distilled part of the plant


The various parts of a single plant (flower, leaf, stem, bark, root etc.) can produce different essences. The plant organ therefore also needs to be specified.




The aromatic components of a plant are not unchangeable. A single plant, growing in different places, can secrete very different essences as a function of a range of factors such as sunshine, climate, soil composition, altitude, etc.

Two chemotypes of the same essential oil may not only have different actions but also highly variable toxicity indices.


The guarantee of a high quality essential oil is also reflected in the packaging; the information that appears on it must be complete and rigorous.


Identity Card for an essential oil.

Pranarôm recommends using ChemoTyped Essential Oils.



Huiles essentielles chémotypées

Depending on the biotope (sunshine, climatic conditions, soil composition, altitude, neighbouring plant population...) a given aromatic plant can produce essential oils bio-chemically very different.
 Those variations in the biochemical composition of essential oils bring about the notion of "Chemotype". Two chemotypes of the same essential oil will have not only different activities but also very different toxicities.

Exemple :


Thymus vulgaris CT thujanol : well tolerated on the skin


- Thymus vulgaris CT thymol : dermocaustic.



Conventional, BIO certified or wild...


There are a number of different categories of essential oils.


100% pure, 100% natural and 100% complete or integral essential oils are rare and their price is higher if they meet all the quality criteria for a chemotyped essential oil. 


In general, we can distinguish several quality levels for essential oils :

  • Industrial standard quality : the essential oil comes from a plant that is not botanically defined, is industrially cultivated and not necessarily harvested at a time that is particularly favorable. Distillation is very often incomplete or the essential oil is rectified and even chemically reconstituted.
  • Chemotyped quality, 100% pure and 100% natural : the essential oil is obtained after full distillation of botanically identified plants that are harvested at the right time. The distilled aromatic plants can come from agriculture or wild production. The biochemical components of the essential oil are known and correspond to the desired quality profile.
  • BIO certification : the essential oil is obtained from plants whose cultivation has been awarded BIO certification by an approved body.

What is the best essential oil ?

Whether or not it has BIO certification, the best essential oil is one which is chemotyped, 100% pure and 100% natural.



Certification labels : 


  • Ecogarantie 

              *Ingredient grown organically (audit Certisys BE-BIO-01) - ECOGARANTIE ® certified product in accordance with ECOGARANTIE specifications (audit CERTISYS)

  • Organic Farming

              *Ingredient from organic farming (audit Certisys BE-BIO-01) - BIO means: from organic farming (audit Certisys BE-BIO-01)