When essential oils enter the bloodstream, they have an effect on the whole body. The oils flow through the bloodstream and collaborate with the tissues and cells through the body.
Ultimately, the oils will go through the liver, which is an organ placed on the lower-right area of the thorax, below the ribcage. The liver is believed to be the main area of essential oil metabolism inside your body. Metabolism is a term that attributes to the life-sustaining chemical reactions occurring within living cells that provide for growth, reproduction, resiliency, and response to the environment.
When the essential oil processes inside the liver, specific enzymes breakdown individual compounds into metabolites. These metabolites work to flow within the body before they are eliminated, primarily in urine. Some essential oil metabolites may also be eliminated in the feces, through the skin, or exhaled from the lungs.
Most essential oil metabolites have been found to be biologically active and contribute their own favorable effects. Let’s give an example, one study explored how limonene, the main ingredient in many citrus oils, is altered by the body to create perillic acid as it’s main metabolite. However, limonene itself is highly efficacious, perillic acid acts similar to the effects of limonene and can even show a stronger effect.
Another example is linalyl acetate, which is present in high amounts in bergamot, lavender, and clary sage essential oils. Enzymes in the body metabolize linalyl acetate to linalool. Linalool is believed to show relaxation in the body. Although, there is evidence that when linalyl acetate is administered alone, it also promotes relaxation. This occurs because linalyl acetate is converted to linalool.
Essential oil metabolism is an exhaustively researched subject. Understanding how the body metabolizes essential oils helps users to better appreciate their wellness promoting power.