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In this presentation, we will explore the pharmacokinetics of aromatherapy — how the body interacts with essential oil components and how these compounds are metabolized and excreted from the body. Pharmacokinetics is not just a fancy term, irrelevant to aromatic practice; it is a vital aspect of aromatherapy and can enable practitioners to maximize the effects of their treatments.
For instance: did you know that carvacrol, a key compound in essential oils such as oregano (Origanum vulgare), is excreted rapidly in the urine making it strongly indicated for urinary tract infections? Did you know that thymol, found in essential oils such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris), is metabolized in a way that increases its concentration in the lungs, making it exceptionally potent for lower respiratory tract infections?
Pharmacokinetics is of crucial importance to those seeking to fully understand the therapeutic dynamics of essential oils. Its implications for aromatic practice make it a compelling and vastly interesting topic.
- Understand the difference between pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics
- Understand the acronym ADME
- Understand how and where the body metabolizes
- Appreciate the degree of first-pass metabolism with differing routes of administration
- Understand the mechanisms behind sensitization reactions that can occur with essential oil components, and how to minimize such reactions
- Appreciate the influence the location and metabolites of essential oil components can have on their resulting therapeutic effects
- Define a prodrug; and identify conventional and natural medicinal agents that are in this category
- Highlight the importance of pharmacokinetics of essential oils with examples like thyme thymol oil, wintergreen, and oregano