When primary alcohols oxidize, they make aldehydes. Aldehydes have a carbonyl group (Carbon+Hydrogen+Oxygen) on one end. Common aldehydes in aromatherapy include cinnamaldehyde, citral, citronellal, neral, geranial, myrtenal, and octenal.
Aldehydes tend to be cooling, calming, and uplifting. Their sedative and antispasmodic properties can help you relax and improve your mood.
They are great in diffusers because, with their antibacterial and antiviral properties, they can get rid of cold and flu germs that are floating around. Yet, rather than smelling medicinal, they have fresh, herbaceous, floral, or fruity aromas. Those wonderful aromas are the reason you'll even find aldehydes in perfume.
There are some cautions that go with oils high in aldehydes. They may irritate the skin and mucous membranes, so they need to be limited to 1% or less of a blend. When used topically, they should be used short term only (meaning a few days at most).
The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.