Essential oils are the most oxygenated substances?
By Marco Valussi
No. This strange question probably derives from a superficial reading of essential oils chemistry texts, where perhaps it was found that essential oils contain molecules composed only of carbon and hydrogen atoms (terpenic hydrocarbons), as well as molecules containing oxygen atoms (the terpenoids derived from hydrocarbons, i.e. alcohols, ethers, aldehydes, etc.).
This is certainly true, but the amount of oxygen (O) contained in an essential oil is always lower to the hydrogen (H) and carbon (C) content, and in some oils it is very low (eg conifers or citrus oils). Let's say that the ratio between O, C and H in mono- and sesquiterpenes could be 1-2: 10-17: 18-26. In addition an oil contains molecular O (i.e. bound to other atoms in the whole of a molecule) which is not assimilable to free oxygen in the form of oxygen molecules or oxygen radicals, that are the forms able to interact freely.
To liberate molecular oxygen, an organism needs to metabolize molecules. And even in this case it is doubtful that metabolism leads to free oxygen, at least immediately. Usually this is the passage of oxygen from one molecule to another, through a series of steps. That is why oxygen of essential oils can not in any way "oxygenate" the tissues. For a more in-depth discussion of the subject, here is an article by Robert Tisserand