Aromatherapy Oils from the Asteraceae Plant Family

Posted on: January 11th, 2016 by
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Sunflowers and Daisies of the Asteraceae Plant Family: Photo Credit, Fotolia

Sunflowers and Daisies of the Asteraceae Plant Family: Photo Credit, Fotolia

The Asteraceae plant family, also known as the Compositae plant family, is one of the most common, and largest, botanical families. Members of the Asteraceae plant family are found throughout the world; because of the characteristics of the members of this plant family, other alternative names include the sunflower, daisy, or aster plant family. Several oils used in aromatherapy are extracted from Asteraceae plant family members.

History of the Asteraceae Plant Family

According to an article in The New York Times, Longer Roots Are Discovered in Large Plant Family, published on September 27, 2010, scientists found a fossil flower that is nearly 50 million years old. Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact age of any plant family with precision, it was previously thought that the Asteraceae plant family was younger than 50 million years old.

The fossil flower which scientists discovered had both leaves and blooms, unlike previously found fossils of pollen grain, which gives a greater insight into both the age and identification of the plant species. It was found in northwest Patagonia, where the climate was believed to be different than it is today in that region, that is more tropical.

Botanical Profile of the Asteraceae Plant Family

There are approximately 20,000 species within the Asteraceae plant family. Most Asteraceae plant family members are herbaceous; however, some plant family members are shrubs, vines, or trees.

Most Asteraceae plant family members have:

  • flower heads of small flowers: composite

  • alternate, whorled, or opposite leaves

  • erect stems.

Essential Oils of the Asteraceae Plant Family

You can easily recognize those plants that produce an essential oil from the Asteraceae plant family by their characteristic “daisy-like” flower heads; these include:

  • yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

  • tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

  • marigold (Calendula officinalis)

  • Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

  • helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium)

  • German chamomile (Matricaria recutica)

  • Moroccan chamomile (Ormenis multicaulis)

  • tagetes (Tagetes minuta).

Carrier Oils of the Asteraceae Plant Family

There are also several carrier oils that are extracted from Asteraceae plant family members; these include:

  • calendula (Calendula officinalis)*

  • safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)

  • sunflower (Helianthus annuus).

*not to be confused with the essential oil of the same name. Calendula oil is also an infused oil.

Uses of the Asteraceae Plant Family

Asteraceae plant family members also show similar therapeutic properties; for example, essential oils extracted from the Asteraceae plant family are soothing to the skin and digestive system. Carrier oils, too, have beneficial properties for the skin.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils and carrier oils, consider taking the Sedona Aromatherapie Certification in Professional Aromatherapy course!

References:

  • Author is a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author and editor in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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