The VripMaster™ Hot Gas Extraction Aromatherapy system enables the sequential thermo extraction and cooled rapid-onset delivery of thousands of botanical based essential oils and phyto-medicinal compounds. Many practitioners consider thermo extraction and rapid-onset delivery to be superior to traditional delivery mediums because it is less invasive than subcutaneous or intravenous delivery and considerably more efficient and rapid than metabolic (oral) delivery. Many herbalists and natural medicine practitioners fully expect to see thermo extracted phyto-inhalation a readily excepted and preferred delivery medium for plant-based medicines in the future with numerous, use-specific preparations commercially available.
The vast majority of essential oils and phyto-medicinal compounds can be vaporized between 260-390 degrees Fahrenheit. Just like effective synthetic medicinal compounds; however, these natural medicinal compounds must be treated with care as too much of a good thing has the potential to be toxic. This is especially so with convection based vaporization and inhalation systems, as the rate of delivery is substantially faster and the amount delivered greater in ratio to the amount used with traditional mediums. A good rule of thumb is to use approximately 1/3 the amount you would use orally or for combustion-based inhalation as a starting point. As always, dried and finely chopped material will yield the most rapid and efficient extractions as more surface area will be exposed to the extracting hot gas flow, but less cured material, blends, or concentrates work well too simply resulting in a slower, longer extraction. Many herbal supplements come in capsule form and can simply be emptied from the capsule and used for thermo phyto-inhalation. Essential oils or fluid based concentrates can be used by dropping a small amount on a dosage of cured raw botanical material so that a small enough dosage (often less then one drop) can be attained and so surface area can be improved.
A near infinite number of possible blends and combinations of raw materials and concentrates exist. Many reference sources such as the PDR for herbal medicines¹, the Merck index², and the translated Commission E herbal monographs³ exist as rich resources for various botanical based remedies and preparations. Many commonly used botanicals and extracts are already being used via thermo phyto-inhalation and the anecdotally derived knowledge base is growing. Higher dosages of raw materials and concentrates, especially those containing stimulating alkaloids should be treated with extra care. Ma huang, guarana, and yohimbe for example can be vaporized quite effectively, and can benefit from the immediacy of the delivery medium; but, just as with the same compounds delivered orally, should not be used by those with heart or kidney conditions and dosage must be closely monitored. Some of the more commonly used botanicals and blends include mint (great base for just about any blend because of it's taste and low vaporization temp), mullein (the Center for Natural Medicine actually endorses the VripMaster system for use with mullein), lobelia, echinacea, olive leaf, chamomile, valerian, kava kava, hops, passion flower, ginkgo biloba, gotu cola, green tea, black tea, coffee, guarana, yohimbe, ma huang, etc.
Phyto-medicinal compounds are the active compounds in botanicals and essential oils are phyto-medicinal compound containing liquids extracted from the botanical material by pressing, solvent extraction, or steam distillation. Generally, these have been known for many years by health and wellness practitioners. These organic, naturally occurring essential oils are extracted from the seeds, bark, roots, leaves, flowers, wood, balsam, resin, and fruit of plants. The oils are then redistilled or rectified to remove any unwanted materials. Essential oils easily evaporate infusing the air without leaving an oily residue behind. Some examples are pine oil, oil of eucalyptus, oil of peppermint, oil of basil, oil of orange, oil of rosemary, oil of cedarwood, and oil of spearmint.
Essential oils are extremely complex compositions consisting of hundreds of different organic compounds and trace elements. Organic compounds for many years were thought to only be made by living organisms containing a "vital force". In 1845, the German chemist Hermann Kolbe successfully synthesized acetic acid ending this organic "vital force" theory, yet the name organic compounds is still used. The following paragraphs detail the chemical families of the organic phyto-medicinal compounds found in essential oils and what they are generally accepted to be good for.
Basic Chemistry:In general, essential oils consist of chemical compounds that have hydrogen, carbon and oxygen as their building blocks. These can be subdivided into two groups: the hydrocarbons, which are made up almost exclusively of terpenes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes); and the oxygenated compounds, mainly esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols and oxides; acids, lactones, sulphur and nitrogen compounds are sometimes also present.
Aldehydes:Citral, citronellal and neural are important aldehydes found notably in lemon-scented oils such as melissa, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon-scented eucalyptus, citronella, etc. Aldehydes in general have a sedative effect; citral has been found to have specifically antiseptic properties. Other aldehydes include benzaldehyde, cinnamic aldehyde, cuminic aldehyde and perillaldehyde
Phenols:These tend to have a bactericidal and strongly stimulating effect, but can be skin irritants. Common phenols include eugenol (found in clove and West Indian bay), thymol (found in thyme), carvacrol (found in oregano and savory); methyl eugenol, methyl chavicol, anethole, safrole, myristicin and apiol among others.
Terpenes:Common terpene hydrocarbons include limonene (antiviral, found in 90 per cent of citrus oils) and pinene (antiseptic, found in high proportions in pine and turpentine oils); also camphene, cadinene, caryophyllene, cedrene, dipentene, phellandrene, terpinene, sabinene, and myrcene among others. Some sesquiterpenes, such as chamazulene and farnesol (both found in chamomile oil), have been the object of great pharmaceutical interest recently because of their outstanding antiinflammatory and bactericidal properties.
Ketones:Some of the most common toxic constituents are ketones, such as thujone found in mugwort, tansy, sage and worm-wood; and pulegone found in pennyroyal and buchu, but this does not mean that all ketones are dangerous. Non-toxic ketones include jasmone found in jasmine, and fenchone in fennel oil. Generally considered to ease congestion and aid the flow of mucus, ketones are often found in plants that are used for upper respiratory complaints, such as hyssop and sage. Other ketones include camphor, carvone, methone, methyl nonyl ketone and pinocamphone.
Oxides:By far the most important oxide is cineol (or eucalyptol), which stands virtually in a class of its own. It has an expectorant effect and is well known as the principal constituent of eucalyptus oil. It is also found in a wide range of other oils, especially those of a camphoraceous nature such as rosemary, bay laurel, tea tree and cajeput. Other oxides include linalol oxide found in hyssop (decumbent variety), ascaridol, bisabolol oxide and bisabolone oxide.
Esters:Probably the most widespread group found in essential oils, which includes linalyl acetate (found in bergamot, clary sage and lavender), and geranyl acetate (found in sweet marjoram). They are characteristically fungicidal and sedative, often having a fruity aroma. Other esters include bornyl acetate, eugenyl acetate and lavendulyl acetate.
Alcohols:One of the most useful groups of compounds, tending to have good antiseptic and antiviral properties with an uplifting quality; they are also generally non-toxic. Some of the most common terpene alcohols include linalol (found in rosewood, lineloe and lavender), citronellol (found in rosewood, lineloe and lavender), citronellol (found in rose, lemon, eucalyptus and geranium) and geraniol (found in palmarosa); also borneol, methol, nerol, terpineol, farnesol, vetiverol, benzyl alcohol and cedrol among others.
Essential oils contain many constituents. These constituents are all polar, that is charge carrying in nature so it is only with a neutral polarity heat source and neutral polarity extraction and delivery surfaces that the full and accurate spectrum as it exists within the plant can be extracted and delivered as vapor. The predominant components are terpenes and esters, but a large number of trace elements are also present. It is the synergy enabled by the presence of these trace elements that often give the real essential oil, and the extracted vapor, its character and enhance the ability to blend with other oils to create more complex vapors and desirable phyto-inhalation experiences.
(2000) Physician's Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, New Jersey: Medical Economics Company Inc., Second Edition.
(1989) Merck Index. Rathway, New Jersey: Merck & Co., Inc., Eleventh Edition.
Blumenthal/Goldberg/Brinckmann (2000). Herbal Medicine, Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, Massachusetts: Integrative Medicine Communications, First Edition.
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