Why Do Plants Need To Produce Essential Oils?
Nowadays, people enjoy the pleasure of essential oils, Especially skin care products containing essential oil. But we never think of that why do plants produce them; what is in it for the plant?
As we know, A living plant has two categories of metabolites: primary and secondary.
Primary metabolites consist of enzymes and proteins; whereas, secondary metabolites consist of flavanoids and essential oils. Secondary metabolites are made by the plant even though they are not necessary for its immediate survival or its day-to-day economy. They do not participate in the metabolic processes of deriving energy from nutrition or the propagation of the species, but essential oils play a role in extending the average lifespan of the plant.
Here are the role of essential oils:
- ALLWLOPATHY: Allelochemicals are the plant’s way of preventing competing plants from growing within its specific areas. Essential oils are allelochemicals in a plant. As a defense mechanism, it makes sure that no competing plants can take away its source of precious minerals and nutrients from the soil.
- ATTRACTING POLLINATORS: Without the help of pollinators, most plants would not be able to produce fruits and seeds. Essential oils within certain plants provide an attractive aroma to potential pollinators.
- DETER DANGEROUS INSECTS AND PESTS: Plants emit terpenes with toxic, repellent, anti-feedant and anti-digestive activity for insects and mammals. Once the animal has ingested them, these molecules can affect the nervous system, the digestive tract, they can cause nausea, and so on. As a rule, these essences increase concentration after an attack, to better defend against other attacks and to alert other parts of the plant.
- ANTI-FUNGAL AND ANTI-MICROBIAL: Simply put, essential oils are known to carry anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and other defensive constituents to protect itself from microbial and other similar threats. These are generally made up of the same chemical compounds that are contained in the natural deterrents that the plants carry to fend of insects and bacteria.
- SOLVENT/CARRIERS: Some terpenoids (Main chemical constituents of essential oils) would act as solvents for other bioactive compounds. An example comes from the Myrica gale, whose essential oil is composed of a fraction of highly volatile monoterpenes (especially α-pinene) and a low volatile but strongly antimycotic sesquiterpene, the germacrone. When the oily cell breaks, the monoterpenes flow rapidly to the surface of the leaf, carrying the germacrone with it and evaporate quickly leaving the sesquiterpene distributed over the leaf more homogeneously than if it had escaped alone.
With many essential oils, we extract these and use them for the same or similar applications they were initially used for by the plant from which they came. We hope that the HOMASY oils can help you realize the original function of the essential oil.