Part 5: Oxygenated Compounds—Esters


Esters are formed when an esterification reaction occurs between an alcohol and a carboxylic acid functional group. An ester is essentially a combination of these two functional groups and incudes a carbon atom with a double bond to an oxygen molecule, a single bond to an oxygen molecule, and a single bond to another carbon molecule (usually written -COO- or -COOC-). Esters can be identified from the proper chemical name, which usually ends with the suffix “-yl, ” “-ate, ” or “-ester.” Common esters found in essential oils are methyl salicylate, linalyl acetate, and neryl acetate.

Main Health Effects:

  • Calming, relaxing, soothing, and balancing effects on mood1
  • Reduces the appearance of skin blemishes2
  • Provides a soothing and warming sensation when applied topically3

Essential Oil Main Ester Constituent(s) Amount
Birch3 methyl salicylate Approximately 99%
Wintergreen 1,2,3 methyl salicylate Approximately 99%
Roman Chamomile 1,2 isobutyl acetate, isoamyl angelate, Approximately 75%
Clary Sage 1 linalyl acetate Approximately 65%
Lavender 1,2 linalyl acetate Approximately 50%
Helichrysum 1,2 neryl acetate Approximately 40%
Bergamot 1,2 linalyl formate Approximately 40%
Jasmine 1,2 benzyl acetate, benzyl benzoate Approximately 40%


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