What are Essential Oils ?
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated fragrant essences extracted from herbs, flowers,
They are commonly used in perfume, food flavoring, medicine, massage therapy, and
Essential oils also “have a potential curative potential on the body, mind, and spirit.”
fruits, and other plants that give them their unique aromas. aromatherapy to support a general feeling of well-being.
How Essential Oils Work Essential oils come from the process of hydrodistillation, steam distillation, solvent
extraction, extraction under pressure, or other mechanical means of extracting oils from various parts of a plant, such as the roots, leaves, seeds, peels, bark, or blossoms.
The concentrated liquid extracts contain naturally occurring chemical compounds,
including terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols, and oxides, which are volatile, meaning they’ll evaporate quickly when exposed to air.
The different chemical compositions affect the aroma of each essential oil and how it is absorbed and used by the body.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, essential oils are highly concentrated and contain active ingredients. For instance, it takes 220 lbs of lavender flowers to make 1 lb of lavender essential oil. Depending on their use, most essential oils should be
diluted first before use. Diluting essential oils helps spread the aromatic, concentrated molecules over a larger area, making it easier and more comfortable for the body to absorb.
Essential oils are most commonly either inhaled as a fine mist of vapor through
aromatherapy, or diluted with water or carrier oil, such as almond oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or olive oil and applied directly to the skin.
Most essential oils, unless they are specifically food-grade quality, are not ingested. One way to use food-grade peppermint oil or lemon oil is to blend a few drops into a glass of
water for potential internal support. Peppermint oil gives sparkling (carbonated) water a refreshing wintery flavor and may help support a calm stomach.
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Common Essential Oil Applications ď‚ˇ
Aromatherapy: Through the practice of aromatherapy, essential oils are diluted in
water and released into the air using a diffuser. Breathing in essential oil molecules may stimulate parts of your brain that influence physical, emotional, and mental
health. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, for example, some
scientists believe that inhaling lavender essential oil may affect brain cells in a similar
manner to some mild sedatives, while other researchers believe these molecules may interact with hormones or enzymes in the blood.
Aromatherapy is considered a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), part of a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies that can be used to
complement conventional treatments practiced by the mainstream medical community. However, due to a lack of standardization in most cases, more clinical research is needed on the effects of essential oils on human health.
Topically: To use essential oils topically, blend a few drops with a carrier oil and gently apply the mixture to the skin. This can be done in conjunction with a massage, which may offer potential health benefits, such as stress support.
An important note: Certain essential oils may trigger sensitivities in some people, especially if not diluted properly or applied to sensitive skin.
Pregnant women and people taking medication should always consult with a physician first before using essential oils.
Other: Essential oils are also often included as ingredients in lotions, soy wax candles, household cleaners, all-natural bug sprays, and beauty products.