Before reading our selection of posts about essential oils, we recommend that you read the following introduction:
Most plants contain special chemical compounds in their tissues. Humans have used these chemicals throughout the ages in the form of essential oils. These oils can be used as placebos and medicine for a variety of ailments. They can be used for external grievances, to cure cuts and muscle aches for example, and internal problems, such as digestive or anxiety disorders. These substances also have aromatherapy uses, which we will talk about below.
Essential Oil Extraction
These oils can be found in almost all parts of a plant: in the leaves, bark, flowers, fruit peel, and in the sap. The pure essential oils are extracted from the plant material via distillation, cold-pressing, maceration, or hydrodistillation. These are the oils used for aromatherapy. When the extracted oils undergo further chemical processing, they turn into synthetic oils or essences to be used in perfume.
Healing Properties of Essential Oils
Essential oils work to improve our health in the same way that traditional medicine does. Some of the most important properties include:
- Antibiotic and antiviral properties to fight all types of infection.
- Stimulation of the immune system, which also improves blood circulation to the body and lymphatic system.
- Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
- They help regulate the nervous system and emotions.
How to Use Essential Oils
Just as you would take precautions before taking these oils internally, you must also be prudent when applying them to your skin. In fact, both pure and synthetic essential oils can be harmful to the skin if they are not used with caution.
If you want to use essential oils as air fresheners or perfume, there are numerous accessories that will help you get the best results. One of these products is an essential oil diffuser. They come in a variety of styles, but the main function of a diffuser is similar to a humidifier. Following the instructions, you will add a specific amount of water and essential oil to the diffuser. Once full, the water and oil are turned into vapor by ultrasonic waves or a similar technology, thus creating the desired aromatic effect.
Other diffusers may use electricity or an open flame to heat the water and oils to evaporation. Diffusers with a flame are called essential oil burners, which include candles that produce fragrance. Another type of burner consists of a small bowl for the oil that is placed on a stand over the candle. When the candle is lit, it warms the bowl and the oil evaporates.
Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to understand how to use your essential oil diffuser or burner safely.
Benefits of Smelling Essential Oils
Smelling essential oils offers many benefits for your mind and body. When you smell essential oils, several things happen. The lungs readily absorb the natural formulas, creating noticeable therapeutic benefits for your body. One example that you are probably familiar with is eucalyptus essential oil, which is inhaled to alleviate nasal congestion. The oils also stimulate a positive reaction in your brain. This reaction may vary from relaxing, energizing, or soothing, depending on the essential oil that you are smelling.
Of course, it’s important to use essential oils in the recommended doses and by following the correct methods. If not, they can have undesirable effects, like any other health practice.
Benefits of Topical Application of Essential Oils
Essential oils can also be applied topically, on the skin, where they can be absorbed into the bloodstream. The compounds in essential oils can help promote good health, hygiene, and beauty. As we mentioned above, these oils are pure, so they are concentrated and powerful. You should never apply essential oils to your skin without diluting them.
To apply essential oils to your skin, you must first dilute them with a carrier oil. A carrier oil is another type of oil, such as a cold-pressed vegetable oil, which is used to dilute the essential oil for topical application. Some common carrier oils include sweet coconut oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil.
Essential Oil Blends
Essential oils smell great on their own, but they can also be mixed to make complex and captivating aroma blends. Essential oils blends can also be made to measure for specific aromatherapy applications. When two or more essential oils are mixed together for a specific aromatherapeutic purpose, it is called a synergy essential blend. A synergy essential blend is considered more powerful and more effective than the individual oils by themselves.
Homemade Essential Oils
As we’ve mentioned, the use of pure or synthetic essential oils requires a lot of knowledge and consultation if you want to maximize the health benefits. For that reason, we recommend talking to an aromatherapy expert before trying your hand at homemade essential oils.
Although some people may try to extract essential oils directly from the plant or fruit, there are other steps to consider. To obtain essential oils for topical use or for aromatherapy, it’s necessary to mix a base oil (such as olive or almond oil) with the specific essential oil. The oil used depends on the specific aroma and properties that you want, which is why most people buy it already distilled.
Safety Precautions with Essential Oils
At the moment, there is a huge selection of scented oil products on the market. Many of these products are marketed as aromatherapeutic, even though they are made with artificial ingredients. The bottle may even say “made with essential oils” or “made with natural ingredients”.
We have the moral obligation to say that claims like these do not guarantee a good aromatherapy product, as they may still contain high levels of artificial oils and only a miniscule amount of the true essential oil. If an essential oil product is truly pure and natural, it will list that oil at “100%” on the ingredient label.
Don’t take essential oils internally, unless under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist who has received due training in this mode of administration.