What are they?
Essential oils are concentrated, liquid extractions derived from a plant source through a process of distillation, expression, or solvent extraction. The oils capture the concentrated "essence" of the plant being extracted.
Distillation is the most popular extraction method today because it can be used on most plants. There are several ways to perform the distillation process, though steam distillation is the most commonly used. In this process, steam is passed through the plant material with a gentle pressure. The essential oil is then released through the steam and flows through a condenser that’s waiting to collect the vapor. As it cools, a layer of oil forms and is then collected.
Expression is another popular form of extraction, though it’s mostly used with citrus essential oils. Often called cold pressing, expression is a method of puncturing. The citrus rinds are placed into a container with spikes that puncture the peel so that the essential oils are released.
Sometimes, the distillation and expression processes are too damaging to the plant to successfully remove the essential oils. In these cases, a chemical is combined with the plant to promote the release of the essential oil. The solvent is removed during the process of solvent extraction so that the end product is a pure essential oil.
When did we start using them?
Essential oils are increasingly becoming popular for their versatility, but they've been around for centuries. The use of botanicals as healing agents is a long-standing practice throughout human history. In fact, essential oils and other botanicals have been used in wellness practices as early as at least 5,000 years ago.
In ancient medicine, these oils — which are made from the distilled extracts from plant flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin and peels—were used in aromatherapy practices to treat many ailments and invigorate the body. From China to India and from Greece to Rome, many ancient cultures were masters of essential oils.
Do they actually work?
I find myself questioning this too sometimes. Is it all in my head? Is it just a fad that everyone is doing to be "natural" and they're not actually getting any results?
Actually, in the late 1920s, French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé used lavender oil to heal a burn on his hand, thus uncovering the science supporting aromatherapy. He then studied the properties of lavender to discover new ways he might be able to help wounded soldiers during World War I.Well lucky for us, many researchers have done the hard work of digging into them.
Since then, many researchers have done the hard work for us to find out! Through advances in chemical testing, researchers have identified various molecules within essential oils, many of which are antioxidants. Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled and have been clinically shown to influence our mental or physical states.
For those wondering do essential oils really work, many essential oils, or components of them, are used today in household cleaning products, agriculture, perfumes or cosmetics. In the scientific community, there have been numerous clinical studies investigating the benefits of essential oils. These notable benefits stem from a range of the essential oil’s properties including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer activity, antioxidant, insecticidal, stress-reducing, wound healing, and more. In fact, over the past few decades, many essential oils have been tested in laboratories against common ailments such as arthritis, headaches, acne, skin rashes, muscle pain, and infection, with positive results.
How do they work?
When essential oils are inhaled, the molecules reach the tip of the nose and then come in contact with the olfactory mucous membrane. Thousands of receptors in this membrane create a sensory stimulation that reaches the limbic portion of the brain via the olfactory nerve. This area controls the psychological and emotional responses in humans. From the limbic system, nerves reach other parts of the brain that regulate many body functions. A simple process of inhalation takes just a few seconds and therefore essential oils absorption is also quick..
The limbic system also plays a role in controlling several unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Essential oil absorption into the respiratory system is slower and the rate of diffusion in the bloodstream is also greater. This is because these oils that enter through the respiratory system are constantly moving through various exits.The combination of the right essential and carrier oils help the respiratory system by improving breathing, clearing lungs and better interchange of gases.
Topically, oils applied to the skin, either diluted or applied in small directly, are absorbed by the skin into the blood. When essential oils enter the blood stream, they start a chemical reaction by reacting with enzymes and hormones.
Essential oil absorption during massages takes place through the outermost horny layer of the epidermis. It then enters the sweat glands, hair follicles found in the upper dermis on to capillary circulation. Most essential oils are chiefly fat-soluble and partly water-soluble. This is why they are easily absorbed into the skin that is semi-permeable by simple diffusion. The sebaceous glands have an oily sebum that facilitates the dissolving of essential oils. They then pass into the dermis from where they are carried by the lymph glands and blood vessels to the bloodstream.
You need essential oils!
If all this fancy info didn't convince you to incorporate oils into your life (I am not all that smart on my own & did LOTS of research on this), I don't know what will! I was sold on oils long ago with just the basics: lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, frankincense. But when I would see an oil at my Natural Grocers on sale, I just had to get it. Then when I did research, I found out how POWERFUL these tiny little things can be.
That's how my collection grew to about 100 oils that I always keep around the house (and in my purse!). I only use about 10% of those for my business, then the rest are for personal use that I (and everyone else) truly use in my home. There are so many versatile uses and proven results. Not only do they work, but they are so much better for you and your family. Think of all the chemicals and pharmaceuticals you'll be replacing (again... not all medicine is bad, it's the OVERUSE of them).
I use my oils for cleaning, air fresheners, diffusers in my house & car, personal inhalers, necklace diffusers, roll on bottles, massage oils, skin care, hair care, & so MUCH MORE. Not only are they benefiting you in some way, but they smell amazing too. There are even special blends made that are "safer" for kids. Really it's just the dilution rate that matters & avoiding irritating oils for little ones & pets.
Because these oils are so potent & powerful, they should be used with caution and follow proper dilution methods. Many different dilution recommendations slightly differ but the overall rule is to use a carrier oil for topical or use & only a few drops in other uses, such as diffusing.
So why not give them a try. There are so many out there with all kinds of benefits. I bet there's an oil out there for you! I offer Young Living essential oils as an independent distributor (Member 21059688), but I also believe that they are not the only quality oil out there. Yes they have been around a lot longer than most, and they do have SO MUCH knowledge about essential oils. They have really fine tuned their craft to some specialty blends, much like the Thieves essential oil that is so popular (and it's available for purchase by me, right here ;)).
Another great source of quality oils also come from Edens Garden (if you click the link you can check them out). They offer affordable oils for people looking for 100% pure oils. Although I'm not authorized to sell them (no one is because they're a non-MLM comp, which means no middle man & more savings for you), I do really believe in them & that's why I'm mentioning them to you. And if you sign up & enroll for their Aroma Rewards program, you can earn "notes" towards free product (this program is FREE). And free shipping & returns, no minimum order required.
Plant Therapy (click it to see what they've got) is my other go to for essential oils. Very similar to Edens Garden, they're also non-MLM and do often compete. They have similar prices on oils & offer weekly deals alike. I like to cross-reference between these two sites when I'm looking for a good deal. Sometimes one will have an essential oil that the other doesn't. Sometimes there's a sale on a certain item that I can get cheaper. Especially around the holidays! And if you sign up for their PT Perqs program, you can get $10 towards your first order through this link. This program is also free with free shipping on no minimum order as well.
So try it! There's literally NO reason not to.
I'm no medical expert or claim to be a type of specialist of any kind. I'm just a mom passionate about oils. I have done my own research from multiple sources and try to verify credibility as often as possible. As with anything, make sure to follow safe practices of essential oil use.