Essential Oils Basics
What are Essential Oils? Why should we use them? Which body systems do they support? How do they work?
ESSENTIAL OILS ARE NATURAL AROMATIC COMPOUNDS FOUND IN THE SEEDS, BARK, stems, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. If you have ever enjoyed the gift of a rose, a walk by a field of lavender, or the smell of freshly cut mint, you have experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. Essential oils can lift the mood, calm the senses and elicit powerful emotional responses. Yet the use of essential oils goes well beyond the fragrant appeal.
Essential oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their therapeutic benefits. Essential Oils work on a cellular level, supporting our body systems when applied topically, aromatically, or ingested (please always follow label instructions of each individual essential oil). Modern trends towards more holistic approaches to self care are driving a rediscovery of the profound wellness benefits of essential oils.
Therapeutic grade essential oils are most often extracted via a low-heat steam distillation process in which steam is circulated under pressure through plant material liberating the essential oils into the steam. As the steam mixture cools, the water and oils are separated and the oil is collected in its pure form. To ensure the highest quality oil extract of correct chemical composition, temperature and pressure must be monitored very closely. Too little heat and pressure will not release valuable oil, while too much can fracture an extract’s delicate chemical composition and alter its potency. Equally important to the carefully controlled extraction process, the meticulous selection of correct plant species and plant parts, harvested at the perfect moment when their essential oil compounds are most concentrated, is also required for a quality therapeutic grade essential oil extract. This complex process is as much an art form as it is a science and requires experienced growers and distillers working together to ensure a superior product.
Essential Oils & Your Body Systems
The chart below lists single essential oils and essential oil blends, indicating which body systems they primarily support. It does not list every system that could possibly be supported.
Click on any Essential Oil listed below to read more details.
How do they work?
Essential oils are used to support the body bringing back into balance what has been out of balance physically or emotionally. They can be used singly or in complex blends depending on user experience and desired benefit. Essential oils are usually administered by one of three methods: diffused aromatically, applied topically to the skin, or taken internally as dietary supplements (only use oils approved for internal use – contact me to find out which oils I’m using).
Essential oils are naturally safe and have few, if any, undesirable side effects when used as directed. They are, however, powerfully concentrated and should be used with care. Be sure to use only 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oils and follow all label warnings and instructions. Essential oils should never be used in the eyes or inside the ear canal. If redness or irritation occurs when using essential oils topically, simply apply a vegetable oil such as fractionated coconut oil to the affected area—water will not dilute essential oils. Consult your physician before using essential oils if you are pregnant or under a doctor’s care.