Since ancient times, essential oils are recognized for their medicinal value and they are very interesting and powerful natural plant products. They continue to be of paramount importance until the present day. Essential oils have been used as perfumes, flavors for foods and beverages, or to heal both body and mind for thousands of years.
2. Definition of Essential Oils
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the essence of the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. Essential oils are hydrophobic, are soluble in alcohol, nonpolar or weakly polar solvents, waxes and oils, but only slightly soluble in water. Due to their molecular structures, essential oils are easily oxidizable by light, heat and air.
3. Why Do plants Produce Essential Oils in the First Place?
There are two primary reasons:
1）Protection: Plants use essential oils for protection from pathogens such as fungus, pests, even other invasive plants or animals. They produce essential oils as part of their stress response to changes in climate or to protect themselves from harsh environmental conditions.
2）Attraction: Plants also use essential oils to lure in pollinators with their irresistible fragrances.
Like plants, there are two primary ways that humans can benefit from the regular use of essential oils:
1）Protection: Because essential oils are produced by the immune intelligence of the plants, people can use essential oils to support their wellness and healthy stress response. When we use essential oils we gain enormous benefit from the vitality and health-producing effects of the oils.
2）Attraction: Plants also create essential oils as a way to attract pollinators. These aromatic molecules, when used by humans, serve a similar purpose. When a man or woman is wearing a pure, botanical aromatic treasure, the power of their attraction is naturally enhanced. Natural fragrance offers emotional benefits in addition to a fragrance that is harmonious with the constitution and chemistry of the wearer.
4. Aromatherapy with Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is an art and science that spans civilizations and covers the globe. The art of perfumery uses science to capture the heavenly aromas of the most intoxicating flowers so that they can be utilized for the purposes of health, attraction, and romance. Aromatherapy can also be as elaborate as a complex healing prescription or specific ceremonial use. The effects of aromatherapy act simultaneously on the mind, body and spirit, offering a range of applications from the most basic skin care to enhancing a connection with the divine.
5. Extraction of Essential Oils
Oils contained within plant cells are liberated through heat and pressure from various parts of the plant matter; for example, the leaves, flowers, fruit, grass, roots, wood, bark, gums and blossom. The extraction of essential oils from plant material can be achieved by various methods, of which hydro-distillation, steam and steam/water distillation are the most common method of extraction. Other methods include solvent extraction, aqueous infusion, cold or hot pressing, effleurage and supercritical fluid extraction.
6. Benefits of Essential Oils
The benefits of using pure essential oils are profound and immediate. A small selection of essential oils offers a wide range of applications, and a small amount of essential oil goes a long way. They have been safely used by many people to:
- Improve immunity and speed illness recovery
- Deal with infection (under the care of a professional)
- Balance hormones
- Make homemade cleaning or beauty products
- For diffusing and natural air cleansing
- Topically (when diluted)
- In recipes like homemade bug spray to avoid outdoor pests naturally
7. The Top Six Usages of Essential Oils
Essential oil diffusers, offer a safe and easy way to fill your home or office with essential oils. A small amount of essential oil has a big impact when diffused in the air we breathe. Rather than heat, these diffusers use the vibration of water molecules to disperse essential oils into the air. Use diffusers when you wish for your home or office to smell fragrant with natural essential oils. Diffusers are great for the home, office, and classroom
This application is simple and can be done just about anywhere. Carry your favorite essential oils with you so you can stop and inhale them whenever you need to feel calm and uplifted, are traveling, or are exposed to germy conditions. For direct inhalation, simply open a bottle of essential oil, place it below your nose and inhale deeply.
Pure essential oils are many times more concentrated than the whole plant, which is why we recommend diluting essential oils before applying them to the skin. Dilutions are typically 2% – 10%. For adults, a 2.5% dilution is recommended for most purposes. There are many great carrier oils from which to choose. Jojoba, coconut and argan are all nourishing oils with a good shelf life. Rosehip and almond are also wonderful nourishing oils that require refrigeration to preserve.
Add 1 – 5 drops of essential oil to a pot of hot water. Cover head with a towel and allow steam to circulate inside the towel. This practice is excellent for opening sinuses, easing tension, and invigorating the skin. Eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils are great for facial steams.
An Aromatic Bath is a luxurious way to relax, pamper the skin or feel better when unwell or tired. Always mix essential oils with a natural emulsifier such as milk, honey; oils like almond, sesame, or coconut; or sea salts before adding them to the bath. Aromatic baths are excellent for supporting all systems of the body and creating a healthy and balanced state.
Compresses are great way to apply essential oils to bruises, wounds, aches and pains, or skin problems. Mix a few drops of essential oil in hot water. Soak a clean cloth and wrap the area to be treated. Leave the compress on for 10-20 minutes. Reapply wrap if needed. Lavender, helichrysum, and tea tree essential oils are good to use in compresses.
8. Some Important Aromatic Plants and Its Essential Oils
Lavender is one of the safest and most versatile of all essential oils. Its wide spectrum of benefits can be summed up as calmative and relaxing, cooling and calming to the physical body, purifying and immune enhancing, and balancing to the male or female systems. Lavender enhances the body`s healing powers; it is effective during times of being unwell, and used specifically for burns. It has pain-reducing properties, which, because of its feminine nature, are more pronounced in women than men. Lavender`s pleasing fragrance and skin-regenerating benefits make it one of the most commonly used oils in cosmetic and body products.
Peppermint Oil is the single best gargling oil. It leaves your mouth refreshed and kills bacteria. There is not any reason to use commercial oil when you have essential oils. 2 or 3 drops in a little water to gargle with. It`s good for nausea and a carminative. 1 drop of peppermint oil swallowed will make you burp or fart. It’s cooling – if you have to be on your feet all day long put a drop in your socks – it will keep you cool. Put it in the instep on your sock only 1 or 2 drops. It’s a vasoconstrictor so spraying yourself it will cool you down, but it stops sweating so be careful with it when you are outside.
Rosemary is a mental stimulant. It’s very good for boring meetings, it`s very effective in a car to keep you mentally alert. It is the most effective antioxidant we have along with sweet basil oil and a good antimicrobial on the skin. It’s a little irritating on the skin if it diluted a bit first.
Lemongrass Oil has at least 100 studies on it showing its efficacy as an anti-microbial oil. It also stops the replication of the Herpes Virus. Lemon Grass Oil will irritate the skin, so it must be diluted.
Rose is great for damaged skin, especially the irritated areas. It is soothing and calming, it has been found to lower high blood pressure and its very safe. What is the difference between Rose Otto and Rose absolute? Rose Otto is steam distilled. Absolute is an alcohol-extracted oil. Rose Absolute smells just like the flower. Rose is good for radiation burns, blood pressure and antidepressant.