What are Essential Oils exactly?
Most simply defined, they are the essences of plants. If essences is too woo woo a word for you, then try the Wikipedia explanation:
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, 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 carries a distinctive scent, or essence, of the plant.
They are the botanical extract of various plants which can include flowers, herbs, trees and other plant material.
They are extracted using different methods, depending on the plant material:
- Distillation: converts the volatile liquid (the essential oils) into a vapor and then condenses the vapor back into a liquid.
- Expression: cold pressed method of extraction, which is mostly used in the extraction of citrus essential oils.
- Solvent Extraction: solvents are used to coax the essential oils out of the botanical material, and various ways are also employed.
The use of essential oils date back a very long way. Ancient Egyptians were the first to recognize the therapeutic use of various oils. Back in the early 1800’s there was a papyrus found dating back to 1500 BC listing over 800 herbal prescriptions and remedies that included using oils. This article claims it was even before that, but that is a story for another day.
Essential Oils can be used in a couple of ways:
- Aromatherapy Massage: perhaps the most common use in which oil is is absorbed through the skin and also through the nose where the aroma can enter the bloodstream via the lungs.
- Medicinally: can be used topically and internally, however, this should only be done under the treatment and direction of a qualified person familiar with natural therapies as all essential oils are not created the same.
Pure Essential Oils are potent. Very potent. They can cause tremendous changes in your body so extra care should be given any time you start a regime using essential oils. Most notably, they can cause something called a healing crisis.
Tomorrow, I will spend some time on explaining that in regards to the use of Essential Oils.
Question of the Day:
Did you realize that essential meant the essence of the plant rather than this oil is necessary for health or life? I didn’t, not until I got certified. ::giggle::