What Are Essential Oils?
Different people have different views on exactly what an essential oil is. By definition an essential oil is a volatile compound that is highly concentrated and derived from a plant. I like to think of it as the plant's essence or the plant's blood. Not only does it contain the fragrance of the plant but it also carries all of the plants medicinal properties. It's sort of like capturing the plants immune system in a bottle. Although essential oils are now being made popular by the likes of companies such as young living, Do Terra, and my personal favorite NYR Organics, they have been used for centuries dating back to the ancient Egyptians and the time of Christ. It is even said that Myrr Essential Oil was one of the gifts given to baby Jesus from the 3 maji, so you can imagine how truly amazing these oils must be if they were fit for kings and queens.
How Are They Made?
Essential Oils can be made in a variety of ways. The most common are distillation, expression, and Solvent Extraction. The way an essential oil is made can be very important as it will affect how potent the final product will be.
Distillation- The process in which steam captures the plants essence. Many plants such as lavender and peppermint are made this way. Using the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, seeds, or peel are necessary to this process. The plant material is added to an apparatus which is housed over water. The water is then heated causing steam to capture the plants essence. The steam vapors are transferred through a mechanism that condenses them back to a liquid form. This liquid form is the concentrated oil from the plant and must be done correctly as to avoid destroying the plants properties with heat.
Expression- As we stated before you can derive essential oils from many different parts of the plant material. In the case of expression we would generally use the peel. Most citrus fruits such as lemon, orange, and grapefruit are extracted in this way. This process of extraction expresses the oil from the peel by use of mechanical expression or cold pressed expression. This process is similar to the one they use to extract olive or coconut oils. Before we were able to distill essential oils all oils were made by expression.
Solvent Extraction- Some plants do not produce enough volatile compound to be expressed and are also too delicate to handle the steam distillation process so in order to extract these oils we must use solvents such as hexane or super critical carbon dioxide. Super Critical carbon dioxide is a preferred method to avoiding petrochemical residues from the hexane. The oil is extracted using these methods and therefore must go through extra processes to remove any waxes, residues, and solvents that remain. This process can be very necessary to obtain the essence from some oils but must be done correctly as to not contaminate the absolute product.
What are they used for?
Essential oils can be used for a variety of things from skin conditions to curing cancer. Each oil is distinct in its medicinal approach and some are best used when combined. Many oils such as Eucalyptus, Geranium, and Peppermint oil are antibacterial and anti fungal. These oils along with others such as Patchouli and Lemongrass were tested against 22 types of bacteria including fungi and Yeast as a curable option. None of us like to suffer, whether its pain or disease, and many of us are looking for a safer, more affordable, natural option.
Oils such as Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary have been proven highly effective in reducing headaches or head pain. For migraine headaches you might want to massage Lavender into the temples or back of your neck. For a sinus headache Eucalyptus applied to the chest or the outside nostrils of the nose can open up nasal passages which can relive fullness and pressure.
There are many ways essential oils can help all of us in our everyday lives even those suffering from cancer, the terrible man made disease that is killing an estimated 7.6 million people a year world wide. So the most Potent of diseases require the most potent of oils and this is frankincense. Frankincense not only kills cancer cells but it promotes the health and vitality of healthy cells. This will help aide your body in its natural healing process. Other oils that are known to diminish or eradicate cancer cells are Clary Sage and Myrr.
So the uses of essential oils vary based on the condition of the person using them. You can use essential oils for weight loss, vitality, energy, and a whole list of others.
How To Use Them Safely and Effectively
Now that we know we should be using essential oils daily we should also know the proper way too use them. Essential oils should never be applied neat or directly to the skin They should always be diluted in a carrier oil such as Coconut, Jojoba, Avocado, or Almond oil. You will want to follow the specific guidelines for dilution according to each individual plant or oil. Some plant essence may be stronger than others and require more dilution prior to application. You also want to remember to never ingest any oil unless it is directed by a certified aromatherapist. Yes, some oils can be ingested and are made to be but only as directed by someone who understands the chemical composition of the pant and how it will affect our body. Dosing with essential oils is as important as dosing with pharmaceutical drugs.
The best way to use an essential oil is through the use of aromatherapy or diffusion. the fragrance of the plant can still cross the blood brain barrier when inhaled. If you do not have a proper diffuser try adding a couple of drops to a steaming bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head and inhale the steam through your nose. This will have the same effect and is more direct. I would however invest in a diffuser. Most diffusers are extremely affordable and come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, etc. You can instantly lift your mood or energy by running a diffuser in your home, at work, or even in your car.
I would suggest purchasing one of these
Another great way to feel the effects of essential oils is to topically apply them to your skin. Be sure to follow the guidelines listed on the bottle or companies website. Due to the small size and weight of the molecules an essential oil applied to the skin will be easily absorbed altering whatever chemical imbalance is causing your side effects or issues.
We've talked a little about ingesting essential oils and I want to again reiterate how important it is not to ingest unless working with an aromatherapist. Most oils cannot be consumed for long periods of time and need to be monitored. Other essential oils such as Frankincense and Lemon oil have great internal benefits but they must be diluted in water and again proper dosing must be followed.
You may also want to ass essential oils to your bath or skincare routine. Lavender can be very calming in a bath to soothe muscles and wash away stress from the day. You may also want to consider using certain essential oils to preserve your vitality and the appearance of your skin. Frankincense is a powerful astringent and can also naturally slow the signs of aging. You can add it to a toner or purchase one here
How Do They Work?
How essential oils work is actually a very complex scientific process that can be hard to understand but here are the basics.
Essential oils work by crossing the blood brain barrier and directly affecting our chemical composition. How does this happen?, you may ask. It can depend on how the oil is being administered. If the oil is inhaled through the nose airborne molecules will interact with the bodies olfactory system which includes all physical organs and cells that relate to the sense of smell. The molecules can even be carried to the lungs and respiratory system. Inhalation of oils will also cross the blood brain barrier reaching many of the brains receptor sites having a profound effect on our emotions, heart rate, blood pressure, memory, stress, and hormone balance.
Another way for essential oils to do their work is to apply them directly to the skin. The essential oils healing components are easily absorbed into the bloodstream where they will disperse and target whatever ailments, organs, or hormonal and chemical imbalances they can rectify.
What Brand of Essential Oils is Best?
Everyone will have a preference when it comes to the brand of oils that they purchase. I have used many oils from Do terra to Young living to others I've purchased at Whole Foods but no company impresses me more than NYR Organics. This is the line that I use for all of my health and skin care needs. They are a European based company that is rated 100 out of 100 in ethics, completely organic, and they do not test on animals. They are also a family owned business who own and operate all of their farms. If you'd like to learn more about NYR Organics Please read about them here
or visit the website here
You'll always want to do your own research before buying into a product but this company is the real deal I promise you that!
How Do You Dilute Essential Oils?
Diluting Essential oils is very important especially for young children and the elderly. These groups of people can be especially sensitive to the plant's chemical components so you will want to follow these guidelines.
You will want to dilute at 1% for Babies, Children, and Elderly
1 Tsp or 5 ML of carrier oil per 1 drop
2 Tsp or 10 ML of carrier oil per 2 drops
3 Tsp or 15 ML of carrier oil per 3 drops
4 Tsp or 20 ML of carrier oil per 4 drops
5 Tsp or 25 ML of carrier oil per 5 drops
2 % Dilution is best for Older Children and Sensitive Adults
1 Tsp or 5 ML of carrier oil per 2 drops
2 Tsp or 10 ML of carrier oil per 4 drops
3 Tsp or 15 ML of carrier oil per 6 drops
4 Tsp or 20 ML of carrier oil per 8 drops
5 Tsp or 25 ML of carrier oil per 10 drops
3 % dilution should be used for remedies or illness
1 Tsp or 5 ML carrier oil per 3 drops
2 Tsp or 10 ML of carrier oil per 6 drops
3 Tsp or 15 ML of carrier oil per 9 drops
4 Tsp or 20 ML of carrier oil per 12 drops
5 Tsp or 25 ML of carrier oil per 15 drops
Top 10 Essential Oils
- Lavender - Versatile, Calming, Soothing, Relaxing, good for cuts and burns
- Frankincense- Anti Aging, stress reducer, immune booster, and anti inflammatory
- Peppermint- Calming, Cooling, Antimicrobial, and Fever Reducer
- Eucalyptus- Good for colds and flu, reduces respiratory issues
- Tea Tree-Acne, Fungal Infections, itchy insect bites, sunburn
- Myrr-Digestion, Upper Respiratory issues, skin cancer, ulcers, wounds
- Grapefruit- Weight Loss, natural stress fighter, anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial
- Clove- toothache cure, Immune Booster, headache Reliever, nausea
- Ginger- digestion, gut health, reduces inflammation, lots of antioxidants, heart health
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