What are Essential Oils?
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 their fragrant appeal.
Essential Oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Modern trends toward more holistic approaches to self care and growing scientific validation of alternative health practices are driving a rediscovery of the profound health benefits of essential oils. Many have powerful cleansing properties and are naturally antimicrobial. Their unique chemical structure allows them to pass directly through the skin for immediate systemic response to topical application. Certain oils may be used as dietary aids to promote vitality and well-being.
Essential oils are used for a very wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. 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. Using essential oils can be both profoundly simple and life changing at the same time. Working with someone who has used essential oils before will help first-time users have a more beneficial and enjoyable experience.
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 pils 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 essentail 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.
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 seperated 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; too much can fracture an extracts 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 t the perfect moment when their essential opil 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.
Information Derived From doTERRA Intl.: doTERRA Intl. (2011). Product Guide 2013-2014. 2-6. Pleasant Grove , UT, USA.
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