Essential Oils 101

Essential Oils to Heal Body and Mind – Using, Buying, Storing.

  1. What are Essential Oils?
Massage stones, essential oils and sea salt with burning candle

Essential oils are plant-derived oils obtained through the distillation process from flowers, leaves, roots, and other parts of plants.

Since ancient times, essential oils have been used to treat numerous ailments. Essential oils are natural fragrances obtained from plants.

The scent or therapeutic properties of these oils can be used for skincare and hair care products, household products, soaps, and household cleaners and detergents.

Additionally, they can be used in aromatherapy, dental care, and perfumes. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy for their aromatic and medicinal properties.

 

2.There are many different types of oils that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Essential oils are usually classified into three categories viz. Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes and Diterpene esters. There are a variety of different types of essential oils and each one has a distinct scent and healing properties. Some popular types of essential oils are Lavender, Tea tree, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Chamomile. For example, Lavender essential oil comes from plants in the genus Lavandula and is low-odour, while Peppermint essential oil comes from Mentha x Piperita and is strong-smelling and high-odour. They come in different forms, including organic, non-organic, pure or diluted, and single or blended.  There are various parameters to describe an essential oil including the aroma, depth of the odour, specific medicinal properties and even the location where it was grown.

  1. Essential oil profiles

Profiles are a way to classify oils by their therapeutic properties, aromas, and origins. There are various profiles such as the citrus profile which has an aroma which is refreshing and uplifting. The floral profile is floral and sweet. The earthy profile has a rich, grounding aroma with slight woodiness.

Essential oils
Essential oils
  1. What are the Benefits of Essential Oils?

Essential oils have numerous benefits depending on which oil is used. Many people have reported antidotal benefits such as easing insomnia, promoting good sleep habits, boosting immunity and reducing stress levels, better mental clarity and focus for those who suffer from conditions like ADHD, supporting respiratory health, skin health, hormone health and so much more. The oils are a popular home remedy for many ailments. There are two common ways to use them: topically and inhalation.

Topically can be done in a couple of ways too, by wearing or applying through a medium such as massage. Some people do use them internally and in cooking, but this needs to be done very carefully and only with the correct oils, under the guidance of a qualified natural healthcare practitioner.

When used topically, essential oils work by being absorbed through the skin to stimulate the cells and release chemicals that help heal wounds, reduce inflammation, lower pain levels and balance hormone levels. When inhaled, they work by entering the bloodstream through the lungs where their properties can be taken throughout the body to relieve symptoms of a cold or flu, calm the nervous system, digestive health and more.

  1. Uses for Essential Oil (topical application)

Essential oils are not just for Aromatherapy anymore. In recent years essential oils have become popular among many people for their variety of uses. Essential oils are also called the “life force” of the plant because they contain the chemical compounds that give plants their scent and taste.

As mentioned, they are commonly used in aromatherapy, but also in massage therapy, in cooking, in cleaning, bathing and perfumery products as well as used in home remedies.

They are a common staple in the cabinets of  healthcare practitioners in natural medicine, complementary therapies, and so much more. Let’s look at few ways they are utilized below:

Aromatherapy: Sometimes called “the science of smell,” this type of therapy can help to relieve stress or anxiety. The aromatic compounds in the oil are inhaled through the nose or mouth to stimulate a person’s mood and memory.

Massage Therapy: Some people use essential oils during a massage treatment to add aroma and therapeutic benefits, these can be added to a carrier oil and applied topically and / or inhaled during the treatment.

Home Remedy: Many people create their own natural remedies by mixing an essential oil with water or another base ingredient to create a balm or bath soak. One popular remedy is peppermint and lavender combined with Epsom salt for an invigorating bath that will both relax, cool and sooth.

Ayurveda aromatherapy massage, female hand pouring aromatic oil in an essential oil diffuser
  1. How to Buy and Store Essential Oils

When it comes to buying essential oils, it can be difficult to determine what wholesale suppliers are best for you. There are a lot of choices and factors to take into account, such as supply, price, quality, and more. The first step is to figure out your requirements and choose your preferred supplier. Then you can measure the cost benefits of buying by the litre or by kilo. Essential oils should be stored in a cool place, in dark bottles, away from heat and sunlight. Check google and read reviews of other buyers before committing to a large purchase, where possible get a sample. Also, look for purity of essential oils, sourcing of raw materials, and cultivation of raw material to gauge which oil companies may work best.

 Always consult a doctor before trying natural herbs, oils, or remedies

So, you can see, there are many benefits to using natural oils and these are just a tiny selection, so I urge you to do your research and try things out, above all, have fun. Natural medicine practitioners, Aromatherapists and Massage therapists can work very happily and successfully alongside your primary care practitioner or Doctor and they very often do. So do not think it must be one or the other.

Disclaimer Note: It’s important to note though, that just because something is natural does not mean zero risk. While many oils are very low risk there still can be complications, contraindications and contra-actions.

The internet is full of information on how you can cure yourself with natural remedies, but we recommend that you seek out a Qualified Natural Health Practitioner or Aromatherapist and always consult a Doctor before trying any new things. Never stop taking any prescribed medication without speaking to your health practitioner first.

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