How essential oils are becoming part of people’s lives
Essential oils have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic practice, burial rituals, food preparations, the perfume industry and as part of traditional medicine in many cultures. Today, essential oils are once again becoming an important part of people’s lives as a natural tool for therapeutic benefits.
WHAT IS AN ESSENTIAL OIL?
Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds, most often steam-distilled or cold-pressed (if a citrus) from the flowers, roots, bark, needles, rinds or other parts of a plant. The oils are what give a plant its scent, attract pollinators, defend against insects and repair the plant from damage. Essential oils are composed of various chemical constituents which contribute to the therapeutic properties of each oil. The plant quality (aromatic compounds) is affected by many factors including soil quality, weather, region of growth and harvesting technique.
Remember, quality and testing of essential oils is imperative when choosing your oils.
Not all essential oils are created equal and the lack of regulation/testing allows contaminated and adulterated essential oils to be on the market. For this reason, it is important to know where your essential oils come from and whether they have been tested for purity and potency. For example, lavender often comes to mind as a soothing and relaxing aroma that helps reduce stress and tension. Lavender is found in lotions, epsom salts, linen sprays, air fresheners, dryer sheets and the list goes on. Unfortunately, most of the lavender in those products is likely a synthetic version created to smell like that beautiful purple flower.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Scientific research of essential oils is increasing and demonstrating their incredible benefits. Evidence has shown essential oils possess antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, sedating, calming, uplifting, cleansing and many more therapeutic properties.
Essential oils can be used three different ways: aromatically, topically and by ingestion, keeping in mind the importance of the purity and sourcing of it. When we inhale essential oils, the aroma travels through our olfactory bulb and affects our limbic system, supporting emotions and brain functions. Depending on the oil we are inhaling we can feel uplifted, calmed, energized, focused or soothed.
With topical use, we can target a particular area of the body or ailment, but also achieve a systemic effect as the oils are absorbed into the skin. Applying oils to soothe sore joints or muscles, skin-cleansing by mixing it in with your face wash, or skin support by adding a drop in your cream, are just a few examples of how essential oils can be used topically.
For more information on essential oils, or on upcoming classes on wellness with essential oils, contact Caroline Alain or Erika Oppen Smith at [email protected] or [email protected]. Also find them on Facebook at Midnight Sun dōTERRA or Northern Essential Collective.
For more information about essential oil in general, visit AromaticSciences.com. Learn more about quality and testing practices of dōTERRA essential oils at SourceToYou.com.
Simple ways to safely use essential oils
Supporting your immune system.
Aromatically: diffuse on guard essential oil and thyme
Topically: dilute on guard essential oil with a carrier oil and rub into the feet
Uplifting the mood
Aromatically: diffuse bergamot, lemon, cheer
Topically: add a drop of grapefruit to unscented lotion
Energizing body and mind
Topically: rub a drop of peppermint and wild orange with a drop of carrier oil into the back of the neck
Internally: put one drop of wild orange in a glass of water. (By following some simple safety guidelines, essential oils can also be used internally to support overall health.)
Support a restful sleep
Aromatically: diffuse serenity 20 minutes prior to going to bed
Topically: massage feet/neck with vetiver
Caroline Alain & Erika Oppen Smith