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About Essential Oils

 What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils have been referred to as the quintessence of a plant’s being. The Oxford English Dictionary defines quintessence as “An extract from anything, containing in concentrated form its most essential principle.”Essential oils are concentrated aromatic liquids extracted from a variety of aromatic plant materials through the process of distillation.

Essential oils are natural organic substances that are produced in various glands and sacs within aromatic plants. Each essential oil is usually produced in one part of the plant, except in a few cases. Where a plant produces essential oils in more than one of its parts, differences of odor and hence differences in chemical composition occur.

      For example:
      The oil from the leaves of the cinnamon tree has a cinnamon and clove like odor; where as the oil from the bark has the characteristic ‘cinnamon’ odor.

Another example is from the bitter orange tree:

Bitter orange oil is produced from the peel, petitgrain from the leaf and neroli from the blossom; all have different odors yet similar properties.

Aromatherapy is the art of treating the body, mind and spirit with natural aromatic substances harvested from nature’s rich store. “Aroma” refers to the aromatic substances that give essential oils their characteristic smell. “Therapy” refers to the fact that essential oils have been used for healing for centuries.

      Aromatherapy also refers to the use of essential oils for beauty and body care treatment. Aromatherapy is one the most popular beauty treatments worldwide in clinics and spas throughout Europe.

Aromatherapy also refers to the medical practice of using essential oils in some countries.

Aromachology is the study of psychology and odors. The terms aromatherapy and aromachology are often used to differentiate the science, study and theory (aromachology) from the application by clinicians and aroma therapists (aromatherapy).

Finally, aromatherapy refers to the layman’s use of essential oils for personal home use of essential oils and products containing pure unadulterated essential oils.

Absorption of Essential Oils through the Skin:

      Skin is the largest organ of the body, weighing in at an average of 9 lbs. Our skin is a living, dying and rejuvenating organ, constantly on the move.
        Ill-treatment of the skin can take 3 to 4 months to have an effect and visa versa.

Skin is the packaging that keeps us warm, stops our insides from falling out and keeps the rain out. It is our outer warning system, alerting our brain about the environment we encounter.

Skin is mostly waterproof, however it does allow substances with small molecular structures and low molecular weight to penetrate it.

        Molecules of essential oils pass through the skin’s epidermis and are carried away by the capillary blood circulating in the dermis. They are then taken into the lymphatic and extra cellular fluids at which point the therapeutic ingredients of the essential oils are broken down and used by various regions of the body. After the essential oils perform healing functions they are metabolized and eliminated with the bodies other waste.

Skin is our largest elimination organ. It takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 7 hours for skin to fully absorb essential oils, depending on body fat.

Essential Oils are eliminated from our bodies within 3 to 26 hours through our saliva, urine, feces or sweat in a healthy adult.

Essential Oils work as rubbish collectors, attaching themselves to toxins, free-radicals, cell debris, heavy metals, renegade cells, fungi, bacteria, viruses or other debris and taking them to the exits for disposal. Because of this, in an unhealthy adult, it can take up to 14 hours for the essential oils to pass through the body.

The human body takes the most vital properties of essential oils and uses them to bring itself into balance and is left in a healthier state without side effects.

Fun EO Fact:

It is easy to test the absorption of essential oils.

      If you were to smear lavender essential oil onto your cheek, you would taste the lavender inside your mouth.

Garlic essential oil can be smeared onto your ankle and the aroma will soon appear in your breath.

Essential oils can stimulate circulation to the surface skin cells, encourage cell regeneration and the formation of new skin cells. Some essential oils calm inflamed or irritated skin, release muscle spasms, soothe sore muscles and relieve muscular tension. Many scientists believe that essential oils stimulate the body’s own natural defense systems.

NOTE:
The positive effect of essential oils on blood circulation is well known. Studies have found that basil, tea tree and thyme essential oils can encourage the production of white blood cells, boosting the immune system of the body.