Introduction to Essential Oils (Old)
Beneficial properties of organic essential oils have been understood and used for thousands of years, both spiritually and physiologically to treat and promote good health, and also emotional wellbeing.
If you are new to the world of aromatherapy, or perhaps would like to understand a little bit more about the products you’re using, hopefully our organic essential oils guide will be of help to you.
Basics of Essential Oils
Aromatherapy has been practiced arguably since the early days of civilisation, and is still just as popular today, unlike many ancient practices and techniques. The fundamental technique of aromatherapy (alternatively known as essential oil therapy), involves using naturally extracted essences of plants in order to develop and enhance physical, psychological and spiritual properties of an individual and also to improve their innate healing process.
Pure and natural essences derived from plants have been studied and used for thousands of years, even dating back to the Ancient Egyptians, due to their beneficial properties in both physical and spiritual health.
They are the highly concentrated, natural constituents found in plants, and are incredibly fragrant. In fact, it’s what gives unique plants and flowers their natural and pungent aroma. They are used both presently and historically since they contain healing qualities of the plant from which it’s extracted, and bring with them a variety of health benefits, without any of the limitations or risks involved with drugs.
In fact, one single essential oil can contain up to a hundred different chemical compounds. Each of these unique compounds have their own therapeutic properties, which is why you’ll often find essential oils used for a wide variety of illnesses and afflictions.
Extraction of Essential Oils
There are various methods used to extract these oils from the plants themselves, however the most popular and arguably the most effective is steam distillation. In this process, steam is passed through the plant material, and in turn the organic compounds (the essential oils) are separated.
Some of the other methods used are for plants of a slightly different nature which means the distillation process has to adapt. For example, citrus fruits are cold pressed due to the nature of the plant, and extremely delicate flowers need a more sophisticated method, since otherwise they would not withstand the high temperatures required for steam distillation.
Properties of Essential Oils
So now we know how these marvellous oils are brought to us, and how natural the ingredients are. But we haven’t yet delved into the various properties of these and how they could benefit you in your life and ailments. Scientists today have discovered that these oils have strong and very real therapeutic properties, fighting against bacterial infections, and in some cases even viral.
It’s been proven that these oils can not only have health benefits, but also affect our mood, help increase focus and concentration, reduce stress while promoting relaxation, and even enhance sensuality.
Here is just a small list of the countless essential oils available, showcasing the physical and psychological benefits of some of the more common products.
🌿 Cinnamon 👉🏼 Can help with bowel issues such as constipation and flatulence. Is also widely used for emotional and mental fatigue.
🌿 Angelica Root 👉🏼 Great for dull skin and toxin build up, as well as beneficial for stress and your nervous system.
🌿 Chamomile 👉🏼 Ideal for allergies, arthritis, headaches, almost any physical ailment you could think of. Is also great for the spirit, reducing anger, anxiety, and battling depression.
🌿 Ginger 👉🏼 Perfect if you feel nauseous, or if you are renowned for having poor circulation.
🌿 Lavender 👉🏼 Another popular essence, which is used for countless ailments. Some of which include acne, anxiety and depression, cystitis, migraines, and can also be of benefit to those who suffer with stress and panic attacks.
🌿 Myrrh 👉🏼 Although not one of the most popular, Myrrh can actually be a great benefit to those suffering from halitosis, or bleeding/damaged gums. Also has links to helping with Athlete’s Foot.
🌿 Peppermint 👉🏼 Famously linked to asthma sufferers, and with good reason. Can also help with congestion and sinusitis.
🌿 Sandalwood 👉🏼 Used regularly for dry/chapped skin, oily skin, and also for ailments such as Bronchitis or Laryngitis.
Despite their countless benefits, these oils can be fairly harmful if used incorrectly. Here are some rough guidelines to follow on how to apply and use the most common techniques.
☑️ Pillow 👉🏼 Many oils are perfectly safe to dab onto your pillow at night before you fall asleep. Make sure not to use too much, and avoid getting any in your mouth or eyes
☑️ Inhalation 👉🏼 This technique involves adding 1-2 drops into a bowl of steaming water, and then covering your head with a towel. Close your eyes and take deep, relaxing breaths.
☑️ Vaporiser 👉🏼 If you have an electric or tealight vaporiser, simply add 6-8 drops of your chosen oil. Remember however that with a tealight vaporiser you must add water initially.
☑️ Bath/Shower 👉🏼 Add a few drops to your bath, or one or two onto the shower floor and let them mix with the steam and be inhaled into the body. Be mindful not to slip however, and make sure the oils are safe to use in such a way.
☑️ Massage 👉🏼 Along with in the bath, this is possibly the most popular way to enjoy the benefits of these oils. If done correctly it can combine the benefits of aromatherapy with the therapeutic and magical touch of an experienced masseuse.
Safety & Precautions
We must always remember that essential oils are highly concentrated, and therefore potentially dangerous if used incorrectly. Extreme care and vigilance must always be taken when applying them and using them. Although each oil will come with individual instructions as well, here are a few general rules and precautions to keep in mind.
⛔️ Always keep out of reach of children
⛔️ Do not take internally
⛔️ Do not apply to broken, raw or sensitive skin
⛔️ Essential oils should always be diluted before use
⛔️ Take essential oils with care and caution during pregnancy
⛔️ Avoid sun beds and direct sunlight immediately after use
⛔️ Be careful of irritation with sensitive skin
⛔️ Always follow the recommended dilution volumes
⛔️ And finally, if any unusual symptoms or reactions occur and persist, please consult your regular healthcare provider immediately.
Get your Essential Oils from a Reputable Source
It is of upmost importance that you always ensure you purchase essential oils from a trusted aromatherapy supplier, who specialise in oils for therapeutic purposes. The reason for this is that occasionally some companies reprocess the oils, adding synthetic chemicals and removing other natural components. This is usually for a purpose, such as to maintain consistency in both fragrance and taste.
However, if you wish to purchase aromatherapy oils specifically, it is essential you make sure they are pure and haven’t been modified. Nothing should have been added or reduced after extraction. This method reduces the benefits of the essential oils, their purity, and is overall poor value for money. Ensure that you purchase from a supplier that are completely natural, as well as knowledgeable and experienced.