More than just a pretty smell...
Essential Oils are not just some hippy-dippy concept! They have been used medicinally for centuries for every kind of ailment and have been making a comeback as a natural therapy for the last 40+ years.
When adopted into your daily life, essential oils can become your first aid kit, personal care products, chemical-free household cleaners and a whole lot more.
What are essential oils?
Real, pure unadulterated essential oils are not a nutrient like carbohydrates, fat or protein. They are the essential life-force (immune system) of plants. Each oil has a specific chemical composition which determines its scent, colour, volatility and its therapeutic affects on the system.
When properly grown, harvested and distilled, the pure life force of the plant is extracted and bottled. Due to the small molecular structure of essential oils that can penetrate skin easily, they are many times more potent than the whole plant or herb itself.
**For example, to get the same therapeutic effect as 1 drop of peppermint essential oil, you would need to drink 28 cups of peppermint tea!
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, essential oils are not a concentrated dose of a single active ingredient; but a combination of many. The different molecules in each oil work synergistically with each other and with your body; which is why one oil can have many more than one therapeutic use.
**For example, peppermint rubbed in circles over the temples may help relieve a headache and rubbed over the abdomen may relieve digestive discomfort.
Where do they come from?
Essential oils are extracted from the petals, leaves, seeds, nut kernels, bark, stalks, gums or tree resins of the plant, depending on what has the highest therapeutic benefit.
How do they work/how are they used?
Essential oils are made of tiny molecules which evaporate quickly which are easily dissolved in alcohol, emulsifiers or fats/oils. There are 3 ways to apply essential oils to the body; topically or via inhalation or ingestion.
When applied topically (either neat or in a carrier oil), your essential oils penetrate the skin quickly and disperse in your bloodstream in just minutes. This is most common for targeting skin/muscle/bone and use over the abdomen.
When inhaled (either in a diffuser or directly from the bottle) the essential oil molecules evaporate and enter the body through the millions of sensitive cells lining the nasal passages. Inhalation targets the brain and emotions via the limbic system which controls the major functions of the body.
The least common method of essential oil use is ingestion. Essential oils are a great way to flavour food, add a little something special to drinking water or in supplement (capsule) form.
Examples of how I use essential oils everyday:
Essential Oils have been used for thousands of years as medicines and as essential cleaning & personal care items. They are natures first aid kit and offer us a natural solution to everyday complaints without the 'side effects'. I have personally been using them for 5+ years;
- As my first aid. Everything from using peppermint to soothe a thumping headache, DigestZen for an upset stomach or Frankincense for skin issues.
- To keep my home low-tox and as a chemical free cleaner. With some basics like vinegar, bi-carb soda and pure soap, essential oils are your antibacterial, antiviral cleaning powerhouses. No more bleach headaches scrubbing the shower!!
- In my personal care regime; lavender in the bath to relax, roman chamomile for stress and sleep, frankincense for skin, tea tree for spots/acne...
- and much, much more.
I never leave the house without my trusty travel bag of my favourite oils. I use them myself, on my partner and both human and fur babies. They were instrumental in overcoming my IBS and are my first line of defence when sickness touches our home.