What is an essential oil?

What is an essential oil?



An essential oil is a natural aromatic compound extracted from the seeds, roots, bark or stems of a plant.  Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts reveal that essential oils have been used to heal the sick thousands of years ago.  The Greeks also utilized essential oils in therapeutic massage and in aromatherapy.  They are the first medicines known to be utilized, and were considered more valuable than gold.  The use of essential oils continue to be used today as natural alternatives to heal the body, combat infection, to provide comfort, to soothe the soul, and to promote optimal health.



The use of essential oils diffused into the air can energize and elevate the mood, or can calm and soothe.  Essential oils can be used to purify odors, and according to some studies can combat airborne pathogens.  Low or no heat diffusers are recommended so that the chemical structures of the essential oils are not altered in the diffusing process.


Topical Uses

The skin is the largest organ in the body.  Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin, where they are absorbed into the bloodstream for internal effects.  Some essential oils can be applied neat (or directly on the skin), but many should be used with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, almond oil or olive oil.  Essential oils are highly concentrated, and may irritate sensitive skin. If this occurs, further diluting the oil on the skin with additional oil can be more effective than attempting to wash the area with water.  Essential oils can be used to promote healing, to combat infection, to reduce inflammation, or to soothe and relax.


Internal Uses

Only certain therapeutic grade essential oils can be consumed internally.  Use only pure essential oils form a trusted source.  Essential oils and fragrance oils are not the same thing.    We will explore many internal uses of essential oils in this blog.


Genuine therapeutic grade essential oil contains no synthetic compounds or fillers, and requires large quantities of plants to extract small amounts of oil.  According to www.doterra.com it takes as much as 12,000 rose blossoms to distill 5 mL of therapeutic-grade essential Rose oil.

Essential oils are generally considered to be safe, but it is commonly advised to avoid them in the first trimester of pregnancy.  Babies and children require greater dilution of essential oils, as their skin tends to be much more sensitive, and the risk of toxicity can be greater.   Many oils simply have too little research on babies and children under 5 to determine safety.   We will discuss many safety considerations in this blog, but the information in this blog is in no way intended to replace discussions with your current medical practitioner who understands the risks and benefits of any complementary therapy relative to your unique health status and medical history.


Thanks for joining me on this journey!

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