What are essential oils
If I’d have to define essential oils, I’d say the aromatic smell that instantly soothes, brighten up and balance both body and mind. This is my definition of essential oil, but let me just give a brief description of what these oils are and why they’re so special and are being used for ages.
According to scientific definition, essential oils are natural compounds found in the flowers, seeds, bark, stems, and roots of officinal and aromatic plants. They are volatile aromatic essences, which are small organic molecules called volatile because they change state quickly from their solid or liquid state to a gas state. Essential oils can only be extracted with alcohol or oil, but not with water.
Their role in nature is to protect the plant, help with plant pollination and give plants their wonderful smell, the “essence” indeed, from here the name essential oil.
Why use essential oils
The use of essential oils in everyday life dates back in ancient times when our ancestors knew about their beneficial effects, and they used oils to make perfumes and body care products, for therapeutic remedies through fumigation, as well as to find a calm state of mind, relaxation or excitement.
Nowadays, essential oils are used in aromatherapy, as a means of rebalancing body and mind. Why are they so good? It’s chemistry! When we inhale a flower or an aromatic plant, our olfactory cells trigger the scent in an electric impulse, which reach the cerebral cortex immediately, transmitting the impulses to the part of the brain where emotional memories are stored and to other parts of the brain that control blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, stress, and hormone balance. Essentials oils have a positive effect of stimulating the production of hormones and neurochemicals that can affect everything, like serotonin, the happiness hormone, and help to release suppressed emotions that can cause depressions and anxiety.
The benefits of essential oils are enhanced if used complementarily with other healing methods, such as diet and cleansing program, massage and psychotherapy.
Benefits of essential oils
Each essential oil has its own healing effect, either mentally, physically and emotionally. Some oils, like lavender oil and chamomile oil, are commonly known for their relaxing effects, although, lavender works also on bruises, cuts, and skin irritation too, some others help with inflammation, like Frankincense oil, or against cold and flu, like eucalyptus and oregano essential oil, and others are used to detox and cleanse the body, like lemon oil and grapefruit oil.
You can apply essential oils directly on the skin, diluted with carrier oils (coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil and olive oil) and massaging the area with rotating and gentle movements, but you can also inhale oils, so that they are absorbed into the bloodstream, or using an essential oil diffuser or an oil burner.