6 Quick Downloads About Upgrading Your Reality With Essential Oils
When used appropriately, essential oils can be a safe, effective treatment option for illness… and they can make your life way more awesome!
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Why essential oils (EOs)?
EO’s can be made from any part of the plant, the roots, leaves, flowers, fruits, or stems. Essential certified organic oils are concentrated extracts from natural plant products (such as clove, rosemary, fennel, orange) using steam, mechanical press (i.e. cold press) or an “absolute” solvent extraction using carbon dioxide (CO2 extraction), perfumer’s alcohol or hexane (which may hold minute residual solvent). Essential oils may be hydrophobic, hydrophilic, or solvent in nature – note that all are extremely potent with aromatic compounds called terpenes which are extremely pharmacologically active at low concentrations.
Research articles flooding www.pubmed.gov teach us that individual components of essential oils have a slew of beneficial effects in humans. When used appropriately, EOs can be a safe, effective treatment option for illness… and they can make your life way more awesome!
How do essential oils work?
EO’s carry anywhere from about 50 to 500 active constituents, perfectly balanced by nature, smoothly potentiating and regulating each other more intelligently than mankind can design. These constituents are generally very small and are easily absorbed through the skin in various time periods – larger molecules (ie. sesquiterpenes and diterpenes like beta-caryophyllene or sclerol) take much longer to absorb through the skin than monoterpenes like d-limonene.
Due to the small size and generally lipophilic nature (easily absorbed into fatty tissue), essential oils are typically readily absorbable into individual cells and can pass through the blood brain barrier. This is why premium quality essential oils can have such noticeable physiological effects. Try taking a bath with some cedar oil, massaging in some lavender oil or breathing in some Roman chamomile for deep relaxation.
When you understand what chemical constituents are found in each essential oil, their pharmacological and holistic properties in the body are easier to generalize and interpret.
How are essential oils used?
EO’s can be used through inhalation, topical use/massage (in diluted form), or for room diffusion. Simply applying single drops on cotton balls and placing them throughout the work place or home can change the energy of an environment into a more harmonious space. Bathing in essential oils is a delectable treat that increases systemic absorption (especially in hot water) with varying effects, depending on the essential oil used. Rubbing onto the neck, shoulders, or bottom of the feet have different absorption times and each method provides its own benefit.
More advanced uses, which require some basic training and education, include oral ingestion, encapsulation, and vaporization. Some pure essential oils are not safe for ingestion due to toxicity of one or more component(s). It’s also important to only use unadulterated essential oils to maximize therapeutic properties and minimize potential harms. Some adulterants (and essential oils) are downright toxic.
Remember, less is more when it comes to the usage of essential oils!
Are fragrances different from essential oils?
Pure and authentic EO’s differ from synthetic fragrances, additives, or solvents.
Over countless millennia, nature has formulated creations with a delicate balance of perfectly bioactive compounds, which man can harness through distillation for health and well-being. EO’s balanced pharmacological activity in the human physiology also boast delightful fragrances which are typically well-tolerated, unlike their synthetic counterparts. EO’s are extracted from natural plant (in rare cases animal) sources and are less prone to allergic responses by humans than fragrances (though some EO’s are dermal irritants when used “neat,” which refers to the topical application of oils in undiluted form).
Fragrances can be comprised of plant extracts, solvents, synthetic terpenes, and are usually mixed by talented “noses” in the fragrance industry. Most fragrances are chosen for their similarities to natural fragrances found in plants – complex terpene combinations found naturally in EO’s may be replicated by synthetic terpenes to increase the profit margin on a final fragrance product.
Unfortunately, it has been determined that these fragrances have lost their beneficial therapeutic properties and are generally less tolerated in comparison. Fragrances may also cause the user a true allergy due to the contents of the solution. Remember that your skin is the largest organ on your body and what you spray on your skin may be absorbed to some extent.
What defines a premium quality EO?
Having sourced essential oils for over 2 years, I’ve found a variety of high-end products from all over the world through different suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, distillers, and distributors. Each batch tends to have some variance since each distillation takes on properties that the skilled artisan instills through their art. Time of distillation, temperature, region of crop, plant chemotype, time of plant harvest, weather of season, quality of soil (i.e. mineral content), equipment used for distillation are all variables associated with quality of final product. Other variables may include pesticides or toxins, quality of air, and indoor versus outdoor crops.
Distillation is an art that takes a lifetime of apprenticeship to master.
Where can I source essential oils?
Essential oils extracted from unsprayed, wildcrafted, and certified organic sources are absolutely essential (sorry, couldn’t resist) for internal consumption. All essential oils used for therapeutic purposes are steam/hydro-distilled, CO2 extracted, or cold-pressed, producing a clean product and leaving zero solvent behind. Only products free of solvents, synthetic additives, and adulterations should be considered for therapeutic purposes. Absolutes may still have trace amounts of industrial solvents, which are more of less of an issue depending on the initial solvent used (ie. ether vs. hexane vs. ethanol), though most closely resemble a pure solution of the whole plant essence.
Also consider the availability of GC-MS data sheets for every batch of essential oil – this is certified analysis of the oil to reassure the purity of the product. Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometers are laboratory instruments that can analyze the individual constituents of each batch to assure authenticity and purity.
Make sure you source essential oils that are stored in colored bottles (amber, green, and blue) to reduce the effects of UV light on degradation. Consideration of environmental sustainability and the company’s goodwill to supporting the future of harvesting plants is a plus. You should only consider working with a distributor you enjoy and trust – there is too much adulteration and financial motivation for selling adulterated oils on the market!