Almost everybody has already used essential oils. Most people use them for fragrance lamps, but they can do a lot more. Essential oils have a pleasant and integral effect on your physical and mental well-being. Only one drop contains a very high impact potential. Its strong effect is based on the composition of the oils. Essential oils should not be compared with perfume or scented oils which only smell but don’t have any effect.
Put your trust into the power of essential oils. The use of fragrances has an ancient tradition. In former times, plants were used for medical and religious purposes. Today’s aromatherapy has been developed on the basis of ancient Egyptian knowledge. In India, Ayurveda still contains the teaching of plants. Even the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) combines herbal medicine with acupuncture.
Essential oils are plant extracts that are obtained from one or more components (up to 500 different ones) such as bushes, flowers, fruits or trees. For example, 10 tons of roses are needed to produce one liter of rose oil. They contain secondary plant substances from one plant which function as defense mechanisms or for attraction for example. That is why essential oils contain the true essence of a plant. Their high concentration makes them so effective. They even do have the highest concentration of active substances in natural cosmetics. Every oil has its specific composition which also determines applicability and durability.
There are several different ways to extract essential oils, such as cold pressing or solvent extraction. Depending on extraction and use, only parts of the plants, like stems or leaves are needed. However, steam distillation is the most known and most commonly used method. The plant material is heated in water steam and the smallest molecules, e.g. the essential oils which are pure and stable, are extracted. This method makes it possible to not only extract the essential oil with its oil soluble ingredients but also the so-called hydrolate. Hydrolate contains ingredients, which are soluble in water as a result of mechanical pressing.
Modes of action
There are different ways of how essential oils get into the body. They can be applied directly onto the skin, inhaled or taken. Essential oils can easily cross the skin barrier. This way they get directly into the blood circulation. After 15-20 minutes, they develop their full effect. Essential oils, which are used for a massage, may be evidenced in the person’s urine afterwards. Anyone doubting this, should rub their soles with a garlic clove, you will then smell the garlic taste on your tongue.
Another way is the inhalation of essential oils. Here, essential oils get into the blood circulation via the lungs or are forwarded by the nervous system into the limbic system. The limbic system is part of the brain and consists of several structures. It is responsible for many processes in our brain. Furthermore, it is the center of feelings and memories.
Essential oils have a mental and physical effect. They support the well-being and quality of life by reducing stress, freeing and harmonizing. Soothing oils can cause relaxation; stimulating oils can activate and cheer.
In terms of the physical effect, essential oils can warm or cool, stimulate, refresh or they can even be nurturing and regenerating.
The sense of smell is also touched. This leads to a sensory perception with side effects such as emotional impressions, memories, reflective influence of different bodily functions and others. The scented effects vary from exhilarating, vitalizing and harmonizing to relaxing or grounding.
Essential oils are strong concentrates; most of them irritate the skin and mucous membranes. For this reason, they may not be used purely. Any contact with eyes and mucous membranes must be avoided. For skin care, the essential oil should always be mixed with a base oil such as almond oil. You should better use less essential oil because it is a concentrate and some of them only unfold their scent after dilution.
Essential oils vary heavily in both, quality and price. When buying, you should keep an eye on the designation “100% natural”, only these are completely natural and high quality oils.
Essential oils can be stored for several years, subject to limited exceptions like citrus oils. They should always be kept away from children. Furthermore, they should be stored in a cool location, protected from light and kept away from any heat sources. Essential oils are easily inflammable and should therefore be kept away from open fire. You should take particular care of pregnant women, babies and infants, as not every essential oil can be used for these persons. Please find out precise details before using. Always consider the da manufacturer specifications regarding purpose of use and dosage, as otherwise side effects or even poisoning may occur. It is not recommended to use essential oils for internal application. Do not use the essential oils after expiry date for application on your skin – you can use them as aroma lamps after the expiry date has been reached. Essential oils are not soluble in water, but can be solved in fat, like e.g. plant oils and alcohol. In contrast to plant, base and seed oils, they evaporate residue free and do not leave grease spots on paper.