Essential Oils - What are they?
Essential oils are obtained from parts of plants through steam distillation, cold press and CO2 extraction methods. Natural essential oils are made of the super fuel of the plant and have amazing effects on the mind and body.
They possess different properties (based on the type of oil) such as being antiseptic, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. They also give the soothing and signature aroma of the plant. Natural essential oils have the ability to enhance our lives.
Why should you care?
Essential oils are plant based natural wonders. They played a significant role in the evolution of our society. The ancient civilizations of Persia, Rome, Greece, India, China and Egypt had used essential oils as a vital component of healing and wellness rituals.
If you have ever tried self-medication in the past or even used certain sanitizers, chances are that you have already been acquainted to the benefits of essential oils. Take for example, the popular Vicks VapoRub, that you may have used to get rid of that irritating cold or Rose fragrance sanitizers, that you may be using as a part of your daily routine.
Essential oils are the basic ingredients of natural flavours given to products related to food, cosmetics and drugs. If health, science, nature, history, medicine or wellness are your fields of interest, you will discover that essential oils are an important part of all of these.
One of our most commonly held notions of essential oils is that these are packed in peculiar little dark bottles and have a strong smell. This is not even close to the real knowledge about essential oils.
Let’s travel back in time to study about the history of these plant based natural derivatives. The ancient civilizations of Persia, India, China, Rome, Greece and Egypt used essential oils to a wide extent.
Egyptians were the first to formulate the recipe for a natural deodorant in 1500 BCE. They also used sandalwood and frankincense as insect repellents. There are several discoveries, which relate to the possibility that Egyptians had used essential oil in the mummification process.
India, one of the oldest cultural civilizations in the world, uses aromatic oils as a key ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurveda puts the focus on aromatic plants such as fennel, lemongrass, jasmine, sandalwood, clove and turmeric to promote healing and well-being, offering both topical application and aromatherapy benefits.
In Greece, aromatic oils were associated with the spiritual realm. A Persian name Avicenna, invented the method of steam distillation for producing essential oils. Steam distillation is the most widely used method of producing essential oils at present.
Amazing benefits of essential oils. How to reap them in your life?
Until now, we know that essential oils are natural based, plant derived wonders that have been in existence for centuries, but let’s find out what they can do for us in our daily lives.
An essential oil contains phenols, oxides, ketones, esters, monoterpenes and aldehydes. Wondering what are all these? Well they are elements found in essential oils. They have properties such as being anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anesthetic, analgesic, antioxidant, sedative, antifungal & many more…
Following are the benefits of essential oils;
- They are good for digestion and can give relief from anxiety and cough, if they are from the Mint family, like sage, rosemary, lemon, peppermint, lavender etc.
- They are excellent bug repellents and have mood enhancing capabilities, if they are from the Citrus family, like bergamot, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lime etc.
- They can kill 99% of bacteria and fungus and can fight inflammation, if they are from the Carrot family, like anise, fennel, parsley, cumin, celery seed etc.
- They are anti-inflammatory and can regulate blood sugar, if they are from the Laurel and Myrtle family, like bay leaves, avocado, cinnamon, tea tree, eucalyptus etc.
- They can treat an upset stomach and nausea, if they are from the Ginger family, like cardamom, ginger, turmeric etc.
You can add essential oils to you daily routine quite easily as suggested below;
- You can start using them for aromatherapy by putting them into diffusers (Ultrasonic/Mist).
- You can do home cleaning with these oils by diffusing them with carrier oils or lime.
- You can carry some of them in a bottle and take a whiff when feeling low or tired and boost up your mood.
- You can smell a few of them to reduce stress levels or improve sleep patterns. (One of the best ways to start smelling is to open a bottle and take a whiff and wave some scent towards you and close the bottle. Take a break, if you find yourself more drawn towards the scent and then resume.
- You can use them for skin and personal care while diffusing them with carrier oils as per recommended guidelines.
A List of 7 essential oils that you can add to your daily routines:
carrier oil) in skincare because of D-limonene found inside it, which has powerful effects on wrinkles and toning of skin.
anti-inflammatory properties. It can be diffused within the room at home to enhance one’s mood and improve sleep patterns.
Tips for using essential oils:
Aromatherapy: Always start slow and use an ultrasonic/mist diffuser or nebulizer.
Topical Application: Everyone has a different skin type. Therefore, when starting new in terms of using any essential oil, first apply on a small patch of your skin to test it. If there is any sensation, it implies that your skin is sensitive to it, stop immediately. Look for another option from among the list of essential oils.
Mixing: Use a glass or ceramic bowl for the mixing of any essential oil with a carrier oil for topical application. They can react with metallic containers.
Packing: Always keep the essential oil’s bottle tightly closed or sealed. Store it in a cool and dark place. If exposed to sun light or hot weather, it will start evaporating.
Avoid sensitive areas: Always keep it at safe distance from the reach of children. Do not touch your eyes or the area around your eyes while using it for mixing or diffusing. In case of any sensation during topical
application, apply a lot of coconut oil or olive oil and the clean the area with soap and water.
By now you must have got the clear idea that essential oils are Mother Nature’s gifts to us and we can use them in our daily lives for a number of applications.
- Lavender Oil
- Jasmine Oil
- Rose oil
- Peppermint Oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Lemon Oil
- Ginger Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil