WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS AND AROMATHERAPY?
Essential oils are the most powerful part of the plant. Its very essence. The oils come from cellular level components called terpenes. Terpenes, which are the main component of all essential oils, allow plants to create their unique smells and protect themselves, which is the reason that the oils have such a wide range of usage - cleaning, cooking, scents, and medicinal remedies to name a few. Terpenes can be found in any part of the harvested plant such as the flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, roots, bark, fruit, rinds, and resins.
Essential oils consist of over one hundred varieties of organic and natural compounds and components. For humans, essential oil usage provides healing and support for every single organ and system in the body, and can also be implemented in regards to managing emotions, hormones, stress, and dietary needs. Each essential oil possesses its own unique properties for relaxation, mood alteration, and healing.
Aromatherapy is defined as, by Aromahead Institute, "the study of plants and their essential oils, with a focus on how they can be used for a variety of therapeutic purposes." A complete yet shortened history of aromatherapy can be found here.
The three preferred methods for using essential oils are topical (rubbing directly on the skin) with a carrier oil (an oil used to dilute the essential oil on the skin), ingesting, and diffusing and inhalation. Note: It is extremely important to research the properties of each oil to determine which method is the safest and best choice for you to utilize. Some oils cannot be ingested.
HOW ARE ESSENTIAL OILS MADE?
Most essential oils are obtained from plants by one of three ways: distillation, expression, and extraction.
Distillation is the process of using steam to break down the plant and capture the oils as they leave the plant in the form of vapor.
Expression, or cold-pressing, uses a mechanical process to rotate and puncture the rind of a fruit. The essential oil and the juice released from the rind are collected in a container and allowed to stand until the essential oil rises to the top.
Extraction is the process that uses a solvent or high pressured carbon dioxide to draw out the essential oils from the plants.