You may have heard the term “essential oil” floating around, but you might not know what they are. Essential oils are a natural product obtained from plants by distillation. They can be used for aromatherapy and other therapeutic purposes. These days, essential oils have gone mainstream with many people using them in their everyday lives – even though some health claims associated with these oils are controversial.
In this article, we will answer some of your most pressing questions about essential oils such as: What is an essential oil? How do I use it? What benefits does it provide? And what side effects could there be?
What exactly are essential oils?
Essential oils are liquids distilled from plants or plant parts like leaves, flowers, bark, roots or other elements of the plant that retain their aroma when processed. – When you use an essential oil topically by applying it to your skin in a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil , they can interact with your skin and bloodstream on a physical level.
In order to be classified an essential oil, it must meet one of two requirements:
- It is composed entirely of volatile organic compounds.
- It has a characteristic smell and is composed of one or more terpenes.
Extraction through distillation means that the volatile organic compounds in the plant material are separated by heating it to evaporate water.
The two most important chemical components found in essential oil compositions are esters (mostly monoterpens) and hydrocarbons.
What are the popular types of essential oils?
There are many different types of essential oils out there, but the most popular ones include lavender oil, peppermint oil and tea tree oil. These three have been shown to be effective in killing off bacteria that cause acne or staph infections.
Other types of essential oils that are popular include jasmine oil, rose oil and sandalwood. These oils have a calming effect on the mind.
There are many types of essential oils that originate from different plant parts, such as bark, leaves or flowers. For example clove oil is extracted from the flower buds while lavender oil comes from the leaves.
How are essential oils extracted?
Many oils are obtained by steam distillation or cold pressing. For example, lavender oil is often distilled from the fresh flowering plant and peppermint oil is typically extracted through a process called “cold-pressing.”
However, there are other methods of extracting oils such as enfleurage, which involves soaking flowers in fat to extract their scent.
How do essential oils work?
Essential oils work their magic by going through the skin and into your bloodstream. Once in your body, they can interact with various hormones and neurotransmitters as well as help to support optimal function of organs such as the heart or brain.
The oil will also release its aromatic compounds that are found both inside and outside cells at these locations.
Essential oils can be effective when used alone, but they are often mixed with a carrier oil like olive or grape seed oil to increase their efficacy. You may also find them blended with other herbal remedies as well such as tea tree and thyme essential oils in our oregano blend that is perfect for strengthening immune function during cold and flu season.
How to use essential oils
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. They are often inhaled or diffused into the air for quick absorption, applied topically to skin and clothes as an oil based perfume, ingested orally with food or drink such as our peppermint tea recipe made with spearmint essential oil, used as water additives.
Essential oils are typically diluted with a carrier oil to create an essential oil blend.
You can inhale the aromatic compounds of these oils by adding them to water in a pot and boiling it on low heat for five minutes or using an aromatherapy diffuser, but be sure not to put too much as this may have adverse effects on breathing.
Alternatively, add a few drops to your palm and cup over your nose so that you can inhale the steam while taking deep breaths.
What are the benefits of essential oils?
Essential oils have many uses and benefts, some of which are culinary. For example, lemon oil is often used in a variety of dishes to add flavor while peppermint and lavender can be found in teas or lotions as well as for medicinal purposes.
Benefits range from reducing tension headaches to alleviating anxiety symptoms. On the other hand, oils can cause side effects like skin irritation and sensitivity.
Essential oils can help you manage your stress and improve sleep quality.
Essential oils can be used for aromatherapy, which is a type of alternative medicine that uses fragrant plant materials to improve moods or treat physical ailments such as headaches. Essential oil therapy may also help reduce anxiety before public speaking or getting your wisdom teeth pulled.
Some essential oils are known to be anti-inflammatory which helps people with chronic pain.
Are essential oils safe?
Essential oils have been used for centuries to relieve pain and treat various illnesses, but there is little evidence that they are more effective than other types of treatment. Some essential oils may be unsafe or hazardous if not taken in small doses by people with certain health conditions, such as epilepsy.
Many essential oils contain ingredients that can cause dangerous allergic reactions, such as lavender oil and tea tree oil. If you have allergies or sensitivities to plants in the Lamiaceae family, it’s important to consult your doctor before starting use of any type of essential oils.
It’s important to consult your doctor before you start using these oils.
How to find quality essential oils
Essential oils are often sold in drugstores and natural food stores, but there is no standard for regulating the quality of essential oil products. You can find more information about specific brands at sites such as The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).
If you’re looking for a good quality essential oil, it is recommended that you use an independent company. These companies are not affiliated with any specific brands and they offer unbiased reviews of the products on their site.
There are network marketing businesses that sell essential oils using an extensive distribution network of “associates.” But these businesses often require a significant initial investment in product and typically offer their distributors small financial returns for their efforts.
That’s why researching a company and its essential oil products is crucial. One such company is TruVision Health, which sells health and wellness products including essential oils. If you want to learn more about TruVision Health, check out our comprehensive review here.