What are Essential Oils?
Plants contain complex and powerful substances known as essential oils. These are aromatic liquids derived from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. These distinctive components defend plants from insects, harsh environmental conditions, and disease. They are also vital for a plant to grow, live, evolve, and adapt to its surroundings. Referred to as the essence of the plant, pure essential oils not only protect the plant, but also determine its aroma.
Essential oils have been used throughout time dating back to 4500 BC. From perfumes and aromatherapy to cooking and medicinal purposes, essential oils have been used in everyday life for centuries. In modern days, research shows that pure essential oils can provide similar benefits to humans and animals that they give to plants.
How to Use Essential Oils
The inhalation of essential oils heightens the senses and can trigger numerous desired responses in the body. Below are several techniques used to inhale essential oils:
- Direct inhalation—simply smell them directly from the bottle or on a cotton ball.
- Diffuse the oils using a Young Living water-based or ionic diffuser which disperses the oil in a micro-fine vapor into the air. The Young Living diffuser will not heat the oils, thus ensuring full benefits, as extreme heat can damage important constituents in the oil. Avoid heating oils over and above body temperature.
- Fill a humidifier with water. Put a tissue or small cloth, sprinkled with a few drops of oil, in front of the escaping steam. (Do not put oil in your humidifier. It will float on top of the water instead of rising with the water vapor and may cause damage to your humidifier.)
- Carefully pour hot water into a bowl and add a few drops of oil. Cover your head and bowl in a tent-like fashion with a towel. Breathe deeply and slowly
Apply essential oils directly onto the skin where indicated. Dilution may protect against possible skin sensitivities. Dilute with a pure vegetable oil, such as olive, jojoba, or almond oil, before applying. Key points of application on the body are :
• Crown of head
• Behind ears
• Upper back
• Over vital organs
• Soles and top of feet
Research indicates that some oils are more effective when taken orally. Only pure essential oils, proven safe and labeled as dietary supplements, should be used internally. Dilution and dosage is dependent on the age, size, and the health constitution of the individual. Follow the recommended dosage on individual product labels to ensure safety or seek the advice of a health professional before administering oils internally.