An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile (defined as “the tendency of a substance to vaporize”) aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted, such as oil of clove. An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. The term essential used here does not mean indispensable as with the terms essential amino acid or essential fatty acid which are so called since they are nutritionally required by a given living organism. In contrast to fatty oils, essential oils evaporate completely without leaving a stain (residue) when dabbed onto filter paper.
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression, solvent extraction, sfumatura, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, wax embedding, and cold pressing. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes. Because of their antidepressant, stimulating, detoxifying, antibacterial, antiviral and calming properties, essential oils are recently gaining popularity as a natural, safe and cost-effective therapy for a number of health concerns.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils or essential oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being; to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit
Essential oils consist of tiny aromatic molecules that are readily absorbed via the skin, and whilst breathing they enter the lungs. These therapeutic particles next enter the bloodstream and are carried around the body where they can deliver their beneficial healing powers and are said to promote whole-body healing
Aromatherapy is the inhalation and topical application of essential oils (or the pure essence from plants). As a form of alternative medicine, it is said to enhance physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
When a person inhales an essential oil that scent is carried by olfactory nerve cells in the nose to the olfactory system which then sends the aroma to the brain, namely the limbic system, the house of emotions and emotional behavior such as intimacy, passion and sex.
For the topical application, in general, if you’re going to use essential oils on your skin it is best to first dilute them in a carrier. Remember, there is a great deal of vitality in every drop of essential oil, so you may need fewer drops than you think to get excellent results. These oils are very concentrated, and some essential oils can irritate the skin when used undiluted.
Essential oils are usually diluted in organic oil, light lotion, or cream. These are collectively referred to as carriers. There are occasions where undiluted essential oils are appropriate and desirable, such as a drop of Lavender on a bee sting to stop the pain and swelling. However, for general use, it is best to always dilute the essential oil in an oil-based carrier.
Mix essential oils with other organic oils that are nourishing for your skin, like jojoba, coconut oils, Sunflower oil, almond oil. The essential oils will stick with the fats in these carrier oils, and take their time being absorbed by the fat in your skin, thus avoiding skin irritation.
Generally, effective blends are made using a dilution ratio of 1%, 2%, or 3% of essential oil to the carrier.