What are essential oils, the basics?
An essential oil is found in the roots, leaves, bark, seeds, flowers, stems and other parts of the plant. They are fragrant, both beautifully and powerfully.
An essential oil is a volatile aromatic compound? ……. a what now???
A volatile aromatic compound is a compound made up of small organic molecules. These molecules have the ability to change their state very quickly; from a solid, to a liquid and then to a gas at room temperature.
For example: Pure rose oil (unadulterated and uncut) tends to be a solid form [in lower temperatures]; warming the container minimally [under the arm or to normal room temperature] will transform it from solid to liquid; opening the bottle will transform it from liquid to gas.
The type of compound within an oil will determine their scent and their benefits.
You can find more information here “Watch the What is an Essential Oil Video”
Why are they called ‘essential’ does that mean they are essential?
They were named ‘essential’ oils because they were thought to be the essence of flavour and odour. As explained in the Online Britannica Encyclopedia.
Essential does not denote that the oil is a necessity to humans for normal daily function; so no they are not essential as such. However, they may be useful in maintaining normal daily function so one should consider them an option.
How do plants use them?
An essential oil is the substance that flows within and over a plant to assist it with things such as fragrance, bug control, pro-creation, protection, pollination, photosynthesis amongst other things.
Does it really matter what brand you use?
If you are looking for quality then yes, it does matter what brand you use [A LOT].
On the subject of dōTERRA oils; The Aromatic Plant Research Centre (APRC), at the 2017 dōTERRA convention confirmed that dōTERRA can truly say that their oils are Certified Pure Tested (USA:Theraputic) Grade (CTPG); they noted that dōTERRA oils are unadulterated and unaltered, and after the testing of multiple batches dōTERRA’s oils remained consistent in their constitution. Remember, I only use dōTERRA oils and therefore can only comment on their oils; this does not diminish nor affect the purity or authenticity of other brands. If you use another brand, please refer to your distributor directly to find out their cerfication and validation processes.
You may think that dōTERRA oils are expensive, but if you actually knew what it takes to get an ethically produced pure unadulterated, unaltered and uncut essential oil you would change your mind.
Most pharmacy brands are either cut to 5% essential oil, or their brand obtains their oils from a broker and thus has no control over consistency, purity and potency not to mention the ethical stand of the farmer on the environment or their social conscience; as they have no involvement in that side of the business at all. Other Brands have company controlled &/or owned farms, this can make them subject to and controlled by producing for best quantity rather than best quality. Essential oils contain the best compounds when the plant is grown in it’s natural environment/climate and cultivated at the right time for optimum benefits. However, that does not mean a company owned/operated farm in home state does not produce quality, pure essential oils, just that their standards on the process are different. Both are valid and honest approaches and have a zero reflection on the other in my personal opinion. It all comes down to your personal preference on these matters as to who you use.
My advice, research is your friend.
Lets take Lemon Oil for example.
DōTERRA sell Lemon Oil in Australia at $18.00 retail for 15ml as at the date this document was created.
There are roughly 20 drops in 1ml which equates to 300 drops per 15ml
This calculates to 0.06 cent per drop.
Hypothetical Pharmacy sells Lemon Oil at $11 for 15ml cut to 5%.
5% of 300 drops = 15 drops (for dōTERRA 15dr of Lemon Oil = 9cent)
So in this example you can pay $11 for 15 drops or 9 cent – dōTERRA doesn’t seem so expensive now does it?
I refer you to also check out my last blog which has a view from a different aspect of costings and if that truly reflects an expensive product or not. Check it out via this link: La La Lovely Lemons
How do essential oils work for humans?
The plants of our world provide us with many various important valuable resources for the betterment of our lives. Plants are our food source and should make up 80% of our daily nourishment. Our food sources are not just fuel in the form of energy, but also fuel in the form of replenishing vitamins, nutrients, ensuring best functioning of our bodies etc. A large part of the plants we eat are the essential oils within them, and a large portion of the benefits gained by those plants come from these oils within them. Basic science.
As humans, we have 5 senses and each one of them play a part in our wellness. For example touch – humans need touch, it means connection, it can reduce anxiety, helps us bond, can even help our body function normally. Some of our senses are important in the use of essential oils. Every one of our senses is experienced in our brain, not our body. Our brain processes the signals produced and we then experience the sensation all in a matter of milliseconds. If there is a blockage/disruption of the nerve signals going to the brain, this can also block or change our experience of the senses – for example: numbness, the nerve response controlling our sense of touch to that part of the body is blocked; pain, the nerve response controlling our sense of touch to that part of the body is amplified (inflammed).
Did you know the power of a hug that last 30 seconds or more can produce endorphens and stimulate hormones that can help our bodies overcome many things? It can have a massive impact on our health and wellness. A sense used by essential oils is our sense of smell; smell constantly triggers memories and as a follow on from that the emotions we have linked to those memories, good or bad.
Basically, the simple answer about how essential oils work for humans is because they work synonymously with our bodies holistically.
Aromatically: our smell receptors absorb the essential oils. Our smell receptors are directly linked to our brains limibic system (via the olfactory nerve). Our limbic brain supports the functions of smell, emotions, behaviour and memory. By using our smell receptors we bypass our logical brain which means our sense of smell can have an affect on these functions also [emotions, behaviour and memory]. Have you ever smelt something that triggers a memory from your childhood? memories of a person, place and time? How did this smell affect you? Did it uplift you? You didn’t even think about it, your limbic brain just fetched your memory association and whaalaa you are reminiscing.
Topically: essential oils are lipid soluable. Meaning they are easily absorbed by the fats in our skin and in turn is distributed through out our bodies. Lipids are fatty acids which can be dissolved in organic solvents such as natural oils, waxes and the oils in our skin. The use of a carrier oil can accelerate the absorption especially if your skin is particularly dry.
Internally: many essential oils have been approved for the use as a suppliment. As with the consumption of food we already consume essential oils in their plant state. When an oil is extracted, it is concentrated and many of these oils have a vast history of being used in our food and beverage industries [& still do]. The lipid structure of the oils mean the internal ingestion absorbs them directly into our blood stream via our intestinal walls and can be delivered to any part of our bodies (including our brain). Due to the concentrated nature of an extracted oils it is extremely important that you follow the guidelines as to dosage etc. “refer to previous blog – to dilute or not dilute for further information” it is also extremely important that you ONLY ingest those that HAVE been approved as suppliments – refer to your supplier or ask me if you use dōTERRA I can help you there.
How do we know what each oils is good for?
Research. There has been countless studies and research done on various plants and essential oils. From that information we learn what compounds are in a specific essential oils, for example Limonene. This is a compound or constituent usually found in citrus oils. Limonene is primarily known for it’s powerful cleaning properties but research shows that it has other uses also. For more information on Limonene click here The Blog – Limonene
There are various apps, books, educational tools and institutions that can help us understand the uses for each of the oils and also the why behind it [if you are like me and love to know the why behind things].
The app I mainly use to assist me is the Modern Essentials App but if you have other ones that you use please note them in the comments below. Thanks in advance!
What else should you know?
Here is some great information for understanding essential oils. Please take the time to read them, even if you don’t remember all the information contained you may remember that you read something about it once somewhere which will prompt you to research it…..
I hope you find this article as interesting and enlightening as it was to write. Let me know your thoughts below. I would love to hear from you.
Have a wonderful day!