What are Essential Oils?
Where do Essential Oils Come From?
A variety of plants cover the Earth in different shapes, sizes, colors, and scents. Many of these plants contain compounds that typically can’t be seen with the naked eye—they hide within the roots, flowers, seeds, bark, or other areas of the plant. These compounds are known as essential oils. They are highly concentrated, making them extremely potent. Also referred to as volatile aromatic compounds, essential oils give a plant its aroma, protect it from harsh environmental conditions and insects, and even play a part in plant pollination.
The Science Behind Essential Oils
When you hear the word “volatile,” you may think it holds a negative connotation; however, in the case of essential oils, volatility refers to a substance’s ability to change its state quickly. The chemical makeup of volatile aromatic compounds in essential oils allow them to disperse quickly through the air. This is why you can instantly smell the potent aroma of an essential oil from the moment you open the bottle—even from a distance.
How do Essential Oils Work?
As volatile aromatic compounds move quickly through the air, you will experience the scent when the compounds interact directly with sensors in the brain. With over 3,000 types of volatile aromatic compounds discovered so far, it is important to note that these compounds greatly determine the benefit, aroma, and nature of each essential oil. Because of unique chemical makeup, each essential oil will vary from species to species, and even from plant to plant. The delicate ratio of aromatic constituents found in any given essential oil are what make it unique and give it specific benefits.
How do Essential Oils work?
Essential oils can help alter our physical, mental and emotional well-being by triggering and strengthening our bodies’ own natural processes. They are made up of tiny molecules that can deliver healing properties to the systems that control our physiological state.
The best way for the body to absorb the therapeutic components of essential oils is a combination of inhalation through the olfactory system of the nose and absorption through the surface of the skin:
When essential oils are inhaled through the nose, tiny nerves send an immediate signal to the brain and go straight to work on the systems that moderate our minds and bodies.
Inhalation can be the most direct delivery method of these incredibly nurturing components in essential oils, since the chemical messengers in the nasal cavity have direct access to the brain.
When essential oils are applied to the skin, their healing components are absorbed into the bloodstream by the pores and hair follicles. Once inside the bloodstream, they disperse to the specific organs and systems on which they work. Pulse points are the areas of the body where blood vessels are closest to the skin’s surface. Applying essential oils to these areas allows for quicker absorption and help them get to work faster. We suggest applying to the wrists, temples and back of the neck.
Think about it like watering a plant: you hydrate the soil because that’s where the roots are to absorb the nutrients. You wouldn’t get the same effect if you just watered the leaves or flowers. We deliberately designed our essential oil blends to be most effective through a combination of inhalation and topical application. Each blend has recommended usage and application instructions that you can find on its individual product page.
What are some basic safety tips?
- Photosensitivity – No sunbathing after applying citrus essential oils. Citrus oils are sensitive to the sun since they are made from the rind of fruit. Avoid direct sunlight to the exposed area for at least 12 hours of that location may have a skin irritation or burn. Oils applied underneath clothing should be fine.
- Hot Oils – If it starts to burn, skip the water. Use a carrier oil or whole fat milk. Because essential oils don’t mix with water, applying water to the area can actually drive the burn in deeper. Ouch!
- Avoid These Areas – Never put essential oils in your eyes, inside ear canal, or up nose. However, you may apply oils around the eye bone in a C shape, on ear cartilage and behind ear bone, or diffuse essential oils.
- Dilution – Use a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil when applying essential oils topically to avoid skin sensitization.
- Safe Storage – The majority of all adverse reactions to essential oils by children have been as a direct result of accidental overdose and ingestion in large amounts. Keep out of reach of children. Use child proof safety caps.