For those of us who enjoy the many varied aromas that nature offers us, essential oils can be a wonderful addition in our life to help improve our well being. You can use them in aromatherapy, for medicinal purposes and as flavouring in foods. But where do they come from and what exactly are they?Essential oils are concentrated liquids that contain natural aroma composites from plants. They are called essential because they carry the distinctive aromas of the plants the come from. Basically, they hold the “essence” of that plant. One thing to keep in mind is that they should not be confused with fragrant oils, which are synthetic oils that contain both natural and artificial fragrances. History of Essential OilsHolistic treatments using essential oils have been around for thousands of years. Some of the first documented uses of essential oils for therapeutic purposes were found in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used aromatic herbs and plants and their essences for rituals, cosmetics and medicines, as well as in the process of embalming and mummification. These uses and many others have been assimilated by many cultures and have been perpetuated throughout history into modern times, especially in the area of aromatherapy.The Birth of AromatherapyIn 1937, the French chemist Rene Gattefosse coined the term aromatherapy during his experiments with the healing properties of essential oils. In fact, at one point when Gattefosse burnt his hand, he used the first liquid he could find to treat it, which was undiluted lavender oil. He found that not only did it immediately ease the pain, but also as the hand healed there was no infection or scarring.How Essential Oils WorkFor medicinal purposes, essential oils are used in three different ways: application to the skin, inhalation and ingesting. When applied to the skin, the oils soak in much like any other ointment. Upon inhalation, the molecules from the oils are absorbed through the mucous membranes in our noses and throughout our respiratory system. Ingestion, which should only be at the advice of someone who is specifically trained in this area, can be used to transport essential oils throughout the body. However, some essential oils can be toxic to different organs.Uses of Essential OilsEssential oils are well known for their aromatic, air freshening characteristics, but they can also be used in other manners. These oils can be used for many things including; steam inhalation, massage, hair and body care, floral waters, compresses and baths. A little bit of research can help you find the right oil for the right purpose. Popular Essential OilsWhile there are many different essential oils, some have become more popular than others and are commonly used in many people’s homes. Bergamot, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Sandalwood, Tea Tree and Ylang-Ylang all have restorative and relaxing properties as well as medicinal uses. Be sure to spend time researching them to find the best ones for your needs.Essential oils are wonderfully aromatic and healing additions to any home and with proper use; they can help restore harmony and balance to your life.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Miles writes for the trusted essential oils store the Crafty Jungle. A family run online shop providing high quality fragrance oils and fragrance oil burners from the UK to worldwide.