What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are essentially the 'essence' of a plant. Think about the fragrance of a flower or a citrus fruit. These unique aromatic profiles come from volatile organic compounds found in various parts of plants including the bark, flowers, seeds, stems and roots. These compounds play a role in the pollination of the plant (attracting pollinators) as well as the protection of the plant (deterring pests, bacteria and fungi).
How Are Essential Oils Extracted?
Essential oils can be extracted through various methods including, steam distillation, cold-pressing, as well as a process involving solvents. The quality of essential oils can vary, not only by the extraction process but also by the health of the plant. There are many factors to consider when choosing an essential oil; starting from when, where and how the plants are grown, when and how they are harvested and of course, how the oils are extracted. Essential oils can become altered from their natural state through improper extraction methods, potentially becoming more hazardous than helpful. However, through proficient extraction methods essentials oils can provide numerous, safe and effective health and wellness benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Essential Oils?
The benefits of essential oils are endless. First and foremost, they are highly concentrated forms of plant compounds, making them highly potent composites. These powerful oils provide several everyday uses that have the potential to improve overall well-being on multiple levels. Essential oils can be used for natural, non-toxic beauty, cleaning products, air fresheners, perfumes, etc. Each oil provides it's own set of benefits, for example; citrus oils can be used for their mood-boosting properties, while lavender can be used for it's calming properties. Some oils contain many skin-loving nutrients, while another makes a great wood polish, and others are best used for their aromatic qualities. Certain essential oils are great to have in your first aid kit, as many oils are anti-bacterial and contain beneficial properties for minor injuries and ailments. Specific oils can also provide a beneficial addition to meditation, yoga, and other spiritual practices.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Depending on how they are applied, essential oils affect the body in a variety of ways. As mentioned above, essential oils are volatile compounds (meaning their states are easily altered). As the compounds are released into the air and inhaled through the nose, they can directly cross the blood-brain barrier and create a response in the ole factory system (the part of the brain that regulates our sense of smell). The ole factory system is linked to the limbic system, which is responsible for our memories and emotions. By simply inhaling the aroma of essential oil, a response in the limbic system is triggered, creating an altered emotional or mental state. Essential oils are an astonishingly convenient and beneficial tool for mood and stress management.
When applied topically, essential oils penetrate the skin quickly and can provide many benefits to the affected area. Some are more sensitive than others (especially children) and may require the oils to be diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive. That being said, some oils should always be diluted before applying to the skin. Essential oils can be used on a wide range of skin conditions, helping to reduce scarring, signs of ageing, acne, insect bites, burns, etc. Incorporating essential oils into everyday beauty products such as lotions, scrubs, toothpowders, and deodorants are a great way to reap their benefits daily.
There is much controversy about whether or not it is safe to ingest essential oils. Many say there is not enough research to prove the benefits over potential toxicity. However, many are unaware that the use of essential oils is by far a new health trend. The use of essential oils has been dated back to the ancient Egyptians. They used essential oils for food preparation, beauty treatments, spiritual practices, and burial rituals. However, it is important to note that it is vital to ensure the quality of oil before ingesting and some oils are not meant to be ingested at all. Many oils should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and it is important to take caution when using essential oils on children and pets. Always be sure to check in with a trusted healthcare practitioner before use when unsure.
Doterra provides a separate line of oils labelled NHP (Natural Health Product); these oils have been assessed and approved by Health Canada and are guaranteed to be safe, effective and of the highest quality. As mentioned previously, these oils are still very potent composites; only small amounts are needed to reap the powerful benefits they provide.
After smelling the difference between Doterra oils and other oils on the market, it was enough to pique my interest in making the switch. Furthermore, after researching Doterra, their process and their ethics, the choice was clear, and the switch was made. Not only does Doterra ensure superior quality oils, through the gentlest distillation techniques, but also through the quality and handling of the plants used. Doterra partners with farmers and growing experts across the globe to ensure the best growing conditions, along with the highest quality and care for the plants. In doing so, they also provide and support thousands of jobs around the world. Even sourcing out locations that allow them the opportunity to help improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of the affected areas and communities.
By choosing Doterra, you are choosing much more than quality, therapeutic grade oils; you are choosing to support thousands of families, farmers, distillation experts, and impoverished communities across the world.
To learn more about Doterra and their practices, click here.