What is an essential oil? An aromatic, volatile liquid that is within many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. They are highly concentrated and far more potent than dried herbs, requiring a large plant volume to produce a small amount of distilled oil. For example, it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to make about 2.2 pounds of rose oil. The use of essential oils dates back to 1500 BC, where they found over 800 different herbal prescriptions and remedies.
There are many ways to extract oils; the oldest and crudest is enfleurage, where raw plant parts like leaves, stems, and roots are crushed and mixed with either olive oil, animal fat, or some kind of vegetable oil. Some other methods are soaking plant parts in boiling water, soaking in alcohol, and steam distillation which is most common today.
Each essential oil is made up of hundreds of different constituents, so each oil can have numerous effects on the body. They have the unique ability to go through cell membranes and can travel throughout the blood and tissues, and can travel through the entire body in minutes.
There are many types of topical application. From simply being massaged into your skin. Or through acupuncture by dipping the needle into the oil and then inserting it into the person. Using a warm compress for deeper penetration of the oils over where you massaged the oil in. A cold compress when treating inflammation over where you massaged the oil. Or in a bath, mix 5-10 drops of oil with 1/4 cup of Epsom salts and then place under running water.
Another way to utilize the oils is by cold-air diffusing, it is designed to atomize a microfine mist of essential oils into the air where they can remain suspended for several hours. Other ways to diffuse oils are by adding a few drops to wood chips to make your own potpourri, can put them in your closet or drawers to deodorize them. Can sprinkle a few drops onto the wood you burn in the fireplace. Add a few drops to a wet cloth and add to the clothes dryer. It can also diffuse in humidifiers or vaporizers by adding a few drops.
Another way is by direct inhalation, either by sniffing the oil from the bottle or by adding a few drops to some steaming but not boiling water and inhale. To increase the intensity of the inhalation place a towel over your head as you breathe in the steam. Then there's indirect inhalation which is done by rubbing drops of oil on your chest, wrist, neck, or under the nose to have it throughout the day.
Every oil has a different way it needs to be applied. Some oils do not need to be diluted and can go directly on the skin. For the ones that do need to be diluted one part oil is 15-30 drops and one part vegetable oil is one ounce. Some need to be diluted 50-50, one part essential oil to one part vegetable oil. Then there's 20-80 diluted which is one part essential oil to four parts of vegetable oil. And there are some oils that cannot be placed on skin that gets direct sunlight.
There are so many essential oils with lots of different uses. From using wintergreen and tea tree oil to treat acne to using ylang ylang and clary sage to balance your hormones.
Essential oils are natural remedies that have been around for much longer than pharmaceutical products. Even though most pills have plant properties or come from these plants it is still very different from pure, non-synthetic compounds. Learning about essential oils is as easy as searching for what you would like to work on and what oil would be best for it, such as what oil is best for soothing dry itchy skin.