Essential oils are very concentrated substances that come from nature. They are found in virtually every plant, although not every plant’s oil is found to be therapeutic. These highly aromatic substances start out as an essence made by special cells in the plant. The essence is then extracted, usually by distillation and becomes the essential oils we are familiar with.
Essential oils have a wide range and a long list of benefits, and I couldn’t possibly list them all here. There are many excellent books on the subject and it’s a wonderful and worthwhile study. They can be used solely for their smell, which would be considered a psychological benefit. Various oils uplift the mood just by inhaling them, such as orange, lemon, peppermint or rose. They are great used in room diffusers, or even a simple application such as just a few drops on a tissue and sniffed will do the trick. They can also be used for their healing properties, oils such as lavender and tea tree are the stars in this arena and both can be used undiluted in most cases.
The benefits are many, there are oils that can stimulate circulation, oils that can help digestion; there are oils that can heal scars or abrasions and gentle oils that can moisturize face or hair. Quite a few of the aromatic oils can be used in cooking and baking and most are antiseptic. The most powerful of all the oils is oregano, which is antiseptic, antiviral and anti fungal. This is an example of one of the oils that must be diluted and used with care, because it is so strong.
Essential oils are so therapeutic because they are natural to the human body. The human body doesn’t like chemicals and it will react to them, this is why we have a laundry list of side effects for most drugs. But oils that come from nature, from plants, have a natural affinity for the human body, they are gentle and healing without being toxic.
There are one or two oils that are so strong one has to be careful with them and only use them when under the care of a licensed aroma therapist, Oregano is one such as I mentioned, but in general essential oils are gentle. I can’t imagine life without them. I keep them in my desk drawer, my kitchen cupboard and my bathroom cabinet.