Introduction to Essential Oils: The What, the How, and the Why
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Essential oils are the essence of plants and I believe, a gift from God, earth, and nature.
They are prepared through a distilling process that brings you the most potent component of a plant and we’re able to tap into the intended healing power and use it for our benefit.
Inside many plants, typically the roots, seeds, flower petal or even bark is a highly potent chemical compound. Essential oils often give a plant their scent, but they’re also in the plant for protective purposes to guard it against fungal or microbial growth that can harm it. They also have highly potent antioxidant benefits, all of which we get to tap into when we use them ourselves.
When we look at ancient herbal medicine, we see how man used these plant compounds long before we brought in man-made synthetic compounds for medical practice. There are so many side effects to these simply because they are synthetic and when you tap into plants, there are still side effects to be aware of, but plants work more naturally with your body and with fewer risks.
How Do We Use Essential Oils?
There are three modalities we can use to take advantage of the amazing benefits of essential oils:
Aromatic: Essential oils can be distilled into the air or even inhaled directly from the palm of your hands. When you inhale through a diffuser or directly, the molecules travel to our brain and impact the amygdala, our emotional center.
Topically: The skin is our largest organ, which is why what we put on our skin matters! Applying essential oils topically allows our bodies to absorb the benefits directly.
Internally: You can ingest essential oils by putting them into water or through capsules as well.
There are also some quick safety tips to consider if you’re new to essential oils.
Some of the oils can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, particularly citrus oils. Be cautious about applying these topically before going out into the sun.
One rule I always use for oils is putting them in dark containers to help prevent light from impacting them, and they should also be glass containers since some essential oils can adhere to plastic.
Be sure to read the application instructions and safety warnings on all of your labels!
Quality of Essential Oils Matters
The essential oil world is highly unregulated. This means you can pick up any essential oil off a shelf and it might not actually be what it says it is. Some essential oils are marketed as such, but they’re actually manufactured synthetically - meaning they don’t have the medicinal compounds they should.
When choosing a company or product you want to use, make sure they’ve gone through the extra measures to ensure quality control. Companies aren't required to pass quality control measures and many companies will avoid this to save on costs. That's why it’s worth the extra cost to know that you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.
Personally, I use doTERRA essential oils because of their commitment to the the purity of all of their oils through the Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade testing. This is rigorous criteria that all doTERRA oils must pass to ensure quality and to give you peace of mind that they’re not containing harmful fillers or added contaminants.
What questions do you have about essential oils? Comment below and be sure to stay tuned for next week as we continue our series on essential oils!