Looking for information on the Internet about essential oils results in an overwhelming number of websites and blogs. And don’t even get me started on Pinterest! The problem is that much of that information is inaccurate, misleading, or incomplete. My goal in these first few posts is to provide some basic information, and point you in the direction of reputable sources.
Aromatherapy is simply the name for the practice of using essential oils in the treatment of various physical and psychological ailments, in a holistic and non-invasive manner. There are licensed aromatherapists, and many educational programs devoted to aromatherapy.
About Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. Many plants contain medicinal qualities, which carries through to the liquid extracted from the plants. This extraction is done using one of several techniques, such as distillation or expression. Essential oil can have a variety of properties: antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, digestive, stimulant, astringent, sedative, insecticide, anti-inflammatory, and the list goes on. Each oil generally has more than one therapeutic quality.
One of my favorite things about essential oils is the versatility in using them. I make cleaning products, bath products, and lip balm, in addition to using them for medicinal purposes. Later articles will discuss all of these uses, and more!
Why Use Essential Oils?
And here, I would like to jump off topic for just a moment. I have had an interest in natural remedies for a long time. I’ve spent many hours researching herbal supplements and the use of various herbs. Have I used them? Sure. . .but not consistently. There are two problems. One is finding and then storing the herbs. Even dried, they can have a short shelf-life. Second, is how the heck do you use them? Tea, tincture, salve, ingesting. . .it’s just too overwhelming for me. With essential oils, the product is relatively the same, in higher concentration. The shelf-life is longer, and there are two basic methods of application – topically (on the skin, preferably mixed with an oil or lotion) or aromatically (inhaled by way of a diffuser or inhaler).
If you have done any other research on essential oils, you are wondering why I didn’t mention ingestion as a method of application. This is a hot (and I do mean hot) topic of debate. I personally do not ingest oils, and would caution you not to ingest them unless you are working in conjunction with a certified aromatherapist, and you are certain that your oils are of the highest quality.
Next, we’ll discuss buying and storing your essential oils, as well as basic safety precautions. My goal is to give you all the information you need to begin your essential oils journey!