Essential Oils are complex mixtures of volatile substances bio synthesized by aromatic Plants and also animals (civet, musk etc) and microorganisms. These volatile substances are chemically terpenoid or non-terpenoid origin existing in form of esters,acids,alcohols, aldehydes, Ketones, Sulphides, amines. They are not to be confused with Fixed oils or fatty oils which are naturally occurring mixture of lipids      

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 Essential oils are extracted from the flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, bark, trunk and roots of various plants. There are three basic ways for extracting essential oils. 1)Cold pressed 2) Steam Distillation 3)Solvent extraction
Most of the essential oils marketed for skin and hair care are extracted by steam distillation and cold pressing. Oils extracted by solvent are usually of poor quality unless otherwise the method opted is Super critical Carbon dioxide extraction. The oils obtained by this method are of highest purity and expensive compared to those extracted by cold pressing and steam distillation.

Essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial ,anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties present in the active constituent of respective oils.

Below are few uses of essential oils:

Peppermint oil to feel more alert

Lavender, chamomile, and neroli to ease stress

Eucalyptus to stop sniffles and for sinusitis

Cedarwood oil for anti-inflammatory properties

Sandalwood oil as astringent, emollient, and has mild sedative effects

How to Use?

Steam inhalations: Place 3-7 drops of essential oil into boiling water. Some essential oils to consider include: Eucalyptus , Thyme , Lemon (Citrus limon), Peppermint. This is very effective for sinusitis ,respiratory infections, headaches.

  • *Caution:prolonged inhalation of concentrated essential oils can cause headaches, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, and lethargy.

Aromatic baths: The oils that are generally considered mild and safe for bath are Lavender, rose, Geranium, Sandalwood Oil, Frankincense , Eucalyptus. Aromatic baths are excellent for skin problems, circulatory problems, respiratory symptoms, stress and nervous tension, insomnia, muscular, and menstrual pains.

Body Massage: Essential oils are very powerful, so start low and go slow. They are to be diluted before use. Usually a 2% dilution is preferred. A good rule of thumb when seeking to make a 2% dilution is to add 12 drops of essential oil to each fl. ounce (30 ml) of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion, vegetable butter or other natural lipid/moisturizer  . Excessive use of essential oils may increase the risk for adverse reactions.

In my next Post I’l be reviewing the essential oils i have been using for quite sometime.

To read about Lavender Essential Oil (check the hyperlink)