The Essence of Oils – by Susann Crowell


Essential Oils have been in use for centuries and were coveted by medicine men, who would keep their remedies secret to maintain their authority for healing. They were used in biblical times, and were a staple in Cleopatra’s beauty regimens.

The term essential comes from “essence” rather than the literal meaning of “essential.” When I think essence, I think of the synonyms spirit and soul, as though we are taking the very source of life from the plant and transferring it to our own being.  We can add them to our daily living to connect with nature and add to quality of life while reducing the toxic burden associated with our modern world.

Oils can be very therapeutic when properly used. Upon inhaling essential oil, the aroma enters the mucous membranes and then goes to the limbic system in the brain where it can have an impact on both physiological and psychological well-being. It’s important that anything that crosses the blood-brain barrier be the real deal.

While there are hundreds of oils on the market, the top 3 singles that are easy to apply to life and enjoy include Lavender, Peppermint and Lemon.  When it comes to choosing an oil to begin your aromatherapy experience, you want to consider a few factors:

  1. Is it natural? Synthetic oils do not aid your health and are simply artificial fragrances, which have been linked to cognitive decline and asthma.
  2. Is it pure? While distilling or pressing plant substances, separating toxins like pesticides and fungicides requires impressive technology. Also ensuring that no additives or fillers are included is important.
  3. Is it safe? This brings us back to the previous questions to determine if an oil is free of undesired chemicals, fillers, synthetics and other forms of adulteration.

There are many ways to experience essential oils. My favorite is to diffuse into the room using a diffusing vessel and water, to apply directly to the skin with a carrier oil or massage oil, and to simply inhale several times to obtain a strong, concentrated aroma. One drop is typically all it takes to create a wonderful effect.

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