What are essential oils?

The use of essential oils is gaining popularity worldwide. You may be seeing more and more about them, but not know quite what they are and why people are getting so excited about them.

Basically, essential oils are the volatile liquids and natural compounds that are found in shrubs, flowers, trees, bushes and plants. Volatile means they are quickly evaporated in the air. The oils are typically extracted through distillation or cold pressing. Each essential oil contains aproximately 200-500 constituents, which makes them very diverse in their effects. No two oils are alike. The oils are fat soluble, which allows them to easily penetrate into the blood and tissues. The oils are highly concentrated and potent meaning they are usually 100 to 10,000 times more concentrated than the herb itself.

Essential oils may seem to be more and more common, but they are nothing new. They have been used throughout history in many cultures for their numerous benefits. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese have all used them for centuries for numerous reasons to enrich their lives. There are also many references to essential oils in historical texts, which signifies their importance in history.

Essential oil uses

There are many uses for essential oils, some of them being in the treatment of Rheumatoid arthritis, strains or sprains; acne; headache; digestive discomfort; stress and tension; burns, cuts, bruises and other minor skin irritations; eczema and dermatitis; and cough or cold. In Canada, there are a number of essential oils from Young Living that have received the designation of a Natural Health Product from Health Canada. This designation means the essential oils can be used in the treatment of the issues listed above.

For example, for headache relief, massage a blend of Young Living Spearmint and Bergamot essential oils on the back of the neck and shoulders for headache relief.