What are Essential Oils? Do They work?
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils, also referred to as "essences", are botanical extracts of various plant materials such as flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, barketc. These oils are called essential as they represent the very essence of odour and flavour of the plant and are highly concentrated in nature . For example, it takes about 16 pounds of fresh peppermint leaves to produce an ounce of essential oil.
Essential oils differ from perfume or fragrance oils as they are derived from the plants whereas perfume/fragrance oils are artificially created fragrances or contain artificial substances and are unable to offer the therapeutic benefits which essential oils offer.
The use of essential oils have a long history and has been used by many prominent healers in the past due to the healing power of the extracts.
There are different method of extracting essential oils:
- Steam Distillation: In this process, water water or hot steam is passed through the plants, pulling the essential compounds away from the plant matter
- Cold Pressing: In this process, oil is extracted by mechanically pressing or squeezing plant matter which causes it to release essential juices or oils.
How Do Essential Oils work?
Essential oils are known to have several benefits. They are used in cosmetics and fragrances for their aroma. They also provide therapeutic benefits. Every essential oil has different benefit, for Eg, Rosemary is very good for hair problems whereas Tea Tree is an excellent oil for Acne.
Some of the most popular essential oils include:
- Tea tree
- Sweet orange
Different essential oils have different compounds which can be helpful for various health conditions like
- Muscle Pain
- Sinus infection
What are the Uses of Essential Oils
Essential oils find its application in a wide variety of uses. Cosmetic and makeup industry uses them to create exotic perfumes, add fragrance to creams and body washes, and even as sources of natural antioxidants in beauty care products.
Natural medicine practitioners, like aromatherapists, use essential oils. Aromatherapy involves diffusing these essential oils into the air. When inhaled, it allows aromatic compounds of oils to enter the lungs and bloodstream, where some of the potentially helpful compounds may benefit the body.
Caution while Using Essential oils
- Never ingest Essential oils
- They are highly concentrated, Always dilute before applying on skin as they can cause irritation
- Always buy from trusted source as counterfeit products do not provide any benefit
- Keep Essential oils away from Children and pets
- Always store them in cool dark place, away from direct sunlight