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All you need to know about essential oils

Updated: Nov 27, 2022

An essential oil is a highly concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds derived from plants. They are also known as volatile oils.

Every plant contains essential oils. The aromatic compounds in these oils help plants to survive, for example, by attracting pollinators and protecting themselves against harmful microorganisms.

Essential oils are unique in two senses:

(1) They contain one or more distinctive aroma constituents that give each oil its distinct characteristics and odor.

(2) They are necessary for that plant’s complete development and are considered essential nutrients.

They are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam-heated furnaces.



The aromatherapy world is full of exciting new scents, and there are different oils with different uses. Whether you’re looking for an oil that provides stress relief or can boost your immune system, choose high-quality oils with therapeutic benefits. (Note: As stated above, “therapeutic grade,” could be just a marketing hype thing, so be sure you trust your essential oil producer).

You don’t need quantity; you need quality and the right ingredient for your specific need!

These are just a few examples of the multiple benefits of essential oils.

Always look for science-based, reliable articles and studies, about the essential oil that you are choosing


If you use essential oils, ensure they’re 100% pure and extracted using safe methods.

Remember that they are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. While they may smell fine and feel good on your skin, remember that just because an oil smells pleasant doesn’t mean it is safe to apply directly.

When it comes to inhaling essential oils, the benefits are linked to their ability to connect to nerves called olfactory nerves (found in the nose). When we smell anything, aromatic compounds attach to these nerves which then sends a signal to an area in our brain called the olfactory bulb. Once it reaches this area, it sends signals to the brain (particularly the limbic system) to release a variety of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin which is connected to sleep quality


Here you have a few examples of the most used essential oils and their benefits


Lavender :


Middle Note: One of the most versatile oils, Lavender essential oil effective and safe for many conditions including bronchitis, coughs, sinusitis, TB, menstrual problems, cystitis, heavy fat digestion, arthritis, burns, eczema, psoriasis, spots, and wounds. It is the peace-making oil, particularly known for its healing, harmonising, and relaxant properties, so good for anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and migraines. Lavender can be applied neat on the skin and is excellent for treating burns especially if applied immediately. In Aromatherapy Lavender is often used in small amounts to harmonise a blend. Lavender essential oil has a refreshing spicy floral aroma. It is made through steam distillation of the flower stalks.

Blends well with: All floral and citrus oils, Cedarwood, Chamomiles, Clary Sage, Geranium, Marjoram, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Tea tree, and Vetiver.



Cedarwood


Base Note: Warming, balancing and strengthening, Cedarwood essential oil is good for treating respiratory conditions (especially clearing catarrh), arthritis, rheumatism, and skin conditions including excess oiliness. It is also good for nervous stress/tension as it is calming and strengthening, and its analgesic properties make it good for neuralgia. Cedarwood essential oil has a woody dry aroma, not unlike pine. It is made through steam distillation of the wood.

Blends well with: Benzoin, Cypress, Juniper, Melissa, Patchouli, Pine, Rose, Sandalwood, and Vetiver.

Precautions: Avoid in pregnancy.






Clary Sage


Top Note: Calming, uplifting, and sedative, Clary Sage essential oil is a general nerve tonic and good for high blood pressure, anxiety (including panic attacks), depression, and stress. It is great for menopausal problems and assisting childbirth. Clary Sage is also good for reducing cholesterol, varicose veins, asthma, and improving hair condition. Clary Sage essential oil has a strong sweet, herby, earthy aroma. It is made through steam distillation of the flowering tops and leaves.

Blends well with: Citrus oils, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Geranium, Jasmine, Juniper, Lavender, Lemongrass, Patchouli, Pine, Rose, and Sandalwood.

Precautions: Avoid during pregnancy (but good for assisting childbirth), in cases of hormone-related cancer, and after consumption of alcohol.





Eucalyptus


Top Note: Calming and relaxing, Eucalyptus Staigeriana essential oil is more gentle than it's cousin Eucalyptus Blue Gum and hence good for using with children and the elderly. It is a gentle decongestant, good for respiratory congestion, sinusitis and sore throats, and is also good for cramps, aches and pains, and digestive spasms. Eucalyptus Staigeriana has a calming effect on the nervous system as it relaxes the solar plexus. Eucalyptus Staigeriana has a fresh lemon aroma with a slight camphor-like undertone. It is made through steam distillation of the leaves and twigs.

Blends well with: Roman Chamomile, Coriander, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Rosemary, Tea tree, Thyme.





Frankincense


Base Note: Calming, euphoric, and strengthening, Frankincense essential oil is known for calming breathing and the mind, in fact it has long been used in aiding meditation. The expectorant and mucolytic properties of Frankincense make it great for asthma, bronchitis, and catarrh. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cell regeneration properties make it excellent for combating wrinkles and aging skin. Frankincense is useful in breaking unwanted links to the past, and helping with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and paranoia. Frankincense essential oil has a fresh penetrating woody spicy aroma, reminiscent of church incense. It is made through steam distillation of the oleo gum resin.

Blends well with: Basil, Benzoin, Bergamot, Chamomiles, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Neroli, Orange, Palmarosa, Rose, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Ylang ylang.





Orange, Sweet



Top Note: Warming, refreshing, and calming, Orange essential oil is great for fighting colds, flu, and bronchitis, and also for easing indigestion and constipation. It is also well known for treating dull and oily complexions, and mouth ulcers. Orange has calming sedative qualities that make it good for easing nervous tension and stress-related conditions. Orange essential oil has a warm rich fruity aroma. It is made through cold expression of the fresh peel.

Blends well with: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Jasmine, Lemon, Lavender, Neroli, Sandalwood, and Spice oils such as Cinnamon and Clove.

Precautions: Photosensitive so avoid exposing your skin to the sun immediately after topical application.





Ginger


Top Note: Warming, balancing, and cheering, Ginger essential oil is well known as a digestive aid, especially for nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion, and flatulence, as well as being good for muscular aches and pains, including muscle spasms and cramp. Its expectorant properties make Ginger good for catarrh, chronic bronchitis or sinusitis, and all side effects of colds. It has a balancing effect on the nervous system, and analgesic properties that make it good for neuralgia, and pain in general. When combined with Lime and Sweet Marjoram it creates a blend that is excellent for aches and pains, and smells fantastic. Ginger essential oil has a warm earthy spicy aroma, much like root ginger only more intense. It is made through steam distillation of the rhizome, unpeeled and dried.

Blends well with: Citrus oils, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Juniper, Marjoram, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Rosewood, Sandalwood, and Vetiver.


Tea Tree


Top Note: A warming, stimulating, clarifying oil, well known for its antifungal and bactericidal properties, so is excellent for treating many infections. Tea tree essential oil is particularly used in this context for treating all manner of skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, athlete's foot, boils, burns, mouth ulcers, ringworm, lice, and verrucas. It is also good for treating respiratory and genito-urinary conditions, as well as lifting depression and fatigue. A small amount can be used neat on the skin. Tea tree essential oil has a penetrating, warm, camphorous aroma, quite medicinal, and is made through steam distillation of the leaves and twigs.

Blends well with: Clary Sage, Marjoram, Lavender, Niaouli, and Rosemary.













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