An Introduction to Essential Oils
ESSENTIAL OILS are becoming more popular as a complementary option of healing. Though its popularity only began to grow in recent years, they have been traditional natural remedies in the past. Not only are people captivated by the scent these oils have to offer, many have claimed to experience health benefits as a result of using these oils too.
According to records, so many civilisations have benefited from the use of essential oils. Ancient Grecians and Romans used to apply Myrrh to heal wounds due to its anti-inflammatory effects. During the Bubonic Plague in the 12th century, Cinnamon, Ginger and Sandalwood were also used as lifesaving antibiotics. When French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse had a bad burn in his laboratory, his application of Lavender onto his burn wound helped with the relief of the infection and prevented scarring.
WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?
Essential oils are concentrated hydrophobic liquid, which volatile aroma compounds are extracted from plants through distillation. These oils have been used to serve various purposes; from flavouring food to improving health*. As essential oils have a strong aroma, they are used in perfumes, cosmetic, soaps and shampoos.
HOW ARE ESSENTIAL OILS USED?
According to ancient records, Andalusian physician Ibn al-Baitar (1188-1248) was probably the first person to record the methods of the production of essential oils.
A branch of alternative medicine that employs the use of essential oils is AROMATHERAPY. Practitioners use essential oils neat (direct on skin), diluted with a carrier oil, diffused with a diffuser machine, nebuliser, taken orally* or heated.
THE EFFECTS OF ESSENTIAL OILS
The aroma of essential oils affect us more than what we think. Most human beings and animals are very connected to their sense of smell. The fragrance of the oils instantly captivates the senses and produces certain feelings or emotions. Studies have shown that nearly 75% of emotions are affected by the sense of smell.
According to a report published by The Mirror in ’20 Fascinating Facts About Our Sense of Smell’, our human brain can process “roughly 10,000 smells in an area the size of a postage stamp, each triggering a neural response”.
Essential oils are extremely potent. It is best to get advice from a trained and qualified aromatherapist on how to use these oils to maximise the positive benefits on the body.