Essential oils are named as such because they contain the essence of a plant, including its aroma and health properties. They are concentrated, liquid plant extracts used for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. As with a variety of plants, the essential parts vary from flowers, grasses, and fruits to roots, trees, and leaves.
Essential oils can be used in three ways: topical, diffuse, or household.
When applying essential oils to the skin, the active chemicals in them are absorbed just like the ingredients in common pharmaceuticals. A few factors can increase the absorption of essential oils on your skin:
- Massaging the area first will increase circulation and increase absorption
- Heat also increases circulation and enhances absorption
- Applying essential oils to areas with greater concentrations of sweat glands (such as head, soles, palms, and armpits).
Ultrasonic diffusers are a great way to use oils in your home. Fill them with water and a few drops of your favorite essential oils and they produce high-frequency vibrations that turns water into a fine mist.
When inhaling or diffusing essential oils, the olfactory system (sense of smell) takes charge. Airborne molecules inhaled through the nose almost immediately reach the brain, lungs, and respiratory system.
One of the receptor sites is called the limbic system, but is commonly known as the “emotional brain”. This system is connected to other parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. This connection explains why smell often triggers emotions. Knowing this, we can see the connection between essential oils and a person’s psychology/physiology.
Essential oils can be used to replace many of the chemical laden cleaners found in homes. From cleaning your sink and counter tops, to your toilet and hardwood floors, essential oils can do them all. They can also be used to create handmade beauty products, bath products, and detergents. Consider using essential oils with high antimicrobial properties such as Tea Tree, Lavender, and Lemon when used for cleaning.
“Essential Oils 101″from rockymountainoils.com
“How Do Essential Oils Work?” from The University of Minnesota website