There are some properties common to all essential oils which allow them to be used in a similar way to one another. They are inflammable, non-greasy, readily absorbed by the skin, especially when blended with alcohol or a carrier oil, partially soluble in water, and volatile, which means they evaporate at temperatures exceeding room temperature. Therapeutically, all of them are antiseptic and pro-biotic.
Each oil typically contains over 100 different chemical compounds, each with its own therapeutic benefits. Besides having antiseptic properties, some oil varieties are also antiviral and antifungal in nature. Most oil comes from structures on the source plant such as the leaves, flowers, roots, fruit skins, and berries which secrete these substances.
The method of extraction used to remove the oil from the plant depends on the type of structure where it’s located. Delicate flower blossoms must be handled in such a way that the oil is not harmed, while citrus skins can be cold-pressed. The most commonly used type of extraction is steam distillation, which implements heat to draw the oil into a still. Ideally, the extracted oil will be used alone, with nothing added to compromise its purity.
The best aromatherapy oil is that which has been left in its natural state, not “standardized” by the addition of synthetic compounds or removal of existing qualities, to achieve a uniform aroma for commercial purposes. The therapeutic value of the oil is greatly reduced when it is adjusted in this way and it can also lead to possible skin irritation in some users.
In order to enjoy the full range of benefits an essential oil can provide, it is important to use some discretion in where it is purchased. Suppliers which are dedicated to producing only the purest, unadulterated oils which are intended for therapeutic use are the best choice. Products should be made from a single botanical species from a noted country of origin, with nothing added or subtracted, and quality-tested using gas chromatography or mass spectrometry.
Because essential oils possess such a complex chemical structure, this is why they are so useful for healing all sorts of ailments. Every one is unique in its make-up of aromatic phenols, aldehydes, esters, alcohols, ketones, terpenes, and sesquiterpenes, giving it a multifaceted nature that can not only improve the health of the body, but the mind and emotions too.
People use essential oils for many reasons. They can help one look and feel better in numerous ways such as promoting cell renewal for a better complexion, prevent and heal infection, keep unstable emotions in check, and soothe aches and pains. It can be expected that the results one will enjoy from the purest oil available will be superior to those they will get from cheap, diluted versions with limited healing potential.