What are Essential Oils?
by D.A. Fox
I am not an expert in the field of essential oils, although I've used them for years. I thought it would be best to get information from other sources and present it to you here for the best possible article. I wanted you to have the facts, not just what I've come to learn. Each section that is used from another source, and is not noted within the body of the text, will be noted at the end of the article, and credited there. I hope this will be a great learning experience for you!
*"Essential Oils are the concentrated vital essences of aromatic plants. They contain potent theraputic properties and are much used in cosmetics, perfumes and flavorings, and in aromatherapy- a system of healing the body through massage, inhalation or bathing with blended essential oils. Although called "oils" they are more like water, being a liquid that readily evaporates.
Essential oils are found in minute glands in one or more parts of aromatic plants: in leaves (basil), flowers (rose), fruit (lemon), seed (corriander), wood (sandalwood), resin (frankincense), bark (cinnamon), and roots (calamus). Heat causes these essences to evaporate, creating a protective aura around the plant which seems to fight bacteria, fungi and pests, and also seems to act as a buffer against extreme temperatures."
How They Work
"Essential oils are carried through the circulatory system to all the organs and eventually through the elimination system, the process taking anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours. ...It seems that each organ takes from the essential oils the componets it needs. The oils are easily absorbed through the skin. While essential oils can be taken internally in minute amounts, one teaspoon of some essential oils can be lethal. Never
take essential oils internally unless under the direction of an aromatherapy doctor or herbalist trained in the use of essential oils.
Both directly in the pleasure they give and indirectly, essential oils are therapeutic."
How They Are Produced
"The extraction of oils is a highly complex and expensive business. Most oils are collected by distillation (steaming) or enfleurage (in grease). Both methods are time-consuming, labour-intensive and require expert use of compicated equipment and top materials. Huge amounts of plant stock are needed to distil minute quantities of oil: it takes about 250 pounds (115kg) of rose petals to produce 1 fl oz (25ml) of essential oil."
Pure or Synthetic, Does It Make A Difference?
Synthetic oils or scents rather, are being made all the time. While they may smell similar, scent is the only benefit. If you are looking for therapeutic benefits, you need pure essential oils. Each oil contains active properties that bring you effective results. Using a scented essential oil substitute, a synthetic oil, may provide you with a nice scent, but it will never replicate the additional results of pure essential oils.
When buying oils, look for oils kept in amber colored bottles. Clear bottles will allow light to destroy the potency of the oil, similar to other vitamin and herbal supplements. Look into the company producing the oil to see if they run purity tests, and are knowledgeable about their products.
Be careful when buying "Aromatherapy" oils since many of these are pre-mixed oil. While you may enjoy the use of them, you are not purchasing the pure concentrated essential oil, but one that has already been diluted with another carrier oil. While this will have a theraputic benefit, you may end up spending more money than you intended for a blended oil. Their shelf life is reduced to a few months after being added to a carrier oil, rather than years as pure essential oils.
While single essential oils can be used for various things, choosing an oil for a specific use will give you the best results.
This information is some of what can be found in, 'Aromatherapy For Vibrant Health and Beauty'.
"For dilution, jojoba oil is suggested for long term use, because of its ability to keep the oil from going rancid.You can also add jojoba oil to any blended oil to extend its shelf life.
For scalp treatments: Add 10 drops essential oil to 1 ounce of jojoba oil. Massage into scalp and leave on 15-30 minutes or overnight; then shampoo.
To add to your conditioners:
Add 5 drops of essential oil or blend of essential oils to one ounce unscented conditioner. (You can make larger batches, but use the 5 drops to one ounce as your measurment.)"
Always use oils appropriate for your hair:
You'll notice that lavender is in several categories. It is one of the single oils used for different purposes. I've found lavender to be a mainstay in my essential oil collection.
*For an essential oil hair treatment, add 6 drops of essential oil to 2 Tablespoons of almond oil or any vegetable oil. Warm the oil, pour a small amount into your palm, then rub your hands together. Massage well into the scalo and along the hair strands. Repeat as necessary. +Cover the head with foil and a plastic shower cap and wrap in a hot towel (wrung out in hot water), replacing the towel when it cools. Try to leave on for 20-30 minutes for greatest penetration, the wash off with a mild shampoo.
+Please note that you can simply wrap your hair in a shower cap and then use a heating cap in place of the foil, cap, and hot towel method.
Essential oils can add a lot of fun and therapuetic benefits to your hair care routine! There is a lot more information to be studied, and much of it can be found on the internet through a simple search process. I always recommend that before you use a supplement of any kind, that you do some research on it to learn more about what you will be using. The more you know, the better choices you will make!
*Information taken from: The Complete Book of Herbs and Spices, The Ultimate Sourbook to Herbs, Spicess, and Aromatic Seeds,
by Leslie Bremness and Jill Norman.
17/34.75/35+ Type 2CMii (3B underneath layer) Somewhat fine, slightly wavy (with curls on the underneath layer), light brown with gold and red highlights. To see more pictures, click on the gallery collection link found here:
"Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, they will become your character. Develop your character for it becomes your destiny." -John MacArthur
Aubrey Organics S&C
Nature's Gate Conditioners (As well as Forest Pure, another brand made by the makers of Nature's Gate)
Oils: Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Virgin Oil de Coco Creme, Monoi, Castor, Meadowfoam Seed & essential oils
Shea Butter (from which I make my own leave-in)
MP Popular Mix Brush
Wood and Horn combs