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So What are Essential Oils…?

variety of essential oil ingredients on a table

By now, you’ve probably heard quite a lot about essential oils and all of the amazing benefits they have to offer. At the same time, you’re probably wondering…what ARE essential oils exactly?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, essential oils are “non-water soluble, highly concentrated phytochemicals that are carefully distilled from different portions of a plant.”

In English, essential oils are all-natural oils that are derived from plants. They can be distilled from roots, leaves, stems, flowers, and other parts of a plant, and they are quite potent because they have a high concentration of phytochemicals. (Phytochemicals are any combination of biological compounds found in a plant.)

Plants and herbs have been used by many civilizations for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments. Unfortunately, our modern society has lost much of the wisdom of these bygone societies, which includes the ability to treat many illnesses with all-natural remedies.

Just a few of the things that essential oils can be used for include:

  • Improving the state of your immune system
  • Dealing with infections (under the supervision of a physician)
  • Balancing hormones
  • Making homemade beauty products or household cleaners
  • Natural air cleansing and diffusing
  • Topical applications (after dilution)

The popularity of essential oils has exploded in the past five years, but they are truly a timeless remedy that has begun to once again increase in popularity.

More doesn’t always equal better…

Because essential oils are so potent, it is in your best interests to use as little as is required – as opposed to as much as possible. While aromatically diffusing or topically applying a two or three drops of essential oils can be quite beneficial, internally consuming it or using more than is required could actually wind up being harmful to your health.

Another issue with the use of essential oils, particularly in our modern society, is the long term sustainability of this practice. Unfortunately, our society has a tendency towards overuse, and the creation of essential oils does require a terrific amount of natural resources and plant material. For these reasons, widespread and long term use could have a detrimental environmental impact if we are not careful to follow eco-responsible practices.

Quality Differences

Since the market has become saturated with many different companies selling essential oils, it is important to know that not all essential oils for sale are created equally. Essential oils are not cheap, but a top quality essential oil requires a lot of plant material to create. They also have a high concentration. Most of the more inexpensive essential oils you see on the market today are unable to pass third party testing because they have been diluted with other oils or are made of inferior quality.

High quality oils should be derived from organic sources that are allowed to thrive in their natural environment and have been produced without the aid of chemicals, so before you delve headfirst into the wonderful world of essential oils – make sure you are purchasing high quality oils from a reputable source!