Essential Oils Explained

Essential oils are on the rise in house-holds and aroma diffusers are filling the air with the sweet smell of lavender or citrus in shops around the country. But are essential oils good for more than a nice smell? We investigate.

Essential oils and natural beauty are going hand-in-hand as prime candidates in the health and wellness spotlight. And for good reason, they have little-to-no chemicals added and come from all natural plants, flowers and herbs. The oils extracted contain different properties, benefits and components that allow them to shower us with relaxing, healing and other medicinal vibes. 

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants through a distillation or cold-pressing process that captures the plant’s “essential” scent and flavour. These naturally occurring compounds give plants their distinctive smells (which explains why they are powerfully fragrant) but also work to protect the plant either by attracting pollinators or warding off bugs that intend to eat the leaves.

How they are used:

Today, essential oils are used to add scent to cosmetics and cleaning products, and flavour to food and drink and also as medical treatments either by applying to the skin, through ingestion or through inhalation. Diffusion has become a popular method in households that allows the oils to be turned into vapour and the scents spread throughout the desired space. 

The use of essential oils can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient cultures of China and India, the Egyptians and the Romans, who used them in cosmetics and perfumes and for therapeutic purposes. And in Asia alternative medicines have been popular for centuries, so Western countries are simply late to the party. Quite the party it is though, essential oils are a booming business right now.

Aromatherapy:

Whether it’s rose oil for an acne cure or sweet orange oil to control bloating and stomach problems, there seems to be an essential oil solution for just about every problem. Essential oil's wonderful properties are common topics on wellness, beauty and natural living blogs, and even some medical institutions offer reference guides for aromatherapy. This is the process of inhaling vapour or absorbing (through the skin) essential oils. With feelings of wellbeing increasing, we can only speak good things about these aromatic wonders. 

The benefits include things such as;

We all know that although something has the properties to heal our ailment/s that it may not work for everyone, so bear that in mind when you start using essential oils. For example, tea tree oil may help to clear up a bout of acne, as it contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. But, just because it has those properties, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your specifically, it may assist in reducing it though, depending on your skin type and a range of other factors. 

Various scents (such as lavender) can be calming, relaxing and stress relieving, bring them into the home or workplace for their benefits (just ensure there are no allergies first).