Sep 1, 2017
I don't know everything... nor will I ever claim to. When I find some new information that I feel has benefit not only to me, but to others... I want to share it! In the not-too-distant past I discovered "essential oils". I had seen them in passing but didn't know what they were... and didn't feel the need to investigate. As far as I knew they were just a small army of weird little bottles behind the counter at the natural food/supplement stores. When I went to NOW Foods headquarters in Illinois for a blogger event, though... one of our info workshops was all about essential oils.
I was impressed, intrigued, and I had to know more. From there, I totally fell down the rabbit hole, and I feel like everyone should know the benefits of this stuff. THAT is why I chatted for an hour with Tina, Neil, and Alana from NOW Health Group (NOW Foods) all about "essential oils". This episode serves as a primer on all things "essential oil" - think of it as Essential Oils 101 - What YOU need to know about them. This is also the kick-off to what may end up being a WHOLE YEAR'S WORTH of articles, posts, and recipes. So BUCKLE UP - this is gonna be a good one :D
There is a TON of information in this episode, but let's break down some of the most basic basics to give you an idea.
These are oils/liquids that are distilled from a plant of some kind - like lavender, orange, clove, and many others. It's said that they were originally called essential oils because they were believed to hold the very essence of the aroma and the plant itself. There are two main methods used - steam distillation or cold pressing. In the end, sure, what's extracted is likely the very stuff of the plant that makes it smell like what it is. When it's all said and done they come in a little tiny glass bottle, typically amber colored.
The really simple way to explain this is: "Volatile" means this liquid/oil very easily goes from liquid to gas at a relatively low temperature, like room temperature. Don't forget - when you smell something, it's because itty bitty particles of the thing itself have hit your smell receptors! So when you take the cap off and smell what's in the bottle, that's the liquid turning to gas and going in your nose! It happens that easily, and that's part of what makes essential oils ideal for aromatherapy.
The two main ways to use essential oils are topically and via aromatherapy. Topical uses include massage oil, in a bath, a spray mist, a roll-on stick, and many others. Aromatherapy use could be through a room spray or, more commonly, a diffuser. There IS a third way - internally. This method, however, is VERY controversial and can be dangerous.
Essential oils are typically sold at 100% purity. They are very potent and should ALWAYS be mixed or diluted to prevent irritation, burning, and other adverse reactions. Typically, a 1% to 3% ratio is what is recommended for normal use. There are some essential oils that, in their pure undiluted form, should NEVER come into contact with skin. There are even MORE essential oils that should NEVER be ingested or otherwise taken internally. A good rule of thumb - if it's not the essential oil of a plant or fruit you'd actually eat in real life, you shouldn't consume the oil. The EVEN SAFER option? Simply do not ingest essential oils unless you've got doctor's orders.
Odds are your doctor will never tell you to ingest essential oils. As a matter of fact, they probably won't tell you to use them at all. At present, there's not a whole lot out there in the scientific community that suggests essential oils should be used medicinally. You'll hear many stories, websites, and people telling you that it's great for cuts and bruises, that it's great to calm an upset stomach, etc... but at present the science simply isn't supporting that. There ARE, however, plenty of acknowledged benefits for mood and mental health. I mean, YOU just try and smell some fresh lemon oil without smiling :)
There's SO much more to essential oils than just what's right here. Give a listen and see what you think! Then, stay tuned to this site for a ton of articles and recipes about essential oils that are soon to come!
What's in this episode:
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