What are Essential Oils and How to use them

Essential oils are not just fragrances that smell nice they are much more. Essential oils are the essence of plants or the plant’s immune system, a gift of the earth, distilled and ready to bring the power of nature into your home.

What are Essential Oils

Each plant contains a high concentration of aromatic compounds that are complex in composition. Essential oils are formed in the flowers, leaves, stems, roots, fruits and seeds of plants.

In plants, essential oils have various functions such as scent, repelling of pests and helping with pollination. At home, they can be used as relaxing aromatic fragrances, topically or internally but caution should be exercised with the latter.

Methods of obtaining essential oils

Among the most widely used methods of extracting essential oil are steam or water distillation and the cold pressing method. A newer method of extracting essences from plants is CO2 extraction, which is considered a more expensive but effective way of extracting essential oil.

Steam distillation

The water in the boiler is heated to obtain steam. Steam enters the plant material, which is pre-cut if necessary, and removes volatile aromas from the plant. Flavored steam travels through tubes where it cools and condenses. The final product of steam distillation is water or hydrolate and pure essential oil separated by a separator.

Water distillation

It is mainly used for distilling the flowers of plants. The plant material is heated to boiling in water and thus aromatic vapor is formed, which condenses in special tubes. Hydrolate and essential oil are formed, which are finally separated by a separation process.

Cold pressing

The cold pressing machine works by making holes in the shells of, say, oranges and extracting the essential oil with the help of centrifugal force. With this method, the essential oils are less stable, so they need to be stored in the refrigerator.

Photo by Katherine Hanlon, Unsplash

CO2 extraction

The process is basically similar to the previous ones, except that CO2 gas is used instead of fire. The CO2 liquefies under pressure and acts as a solvent. Since no heat is used during the process, a higher quality essential oil is obtained by this method rather than in steam or water distillation.

How Can You Use Essential Oils

Aromatic use

By inhalation, essential oils and their molecules enter our body and in this way have a beneficial effect on hormones, moods, emotions and also other health problems such as problems with the sinuses, throat or lungs.

You can inhale:

  • Directly by dropping a drop or two on the palm.
  • Through a diffuser, which heats the essential oil slightly and thus retains all its properties.
  • Through a handkerchief, on which you drop 1-2 drops and have it with you throughout the day.
  • With a spray containing water and a few drops of essential oil to spray on the porter.

Topical use

You must be careful when applying the essential oil to the skin, as it depends on each individual what the reaction or effect will be. Try dilution and sensitivity tests first. Less is more.

We know different ways of topical use:

  • Application through the soles of the feet, behind the ears or on the wrists due to larger pores in these areas, absorption is faster.
  • Massage is a great way to use essential oils. In addition to a relaxing massage, you also absorb the oils.
  • Taking a bath is relaxing and allows for better sleep.
Photo by Chelsea Shapouri, Unsplash

Internal use

This form of intake of essential oils in your body requires special care and oils that are of therapeutic quality. There are special healers who treat with essential oils but it takes a lot of knowledge so don’t try it yourself.

In cooking, special essential oils are a great addition to desserts, smoothies, various cocktails, teas and numerous beverages.

You do not need to be an expert to use essential oils.

But caution is needed. Use essential oils safely and as part of youor daily routine by using your basic knowledge and by being mindful of the rule of less is more.

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