What are Aromatherapy Essential Oils?

Holistic aromatherapy essential oils are fragrant plant elixirs used to facilitate good health and wellbeing. Pure essential oils are extracted from a wide variety of plants. Each plant is said to contain its own homeopathic uses in aromatherapy.

The texture of an aromatherapy oil is typically not very oily. Unlike most perfumes and fragrance oils, essential oils are typically all-natural. Some oils, such as patchouli or lemongrass, are amber, yellow, or other earthy colors. Most, however, are clear. Essential oils are very highly concentrated; only a small amount is needed for a single use.

Depending on the plant used, aromatherapy essential oils are created through various methods. The oil may be extracted from a plant's bark, flowers, stems, roots, leaves, or fruit. Distillation through steam or water or cold pressing can be used to make the extraction. Prior to use, the oils are usually mixed with some type of carrier oil, such as olive, grapeseed, or almond oil, in order to dilute them for safety.

Using plant essences for healing is an ancient practice. Aromatherapy is derived from this concept. Like whole or partial plants that have been used by indigenous peoples for centuries, aromatherapy essential oils are used to relieve injuries, aches, pains, and other health problems. Clinically, the chemical composition of these oils has been shown to affect the central nervous system, resulting in several health benefits, both psychologically and physically.

Herbal aromatherapy is most commonly used for emotional issues. Some aromatherapy essential oils have been found to alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety. They can help people release tension, relax, and either sedate or stimulate, depending on one's needs. Some scientists, however, hypothesize that the results of using aromatherapy oil may be due to a placebo effect.

To use aromatherapy essential oils, one must first decide which oil would best suit his or her ailments. Many aromatherapy books, websites, and practitioners are available to consult for this purpose. Once selected, the oil should be diluted with a carrier oil if it is not diluted already. Then the oil can be applied to the skin or bath, or inhaled, depending on the type of oil. As some oils are unsafe for skin application, a professional aromatherapist or other reliable resource should be consulted if possible.

Many aromatherapy essential oils are not considered safe for women who are pregnant or nursing children. The elderly, and people with severe sicknesses, should also consult with a physician prior to using aromatherapy oils. When inhaled, essential oil molecules are absorbed into the lungs and bloodstream; hence, it is important to be certain of an oil's safety and possible effects prior to using it.

Most essential oils are sold in very small glass bottles. Single oils are usually available, as well as oil blends from multiple plants. They tend to vary greatly in price, as some oils are easily accessible while others are derived from rarer plants. The quality and quantity of an oil can also effect its price.


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