The Magic Of Essential Oils: Chapter 1
On a recent flight to the Philippines (Where I spent only 3 1/2 days after traveling about 27 hours in one direction…more of that in another post), I found myself sitting next to Rob Young and his family (Rob is one of the founders of essential oil company DoTerra), which ironically is brand I’ve been eyeing throughout the year for a conversation of some sort because of my daily use of essential oils in the training room and even on the court was growing and wanted to get more versed and more products to test out and use as the season went on. Though the 14+ hour flight from Seattle to Hong Kong wasn’t the perfect time to be chatting shop, especially when we were both on vaca-mode, I figured I’d understand more about the essential oil market, how his company had become a mainstream source of essential oils in the market, and what keeps his company moving forward. On the flipside, it was interesting to him to hear why I’ve had an affinity to the use of essential oils (my mother introduced them to me at a young age), how it’s become one of the main “ingredients” in our training room, and how we’ve been able to integrate into our overall performance platform.
Now let’s note that above was mainly an intro to the overall post about essential oils itself. Figured in depth details of my conversation with Rob and his family and their charitable trip to Nepal would be saved for another post. So let’s get down with some of the FAQ’s on essential oils.
1. How are essential oils made?
Steam distillation is really the only way that therapeutic grade essential oils are made today. The steam basically upsets the membrane of the plant that protects the oil and with the disruption of the membrane the plant releases the oil. Steam distilling has been used for hundreds of years to get essential oils out of natural plants. A condenser separates the oil and water, so the process leads to pure oil being extracted and ready for use. Temperature and time have a great effect on the oils. The process of steam distillation has to be done right and by a professional who knows what to do. AFNOR or Association French Normalization Organization Regulation standards are specific. To be considered a proper essential oil you need to meet AFNOR standards.
There are other ways of extracting essential oils but they are either outdated, do not produce the proper essential oils to be labeled therapeutic grade, or the processes are too new they are also not refined enough to be considered therapeutic grade. Steam Distillation is the proper way to extract the oil from the plants and foods to get the best quality essential oils.
Essential oils are used applied to the skin, breathed in through the nose and mouth, and some essential oils are ingested. Their purpose is for better health, wellness, and healing.
2. What can you use essential oils for?
There are so many uses of essential oils, but here’s a small sample…
Cleaning-countertops, bathrooms, rooms, and floors
Make just about anything smell good your car, your home, your drawers, your bags, and your closets. You can make sachets and diffuser, as well as drop some essential oil in water. Candles have essential oils in them or you can make candles with essential oils.
Your Skin and Beauty-you can use essential oils to keep your skin healthy, young looking, feeling good, moisturized, and more. You can use essential oils for a perfume. You can mix essential oils in carrier oils such as jojoba and sweet almond oil. These oils can then be applied to your skin and keep your skin moisturized.
Massage is another way that essential oils get used. As opposed to everyday skin care, massaging your loved one with a beautiful carrier oil such as coconut oil and then adding an essential oil is a great way to pamper them and make your significant other feel really good.
Some essential oils you can ingest, but they have to be food grade and clearly labeled for ingestion. Assume an essential oil is not for ingestion unless you properly read the label or seek this type of essential oil out.
For healing, essential oils can help sunburns, upper respiratory problems, flu and cold help, digestion problems, circulation problems, cuts and bruise healing, help with fungus issues, and more.
3. How does it compare to other forms of other healing ointments and lotions?
The main difference between essential oils and other healing ointments and lotions is that essential oils and the carriers they are put into are natural. They work with the body to heal and do not leave behind preservatives or unknown factors that your body does not recognize. Lotions and skin care products absorb right into your skin. If you use a lotion or skincare that has a synthetic substance your body does not recognize you can easily harm your organs, digestions, and many other parts of your body over time. Natural essential oils are made from plants and work with your body all the way.
The nice thing about essential oils is that they are versatile as well. You can have a collection of your favorite scents and use them with the natural carrier products to do more than one thing in your home and your body.
The inhaling of synthetic and chemical air fresheners, cleaning products, and skin care products can cause cancer and other physical ailments over time. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years and have help people live to an old age with very little trips to the doctor for major illnesses.
4. When did human beings start using essential oils?
The earliest known use of essential oils is in France were in the caves where some of the first known artwork was found in the Lascaux caves. There are drawings showing the use of aromatic oils as they were once called in ancient times. You need only to be in France where agriculture is colorful and plentiful to see that nature can be very useful in many ways. Lavender is grown in abundance in the south of France, as well as many perfume factories are in the south of France. They use essential oils to create beautiful perfumes.
Whereas the French were recording essential oil use over 1700 years ago other countries of course were using aromatic or essential oils. Places like Greece, Indian, Egypt, Persia, and China are all countries that have incorporated essential oils into their lives for centuries.
In the 1920’s a man named Rene GatteFosse burned his hand and found that the lavender essential oil he grab to soothe his hand helped prevent him from any scarring and infection.
5. Where do essential oils belong in the world of health and wellness?
Like eating whole foods and staying away from processed unnatural chemicals, essential oils are natural and have many properties that heal certain ailments naturally. Essential oils help prevent ailments from coming on. The long term use of essential oils is one of the keys to preventative options to keep yourself healthy and well throughout your life.
People from around the world have kept themselves well through essential oil use. Our western culture is finally popularizing what many people have already known. Essential oils are great for helping stay well in a holistic way.
Essential oils like Frankincense is good for ailments like anxiety, arthritis, and dry skin. Lavender is good for depression, sunburn, and sleep. Lemon essential oil is good for cold sores, varicose veins, and warts. Tea Tree is good for acne, ringworm, and dry scalp. Oregano is good for diaper rash, digestion problems, and gas and bloating.
6. What’s the difference between the topical and aroma therapy effect?
Why you would use essential oils topically or as aromatherapy will depend on the desired effect. Obviously topical use of essential oils that have been put into a carrier oil will be for purposes of antiseptics for cuts and scrapes, ward off insects, moisturizing dry skin, and easing muscle and joint pain.
Aroma therapy through steam as well as diffusers are good for anxiety. When a room smells a certain way with a lovely essential oil it immediately has a calming effect. If you have an upper respiratory issue eucalyptus and peppermint and steam from hot water is very effective in cleansing your respiratory track.
7. What are some simple samples of different basic oils and their effect?
Peppermint-helps with exhaustion, fever, and nausea
Rosemary-helps with muscle aches circulation problems, and bad breath
Clove Bud-helps with toothache, indigestion, and stress relief
Orange-helps as an aphrodisiac, diuretic, and an antiseptic
8. Is there any science that has proven its effect?
There are several studies completed over the years that prove the usefulness and helpful nature of essential oils in the world. Studies found that washing with tea tree oil was over 3 percent more effective than washing with regular soap. One study showed that a massage with a lavender essential oil gave positive psychological effects to patients with cancer. Studies show that ingesting a food grade peppermint essential oil recommended dosage has been helping people with irritable bowel syndrome. Studies that sage and other essential oils can help with menstrual problems.
For more information about essential oils, check out www.doTerra.com. *Disclosure Statement: The author is currently one of the company’s “Performance Advocate”. His views are his own.