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How Do Essential Oils Work?

Using essential oils for their benefit to the body or mind is called aromatherapy. From essential oils for deep sleep and calming to essential oils for sinus and congestion, aromatherapy is a powerful way to promote wellness without using pharmaceuticals.

Using essential oils for their benefit to the body or mind is called aromatherapy. From essential oils for deep sleep and calming to essential oils for sinus and congestion, aromatherapy is a powerful way to promote wellness without using pharmaceuticals.

What is an Essential Oil?

Essential oils are natural products which are extracted from plants. In those plants that produce essential oils, they may be derived from the flowers, fruits, roots, leaves, or stems. The extraction process can produce different end products even from the same plant, and it may be done by:

  • Expression – grating or scraping the peel from a citrus fruit to release the essential oil from the skin. There is no heating involved in this process.
  • Steam Distillation – steam is passed through the plant material and then condensed with cooling. The oil-soluble essential oil is produced (e.g. rose otto oil), as well as water-soluble molecules (e.g. rosewater). The heat of the process can significantly alter the aroma from the original source.
  • Supercritical CO2 Extraction – carbon dioxide is used as a solvent to result in a final product very close to the raw material.

The same raw material can be used to produce two very different essential oils depending on the extraction process.

How Do Essential Oils work in Aromatherapy?

Essential oils are made up of tiny molecules that are able to be inhaled through the nose or absorbed through the skin to deliver healing properties into the body. They work by triggering the body’s natural processes.

  • Inhalation – the olfactory nerves send signals to the brain and the essential oil molecules work on the systems that moderate physical and mental processes. This is a powerful, direct way to deliver essential oil effects to the body. They interact with the limbic system, which is the emotional brain – it controls memory, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, stress levels, and balance of hormones. Put very simply, from the nose they interact in order with the smell centre, the emotional centre, short term memory, long term memory, and the endocrine system.
  • Absorption – application of essential oils to the skin allows the active healing molecules to be sent to the bloodstream via the pores as well as hair follicles. From the bloodstream, the molecules are dispersed to specific organs and systems on which they work (e.g. muscles and joints, emotions, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular). Pulse points are the most effective areas for topical application of essential oils – inside of wrists, elbows, behind knees, on temples and the back of the neck. Massaging an area before applying essential oils will increase their absorption, as will application of heat.

Common Therapeutic Uses of Essential Oil

  • Valerian – deep sleep
  • Cinnamon – congestion
  • Rosemary – stimulant
  • Lavender – calming, treat insomnia and headache
  • Ginger – treat nausea and inflammation
  • Basil – anti-parasitic
  • Lemongrass – treat fungal infection
  • Eucalyptus – treat respiratory infections
  • Lemon – treat skin conditions and fever
  • Bergamot – antidepressant
  • Jasmine – antidepressant, aphrodisiac

Choose Artemis Therapeutics for natural, organic solutions for health and wellness. With our Valerian Rose essential oils for deep sleep to Cinnamon Protector essential oils for congestion, we also offer lots of advice for harmonious living in a holistic way.

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