An introduction to Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
Plants produce fragrant essences in secretory cells, using nutrients from the soil, water, light and warmth from the sun. These essences are defined as the life force energy, soul or spirit of the plant. While these essences are extracted from the plant or herbs by distillation & other methods, the resultant naturally occuring aromatic alcoholic compound is knows as essential Oil.
Essential Oils do not have a fatty or oily component. They carry the very essence of the plant and thus are know as Essential Oil. These oils may be used primarily for creating the right aroma in your spaces that are important to you ( office, living room, meditation room … ), and may also be used to make DIY massage oils, candles, household cleaners, cosmetics etc.
A short history of Essential Oils
The earliest use of Aromatherapycan be traced back to ancient Egypt from where it travelled to Greece and then to the rest of the world. In every ancient culture across the world, including India, they used plants and herbs to address a number of ailments. Hippocrates, popularly known as the father of medicine documented the use of 200 different herbs!
And there’s this famous story from 1920’s about French Chemist Dr. Rene Gattefosse burnt his hand severly and dipped it in the closest liquid available around him which turned out to be Lavender Essential Oil. He was amazed at how fast his hand healed which made him set out on a journey to research and spread awareness on the power of these oils. Dr. Jean Valnet, used Essential Oils during World War II to treat soldiers as drugs were in short supply and after the amazing results he wrote one of the first books on the topic in 1964 called Aromatherapie. His work was carried forward by European biochemist, Dr. Marguerite Maury who studied how essential oils influence the body and emotions and popularised Aromatherapy Massages.
The benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils work on our mind, body and soul and have proven to be extremely effective. They can be used to relieve conditions ranging from anxiety to fungal infections as well as to increase overall well- being in a multitude of ways.
- Essential Oils are adaptogens
Adaptogens literally help the body to adapt, adjust and recalibrate itself depending on our emotional and physical surroundings. They help relieve stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. As biological response modifiers (BRMs) adaptogens restore the body’s innate immune function and help the body adapt to different stressors.
- Many Essential Oils are analgesics
An analgesic is a substance that acts directly on the nervous system to subdue pain. Clove, Peppermint, Nutmeg and Thyme Essential Oil are a few examples.
- Many Essential oils are Anti Inflammatory
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense system to promote healing. Essential Oils such as Ginger, Thyme or Eucalyptus may help in such conditions.
- Essential Oils are known to balance Hormones
A number of Essential Oils are used and are effective in regulating menstruation, reducing mood swings, relieving cycstic acne, reducing hot flushes, soothing menopausal symptoms etc. Essential Oils such as Clary Sage, Geranium and Frankincense may help in such conditions.
- Essential oils help build immunity and keep us safe from infections
Many Essential Oils are Anti Septic, Anti-fungal and antibacterial and help purify the air, fight viruses when used in steam inhallation, detoxify the body and as they help reduce stress they help keep the immune strong.
Essential Oils such as Lemon, Cinnamon, Lavender, Tea Tree, Petitgrain and Clove reduce the risk of infections and keep you safe when diffused or applied.
- Some Essential Oils help relieve stomach cramps, flatulence, pain, acidity and overall Gut health
Essential oils like Peppermint & Fennel when diluted with a base oil and applied on the abdomen help relieve flatulence, cramps and pain. Juniper Berry Essential oil helps relieve acidity and heart burns when applied on abdomen or used in Aromatherapy.
- Many Essential Oils are insect repellents
Citronella, Lemon Eucalyptus and Lemongrass Essential Oils are used extensively to keep mosquitoes away. Patchouli Essential oil has been used since ages to keep clothes safe from insects.
- Some Essential Oils help clear cold & congestion
Essential Oils such as Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Thyme are used in steam inhalation to help clear cold & congestions.
- Essential Oils may help relieve head aches
Essential Oils such as Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Rosemary are blended with a base oil and applied on temples to give relief in headaches.
- Essential oils are used extensively in skincare & hair care
Hair case issues like Dandruff, Hair fall, frizzy hair and many others can be tackled with Essential Oils such as Tea Tree, Lavender and Rosemary.
Skincare issues like pigmentation, scars, acne, dullness are taken care of with the use of Essential Oils such as Lavender, Tea Tree, Geranium & Lemon.
- Some Essential Oils promote relaxation and relieve stress
Aromatherapy stimulates the subconscious with their scents, bringing in feelings alertness, happiness, calm and relaxation. Few essential Oils even help relieve insomnia.
- Essential Oils are very helpful in deepening meditation practices
Essential Oils are extensively used in a lot of different healing modalities and they help deepen the breath which helps in stillness of the mind.
How to use Essential Oils?
DIFFUSE– Add few drops in a diffuser or humidifier to witness relaxation, mood enhancement and to clear indoor pollutants.
STEAM INHALATION– Add a drop in a warm water basin, cover your head with a towel and take in inhalation.
MASSAGE/ APPLICATION– 3 to 5% dilution in a base or carrier oil, refer to the attached dilution chart in the link below to understand the number of drops.
For Facial Skin – 0.7 to 2%
Body Massage – 1.5 to 3%
Pain Relief – 5 – 7%
What are base/carrier oils?
They are used to dilute Essential oils prior to application. Most are pressed out of vegetable, nuts or seeds and are excellent for creating natural massage oils that nourish and moisturize skin while imparting the benefits of the Essential Oil. For Eg. Almond Oil, Apricot Oil, Wheatgerm Oil, Walnut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Sesame Oil etc. Choosing the right carrier oil based on your skin type is important.
FOOT/ BATH SOAK– Add a few drops in your bath water or into a basin to dip your feet.
Few things you should know
- Fragrance oils aren’t Essential Oils (read labels carefully)
- Essential Oils are high concentrated, use them sparingly and carefully
- Purity, naturalness, and quality of essential oil is important
- If Pregnant skip Essential oil usage in the first trimester
- Always do a patch test, if you are allergic to the plant – you will be allergic to the EO
- Make sure you are using high quality 100% Pure Essential Oils
- Keep Essential Oils away from direct heat and sunlight and they can last upto 5 years!
- It’s perfectly fine to be confused when using EO’s the first time, reach out to people to clear your doubts
If you are just starting out on your Essential Oil journey…start with these 6 Must have Essential Oils
Helps relieve stress, anxiety, induces sleep, soothes infections and skin irritations, heals acne and dandruff. Read more here https://merakiessentials.com/products/lavender-essential-oil-natural?_pos=2&_sid=6c35efcc1&_ss=r
Relieves cold & congestion, clears nasal passage, relieves inflammation, relieves headaches. Read more here https://merakiessentials.com/products/eucalyptus-essential-oil-natural?_pos=1&_sid=2c068ffed&_ss=r
- Tea Tree
Relieves acne, dandruff, fungal infections, clears indoor air of pollution, keeps you safe from infections. Read more here https://merakiessentials.com/products/tea-tree-essential-oil-natural?_pos=1&_sid=781fac732&_ss=r
- Lemon Eucalyptus
Soothes and calms the mind, uplifts mind, repels insects, supports healthy respiration, clears cold & congestion. Read more here https://merakiessentials.com/products/lemon-eucalyptus-essential-oil-10-ml?_pos=1&_sid=79aaba716&_ss=r
Improves cognition, relieves anxiety, relieves insomnia, reduces pain, relieves menstrual cramps, and relieves respiratory problems. Read more here https://merakiessentials.com/products/nutmeg-essential-oil?_pos=1&_sid=20600fb1e&_ss=r
Reduces hair fall, relieves pain, stimulates concentration, relieves anxiety and soothes stress, relieves headaches. Read more here https://merakiessentials.com/products/rosemary-essential-oil-natural?_pos=1&_sid=7839671a8&_ss=r
If you want to know more on Essential Oils and where to buy, here are the links: