Stay in the Wellness Loop | Health and Wellness Articles
by Gina Rideout
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years:
Cleopatra’s extensive beauty regimen using essential oils is well-documented.
Gold, frankincense and myrrh were the original Christmas gifts although not many of us have ever asked what the latter two were for. They were medicinal gifts for baby Jesus and mother Mary and were just as valuable as the gold - if not more so.
350 litres of essential oils were discovered when King Tut’s tomb was opened.
Essential oils are becoming more and more popular in recent years due to the fact that many people are seeking natural alternatives to support health and wellness. The applications for essential oils are endless and include support for colds/flu, improved immunity, head tension, hormone balancing, emotional health, respiratory health, digestive aid, and sleep disturbances, just to name a few examples. They are suitable for all ages from children to seniors.
If you are already using essential oils or are interested in how they can support the health of you and your family there are a few things to be aware of:
Synthetic (made in a lab) substitutes. Essential oils vary greatly in price based on where the oil is sourced, how the plant must be harvested and how difficult it is to extract the oil from the plant. For example it takes about 60 roses to make one single drop of rose essential oil; therefore, expect to pay up to $1000 for a 15 ml high quality bottle of it. If you notice all the oils in a store are priced about the same and/or they are very cheap, it is likely they are not 100% pure essential oil. There is also a chance the oil is synthetic which can be harmful to your health.
Purity matters. Not all oils are created equal! Although an oil may be labelled 100% pure, it may also include fillers such as coconut or almond oil; therefore, not 100% essential oil. This is not harmful, as long as the fillers are also pure, but it may affect any therapeutic benefits you may be seeking. Learn about the company you are purchasing from and familiarize yourself with their standards. You should only use pure therapeutic grade essential oils from a company with high standards of testing for purity, including third-party testing.
Potency. It’s best to use oils that are sourced where the plants grow indigenously. The composition of a plant will vary greatly based on location, climate, soil, and environment which is why it’s best to use oils from locations where the plants have grown naturally for many years.
Sustainabiliy. Ensure sustainable practices are used. It is satisfying to know that when you use an oil for you and your family it is also supporting the people who so carefully harvested it for your benefit.
So you have oils, now what?
When I talk to people who have purchased oils from various places they sometimes tell me they don’t really use them because they don’t know how or when they search online the information is overwhelming. Rest assured if you purchase oils from a reputable company or individual you will not be alone. If you have any questions at all you should feel free to contact them to guide you as you get to know your oils. Learning about oils is a fun experience and you will see first hand not only how useful they are but you will also realize the many applications for their use. There really is an oil for everything!
For those new to oils – Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint are great to start with. Put a drop of Lavender on your pillow or diffuse it by your bed to help support a restful sleep. Lemon oil is an amazing cleaner for glass and windows and in general. Citrus oils, such as Lemon, Lime and Wild Orange are also great mood enhancers so you can feel happy while you clean. Peppermint oil is great for head tension (apply to temples but away from eyes), diffuse for an afternoon pick-me-up or apply topically to help reduce gas and bloating.
Essential Oils 101
Ever wonder how the scent of an orange can fill a room, or how we can smell fragrant flowers like roses and lavender throughout the house? Why do citrus smells make us feel happy and refreshed? Why do we feel calm when we walk in the woods breathing the fresh scents of pine and fir trees? These gorgeous aromas and their effects are due to the power of essential oils.
Essential oils are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants and give plants their distinctive smells. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatments and health-care practices. In other words, they are not the latest new trend!