Essential oils quality

There are various factors that contribute to the quality of essential oils:

• The soil affects the mineral and nutrition that are available to the plant.
• The amount of sunshine impacts on the processing of nutrients from the air.
• The amount of rain affects the ability of the plant to survive and feed.
• Geographical location results in variations in growth pattern and availability of nutrients. For example, lavender is best at high altitude.
• Organic or non-organic plantations impact on the chemical composition in the plant and therefore the extracted oil.
• The quality of the extraction affects the quality. Some oils needs faster processing, others need slower. The temperature of the steam can either destroy some chemical, or enhance others.
• Storage conditions (cool, dry, dark place) will affect the quality of the therapeutic properties and the shelf life of the oil.
• Purity of oil means higher quality (as there is no messing up with the structure). On the other hand, adulteration means adding synthetic material or removing some chemicals. In aromatherapy we believe in whole oils (oils that hadn’t been adulterated), as they are true to nature.

Healing Nature

How does the smell of essential oils affect our body

When we inhale the aroma, messages are sent from the nose to the brain (via the Olfactory nerve). They reach the part of the brain that holds our instincts, emotions and memories. Thus a drop of oil can evoke moods and memories.

Messages are also sent to the endocrine system (hormones), which sends hormones to the relevant glands. Thus, oils can affect our hormones (for example, geranium).

As we smell, molecule also travels into the lungs. Some oils have an affinity with the lungs (for example, eucalyptus). When reaching the lungs, these oils have an impact. Eucalyptus will ease breathing, clear mucus and is excellent for Bronchitis.

Whilst in the lungs, the molecules continue their journey, penetrating the blood vessels. From there they travel through the blood circulation reaching the appropriate organs. Finally they exit the body through exhalation, perspiration and urination.

Absorption of essential oils through the skin

A molecule of the essential oil is sufficiently small and therefore can penetrate the skin and then the blood vessels. From there the drop reaches the various organs in our body.

Some oils have an affinity with certain organs; so the drops reach these chosen organs. For example, sweet orange has an affinity with the digestive system, where the drop of oil will eventually reach. Here it leaves its impact (aids digestion). Finally the drop continues its passage through the veins and exits the body through the digestive system or the skin (sweat).

Healing Nature

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a healing mode using the aroma of essential oils for their therapeutic properties.

Essential oils are pure, natural, aromatic essences extracted from plants, trees, roots etc for healing and beauty. The healing properties of essential oils come from their smell and their natural compounds. The smell of essential oils affects our psychology, emotions, cognition, mood, behaviour and body systems (muscular, nervous, digestive, skin, respiratory system etc). Essential oils enhance the body's ability to heal itself.
The quality of essential oils is paramount to their healing effects. They should be pure, natural, whole and authentic, of reputable and ethical source, and fresh. Most oils have a couple of years’ shelf life, with the exception of citrus oils and pine, which last 9-12 months, and wood oils that last lonoger.

To preserve the quality and shelf life, the oils should be kept in airtight, dark bottles, in a dark, dry, cool place. Light, heat, air and moisture cause deterioration.

Do NOT use essential oils as follows:

 Essential oils should not be taken by mouth. They should be kept away from eyes and children.
 Essential oils can catch fire easily; keep them away from a naked flame.
 Essential oils are very concentrated and powerful. Use them in low dilution.
 Do not use the same oil on a daily basis for a prolonged period.
 No essential oils should be used in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
 In the case of medical supervision, ask the GP for approval.
 Essential oils should not be used on epileptic people.
 In the case of homeopathic remedies, seek the practitoner's approval.
 Some people may have allergic reactions to some oils.

How to use essential oils for massage

Put one teaspoon (5 ml) of vegetable oil in a saucer. Add 1-2 drop of the chosen essential oils. Rub the oil on your hands over the saucer and apply to the area to be massaged.

Healing Nature