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.

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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).

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