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    What are essential oils and what are essential oils good for.

    Essential Oils

    In the past several years, there’s been an increasing demand for natural, alternative and complementary approaches to medicine. Often used as a part of a holistic or traditional medicine system, essential oils have been used for centuries to treat a number of conditions. Only in the past few decades, has scientific research uncovered the diverse range of their therapeutic benefits.

    Some users may wonder what are essential oils? Essential oils are concentrated, liquid extractions derived from a plant source through a process of distillation, expression, or solvent extraction. In nature, an essential oil helps protect a plant from various insects, fungi and bacteria.2 While some essential oils such as frankincense essential oil offer anti-inflammatory benefits, others such as lemongrass essential oil may help naturally combat bacteria or infections.

    Today, essential oils are a popular natural therapy for many households. Their aromatic fragrances offer a variety of benefits, from health to cosmetic. With a long list of essential oils to choose from, users traditionally choose an essential oil depending on its intended use and known benefits.

    In this article, Essential Oil Experts provides a basic Essential Oils 101, where we break down what essential oils are, where they come from, and how they are used.

    Want to learn more about essential oils? Get our FREE Video Series here

    How to Make Essential Oils

    Derived from plants, essential oils are made from a process of distillation or extraction.1 There are three primary ways in which the essential oil can be created from the plant: distillation, expression, or solvent extraction.

    Essential Oils Distillation Process

    Distillation is the most popular extraction method today because it can be used on most plants. There are several ways to perform the distillation process, though steam distillation is the most commonly used. In this process, steam is passed through the plant material with a gentle pressure. The essential oil is then released through the steam and flows through a condenser that’s waiting to collect the vapor. As it cools, a layer of oil forms and is then collected.3

    Essential Oil Expression

    Expression is another popular form of extraction, though it’s mostly used with citrus essential oils. Often called cold pressing, expression is a method of puncturing. The citrus rinds are placed into a container with spikes that puncture the peel so that the essential oils are released.4,5 

    Essential Oil Solvent Extraction

    The third most common form of extraction is by using solvents. Sometimes, the distillation and expression processes are too damaging to the plant to successfully remove the essential oils. In these cases, a chemical is combined with the plant to promote the release of the essential oil.6 The solvent is removed during the process of solvent extraction so that the end product is a pure essential oil.

    How to Use Essential Oils

    When using essential oils, it may be confusing determining the best way to administer them. For beginners, an essential oils starter kit is often recommended as they often include the most popular essential oils, recipes and accessories. Below is a non-exhaustive list of ways that essential oils can be used:

    • Diffusion
    • Direct inhalation
    • Massage
    • Homemade cleaner
    • Air freshener
    • Relaxing bath
    • Bug spray
    • Burn salve
    • Hair care
    • Skin care
    • Headache relief
    • Congestion remedy

    Food Grade Essential Oils

    Essential oils are generally not recommended for ingestion for several reasons. Firstly, essential oils are incredibly potent and consuming them may cause serious, adverse reactions. Secondly, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food labels on any item intended to be sold for consumption. As most essential oils are not prepared with “food grade” distillers or processors, selling essential oils for the sole purpose of consumption would go against current regulations.7

    Essential Oil Storage

    Essential oils are considered fairly sensitive to environmental factors. Temperature, sun exposure, and even storage material can greatly affect the chemical efficacy and therapeutic properties in the essential oil. Dark glass is generally recommended for storage as it helps protect against damaging ultra-violet light. Even so, it is best to keep your essential oils out of the sun to reduce the possibility of damage.

    Some essential oils are especially susceptible to oxidation, which is the structural breakdown of the compounds in the essential oil. To help protect against this, keep the essential oils in a cool, dark place with minimal exposure to oxygen. If the lid is left off the bottle, for instance, oxygen will be able to damage the essential oil.

    How Do Essential Oils Work?

    Essential oils are complex natural substances that may contain 20-60 unique compounds. Frequently, there are 2-3 highly concentrated compounds that help determine the essential oil’s fragrance and benefits.2,8

    Through advances in chemical testing, researchers have identified various molecules within essential oils, many of which are antioxidants.Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled and have been clinically shown to influence our mental or physical states.

    For those wondering do essential oils really work, many essential oils, or components of them, are used today in household cleaning products, agriculture, perfumes or cosmetics.In the scientific community, there have been numerous clinical studies investigating the benefits of essential oils. These notable benefits stem from a range of the essential oil’s properties including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer activity, antioxidant, insecticidal, stress-reducing, wound healing, and more.2

    Essential Oils Scientific Evidence

    In recent years, there’s been an increasing amount of scientific interest in aromatherapy, essential oils, and plant-based medicine. Hundreds of studies have investigated the therapeutic and pharmaceutical potential of essential oils and have appeared in some of the most distinguished scientific journals. In fact, over the past few decades, many essential oils have been tested in laboratories against common ailments such as arthritis, headaches, acne, skin rashes, muscle pain, and infection, with positive results.

    Benefits of Essential Oils

    Research into the effects and efficacy of essential oils is a rapidly growing space and preliminary literature suggest strong support for essential oils and their healing benefits.  Our research team has spent thousands of hours compiling all relevant research and sorting it into easy to read factual posts based on essential oils by symptom.  A directory list is below to help you navigate.

    Best Essential Oil Brands

    Essential Oils for Insects, Flies and Mosquitos

    Essential Oils for High Blood Pressure

    Essential Oils for Asthma

    Essential Oils for Bruises

    Essential Oils for Heartburn

    Essential Oils for Motivation & Energy

    Essential Oils for Allergies

    Essential Oils for Warts

    Essential Oils for Sunburns

    Essential Oils for Weight Loss

    Essential Oils for Psoriasis 

    Essential Oils for Arthritis

    Essential Oils for Swelling and Inflammation

    Essential Oils for Bug Bites

    Essential Oils for Acne

    Essential Oils for Menopause and Hot Flashes

    Essential Oils for Muscle Pain Relief

    Essential Oils for Earaches

    Essential Oils for Nausea

    Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps

    Essential Oils for Vertigo

    Essential Oils for Scars

    Essential Oils for Sleep

    Essential Oils for Focus and Concentration

    Essential Oils for Cats

    Essential Oils for Dogs

    Essential Oils for Diabetes

    Essential Oils for Anxiety

    Essential Oils for Itching

    Essential Oils for Tooth Pain

    Essential Oils for Hair

    Essential Oils for Yeast Infections

    Essential Oils for Cold & Flu

    Essential Oils for Cold Sores

    Essential Oils for Sore & Strep Throats

    Essential Oils for Pregnancy

    Essential Oils for Hangovers

    Essential Oils for Depression

    Essential Oils for Snoring and Sleep Apnea

    Discover how to use essential oils and how do essential oils work with the Essential Oil Experts’ essential oils guide.

    Benefits of Essential Oils

    The benefits of essential oils are varied and far-reaching. If you’re curious about what essential oils are good for, then you may be pleased to find that there is a long list of benefits. Some of the most popular benefits of essential oils are as follows:

    Scientific Research Referenced in this Article

    1. Reverchon, E. (1997). Supercritical fluid extraction and fractionation of essential oils and related products. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids,10(1), 1-37. doi:1016/s0896-8446(97)00014-4
    2. Bakkali, F., Averbeck, S., Averbeck, D., & Idaomar, M. (2008). Biological effects of essential oils – A review. Food and Chemical Toxicology,46(2), 446-475. doi:1016/j.fct.2007.09.106
    3. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1995). Basic Principles of Steam Distillation. Retrieved August 18, 2005, from http://www.fao.org/docrep/V5350e/V5350e13.htm
    4. Burnett, C. (2014) Safety Assessment of Citrus-Derived Peel Oils as Used in Cosmetics. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from http://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/cpeelo092014FR.pdf
    5. National Toxicology Program. (2000), Lemon Oil, Lime Oil, National Toxicology Program. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/lemonlimeoils_508.pdf – View reference
    6. Guba, R. (2002). The Modern Alchemy of Carbon Dioxide Extraction. International Journal of Aromatherapy 12 (3), 120–126. doi:1016/S0962-4562(02)00043-7
    7. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2014, August 22). Products – Aromatherapy. Retrieved June 02, 2017, from – View reference
    8. PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. (2007, March 09). Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®). Retrieved June 02, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0032518/

    I started my journey with essential oils about 2 years ago after the birth of my first child. To say that they changed my life forever would be an understatement. I have created a book called "The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Essential Oils" that will teach you about some of the amazing benefits and uses that essential oils can provide in your home. Click here to get the FREE book.

    The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Essential Oils