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Essential Oils: An Overview

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 12

Essential oils were almost obsolete a few decades ago, as people began searching for quick fixes with the hope of instant gratification.   Today as people become more health conscious and are in search of natural and holistic treatments and a healthier way of life; essential oils are rapidly making their way back.


What Are Essential Oils

Essential oils are powerful concentrated liquids extracted from the flowers, leaves, roots, stems, fruits, and seeds of plants.  There are over 350 varieties, and as the number increases, it is proven that there is no limit to the number of plants from which these oils can be extracted.   Although not classified as medication, they are known for healing many physical ailments, used in health, beauty and cleaning products, and is also the most important ingredient of aromatheraphy.  



Although widely known for their versatility and vast benefits, because of their potency, they could be potentially harmful if used improperly.  Research has shown that some animals, including cats have a high level of intolerance and simply using them on yourself can pose danger to your pets.  Some physicians warn against use during

pregnancy.  In addition, there are some oils that serve specific purposes because of their antibacterial and sedative properties and should never be used on the body or ingested.  On the other hand, there are some that serve multiple purposes within the food and beauty industry.  Most importantly, before application or use, seek the advice of a healthcare professional or do proper research.



Essential oils are not only endless in variety and benefits, but also have a solid history dating back to ancient Egyptian times.  Even before the birth of Christ, the bible makes several references to the use of oils recorded in Genesis 28:18, Exodus 25:6, and Psalm 89:20.  The Egyptians are known as the first to discover and use essential oils in treating illnesses and other physical issues, in embalming, celebrations, and religious ceremonies, as well as aromatherapy

The Chinese and Indians discovered the benefits of essential oils while trading with the Egyptians and had already incorporated the use of oils in their culture before knowledge was passed to the Greeks.  

Documents dated between 460-377 B.C. reveals that the brilliant Greek physician, Hypocrites (known as the father of medicine) studied and recorded the effects of hundreds of plants, and revolutionized the use of oils in medicine and holistic treatments.  As time went on, the knowledge of essential oils spread to other cultures throughout theMiddle EastandEurope, and eventually to other parts of the world.


 Method Used to Produce Oils

There are several methods used to produce essential oils, namely; steam distillation, co2 extraction, cold press, and enfleurage.  The method used, and the type of plants; organic or chemically treated, determines the quality.  According to research, oils extracted from organic plants are superior in quality; taking into consideration cultivation, and climatic conditions and geographic location.  During extraction, temperature, time, and pressure are closely monitored to produce the best results.


 Some Wonderful Uses for Essential Oils

Hair care


Skin care

Bug bites


Sinus & Bronchial problems


Creams, perfumes, soaps, lotions


Fungal infections


Anxiety & Stress


Before Buying

As demand increases, so do the counterfeits and low-grade quality oils.  Shelf-life, price, packaging, oils imported, oils sold at flea market and swap meets are often impure 
and ineffective.   When purchasing, choose a reputable source such as Mountainroseherb that farms organically, produces their oils, takes pride in sustaining the environment, and revealed details about their company’s operation.




May 12, 2012 10:05am
Thanks for great information about essential oils
May 12, 2012 4:29pm
Thanks for the comment and for finding the article informative.
May 12, 2012 11:54am
A lot of people think essential oils are just perfumery, but they really benefit health. Great article.
May 12, 2012 4:26pm
My sister was the one who introduced me to essential oils a couple years ago. The more I use them, is the more impressed I am with their health benefits. Glad you like the article!
May 12, 2012 4:44pm
Great article Shivon - well done.
May 13, 2012 5:25pm
Thanks JJ...glad you like the article and thanks for the encouragement.
May 13, 2012 3:55am
I didn't even know about all the ways to use the oils. Great article!
May 13, 2012 5:27pm
Thanks for your comment, and for finding the article informative.
Jul 3, 2012 7:13pm
Nice article on essential oils. I only use the oils that are basically liquid incense. The oils you have written about are much stronger.
Aug 16, 2012 2:59pm
Yes, these oils are much stronger, and should be used carefully. Thanks for reading an liking the article!
Aug 14, 2012 7:26pm
I've never been able to be around essential oils, but I have recently discovered that steam distillation is the only method that is corn derivative free. Mountain Rose Herbs is who most of the corn avoidance people purchase their essential oils from since it's steam distilled. I still haven't been brave enough to try them yet. Thanks for such an informative article.
Aug 16, 2012 2:57pm
You should definitely try some of Mountainrose oils and herbs. Their quality is superior to many others. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment
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