Archive for the ‘FAQ’s’ Category

Essential Oils: Why is Quality Important?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Essential oils (EO’s) are extremely complex in nature.  They have between 200-500 different chemical components.  And it is because of this diffuse chemical structure, that essential oils have a wide range of healing properties.  However, only high quality (EO’s) will be extremely complex.  When you use lower quality essential oils, many of the nuances associated with that oil, will no longer be there.  For instance, both high and low quality essential oils may work well topically, but  when applied subtlety (energetically), only the higher quality EO will actually work.

Adulteration is another reason to buy high quality essential oils and to know your supplier.  What are their essential oils standards?  Where are they getting their essential oils?  Are the essential oils processed at a low temperature?  All of these questions are relevant when looking for high quality oils.

It is also important to buy organic and/or wildcrafted essential oils whenever possible.  Any pesticides used when the plant were grown, will become concentrated during processing.

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Essential Oils: Should We Use Them Undiluted on Our Skin?

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

This is a rather controversial topic.  In one camp we have the followers of essential oil guru Gary Young, who developed the now famous RainDrop Therapy.  And in the other one, are the clinical aromatherapists, who are dead set against using undiluted oils on your skin.  So what’s going on?

I think the first thing we must ascertain is, what are the risks? As I have said before, essential oils (EO’s) do not stay in your body very long (4-6 hours).  So putting undiluted essential oils on the body, runs the risk of liver damage.  Essential oils are also highly concentrated liquids from plants, and many of them are what you would term “hot”.  This means that when put on the skin undiluted, you run the risk of burning your client.  Even if the EO is not “hot”, there is still the risk of irritation.  And last, but certainly not least, is the risk of sensitization.   This means that by getting a huge blast of EO’s, some people may develop an allergic reaction to all EO’s.

What responsibilities do we have as practitioners? Because our clients put their trust in us, we need to be well informed about many facets of the essential oils we are using.  This usually takes years of study and/or training.  I would also hope that all practitioners keep their client’s best interests at heart and not take risks with their health.

In the 20 years I’ve been working with essential oils, my experience has been that less is more.  In the end, this is your decision to make.  But unlike ingesting EO’s, this decision includes someone else.  So choose wisely.

Please tell us your opinions about this controversial topic!

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Essential Oils: Should We Ingest Them?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

There is a lot of conflicting information out there concerning this topic.  Old school people will tell you absolutely not!  Yet, I see over and over again on reputable sights, such as the AIA (Association for International Aromatherapists) newsletter, recipes on how to cook with them.  Then, there are those who put essential oils in water  or capsules and ingest them for one reason or another.  What’s a person to do?

In the end, you will have to decide for yourself.  However, in the meantime, here’s the scoop on essential oils.  Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids from plants, and many of them are what you would term “hot”.  This means that if you were to ingest them, chances are they would burn your throat and other body parts as they went down to your stomach.  Essential oils also do not mix with water.  So, if you used this medium you would still be getting the essential oil’s  full strength in your body.

Essential oils also do not stay in your body very long.  They are there only 4-6 hours.  And because of this, ingesting them would probably stress or possibly damage your liver.  Taking them in a capsule, will help your throat, but it will not help your liver.  Our bodies deal with so many environmental and food toxins everyday as it is.  Is is wise to feed it something else that may also harm it?  Liver damage is also hard to detect.

So if you are tempted, you need to ask yourself some serious questions.  Why do I want to do this?  And is it important enough to risk bodily harm?  My answer to this dilemma is to side with caution,  and not ingest essential oils.

Please share your opinions about this!

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Essential Oils: Did the Ancients Use Them?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Although ancient people did use plants for their rituals, incense,  medicines, and embalming  practices, they were not using essential oils as we know them today.  Instead, they worked with macerates or infused oils.  These are made by placing plant leaves, petals and sometimes stalks in a vegetable oil, letting it sit in a warm place for 2-3 weeks.  As the plant material turned brown, during this process, it was replaced with fresh plant parts.  This action continued until the desired infused strength was reached.

The Persians and people from India also used Attars.  Although the extraction method is classified as steam distillation, the end product is very different from our western essential oils.  During or directly after the extraction of the plant essence, it was mixed with Sandalwood or another fixative.  This expanded the bouquet and enabled it to be long-lasting.  This method was usually used to make perfumes.  Historical records show that this method began during the 10th century AD and the Persians are given credit for it’s invention.

The ancients also used resins from trees such as pine, frankincense and myrrh to make incense  and medicinal goods.

Essential oils as we know them today in the west, are relatively new.  They were first brought into use by European scientists and doctors around 1907.  Then in 1937, the Father of today’s aromatherapy movement, French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, popularized the word aromatherapy.  Since then, essential oils have been made and used all over the world.

Do you have anything to add to the history of essential oils?


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