7 Truths Everyone Needs to Know About Essential Oils

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The benefits of plants are finally getting center stage thanks to the growing ranks of health-conscious individuals who recognize the power of Mother Nature’s gifts.  Many are adopting plant-based diets, using essential oils, and heading to the farm rather than the pharmacy.  There is a pervasive movement of people who care about limiting their exposure to toxins in food, skin care, cleaning supplies, and medicine.

Pick up just about any product at the store, and a quick review of its ingredients reads like a foreign language—unpronounceable and unfamiliar.   It raises the question: what can we do to counter the cumulative daily impact of those chemicals to our bodies?  The short answer: consistently put the building blocks of health in place to lead a more viable life now and in the future.   The use of essential oils is one of the primary blocks, and there are seven real truths that everyone needs to know about these plant powerhouses.

1. What are essential oils?

Essential oils are liquids which are extracted from plants (think flowers, stems, leaves, roots) through a process called steam distillation. Highly concentrated, they contain the true essence of the plants.  Although oil is part of the name, they don’t leave an oily residue on the skin. They are often used for therapeutic purposes.

2. Not all oils are created equal.

When shopping for oils, it is not always apples to apples.  Compare and get to know the brands.  Find reliable companies that have sourced quality ingredients.  Look for essential oils that have not been adulterated with chemicals or artificially created.  Essential oils and fragrance oils are not the same and do not offer the same benefits.

3. The aroma of essential oils can influence your mood. 

Think about those times you’ve walked into your home or a bakery, and the enticing scent of cookies has permeated the air, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.   Essential oils deliver those same emotional connections.  Oils like lavender and rose can be calming.  While the scent of orange is a mood booster and spearmint is energizing.

4. Good for the nose, literally.

In addition to influencing mood, there are essential oils that help the body as well.  This time of year, eucalyptus oil is a good one to have on hand as a remedy for a stuffy nose.  Herbalists suggest adding a few drops to a hot bath to open up blocked sinuses.

5. All in the name of beauty.

Essential oils are a basic staple for beauty needs.  Take clary sage oil as an example, not only is it used as a natural fragrance, but it has both astringent and anti-wrinkle properties.  And while most people think of basil front and center in a caprese salad or on top of spaghetti, it has beauty uses too.  When distilled into an essential oil, basil oil has detoxifying properties and is often used for acne prone skin.

6. And the award for most versatile goes to…

Tea tree oil, although its aroma takes a bit of getting used to, is extremely versatile.  It is widely used for its antiseptic and germicidal properties on cuts and insect bites, warts, athlete’s foot, and ringworm.  It is also found in a variety of products ranging from toothpaste, masks and moisturizers, to shampoo.

7. Know how to use them.

Essential oils have an incredible array of practical uses and therapeutic benefits.  It is important to know that there are safe and unsafe ways to use them.  This is where reading up on their proper use and consulting with trained professionals is key to continuing on your path to long term, vibrant health.

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