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The Truth About Essential Oils

Let's talk about Essential Oils: What are they, their origin, their different uses, and where they can be found.

If you have any interest in anything that has to do with scent, aromatherapy or natural living, then you have certainly heard of essential oils. They are a form of concentrated liquid, distilled from almost all parts of a plant, including flowers, leaves, roots, stems, and barks. Essential oils have a very distinctive scent that comes from the "essence" of the plant.


Essential oils are believed to have many health benefits. They are all natural antiseptics. While some are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, others are antibiotics or antiviral. They seem to have been used by all ancient civilizations to not only anoint themselves, but also to alleviate pain and enhance moods. Traces of essential oils were found in mummies bandages. The knowledge, extraction techniques and uses of essential oils have evolved and passed on over time and down generations with countless books and articles published on the subject.


Essential oils are very much widely used in perfume making, beauty products and household cleaning items. They also play a crucial role in Aromatherapy, an ancient three thousand year old practice that uses essential oils for mental and physical well-being. I have always loved perfume for as long as I can remember, but was barely exposed to essential oils until I was a full blown adult. A few years ago, one of my colleagues at the office was into herbal healing and always carried an array of oils in her purse. She would never offer a pill or syrup when one of us complained of headaches or other pains. She would just pick a scent, ask you to inhale it and rub it on your forehead and temples to feel better. I have to admit, I didn't become a believer until the day I took a leap of faith or my migraine was just too unbearable and needed some sort of relief, either way, I tried her peppermint essential oil. The scent lingered on my fingers and my skin for hours, making me close my eyes for a moment, basking in the possibility of this actually working. And it did. How was that possible?

They also play a crucial role in Aromatherapy, an ancient three thousand year old practice that uses essential oils for mental and physical well-being.

I started researching essential oils and fell into a well of life changing information that will become part of my journey. I discovered for example that lavender essential oil is used as a calming and relaxing agent. It is also used to promote deep sleep and heal burns and wounds. In fact, that's how Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French Chemist, accidentally discovered its therapeutic properties when after burning his hand in a laboratory explosion, he rapidly immersed it into lavender essential oil. His wound started healing the next day. Gattefosse attributed the name Aromatherapy to the healing process and it became the title of a book he wrote in 1937.

Where to find essential oils?

Essential oils can be found in any natural, botanical or organic store. There are also a long list of online sites where they are available to purchase. However, if you're feeling particularly daring and want to venture into making your own essential, truth be told, they can be pricey, head over to Pinterest where you will find a well full of recipes.

For all of their positive attributes, essential oils also come with some warnings. Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin or ingested given their concentrated nature. They can cause serious health complications. Always keep them away from children.

Do you use essential oils or believe in their healing properties? Would you make them? Sound off in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

Photography by ZanouNelie


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