Can you believe it was only in 1928 essential began to be used therapeutically?
The term aromatherapy was coined by Rene- Maurice Gattfosse, a french perfume chemist. it is said that he burned his hand accidentally placed it in pure lavender oil which he found relieved his pain and healed his hand quickly. From there on essential oils have been studied for their therapeutic effect.
There is an art and science to aromatherapy. Knowing the science you can learn the chemistry of essential oils and understand how they work on the body emotionally and physically.
Understanding the chemistry alone does not give us the bigger picture for using essential oils in aromatherapy. Our sense of smell and our bodies are complex and it takes creativity to utilize the oils in a therapeutic manner.
Using and learning about essential oils will help become more creative, efficient, and effective in utilizing their powerful healing properties.
I know I said we only began using essential oils in the '20s however, ancient civilizations used essential oils but extracted them differently(tinctures, macerations, unguents, or incense).
We evolved from using the whole plant for its therapeutic benefits to today using very concentrated plant essences found in essential oils, using extraction methods such as CO2.
Extracting essential oil depends on the plants but these are a few methods used:
Essential oils are called essential because they are derived from the root, flowers, leaves, or other plant parts by steam, water steam, or water distillation.
Also known as cold pressing, mainly used on citrus rinds. The rinds are pressed breaking sack, thereafter the oil is separate from their juices. This is extraction method also produced oils called "essential oils".
Absolutes, solvent extraction
Mainly used on delicate flowers that would be damaged by steam distillation. Hoxane is a solvent primarily used to separate the essences from the plant materials, giving us a fragrant oil, or absolute. They are not classified as essential oils.
Superficial CO2 extraction
Pressurized CO2 diffuses through the plants and extracts their essences, these aromas are close to the essence of the whole plant and contain therapeutic benefits but are not called essential oils.
Understanding the oil's chemical structure will help you understand the benefits it contains. An example of this would be lavender, which one of its chemical compounds is linalool which can ease anxiety. Linalool will act as a cell receptor or as a trigger to the release of your ow transmitter molecule to the limbic part of the brain.
This interaction between essential oils and humans is complex and there is still a lot to learn.
Each essential oil has multiple therapeutic benefits, for example, lavender has the ability to relax you, relieve pain and heal wounds. Essential oils make great home care remedies and have been shown to have pharmaceutical-like properties.
These studies show how essential oils work, lets use lemongrass and cinnamon, which kill bacteria by disrupting the cellular function in a way that makes it difficult for the bacteria to become resistant. Essenial oils perform in a similar way as do pharmaceuticals but their synergy makes it difficult for us to know exactly how they work.
Science does support the benefits of using essential oils for holistic home use. Therefore, make sure you know all about your oils and use them safely.
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