What is aromatherapy and what are essential oils?

Heather Campbell
 min read

To understand what is aromatherapy, we must understand essential oils.

What is aromatherapy and what are essential oils?The aromatic essence extracted from a plant is the essential oil. This almost evanescent compound reflects the personality and aura of the plant.

Some even say essential oil is the plant’s soul. This substance appears as a more or less oily liquid, which explains its name.

Aromatherapy is treating oneself with essential oils. Whether it is anxiety, skin problems, aches and pains or even fatigue, many ailments can be treated successfully with essential oils. Aromatherapy is a long-experienced practice of medical treatments by plants.

Essential oils contain a variety of hormones, vitamins and chemical elements necessary for the performance of the different functions of the plant.

For example, the flower’s essence attracts insects at the time of pollination. Inside a tree, the essential oil turns into a resin that can heal the tree’s wounds caused by bad weather.

Essential oils are also very complex organisms and a precious gift nature has given to human beings.

Indeed, they are used daily to refresh the atmosphere, enrich certain foods, and cure certain ailments of our body and mind.

What is aromatherapy?

To give you an example, aspirin comes from the willow tree and more precisely from its active principle: salicin.

Then, a German firm decided to create the first industrial pharmacy laboratory and in 1889, it launched aspirin on the market.

Another example, cold symptoms have long been treated with Vicks Vaporub. Their main ingredients are essential oils (eucalyptus, nutmeg, cedar leaf, etc.).

It is important to know the jargon of aromatherapy to better understand the remarkable way in which essential oils act in the treatment of all ailments (whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual).

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most commonly used terms in aromatherapy.

Essential oils

It is important to know that essential oils are aromatic principles obtained by steam distillation or by expression.

We speak of “absolute” or “pure” and natural oil when it is an essential oil directly from the plant without being mixed or even cut with oils or synthetic molecules.

For example, the composition of a pure jasmine essential oil requires 1100 pounds (lb) of flowers to obtain one teaspoon of this oil.

Tip: For a list of basic essential oils and their benefits, check out our other article Important essential oils to have in your collection and their benefits

Mixed oils

Blends of essential oils are sometimes proposed to promote the synergy of essences in the following cases:

  • The treatment of a disease
  • The creation of a perfume
  • Or the preparation of a massage oil.

For therapeutic use, it is necessary to seek the advice of a physician or pharmacist before making up mixtures.

The active products present in essential oils can cause intoxication.

It is recommended that you assemble between two and a maximum of four essential oils in the same container to treat the following ailments:

  • Painful or infectious organic diseases
  • Chronic diseases such as digestive problems
  • Pain management
  • Dermatological, urinary or respiratory problems.

Carrier oils

We all know that oil and water are two components that do not mix and it is the same with essential oils: you cannot mix them with any liquid to dilute them. Carrier oils or base oils are used for this.

Carrier oils are an excellent base for diluting essential oils because they too are oil based. Think of the jojoba, the sweet almond, the macadamia or the core of apricot for an external use in application on the skin.

As most essential oils are highly concentrated,  a few drops are diluted in a carrier oil before being directly applied to the skin.

In the context of a massage, the purpose of the carrier oil is to conserve moisture and prevent the essential oils from evaporating too quickly. Thus, the oil penetrates the skin and the essences enter the body and become active.

Related post: Essential oils for stress relief: List of best calming options

What is aromatherapy? Conclusion

Aromatherapy is the application and use of natural oils for our benefit.

Essential oils are applicable in many fields. Their fields of application and their properties are certainly not all known at the present time.

Let us also underline that the purity of an essential oil will also determine its price and make it cheaper, but it will also impinge on its purity.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More