Essential oils have been around for thousands of years. They are highly concentrated extracts derived from the leaves, flowers, roots, or bark of the plant. When used in personal care applications, they can affect your emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
Essential oils provide numerous health benefits.
While essential oils provide many healthful benefits, caution is advised when using them, especially with pregnant women, young children, and babies. Most oils need to be diluted with what is called a carrier oil; this could be apricot kernel, coconut, almond, or jojoba. Very few essential oils should be used directly on the skin, undiluted, because the concentrated oils can cause severe irritation and other side effects. Some essential oils should never be used for personal care because they are dangerously toxic such as tansy, wintergreen, and wormwood.
A few years back before I knew anything about essential oils, I had often came across the booths at Renaissance Fairs selling tiny bottles of sweet-smelling goodness. I know now, but I didn't know then, that these were essential oils. They were very expensive and, when smelling them directly out of the bottle, had an overpowering scent. I didn't purchase any at the time which is probably a good thing. Not knowing about essentials oils, I probably would have used them undiluted.
Essential oils are also used in aromatherapy, where the intended result is a positive effect on mood by inhaling the scent. The oils activate the hypothalamus in the brain instructing it to release neurochemicals to calm, relax, or stimulate the body. This helps with stress, anxiety, and depression.
Essential oils are also often used as an addition to many DIY homemade household remedies and products. This is where your imagination can go wild and find interesting combinations to use in non-toxic cleaning products, natural chemical-free insect repellents, lotions, shampoos, underarm deodorant, bath products, soap, kitchen cleansers, air fresheners, and much more. Hate doing dishes? Try some clary sage and lemon in your dish soap for an aromatherapeutic pick-me-up!
Essentials oils don't just provide lovely scents, they also have healthful benefits to the body.