Aromatherapy is the art and science of using plant extracts to treat a variety for health and beauty problems.It is a complex science dating back to the ancient Egyptians. Archaeologists has discovered essential oils in animal fats in the mummy's tombs along with distillation pots. The Chinese and Indian cultures also used aromatherapy at an early age. It is the basis of the Indian practice of Aryuveda. It enjoyed popularity during the Renaissance.
Modern day aromatherapy was "discovered" in 1937 by French chemist Renee Maurice Gattefosse when he burned his hand while working in his laboratory. He immediately applied pure lavender oil and was amazed at the beneficial result in rapid wound healing.
Essential oils are prepared from the stems, bark, flowers and berries of plants and fruits and vegetables. They are used by the plants for infection control, humidity control, hormonal effects, wound healing and attracting and repelling birds, insects and animals. They are sourced all over the world, with some rare and expensive oils coming from Morocco and the Middle East. The cost of oils varies widely, depending on their source region and the method of preparation.
Essential oils can be steam distilled, expressed or produced through supercritical CO 2 e traction. This last method results in a product that is very close to the raw material. Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways. They can be applied topically, as skin is somewhat permeable. When used topically, heat and or massage will increase the absorption of the oils. They can also be inhaled through the nose and mouth, which is the fastest method of absorption. They can also be ingested, but great care must be taken, as many oils can be toxic to the liver and kidneys and they may interact with medications.
Inhalation through the nose or mouth introduces oils to the olfactory system, which includes organs and cells relating and contributing to the sense of smell. Airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and immediately impact the brain. The Lambic system, or emotional brain, is directly connected to the part of the brain that controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance. This relationship explains why smell often triggers emotions. For this reason, essential oils have very profound psychological and physiological effects.
You can use essential oils for a variety for health and beauty concerns.
Here is a list of common essential oils and their applications: