What are essential oils?

what are essential oils

Essential oils are becoming increasingly popular for all kinds of reasons. But the question is – what ARE essential oils? And why are they SO useful?

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils, known as nature’s living energy, are natural, aromatic, volatile (can evaporate) liquids distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bark, and seeds. They have the characteristics and natural smell of the plant they are derived from. I like to call them plant magic.

The true definition of an essential oil is that it is extracted from an aromatic plant source via steam distillation.

However the term is loosely used these days to include other plant botanicals such as citrus oils (Orange, Lemon, Bergamot) which are extracted using cold press methods and absolutes (Jasmine, Neroli) which are extracted using a solvent.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and far more potent than dry herbs as it takes a lot of plant material to make even a single drop.

More than just a nice smell?

While some essential oils have a pleasant aroma (and some don’t!), their chemical makeup is complex and the benefits they can offer us are huge. Which makes them much more than something that simply smells good.

what are essential oils

Historically, plant botanicals have played a prominent role in everyday life. With more than 200 references to aromatics, incense, and ointments throughout the Bible, plant botanicals were used for anointing as well as in healing rituals.

Today, the most popular plant botanicals used are essential oils. They’re used for aromatherapy, massage therapy, emotional wellness, personal care, nutritional supplements, household cleaning, and much more.

Young Living Essential Oils, the World Leader in essential oils. They offer more than 300 essential oil singles and blends. All Young Living essential oils meet the Young Living Seed to Seal standard.

This means that every essential oil Young Living distils on it’s own farms, it’s partner farms or that it sources from suppliers has met the Seed to Seal Standards.

That means the essential oil has the optimal naturally-occurring blend of constituents to maximise the desired effect.

From even before the seeds are planted in the ground to the time the bottle is sealed and shipped to you, Young Living is maintaining the highest quality standards in the industry. This along with their continued commitment to being an innovator in the industry is what sets them apart.

Essential Oils through the Ages

Plant Botanicals were considered mankind’s first medicine and have been used around the world for centuries. Plant Botanicals and other aromatics have been used in religious ceremonies, healing rituals, and for other physical and spiritual needs from as long as we have documented history.

I use the word plant botanicals rather than essential oils because in ancient times, before the invention of the Avicenna’s refrigerated coil, plant materials were not able to be steam distilled. In order to use the plant material they would macerate the plant matter and steep it in an oil or a fat to apply it. It wasn’t technically speaking an essential oil.

Research dates the use of plant botanicals back to 4500 BC. Ancient Egyptians were the first to discover the potential of fragrance, and records demonstrate that oils and aromatics were used in healing rituals and performing religious ceremonies in temples and pyramids.

In fact, three oils that are still commonly used today—cedarwood, myrrh, and frankincense—were used in the embalming process for Egyptian mummies.

According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, priests and physicians used oils thousand of years before the time of Christ. There are more than 188 references to oils, perfumes and incense in the Bible.

Some precious oils like frankincense, myrrh, rosemary, cassia, and cinnamon were used for the anointing and as part of healing rituals Additionally, biblical prophets recognised the use of essential oils as protection against evil spirits.

The reintroduction of plant botanicals into modern medicine first began during the late 19th and early 20th centuries through the discoveries of people such as Rene-Maurice Gattefosse and Jean Valnet. 

You can read more about the History of Essential Oils here.

Since that time essential oils have been used for physical reasons through massage and beauty treatments, as well as spiritually to balance mood, lift spirits, and dispel negative emotions.

Gary Young – essential oil pioneer

Gary Young, the Founder of Young Living was definitely a pioneer in the essential oil world. I think of him as the Yoda of essential oils! In fact, you really can’t talk about what essential oils are without mentioning Gary’s contribution.

Gary designed and built many cookers and distilleries, some of which I have been fortunate enough to have visited. He was a true visionary who led the way in the essential oil movement for the past 25 years.

I’ve was privileged to meet him numerous times over the years and I’ve personally witnessed his passion as well as his knowledge in the area of essential oils and natural wellness. He’s been an inspiration to me – and to SO many others through the years.

Be Part of a Community

One of the best things I have found from being associated with Young Living is the training and support provided by the company. You don’t just buy your kit and fend for yourself. There is tonnes of education to help you make the most of your products. If you would like to get started simply click the link below.

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