What Are Essential Oils? Learn the Basics

What are essential oils
By Jean Sell Hector
We all want our families and loved ones to be healthy, and we’ve all heard about the latest and greatest health phenomenon recently—essential oils. But what in the world are essential oils? Do you know enough about them to use them with confidence? Can you teach your children about them?

I was introduced to essential oils four years ago by my daughter-in-law. I tried them and found that they worked very well for me. Soon, our entire family was using them and liking them—even the guys would ask for them when they had a dire need. That says a great deal in our house. Despite all of this success, I was clueless as to what they actually were and how they worked. I knew they were from plants; I knew they smelled good (some of them anyway), and I knew they did some pretty amazing things for my family in certain circumstances.

Being a homeschooling mom for over 25 years, I decided to do what I always do when I want to teach a subject and I began to learn. I’ve always been one of those moms who teach with an eclectic style.

So What Are Essential Oils?

A basic definition of essential oils is

Volatile, odoriferous oils from certain vegetation that give plants their characteristic odors and often other properties.

Essential Oils are obtained from various parts of the plants through extraction using such methods as steam distillation or cold expression, to name a few. Sometimes referred to as resin, the oils are usually mixtures of natural chemical constituents and are used often in the form of essences for perfumes and flavorings. These smells affect the limbic or memory center of the brain, entering through the nose. Essential oils have a small molecular size and are known to cross the Blood Brain Barrier.

Essential oils turn into vapor at room temperature and are often dispersed throughout a room using a diffuser, to give a pleasant fragrance to an area. They should be stored in dark glass bottles, in a cool, dry area. Some oils, such as particular citrus oils, have a shorter shelf life.

How Are Essential Oils Used?

The most common ways of applying the essential oils are through massage, aromatherapy or ingestion, depending on the kind of oil you are using. Two main methods that are known to be the quickest methods of application include rubbing on the bottoms of the feet or smelling them. Adding the oils in the neat (undiluted) state to the body is one way to apply them, the other is using them with a carrier (base) oil of a larger molecular size, such as coconut or almond oil. Keeping a carrier oil nearby is important should there be any kind of mucous membrane irritation, such as with the eyes or ears, or even skin redness. Just apply the carrier oil to the area.

Note: This information has not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is for informational use only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, or prescribe treatment for any disease or illness.

Jean Sell Hector is a veteran homeschool mother and grandmother. She lives on 20 acres with her firefighter husband, Dave, and seven of their nine children. Jean and her daughter-in-law, Tiffany McDonald Hector, are awaiting the release of their new two volume book set: Rediscovering Wellness: The Art of Essential Oils. Find out more at www.healthymountain.net.

1 thought on “What Are Essential Oils? Learn the Basics

  1. Marla – The color and composition are just fstanatic Elaine! And I love the subjects as well. Hoping someday I’ll have the same opportunity. =) And I will be thinking hopeful thoughts for you in regards to your hard drive, I can only imagine how nerve wracking that must be! You might look into backblaze for the future.

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