Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support health and well-being. However, some of the health claims associated with these oils are controversial.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant’s scent and flavor, or “essence.” Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essence. Essential oils are obtained through distillation (via steam and/or water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing. Once the aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to create a product that’s ready for use.
How do essential oils work?
When applied to your skin, some plant chemicals are absorbed. It’s thought that certain application methods can improve absorption, such as applying with heat or to different areas of the body. Inhaling the aromas from essential oils can stimulate areas of your limbic system, which is a part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell, and long-term memory.
How to Apply Essential Oils
- Through smell.
- Diffusing in an essential oil diffuser
- Applying a drop to your hands and inhaling
- Wearing as a personal fragrance
- On your skin.
- Apply to targeted areas and rub in
- Add to lotions or moisturizers
- Add to a glass of water
- Take in a veggie capsule
- Put a drop under your tongue