what are essential oils?

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

Essential oils are powerful, concentrated oils extracted from different parts of a plant - the stalk, stem, branches, leaves, flowers, sap, resin or root. Oils can be extracted from trees, shrubs, vines and fruits. There are three main extraction methods - steam distillation, cold pressing or solvent extraction. Cold steam distillation best preserves the plants' potent constituents. It's also the slowest and most expensive method.

What makes essential oils so powerful, and makes otherwise rational, level-headed types like me go ga-ga over them, are the chemical components and their respective healing properties. Truly Mother Nature is the greatest chemist of them all. Now, I do not pretend to understand even a tenth of the chemistry behind the power of essential oils. No more than I understand why or how my cell phone works. I just know that I tap the Instagram icon with my finger, and immediately I am up to date with Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and all is right in my world. Oils are like that too. I don't know how they work. I just know they do.

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians utilized oils medicinally, cosmetically and in spiritual practice. The ancient Chinese, Greeks and Persians all used and touted the benefits of essential oils. It is really only in modern times that we have come to view with skepticism that which has been trusted and proven over and over for centuries.

Essential oils can be used to support and promote a strong immune system, for soothing minor skin irritations, for relaxing and restful sleep, for elevating mood, during spiritual practice, and for supporting healthy, vibrant skin.

Here are a few of my favorite essential oils and how I use them:

Remember when I said that cold steam distillation is the best extraction method? Well, that is how Young Living does it, which is one of the many reasons I trust the company and buy my oils from them. They also own their own farms (or source from fully vetted farms), they distill and bottle the product themselves, and there are no pesticides, insecticides or fertilizers used in the growing and harvesting of their plants. Even the land they farm is virgin soil - never farmed before so there are no legacy chemicals in the ground.

Stick around and I'll show you three different ways to use essential oils!

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