Essential Oils are volatile, aromatic, hydrophobic/lipophilic, liquid chemical compounds derived from the different parts of plants. Let us break down and understand each part of this definition –

  1. Volatile: They easily evaporate at room temperature.
  2. Aromatic: Each essential oil has its unique aroma.
  3. Chemical: They belong to the broader group of chemicals like alcohol, esters, ketones, phenols, terpenes and aldehydes. These varied chemical compositions offer them not only their particular aroma but also the ability to be used for specific health conditions.
  4. Hydrophobic/lipophilic: They don’t dissolve in water but are easily mixed with other oils like Carrier Oils or other Essential Oils.
  5. Different parts of plants: Common parts include flowers and flowering tops, leaves, rind of fruits, stem, bark, resin, seeds and roots.

An Essential Oil is named ‘Essential’ because it carries the ‘Essence’ of the plant, particularly the fragrance. Out of the numerous varieties of plant species, only a few thousands of them produce Essential Oils; and only a few hundreds have therapeutic benefits. See how precious they are!

They have the unique ability to act not only on biochemical, cellular and physical levels but also on the emotional, intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic areas of life. These benefits are achieved by using them in different ways like inhalation, topical application or internal usage. There are hundreds of methods to use them in daily life. Some of them include –

  • Diffusers
  • Creams and Lotions
  • Skin Compression
  • Baths and Face Masks
  • Face and Body Oils
  • Cotton Swabs, Pillows, etc.

Apart from Aromatherapy, they are also useful in day-to-day cleaning and disinfecting of surrounding areas, cooking, taking care of pets and animals, gardening, etc.

They act synergistically and their therapeutic benefits are multiplied when they are mixed with each other in right combinations and proportions.

Surprisingly, not all Essential Oils smell nice. There are many oils that don’t have a pleasant smell. Oils like Petitgrain, Patchouli, Chamomile German have a limited number of admirers. Of course, smell is a very subjective phenomenon!

Some interesting facts:

  1. Did you know that even plants use their own oils in various ways? They use these oils as a defence mechanism against predators, infection and wound healing, attracting the birds and bees to promote the pollination, to communicate with other plants, slowing the growth of competing nearby species and so on.
  2. Though they are called ‘oils’ because of their chemical properties, Essential Oils don’t feel slimy like oils!

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