The science & sense behind essential oils

Ever been curious about the world of essential oils? Us too. Brew yourself a cup of peppermint tea and learn from local dōTERRA oils guru Angie as she sheds some light on the many benefits.

Essential oils, when pure, potent and harmoniously extracted from the plants they are derived from, trigger powerful physiological and emotional responses.  The simultaneous benefits of aromatic plants is by no means a new discovery.  It was recognised by ancient civilisations who incorporated aromatic plants into traditional medicines, rituals and everyday life.

Fast forward thousands of years and aromatherapy today is identified as a distinct discipline with a scientific base that is quickly gaining credibility.  The other notable difference is that we can now enjoy the distilled, expressed or extracted forms of the volatile constituents of these aromatic plants in the form of essential oils to promote health and wellbeing.

In the world of science, it is well-accepted that essential oils can have both pharmacological and psychological benefits.  These benefits can make us feel better physically and emotionally, but it goes beyond that as both of these fundamental modes of action can also affect the physiological processes in our bodies.  For example, topical administration of essential oils can evoke physical and mental relaxation and also induce physiological responses including stress reduction, lower blood pressure and overall improved wellbeing (Price & Price, 2012).

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The pharmacological effects of essential oils are extremely important to note.  After molecules enter our bodies either by inhalation through the nose, transdermal application through the skin or by internal ingestion, they enter our respiratory tract and/or bloodstream.  Here, they selectively bind to specific targets in cells and tissues (mostly proteins or cell membranes) and modify their functional properties.  As a result, they may reduce inflammation in immune cells or help calm the mind by binding to specific receptors in nervous tissue.  These effects are substance-specific which means that a particular molecule or constituent will result in similar effects for everyone.

Our sense of smell mediates the psychological effects of essential oils by binding to olfactory receptors in our nasal cavity.  The neurological processes that follow lead to the experience of smell which impacts our neurophysiological processes including mood, emotions, cognition and behaviour.  These psychological effects are not substance-specific which means our individual responses to different essential oils can, and will, differ greatly.  The psychological effects of scents are genuinely therapeutic and have been found to help reduce pain perception, anxiety and cravings and enhance feelings of optimism.

So, just lifting the lid on a good quality bottle of essential oil can trigger physiological and emotional responses!  Essential oils have an enormous scope of use.  From helping to soothe skin, sore muscles and symptoms of mild tension headaches to supporting sleep, focus and emotional wellbeing, there are literally thousands of applications and benefits.  Further, essential oils high in phenols are known for their strong antimicrobial and antioxidative properties making them wonderful for cleaning and supporting the body’s natural immunity.

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Unfortunately, not all essential oils are created equally.  Labelling laws do not enforce disclosure of full ingredients and choosing a brand of essential oils which is not contaminated during the collection process, or worse still intentionally adulterated to reduce manufacturing costs, is important.

dōTERRA essential oils are exceptional quality and verified pure, authentic and potent.  The plants are grown and harvested in their natural habitat which means you are guaranteed an optimal and effective end product, just as nature intended.  Further, dōTERRA established the CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) process which is a stringent collection of physical, chemical and stability testing procedures applied to every batch to ensure their oils are free of synthetics, additives and harmful contaminants.  Also, more than half of the 45 countries dōTERRA sources its oils from are developing countries.  Every purchase changes growers’ lives and otherwise disadvantaged communities are thriving through initiatives like dōTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing and the dōTERRA Healing Hands Foundation.  Pictured below are the growers and harvesters of dōTERRA’s beautiful and abundant Wintergreen plant in Nepal.

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If you would like to learn more about the extensive benefits of essential oils and how you can incorporate them in your daily life please book yourself in to a FREE Introduction to Essential Oils Class via my website or contact me to arrange an alternative time that suits you.  Not only will you benefit from their use and reduce your toxic load, but you will be empowered to make your own natural products in reusable glass containers and bottles, reducing your impact on the environment as well as cutting costs!

Angie Szczepanik owns and runs Wild Lotus Oils boutique on the Strand Arcade in Penshurst. You can find her Go Local profile over here

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