Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that retain the natural smell and taste of the plant. Unlike synthetic oils, they’re safe to cook with, and some of them are even beneficial for your health.
The chemical composition of an essential oil varies from plant to plant and is affected by factors like the environment, time, and method of harvesting. So it’s important to use them in moderation, and a qualified health care professional can guide you on the right dosage for your specific needs.
They are extracted from plants
Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds produced by specialised glands in various parts of plants, including flowers, fruits, seeds, wood, bark and twigs. They have a number of therapeutic properties and can be used to treat a range of ailments.
Essential oil extraction is a natural process that involves extracting plant material from its source and separating the volatile, aromatic compounds into separate oils. The extracted oil is then sold or used to make various products.
Steam distillation is the most common method of removing essential oil from plants. It exploits the fact that boiling water vaporizes the plant material and carries with it the essential oils and other volatile compounds.
This can be done by placing the plant material in a large container called a still and adding steam to it. The vaporized essential oil and water vapor then pass through a condenser and return to a liquid state. This process can take hours or days depending on the plant.
They are used to treat a variety of physical and mental illnesses
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that contain active compounds with therapeutic benefits. They can be extracted from a variety of parts of the plant, including seeds, bark, roots, leaves, stems, rinds and fruit.
They may be inhaled or absorbed into the body through skin contact. They have been used for thousands of years to treat a wide range of physical and mental illnesses.
Several essential oils have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, relieve pain and help with digestion. These include lavender, chamomile, bergamot, and sweet marjoram.
The psychological effects of essential oils are thought to be transmitted from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain, where they act as natural mood enhancers. Mack says that psychological reactions to essential oils tend to be subjective, as scents can mean different things to people.
They are safe to use
Essential oils are safe to use as long as they’re extracted from plants properly and you dilute them well. However, they aren’t without their risks.
One of the main concerns about using them is that they may cause skin irritation and respiratory problems. Additionally, they can act as endocrine disruptors, which can affect hormone levels in the body.
This can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, poor sleep, mood swings and irritability.
To avoid these complications, make sure you choose quality essential oils from a reputable company. Look for a label that includes the plant’s Latin name, purity and other information.
They are not without risk
There are many potential risks associated with using essential oils, including toxicity when ingested. These oils can cause a range of symptoms from nausea to breathing problems and even death, according to the Australian Poisons Information Centre (APIC).
In addition, some oils interact with certain medications or are not recommended for people who have certain medical conditions. This makes it important to know what oils are safe to use and how to properly apply them, says Koeppen.
Luckily, if you use essential oils responsibly and in moderation, they can be a safe and effective way to improve your health. However, it’s still a good idea to speak with your doctor about their safety before you start using them.