Hi friends! Let’s talk about essential oils. What is essential oil and what does it do? I’m going to give you a run down on 5 things you should know about essential oils that will hopefully clear some things up for you, so let’s get started!
1. What are essential oils?
In a nutshell, essential oil is the vital and aromatic liquid extracted from plants. Essential oils come from many different flowers, trees, shrubs, roots and seeds. It’s usually extracted through steam distillation, but that depends on the type of plant being used. Rose essential oil, for example, is made from steam distilling huge quantities of rose petals, and orange essential oil is made from cold-pressing very large quantities of orange rinds.
2. Essential oils are highly concentrated!
It takes about 5,000 pounds to make just one kilo of rose essential oil, which translates to 22 lbs of rose petals to make a single 5 ml bottle of rose essential oil. Because it takes so much plant matter to make such a small amount of essential oil, these oils are very potent. One drop of essential oil contains approximately 40 million trillion molecules! Just so you know what that looks like numerically, that’s a 4 with 19 zeros after it. Crazy, right? I know that sounds like a made up number, but it’s true. To give you an idea of what that means for you, human bodies consist of around 100 trillion cells, so one drop of essential oil has enough molecules to deliver around 40,000 molecules of EO goodness to every one of the cells in our bodies. Essential oils are super concentrated, so a little goes a long way!
3. Essential oils are more than just a pretty smell.
Yes, they do smell amazing but there is more to the story than that. Essential oil is the lifeblood of the plant because the oil protects the plant from disease, provides oxygen and nutrients to the plant and helps it to fight off anything it doesn’t want. You can think of essential oil as the plant’s immune system. When you and I use therapeutic grade essential oils the trillions of teeny tiny molecules are quickly absorbed by our bodies and they immediately go to work at the cellular level, helping us to eliminate toxins in our bodies. Meanwhile, the fragrance of the oil works on the limbic system, the emotional processing center of the brain. The limbic system is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance which is why some oils can have a calming effect on our physiology while others seem to energize us. This is also why certain smells can trigger memories for you. The chemistry of essential oil is very complex. Each essential oil is made up of between 200 to 500 different bioconstituents, so each oil will have different effects on the different people and animals using them. But, having said all that, this does NOT apply to all essential oils out there because…
4. Not all essential oils are created equal.
I’ll say that again because it bears repeating. Not all essential oils are created equal. There are 4 different grades of essential that you should be aware of and they are 1) therapeutic grade (which is what I have been talking about) 2) “natural” oils 3) extended or altered oils and 4) synthetic or nature-identical oils. Therapeutic grade oils are oils that have been carefully distilled so that the therapeutic qualities of the plants are retained. Natural oils are real essential oil in the sense that they truly do come from plants, but they have failed to distill the plants properly resulting in essential oil that doesn’t contain any or just a few of the therapeutic compounds. Extended and altered oils are what make up a large percentage of the oils you find in stores—including health stores—and these oils often contain ingredients you don’t want to be inhaling or putting on your body. Often times there will be only a few drops of real essential oil in the bottle and the rest will be carrier oil, synthetic perfume or some other mystery liquid. The kicker is that they don’t have to tell you what those mystery ingredients are because these essential oils are “fragrance grade” and their ingredients are considered proprietary information by the FDA. The 4th grade of oils is synthetic grade, also considered “fragrance” by the FDA. Synthetic oils are created in laboratories to mimic certain scents, and while they may smell nice they do not contain any of nature’s health supporting qualities. Worse than that, they often contain toxins which can be hazardous to your health. Just say no to mystery oils! This is why…
5. You should always know and trust your essential oil source.
Because of the way essential oils are regulated, you can’t always tell what grade of essential oil you have just by looking at the bottle. The brand I used to buy from my local health food store had a USDA organic label on it, but I later learned that an oil can legally claim itself to be USDA organic if the oil itself is organic but that the company can add other non-organic ingredients to the oil to make it stretch that are nowhere near being organic, and they don’t have to mention it on the label because they too are regulated as “fragrance” by the FDA. (Mystery fragrances are exempt from the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act because they are considered “trade secrets” by the FDA.) Then there are companies who have trademarked phrases that they use on their bottles, like “certified pure therapeutic grade”, that are actually meaningless because it’s not a real 3rd party certification, it’s just a phrase trademarked by the company. That means that no matter how pure or therapeutic another company’s oil is, they can’t go get that certification because it’s not a real certification. It’s a clever but made up marketing tool.
So then, who do you trust? After doing tons and tons of research I placed my trust in Young Living Essential Oils. Young Living is the world leader in essential oils with over 20 years of expertise in harvesting and distilling plants that go above and beyond organic standards. Young Living has set the bar very high for the essential oil industry because of its Seed To Seal guarantee. Young Living plants its own carefully selected seeds on its own farms and then harvests and distills the plants so that the therapeutic qualities remain intact. They are very transparent in their practices and open up their world-wide farms, distilleries and bottling plants to the public so we can experience Seed To Seal in action. I have been to Young Living’s lavender farm in Mona, Utah and it was truly amazing. I got to help plant yarrow in the greenhouse and I watched the distillation of blue yarrow and juniper essential oils. I even got to tour the bottling plant, and everything was on the up and up. What other essential oil company offers that level of transparency?
Also, since Young Living has farms allover the world they are able to offer a huge selection of essential oils, well over 200 different oils choose from and more than 500 oil-infused products, everything from toothpaste to all-purpose household cleaner. If you’re curious about trying essential oils but want more information you can explore the rest of my website or if you’re ready to dive in and buy right now you can follow this link to grab your Premium Starter Kit from me right now. Most of us started with The Premium Starter Kit because it’s the best value, saving you around $170 versus buying everything separately at the retail price. The Premium Starter Kit comes with a diffuser plus 11 essential oils for everyday use and more.
Still have questions? Just ask me! Are you from southern California? Let’s grab a smoothie sometime and chat. I’m a north county San Diego native, but I’m allover the place. I hope to connect with you soon! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, here on The Joyful Oilers website and on YouTube. Scroll down for links to all of my social media accounts. I know this was a little long, so thanks for making it all the way through to the end. Now that we’re done, I’d love to hear from you! Did you learn anything new about essential oils today? Comment below and let’s talk about it. 🙂
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