Essential oils are the natural aromatic compounds found in many different parts of the plant including the seeds, stems, bark, leafs, roots and flowers. They are the lifeblood of the plant and what protect the plant from disease and predators. In addition to the intrinsic benefits to the plant and being wonderfully fragrant to us, they also have been revered throughout history and across cultures for their wide array of medicinal and therapeutic benefits.
When essential oils are diffused into the air, the aromatic molecules are inhaled. These molecules interact with the olfactory bulb, and allow smells to travel to the deepest part of our limbic system, transmitting information which is directly connected to parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress and other emotions.
Aromaomatic compunds have many many different effects and properties. They can stimulate or relax, elevate, focus or sedate, even balance, ground and center us, all because of a chemical process created through the limbic system of the brain. Whether essential oils are absorbed through the skin, inhaled or taken internally, they still will create a chemical reaction in the body due to their interaction with the brain.
In studies conducted at Vienna and Berlin Universities, researchers found that sesquiterpenes, a natural compound found in essential oils of Vetiver, Patchouli, Cedarwood, Sandalwood and Frankincense, can increase levels of oxygen in the brain by up to 28 percent (Nasel, 1992). Such an increase in brain oxygen may lead to a heightened level of activity in the hypothalamus and limbic systems of the brain, which can have dramatic effects on not only emotions but on learning, attitude, and many physical processes of the body such as: immune function, hormone balance, and energy levels. High levels of sesquiterpenes also occur in Melissa, Myrrh, Cedarwood, and Clove essential oils
The science of essential oils is fascinating! Essential oils, like all organic compounds, are made up of hydrocarbon molecules. These molecules play very important roles in our health. For example:
Phenylpropanoids clean receptor sites
Sesquiterpenes erase/delete bad information
Monoterpenes re-establish the cell to its healthy state.
All pure essential oils have some anti-bacterial properties. They increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight infectious illnesses. Research has found that people who consistently use pure essential oils have a higher level of resistance to illnesses, cold, flu, and diseases than the average person. Further indications show that such individuals, after contracting a cold, flu, or other illness, will recover 60-70 percent faster than those who do not use essential oil
Pure essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems but rather to aid the body in healing itself. We encounter factors in our daily lives, from both internal and external sources, that impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Disturbances can cause imbalances. Even when daily challenges do not have an immediate effect through disease, daily impacts can cause our bodies to function at a sub-optimal level. There are considered four systemic constants that most often impair our homeostasis: Stress, toxic insult, inflammatory response, autonomic imbalance. Pure essential oils assist the body in restoring homeostasis and help to minimize all of these factors. In addition to the single oils there is a technique I specialize in that is a specific combination and order of application that is quite powerful in restoring the body's homeostasis.
Antioxidants are molecules that are essential for the body to heal repair and grow. Typically when we think about getting our antioxidants most people think "eat your berries" however when we take a look at the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) we see that clove essential contains the highest amount of antioxidants coming in at 10,786,875 compared to blueberries at 2,400. Clove isn't the only one Thyme comes in second and cinnamon bark third at 103,448. It can be quite astonishing to witness just how high the essential oil ORAC scores are! It is also especially easy to incorporate into your daily routine!