I know the world of essential oils can be daunting and appears to be the Wild-West of holistic healing to many! There’s suddenly such an abundance of information, everyone claims expertise and “snake-oil” claims and sales abound!
Essential oils have beneficially existed for thousands of years, yet it is only in recent years that we’re witnessing the renaissance of essential oils to this great magnitude! I think it’s a WONDERFUL thing -- the only problem is how can a normal/busy person wade through so much information and misinformation about how to use them and when to use them -- all for their greater health and wellbeing?!
Actually, they’re not “real” oils, meaning that they don’t have fatty acids. Simply put, they are living plant’s concentrates, extracted from the flowers, leaves, roots, barks and/or resins. When extracted properly, they are entirely natural, effective, nontoxic plant-based compounds that are proven to have fantastic medicinal powers and potency to help protect and naturally heal!
As an example, let’s look at Lavender essential oil. It takes a huge 250lbs of lavender flowers to extract just 1lb of pure and vital lavender essential oil! When you think of 250 TIMES the PLANT POTENCY in each drop of true lavender essential oil, you understand why the pure end product is pricy -- but so totally worth it!!!
Lavender essential oil is also a great example for its versatile holistic properties. It is praised as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent, can help heal burns, promote healthy skin, aid rejuvenation, can be aromatically used for stress and anxiety relief, and to help relieve pain, especially headaches!
Even though they have been used since before the Bible, my guess is that the essential oils that we have today are a bit different simply due to an advanced technology of distillation process.
While we gained the technology to extract these important and potent plant compounds, we also gained the knowledge and “know how” to mass-produce and chemically adulterate them. The purity of the ‘organic’ plant and the extraction method does matter.
The extraction methods that are most commonly used to produce essential oils are steam distillation, cold-pressing, enfeurage and solvent extraction.
While there are several extraction methods used for different plant parts (for example: cold pressing for citrus oils, solvent extraction for rose and steam distillation for basil), there are also fake or “synthetic” essential oils made in the lab. One main thing is to look for a Latin name on the label to verify the species, for example, Lavender essential oil would be Lavendula Angustifolia; and if you’re looking for a ‘straight’ essential oil – make sure that is the only ingredient listed. Most adulteration examples are by diluting it with cheap carrier oils, adding synthetics, as well as simply mislabeling essential oils that are actually harmful chemical, fragrance-filled concoctions…
It makes me cringe when I see Rose, Lavender, Neroli, Helichrysum or Sandalwood essential oils sold sooo cheaply in the big supermarkets! I know it’s impossible to buy the pure/organic essential oils at that price -- even at wholesale!
As an example, it takes about 200K rose petals to make 5ml of true rose essential oil! No wonder it’s so expensive to buy the real oil … but only then do you get the real holistic benefits!!
We personally believe that certified organic essential oils (we use only certified USDA Organic for our SanRe Organic Skinfood products) are more pure and therefore better because they are free from GMOs, pesticides, toxic and chemical compounds.
When applied directly to the skin, many straight essential oils can cause a mild rash or irritation. It doesn’t necessary means that there’s an allergy, it is often just simply too strong to use without a quality carrier oil. This is why essential oils are incorporated and applied topically in the form of a cream/lotion product for great skin results!
Essential oils are lipophilic, which means that they combine and blend well with oils vs mostly water-based and synthetic skincare products. This is why our SanRe products are organically oil-based vs water-based. Not only do organic oils make skincare products more concentrated to last longer, while themselves feeding the skin, but the oils themselves ensure a better potency and absorption of the fabulous essential oils through the skin’s lipid layer to benefit the cells themselves!
I personally know the tremendous healing value for essential oils through my own vigilant usage, but also through intensively researching and crafting our essential-oil-laden SanRe creams for 13 years now! The powerful testimonials from our customers vouch for their efficacy! Over the years, I have witnessed many women becoming more comfortable (literally!) in their own skin – often casting aside long-used foundations and presenting their natural/glowing faces to the world – all through essential oils!
Quality skin care products chose and blend essential oils for each skin type and each product’s healing focus, with small samples and detailed website descriptions of items/ingredients readily available to help one personally choose what’s best for their specific skin/chemistry! Essential oils are possessing not only therapeutic magic (being analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and adaptogenic powers) but they are proven to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antimicrobial. Similarly, specific essential oils are great for each type of oily, dry or sensitive skin.
We can absorb them directly into the bloodstream via body creams or oils. Then they do their magic as far as keeping bacteria and viruses at bay as well as help improve our body’s overall immune function to do what it does best - let the body holistically feed and heal itself!
For those desiring to select and purchase individual essential oils for making their own Unique Skincare Blends, use in an Aromatherapy Diffuser and especially if Orally Taken, a great deal of care and information should be taken into regard!!! Three wonderful books that I often recommend to more serious students are: Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young’s “Essential Oil Safety”; Althea Press’ “Essential Oils – Natural Remedies” and Eric Zielinski’s “The Healing Power of Essential Oils.”
While we all can pretty safely enjoy and use essential oils for skincare and aromatherapy, ingesting them is much more complicated, I would definitely suggest working with a health practitioner! For example, there are essential oils that are not recommended during pregnancy (like Rue and Wormwood) or simply not recommended because of their poisonous compounds (like Cassia, Bitter Almond and Sassafras).
I know it may be confusing to venture into the healing essential oil world, but, like anything good in life, it’s definitely worth the time and efforts! After all, our skin and greater body health is our responsibility, no one else’s, period ;-). Be diligent in finding pure and beneficial essential oils, selecting organic skincare products that feature them and enjoying them in your greater life and wellbeing!