By now everyone has heard of some form of essential oils if you haven’t used them already. But why are essential oils so popular and what should you use them for? Here are some of the basics of this healing alternative and how you can use them.

What exactly is an essential oil?

essential oilsEssential oils are highly concentrated organic compounds derived from plans and various different parts of plants like the stems, bark, roots etc. Essential oils are considered a volatile aromatic compound because they change rapidly from liquid to vapor form. When they are turned into the vaporized oil they stimulate your olfactory receptors, which can alter your brain chemistry and provide emotional and mental benefits. It takes a very large amount of plant matter to produce the amount of oil you see in a bottle on the shelf but can generally be used in very small amounts. Plants produce these oils for a variety of reasons in nature including to attract pollinators, detract insects and animals from consuming them as food, or to prevent disease. When these oils are extracted turned into its concentrated form, it retains many of the properties for healing and mental benefits that the plant itself contains.

What should you use essential oils for?

The practice of using essential oils for health and wellbeing has been around for decades. Some common uses include cold, flu and seasonal threat treatment, general pain management, reducing stress and anxiety, and getting better sleep. Typically essential oils can be applied topically, ingested, or diffused depending on what you are using them for. One thing worth noting about essential oils is that because they contain no water or fat, they do not contain any vitamins typically found in the source of the oil so they will not work for supplementing vitamin or nutrient intake.

If you are looking for ways to treat common ailments naturally, essential oils can be a great option. Since these oils are so highly concentrated, a little goes a long way. It’s extremely important when considering the use of essential oils that you speak to someone who can direct you appropriately on how to use them. Certain oils cannot be ingested and other oils can have harmful effects if used on the skin and exposed to sunlight. If you decide to start any protocols with essential oils consult a professional to make sure you are using them properly.