Essential Oil Aromatherapy - What in the heck is that?

in Vibrant Living Blog

Essential Oils are quickly becoming part of the mainstream conversation as people are increasingly using these oils as stress relievers and often as alternatives to traditional medicine.  If you’re a fan of Mood Indigo, you know that we use premium quality essential oils in all our products and work really hard to stay  true to our commitment to all things natural. It's not as easy as it seems because folks often ask for scents like cucumber, melon or leather without understanding that some scents are just not available to us from plants. 

Have you ever grabbed a bunch of lavender and squeezed the flower buds or rubbed your fingers against some sage leaves, and then inhaled deeply? That wonderful aroma is the result of the plant's volatile oils being released when the tiny glands in the plant material burst open. The quantity and quality of the essential oils that a plant produces depend on many things. Just as soil, weather, temperature, elevation, genus and species play an essential role in the development of grapes for fine wine, so also, these elements influence the growth of plants in the production of therapeutic grade essential oils. 

 Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefits and has been used as such for centuries. These plant extracts are made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (the stems, flowers, bark, leaves, buds, roots and fruit) to capture the compounds that produce the fragrance which is then used in perfumery, cosmetics, and medicine.

According to Victoria Edwards (the Aromatherapy Companion), essential oils are a “cocktail of molecules” bundled together with names like terpenes, esters, alcohol, phenols etc. that have significant properties and characteristics that can be therapeutic in nature. Some are anti-inflammatory; some bactericidal, some antifungal and antiviral, and all these “volatile oils represent the radiant energy of the sun, translated by the plant into a chemical form.”  

Increasing research in the field of aromatherapy tells us that essential oils provide some very real and concrete therapeutic benefits when used appropriately. Germany and France have always managed to marry herbal traditions with medicine, and as the science catches up with herbalism, a lot of people are looking to these alternative therapies for solutions. I hope to spend some time exploring the benefits of essential oil aromatherapy in some detail, and hope you will join me on this interesting journey. 

What experiences have you had with Essential Oils?

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