An essential oil is the most powerful of vegetable extracts. Essential oils are not present in all plants, only the so-called “aromatic” ones possess them. It is the very essence of the plant. When you peel an orange or a mandarin, or even if you smell a bit of lavender, the smell released is that of the essence, which will become essential oils after distillation or mechanical expression. But this perfume carries more than just aromatic molecules: it also contains a number of chemical molecules with very powerful therapeutic actions. Some of these are antiseptic, some anti-viral, while others still are soothing or healing. Essence-containing plants, flowers and trees could not survive without their essential oils, which protect them from all kinds of strains and from all external attacks.
It is the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes. Aromatherapy, which only got its name in 1930, is a branch of phytotherapy. Phytotherapy can be broken down into several different forms (herbal teas, dry or liquid extracts, macerates, syrups, integral suspensions of fresh plants…) using different parts of the plant. In aromatherapy, usually only one part of the plant is used, or sometimes the whole plant. Techniques for extracting essential oils are more delicate than those used in phytotherapy. The obtained essential oil is very active from a therapeutic point of view and must be used according to certain precautions.
There are many methods depending on the plant used. The essential oil of cinnamon peel and that of mandarin peel are not extracted in the same way. The two most common extraction methods are : 1) 1)distillation (the most widespread, as it is suitable for most plants – water steam is released onto the plant; as it envelops the plant, it gathers the essential oils which a special machine will collect by cooling). What is obtained is known as an essential oil. 2) 1)Expression (the relevant part of the plant is squeezed to extract its essences; typically used on citrus fruit peel, such as orange, lemon, or mandarin). What is obtained is known as essence. The obtained result, the essential oil, is regarded as the quintessence of the plant. Or even of the extra-concentrated plant. This is why the bottles are small and may seem to be expensive, but only a few drops are used each time. It is easy to understand the reasons why the handling of essential oils needs to be precise and rigorous. is one drop, it does not mean two drops!
Taking into account their extraordinary richness in different biochemical molecules - often over 200 - it is easy to understand that each essential oil possesses numerous properties, unlike classic drugs, which generally contain just one molecule, which has only one property. However, all essential oils are antiseptic to some degree. Let’s not forget that their intended role is to protect the plant naturally from diseases, blows, parasite invasions, etc.
The therapeutic efficacy of essential oils lies in their extraordinarily powerful and complex chemical composition. Certain molecules can bacteria, others will prevent them from reproducing, still others will help to repair damaged skin, stimulate or slow down the exchange of neurotransmitters in the brain. The last point explains the remarkable efficacy of certain essential oils in treating nervous disorders.
When essential oils are applied to the skin, the active principles quickly penetrate the epidermis to enter the bloodstream. From there, they travel to the affected organ. This is why, 15 to 20 minutes after a massage of the spine or the soles of the feet using eucalyptus essential oil (intended to heal a bronchitis) the breath smells pleasantly...of eucalyptus! The process is easy to reconstruct: The active substances have passed through the bloodstream to reach the lungs. The same applies for the digestive and urinary systems, nervous disorders, headaches, and so on. Furthermore, not satisfied with acting quickly and effectively, essential oils remain active in the organism for a long time (approximately 6 hours). That is why in this book we very often recommend external application for treating general disorders and not only for improving the condition of the skin.
They are spectacularly effective! We already had extensive proof dating back centuries, as aromatherapy is one of the most ancient medicines and if it has “survived”, there must be a reason for it. Moreover, there are well over 5,800 extremely high-level scientific studies, all of them published in medical magazines (which can be consulted on the very serious website Medline, which gathers together all the international medical research published, i.e. validated by independent experts). Clearly, all the users are amazed by the efficacy and delighted with the speed of action!
Only pregnant women are “forbidden” from using essential oils, during the first three months of pregnancy. During the last six months, they should refer to a doctor or a chemist specialised in aromatherapy for medical advice. Certain essential oils are probably totally harmless and without any risks during pregnancy. But as a safety measure, according to what is currently known, it is preferable to avoid using them: essential oils contain multiple compounds, some of which may be potentially harmful for the foetus. You never know! In addition, there are restrictions for use. For certain people, not all essential oils are suitable. Young children (less than 6 years old) should use only those essential oils, dosages and forms which are suitable for their age. Epileptic patients, the elderly or those affected with a chronic disease should seek advice before using certain essential oils.
Because there is a thriving illicit trade in essential oils. Given the strong demand from the general public, imitations and products of poor quality are springing up all over the place. Even in shops which are more or less “specialised”, the purity of the products found can vary, and they are sometimes mixed with synthetic molecules (instead of natural molecules, therefore not effective or even dangerous). We recommend purchasing essential oils in chemists or drugstores, where manufacturers are obliged to produce extremely comprehensive control files and where chemists are bound to verify a great number of parameters on each delivery, for they are responsible for the merchandise they sell. They know their providers well, and the latter, in turn, know the manufacturers: there is full traceability; it is easy to find a batch in the event of a problem. This is not the case in a market, in a souvenir shop, and even less so on the internet. And also, did you know that in the 15th century, chemists were called…aromatherii? This just goes to show how important essential oils were to the therapeutic arsenal, even at that time !
All essential oils are forbidden during the first 3 months of pregnancy. During the final 6 months, some of them may be used, but only in accordance with the medical advice of a health professional (doctor, chemist) specialised in aromatherapy. Always seek advice before using essential oils if you are pregnant. Bear in mind that, by way of precaution, and unless recommended, it is better to avoid them during the whole pregnancy. The same applies to breastfeeding women, as essential oils can pass into breast milk.
Yes ! In fact they are particularly receptive to them. But certain essential oils are forbidden in babies younger than 3 months, and even in young children of less than 6 years old. After this age, essential oils for adults are considered as harmless. Adjust the recommended dose! In general, the number of essential oil drops to be used is divided by 2 or 4 (according to the age). Always seek advice before using essential oils in children.
often too powerful to be used neat, especially on large surfaces of skin. They can cause irritation. As they are not soluble in water, they must be mixed with an oily base (vegetable oil) or with specifically designed substances(bath base). Every vegetable oil has its own properties, which reinforce the efficacy of the essential oil. For example, sweet almond oil has softening and calming properties. It is ideal for babies. Calophylla oil improves blood circulation. Macadamia oil has a deep penetrating action. It is particularly suitable for circulatory and lymphatic disorders. Wheat germ oil is exceptionally nourishing, and perfect for skin and nail care. St. John’s wort oil soothes burns. Argan, coconut and jojoba oil are very suitable for hair care; while hazelnut works well in slimming formulas.
Essential oils are very powerful. They can cause side effects, especially if they are used incorrectly (wrong diagnosis, wrong dose, inappropriate route of administration…). The consequences may vary from “benign” to “severe”: irritation, allergies, hormonal disorders or even epilepsy. But these side effects are only a consequence of an unsuitable use of essential oils. The toxic dose depends on each person. You obviously do not have anything to fear if you follow the recommendations for use detailed in this book.
Because aromatherapy is a precise science. This is why the names of essential oils (for example: “thyme”) are written along with their chemotype (for example “linalol”). In fact, there are a great variety of thymes (thujanol, linalol, thymol, etc.) and each of them possesses a specific property. In fact, thyme linalol is extremely effective and holds no danger whatsoever for children, which is not true of thyme thymol. The same applies to all essential oils true lavender does not have the same properties as spike lavender, and so on.
Of course! Many essential oils can actively improve the beauty of our skin, hair and nails; some of them can help to get rid of cellulite. As they easily penetrate the cutaneous surface, they have a deep penetrating action. 100% safe and effective natural cosmetics! Wild geranium, rosewood or tea tree are commonly put to use to make us more beautiful, but ylang-ylang or everlasting are very valuable too. You can use them combined with vegetable oil, in a skincare cream, a shampoo or a face pack.
The significant price gap between different labels is always due to a difference in quality. For example, if you find a lavender essential oil of one brand which is much cheaper than another brand, you can be sure that in the first case, the retailer is as concerned about the quality (for example, the product comes from China, without any controls, or even that it is another variety not as rich in active principles). In addition, within the same range, pistachio lentiscus costs about 3 times more than tea tree. This is quite normal; the price reflects directly the “yield” of the plant. Certain plants release a lot of essential oil - for example the clove, from which can be extracted 1 kg of essential oil from 10 kg of cloves - and others do not - for example the rose, which yields only a few grams of essential oils from 100 kg of flowers! These vastly differing yields largely explain the huge differences in price between essential oils.
There are different qualities and even “fake” essential oils (synthetic perfumes), which have absolutely no effect on the health: this is true of most products sold simple to perfume and deodorise the house. Only essential oils which are 100% natural and 100% pure are 100% active. They are capable of healing and preventing many everyday ills. On the bottle, look for the phrases HEBBD (Botanically and Biochemically Defined Essential Oil), HECB (100% Biological Chemotyped Essential Oil- if it is from a cultivated plant) or “100% Pure,Natural and Chemotyped Essential Oil” – if it is extracted from a wild plant. All of the above guarantee products to be 100% natural and of good quality. HECB indicates that they provide all the necessary details concerning the botanical origin, the part of the plant used and the biochemical profile. - Only the Latin name of the botanic species is sufficiently precise. This avoids the inaccuracy of popular names. When there are many kinds of “closely related” essential oils, such as different kinds of lavender or thyme, the Latin name allows botanists throughout the world to speak the same language. - Leaf, bud, peel, flower…The indication of the part of plant used makes it possible to be more precise, as certain species produce many different essential oils depending on the distilled part. - The biochemical specifications (b.s) are also an invaluable indication providing information about the specific properties of essential oils that can be found in a given bottle. In fact, the latter vary enormously depending on the country, the soil, the weather, the altitude, and so on We recommend essential oils from the Expert de Puressentiel® range (Aroma Thera Laboratory), they comply with all these quality criteria; ask your chemist for them.
Yes. As long as you do not take both treatments at the same time. Leave a break of at least 1 hour. For instance, take the homeopathic granules or the herbs at 8.00 am and the essential oils at 9.00 am. Always take the homeopathic medication first; then, 1 hour later, the essential oils.
An essential oil results from distillation or expressing the aromatic essence from part of the plant. It is both a very volatile biochemical compound and a complex, natural product, which is highly concentrated in strong, active constituents that can only be used in very small doses (a few drops). Plant oil is extracted in the first cold pressing from the oil-producing seeds or nuts and contains active constituents that are much lower in concentration than essential oil. It contains fatty oils, which are the ideal substrate for diluting essential oils and can be used in extremely large quantities (several millilitres per dose, unlike an essential oil).
Essential oils high in terpene ketones (Hyssop, Sage, Thuja…) have neurotoxic and abortive properties. They are dispensed on prescription only and must not be sold over-the-counter. Ingestion of high doses (above 500 mg / day) of carbolic acid aromatic compounds over a long period (more than 20 days) can bring about a hepatitis overload. Therefore, if high doses are taken (500 mg/day), the maximum period of use must not exceed one week. If low doses are taken (less than 200 mg / day) the maximum period of use must not exceed 3 weeks. Application to the skin or by ingestion – aromatic essences and essential oils contain furancoumarins, which prior to or during exposure to sunlight can lead to risks of photo-sensibility. Essences from citrus fruit zest (lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, sweet orange,) are particularly concerned. Some essential oils are dermacaustic and can only be applied to the skin when considerably diluted (diluted to 10%, 5%, 2% and even less), and otherwise cause skin lesions (burns, …). Some people develop skin allergies (hyper-sensibility) to essential oils and are obliged to terminate utilisation.
In case of an external problem – if a drop falls in the eyes or the skin “burns” at the area of application, always turn to “vegetable oil”: wash the area with oil (sweet almond, sunflower, olive, any of these will do) in order to dilute the essential oil and immediately soothe the pain. In case of an internal problem – If you have accidentally swallowed, for example, ½ bottle of essential oil, - call your local poison centre or the National Emergency Call Centre (999) IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait until there are symptoms before seeking help. Do not drink anything (no water, milk, or oil!), do not make yourself be sick; wait for instructions.
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