Throughout history, essential oils have been used for many different purposes. They have been used for medicinal purposes, for embalming the dead, for antiseptic purposes, and for cleaning. Essential oils are extracted from plants and plant material so they are 100% natural. And if they are grown in the right conditions, essential oils can also be organic. There are different grades of essential oils depending upon their end use. If an essential oil is to be used for medicinal purposes, it must be of a higher quality than an oil that will be used simply for aromatherapy.
Essential oils are extracted from various parts of the plant. Some plants, only the flowers are used. In others, the leaves, and in others, the entire plant can be used in the essential oil. The oils are extracted using various methods. Some common methods of extraction include, expression (basically squeezing the plant under pressure), steam distillation, and soaking in solvent. The methods of extraction can determine the quality of the essential oil.
When shopping for essential oil, there are different grades of oil. If you are just trying to add a scent or aroma to a room, you can use a lower quality, and hence, a less expensive oil. If you need an essential oil for medical purposes, you need a higher or therapeutic grade of essential oil. These oils should be clearly marked as therapeutic and may contain the seal of a certified testing agency.
When storing essential oils, you should keep them in a cool, dark place. Sunlight will destroy the potency of essential oil. It is for this reason that higher-quality oils come in dark amber or cobalt blue bottles. These bottles help keep sunlight away from the essential oil.
Before you use essential oil directly on your skin for medicinal or therapeutic purposes, always test a small amount on an inconspicuous area of skin. This way you can find out if you have an allergic reaction to the particular essential oil. Most people will not have any problems with essential oils but it is always prudent to err on the side of safety. If you are sensitive to a particular oil, try a different species of plant, or try a higher-quality oil.
Essential oils are a good, natural way to heal many ailments. People have found relief from such things as: insomnia, lack of energy, depression, anxiety, muscle aches, injuries, and much more. Since they are natural, most people can use them without any side effects. Essential oils can also be mixed into special recipes that will help alleviate many symptoms at the same time. These mixtures may contain the essential oils from several different plants so you can get the healing properties of many different essential oils in one mixture. This may be a cost-effective way to use essential oils.