Essentials oils have been coming up as a topic of interest recently in the health world. When you think essentials oils you might think of something that smells really good, but you might not know what they are, whether they actually work, what you can use them for and how they can benefit you. My journey with oils started a little under two years ago, and the power of these natural remedies are incredible. Personally, my goal is to lead a life of wellness and decrease my detox load. We live in a world where toxins are a reality and many times they are the cause of stress, acne, poor sleeping habits, lack of energy, etc. These toxins are found in our beauty products, cleaning products, food, air, the clothes we buy and the medicine or drugs we ingest. Essential oils are one (very big) way I have been able to live a less toxic life on a daily basis while being able to cure everyday issues that come up in a natural way.
So, What the Heck Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are what give plants their distinct smells. What we perceive as scents are volatile aromatic compounds, which are tiny organic molecules. These aromatic compounds can be found in flowers, roots, stems, peels, and bark. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years, in cooking, beauty rituals, religious ceremonies and natural medicine treatments. By distilling or extracting the different parts of plants, you get the particles that make up essential oils. According to doTERRA, ‘over 3,000 varieties of aromatic compounds have been identified to date.’ Each oil is different and the plants come from around the world depending on the geography and climate conditions. These oils are known for their antioxidants, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. That being said, it’s important when using oils to ensure you buy a quality product that is tested, pure and free of synthetics. They are many oils on the market and unfortunately many of which are not pure and substituted in fillers. These oils come from plants that are harvested all around the world so you typically get what you pay for. These oils can be used aromatically, topically and/or internally.
What to Look For When Buying Essential Oils
It is important to know where essential oils come from. The terrain and soil of origin matter. Just like our fruits and vegetables some of these plants used for oils are sprayed with toxins and chemicals are added to the soil. An oil like Helichrysum, for example, comes from Corsica. This plant has to grow for 3-7 years before the oil can be collected. After 7 years it must be replanted and the process has to be started over. doTERRA’s Lavender comes from the Provence region of France which has specific Mediterrean conditions specific to the region. Although Lavender is grown in the US and Canada, the qualities are not as beneficial due to the growing conditions.
When buying oils, ensure that the company you are buying from is well known for it’s quality and efficiency. Sourcing essential oils is not easy, many of the plants need years of growth and harvesting before they are ready to be used for their therapeutic purposes. Sometimes you need to search different parts of the world for the specific geographic regions where these plants grow to find the right combination. To source, these oils take time, research and a mindset for responsible sourcing. This is no different than buying organic tea from regular tea. Many companies do not take the time to do this so ensure the supplier you choose is sourcing the best product in a responsible manner.
Oils need to go through testing and be certified as pure, potent and authentic. As mentioned previously many oil suppliers fill their oils with synthetics and fillers which can result in a lower cost for the consumer. Although chemists have found ways to recreate different parts of plants an essential oil has never been fully replicated. To ensure you get the most benefits out of your oils ensure they are tested.
As mentioned, these essential oils come from all around the world. The purest forms of these plants grow in very specific regions and climate zones. These plants need to be patiently harvested by farmers who are honest and knowledgeable. Just like organic farms for your fruits and vegetables, your oils should go through a process and come from a supplier that cares about what they do and has the knowledge to harvest them properly. Some plants take days to grow while others take years. Once these oils are ready to be harvested they go through a distillation process, of which steam distillation is the most common. Many companies are unable to verify the quality of oils they received from their suppliers because the farther down the chain you go with the oils the less pure they are. You want to buy from a company that works directly with the grower.
I have had the opportunity to smell different oils from a number of different companies – there is a very distinct difference in aroma between a pure essential oil and one that contains synthetics and fillers. The purer the aroma the greater the purity.
I use oils for everything from a headache or cold to cleaning products and an ingredient in my food!
At the end of the day, just like with any other products or fruits and vegetables make sure to do your research! Essential oils can be extremely beneficial and a wonderful way to reduce toxins in your life but you need to do your research or else you might end up buying something that does contain toxins. Education is key and if you have any questions or would like to get started on your essential oils journey message me :).