What are Essential Oils? How do they work?

What are Essential Oils?

We’ve been hearing a lot about them in recent days. As the vegan movement and holistic nutrition grow into every area of society, essential oils have begun to find a common thread across communities. So what are they? Are they essential? And should you try them in your life?

Essential oils are the concentrated, distilled oil derivative of a plant based source. For that reason, they are extremely strong, with often a single drop achieving the holistic healing they were set out to do.

Extracting the Oils

essential oil extraction

Oils are obtained via distillation, or by cold pressing and find their most common use as an aromatic used in holistic remedies. Once the essence of the plant is captured, it is assigned to a “carrier” oil to ensure it is a shelf ready product. It is important to note that essential oils made with a chemical process are not considered authentic essential oils.

Essential oils are most commonly found to be diluted and rubbed on the skin (peppermint, tea tree) or inhaled for its healing or positive promotional properties (lavender), while some are used by manufacturers in food. It is not recommended to swallow any essential oils that have not be in the least designated for that purpose.

The Limbic System

The Limbic System is the area of the brain where the subcortical structures join the cerebral cortex. The Limbic System influences motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. In addition, the Limbic System plays a key role in the endocrine and antonymous nervous system. This explains why scents are so strongly connected to memories, and why essential oils pose such value as an herbal remedy in so many ways.

Further Impact on the Limbic System

Though not yet confirmed, many perceive essential oils to play a key role in physiological functions when utilized, such as improving breathing and heart rate. While scientifically inconclusive, the Limbic System’s connection to autonomous reaction and one’s own conscious response to essential oils show a clear possibility that aromatherapy could go even further than we thought in healing the body.