Natural products have been used in medicine and in other walks of life for thousands of years. In fact, many of the drugs we use routinely today have their origins in natural plant extracts, and are often synthesised for cost-saving purposes. The Chinese, for example, are well-known for their use of herbal remedies, the Middle East and also Europe have a long history of using natural products for remedy and also leisure.
Essential oils are among the many products that are commonly used. With the rise of aromatherapy as a branch of alternative medicine, essential oils have seen an increase in popularity, and are now widely available in many outlets. There are many essential oils that are used in soaps, perfumes and other products. They are all taken from plants that are to be found growing wild – and that are now grown specially for the purpose.
What are Essential Oils?
Most essential oils come from common plants, which are collected as raw plant material and distilled. It is quite a simple process: the relevant part of the plant – it could be leaves, roots, bark, the actual wood, flowers, seeds or even peel. They are put into a distilling apparatus, where water is heated to become steam that passes through the content. The steam vaporizes the compounds, which are then driven through another part of the apparatus, to be collected as liquid: this is pure essential oil.
Why do you need pure essential oils? As with many products, the purer the end product, the more effective it will be. Diluting essential oils is akin to contaminating them, so if you can get 100% therapeutic grade essential oils, you should. The use in aromatherapy will result in more impressive results, you will also find that they give better value for money too.
Which Essential Oils
There are several plants that provide essential oils, and all are used in aromatherapy and elsewhere. Tea tree oil, for example, is one of the most widely used, and is a very popular product with various uses. Lavender and peppermint are other plants that are distilled into essential oils, and that have been used for many years, while others include patchouli, eucalyptus and various flowers such as rose and orange blossom.
Many citrus peels are used to provide essential oil, too, but they tend to be pressed to extract the liquid rather than being put through the distillation process. They are used for flavourings as well as for other uses, and can be very effective in aromatherapy.
With such a long history of use in the field of alternative medicine, it is no surprise that essential oils are becoming more popular. In a world where drugs are prescribed to millions of people every day, it is worth knowing that there is a natural alternative that has known effects, so check that the essential oils you want to buy are 100% pure, and you will get the best you can.