What is an essential oil ?

The plant kingdom plays a vital role in the ecological balance of our planet, and has also been intimately linked to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of mankind since the beginning of time. A high percentage of prescription drugs are based on naturally occurring compounds from plants.  Essential oils and plant extracts have been used medicinally for centuries to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses and to combat insect, bug, and snake bites in addition to treating all kinds of mysterious maladies.

An essential oil is the aromatic, volatile liquid that is within many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds and that is usually extracted through stem distillation. Essential oils stimulate tissue and nerve regeneration, provide exquisite fragrance to balance mood, lift spirits, dispel negative emotions, and create a romantic atmosphere.

Essential oils are different from vegetable oils such as corn oil, peanut oil, and olive oil. Vegetable oils are greasy and may clog the pore. They also oxidise and become rancid over time and have no antibacterial properties. Most essential oils, on the other hand, do not go rancid and are powerful antimicrobials.

Essential oils are not simple substances. Each oil is a complex structure of hundred of different chemicals. A single essential oil may contain anywhere from 80 to 300 or more different chemical constituents.

Essential oils are substances that definitely deserved the respect of proper education. Users should have a basic knowledge about the safety of the oils, and having a basic understanding of the chemistry of essential oils is very helpful.