What are Essential Oils? National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) states that “Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic extracts which are distilled from a variety of aromatic plant material including grasses, leaves, flowers, needles and twigs, peel of fruit, wood roots.”
Based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) an Essential Oil is a product that is made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by a dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase.”
Essential Oil use goes way back to Ancient history times, are listed throughout the Bible and are used for healing the body and uplifting moods. Before modern medicine was ever created Essential Oil, herbs, and plants was all we used to treat our bodies of ailing sickness and disease. Now we are using modern medicine with never ending list of side effects, and consuming highly processed food and disease and sickness in our country is at an all time high. Does it ever make you wonder if we should take a more holistic approach and get back to the way life was in the beginning of time?
There are 4 different Grades of Essential Oils:
- Grade A oils are Pure Therapeutic quality and are usually made from organically grown plants distilled at the proper temperatures using steam distillation.
- Grade B oils are food grade; they may contain synthetics, pesticides, fertilizers, extenders, or carrier oils.
- Grade C oils are perfume grade and may contain the same type of adulterating chemicals as food grade. They usually contain solvents that are used to gain a higher yield of oil per harvest. Solvents are normally cancerous.
- Floral Water is a byproduct of the distillation process; a very high quality of it comes from a Grade A distillation process. Accordingly it is a low quality if it comes from poor quality raw materials and or poor distillation processes. It is visually products.
Why is it important to know the Grade of oil that you are using? For one the many different uses of the oils will have a big factor in the how you would use the oil. Plus if it is a Grade C or even a Grade B you may not want to ingest it due to the reactions or the sicknesses it may cause. A pure Essential Oil will be a Grade A Essential Oil. Another thing you may look for is the difference in Color and weight. This is how you can tell it is a pure Essential Oil. Each oil should have a different thickness and/or color to it. If they all come out just as fast or are all the same color then they have had added adulterous chemicals to them to extend the product and make it so it will last longer or make the product go further.
Here are several ways you can take the Essential Oils:
- Topically – This tends to be one of the most common for the Grade A. Simply apply it to the effected area, for example if you have a sore joints you could dilute some Wintergreen or Peppermint and apply to those joints to keep from having joint swelling and pain. To get rid of a really bad bruise faster you would apply Frankincense to the area or to aid in digestion problems or stomach, menstrual pain.
- Direct Inhalation – There is also a lot of psychological effects through direct inhalation. Plus by inhaling contact with nasal mucus and alveoli in the lungs will get into your blood stream faster, making physiological effects possible. Try inhaling Lavender to help calm down your mind and leaving you feeling less anxious and relaxed. Inhale Peppermint to help with sinus allergies, or any bronchial infections of the lungs to help clear that up.
- Diffusers – You can diffuse the Essential Oils into the air and leave your air in your home or office smelling nice and fresh and reap the health benefits all at the same time by doing this. By diffusing things like Lemon at your office you may become a more effective employee, studies show that 80% of the workers had less error rate. Plus lemon will leave you feeling energized and is an antibacterial so you will be less likely to catch a cold from the office. In your home diffuse Thieves, an oil blend, to keep the whole house from getting sick and help build up their immune system.
- Ingestion – Now this one is only for Grade A oils and you have to be sure you trust the oil company you are getting your oils from. I have known of oil companies out there that say they have pure Essential oils that still alter or add in chemicals to make their oils go further and people have gotten sick from these oils. So be sure to use all the other ways to tell it is a “pure” oil before you ingest an oil. When you ingest an oil you can drop them under your tongue, add it to your water bottle, put them in little capsules, and cook with it for flavoring. Even though grade B says it is for cooking I personally would only cook with Grade A because Grade B can be Altered and have added chemicals to make it go further.
One thing to remember is when applying some of these oils is to dilute them as some are considered a “hot” oil. You can blend them with a carrier oil such as Organic extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, even a Vegetable Oil. If you are allergic to say nuts you should not use a nut oil or a blend of oil that has nuts in it. However If say you are allergic to Lavender, many times it is perfume grade smells or the pollen that is giving you the reaction. You can do spot test with highly diluted oil and a carrier oil to make sure you have no reaction. If you have questions regarding this contact me or seek out an Aromatherapist.
Another thing to remember is MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. Studies show that with essential oils the less used is actually better, remember these are super concentrated oils.
Last be sure to check all labels before you purchase your oils. They should use the scientific name of the plant, this will also help determine what part of the content it comes from. They should be Grade A if you want a pure Essential Oil, so look for oils that say internal and external use on the label. Research the company and find out how they are distilling their plants, how they get them from the ground to the bottle, the whole process. Do they have their own farms and can regulate what they market or do they go outside.
Here are a list of some of the most common Essential Oils out there, this list is based on NAHA’s findings. By clicking on the name of the Essential Oil it will link you to some of their many health benefits that are to great to list in the blog. Peppermint, Ecualyptus, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Clary Sage, Tea Tree (Melaleuca), Roman Chamomile, Rosemary. To Purchase any of these oils that you may see health benefits from simply click here or contact me for more information about the oils.
Enjoy and again if you have any questions about the Essential Oils please do not hesitate to contact me at Katrina@TrueFitnessByKatrina.com. The company that I trust is Young Living, I spent about a year researching Young Living and their products before I started using them myself. I now use them for my family, friends, and clients and we have all seen amazing benefits! My kids are asking me to put the oils on them when they need them because they see the benefits and feel so much better!
I hope that this has helped you understand a little bit about Essential Oils and the uses, the qualities and the importance of knowing where your oils come from. Have a blessed day!