Essential Oils 101 - Weekend

Essential Oils 101

By Justinne Lou Go, RND

 

OILS are part of the macronutrient food group called “fat.” The most common forms of oils that most of us are familiar with are either the cooking oils or massage oils. Cooking oils, as we know, are edible while massage oils are not. In the recent years, however, “essential oils” have been making their way into cupboards, drawers, and even first aid kits. Essential oils (EOs) are commonly used for aromatherapy, but they can also be used topically and internally, although with high caution and awareness on the right oils to ingest.

We know that plants have medicinal properties, because this is how God created them to be. Nature was made for man. EOs are natural extracts from the seeds, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Since it is naturally-derived, it carries with it benefits for our bodies beyond any synthetic substance can. Because of their therapeutic properties, EOs are making a comeback in the growing wellness trend.

Essential oils are an ancient therapy dating back to the BC era. Egyptians used these extensively in medical practice, beauty treatment, and food preparation. The Greeks also used essential oils for therapeutic massage and aromatherapy while the Romans used them to promote health and personal hygiene. A familiar account is the mention of frankincense and myrrh, which were offered to baby Jesus. In our age, the powerful healing properties of essential oils were rediscovered in 1937 by French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who accidentally healed a badly burned hand with pure lavender oil. During World War II, French doctor Jean Valnet then led the development of modern aromatherapy practices. And as more scientists and doctors looked into the healing properties of plants, the application of essential oils has expanded from just aromatherapy to household use, beauty care, and even as adjunct therapy to certain conditions.

Since having been introduced to essential oils this year, I took particular interest because these are an all-natural therapy and it complements my practice as I include lifestyle therapy recommendations.

The first essential oil I tried was peppermint and I was amazed how it perked me up so instantly. Now, I don’t have to depend on coffee to give me that energy boost anymore since I’ve recently been having migraines when I drink coffee. It’s sad because I do enjoy drinking good black coffee, but it’s just not something I should depend on for my energy boost if it’s going to cause migraines for me. This is just one of the ways essential oils have helped me.

Although there are not enough studies and no governing body to regulate the use of essential oils, the extensive history of EOs reveals their efficacy as natural solutions to certain conditions. As mentioned, there are several methods of application for essential oils — aromatic, topically, and internally (ingestion). Aromatherapy is the most common method, either through placing drops on the hand and cupping over the nose or by using a cold water diffuser. Note that the most crucial part about using essential oils though is choosing the quality. It is very important that you choose high quality, pure, unadulterated essential oils especially if you plan to use it internally. Essential oils are potent extracts that can only be beneficial at a certain dose so extra caution must be observed when taking it internally.

The only essential oil company that has a certification to guarantee the purity of their oils is DoTerra. Knowing that there are no regulating bodies to evaluate the quality of oils, this company went the extra mile to have their oils go through a series of tests to guarantee the highest quality of oil. Although the tests are done by their own lab, at least you can be assured that it does go through strict testing to ensure you get pure oils with the most benefits. Their certification is called Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). For an oil to have this grade, it must be:

Pure and natural, with aromatic compounds carefully extracted from plants

Free from fillers or artificial ingredients; no dilution of active qualities

Free of contaminants, pesticides, or chemical residues

Rigorously tested for standards of chemical composition

Cross tested using mass spectrometry and gas chromatography to ensure exact purity and composition potency

Sourced by a global network of leading essential oil chemists and growers to ensure correct species, growth in ideal environments, and that raw plant materials were carefully harvested at the right time

As usual, anything of genuinely good quality comes with a price, but for me the benefits and safety of using these oils instead of over-the-counter medications that can take a toll on your gut health and liver are worth the investment and switch. So, you might want to consider trying essential oils to aid with your migraine, depression, even digestive problems. Feel free to ask me more about this.

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