Essential oils are the pure essence of a plant. They are extracted from the seeds, roots, barks, stems, leaves, or flowers of a plant by a process of steam distillation. The oil that is extracted is very concentrated and potent.
The oils give plants their unique scent, but they also protect plants from disease and predators, as well as assisting with the pollination process that ensures their survival. They aren’t only helpful for plants though, they can bring us plenty of benefits too. They have been used in cooking, in beauty therapies, and in medicines for many years. Essential oils are also widely used in aromatherapy practices, as once inhaled, they can easily reach the limbic system of the brain which controls emotion, and mood, via the smell receptors in the nose. This makes them very useful for bringing about benefits in relation to altering mood and stress levels. Some oils have been proven to be useful for depression and anxiety, and other mood disorders.
There are over 3000 known essential oils, and their composition varies depending on how they are harvested, what time of year it is, and how they are processed. This all impacts on the purity and potency of an oil. Generally, the purer the oil, the more potent the benefits. Oils can be used alone or as part of a blend, depending on the desired benefits of the user.