Essential oils are a lot more useful than just smelling nice. Dating back to biblical times, these oils have been treating ailments for centuries.
Essential oils have been used throughout Chinese, Roman, and Greek medicines and were even used in the ancient Egyptian mummification process.
Today, these oils are used for a range of ailments, illnesses, and conditions. Anxiety, stress, cramps, headache and pain relief – the list goes on!
If you’re looking to learn more about these incredible natural substances, find out more with these 7 essential oil facts.
What Are Essential Oils?
Made from plant-derived compounds which plants use to protect themselves from disease and infection, essential oils are 100% natural.
These compounds are derived from the seeds, leaves, stems, bark, roots, fruit and flowers of different types of plants. It’s estimated that 10% of the world’s plants are used in essential oil production – the rest remains completely untapped.
However, this number increases year-by-year as many people seek to find and wield the benefits of our natural plant-life.
Today, there are over 300 variations of distilled essential oils used to treat various ailments, illnesses, and conditions.
Interestingly, an essential oil is not actually an oil. It’s comprised primarily of plant compounds and contains no fatty acids.
Essentially, fatty acids are the primary compound found in all oils, so technically, an essential oil not an oil at all!
7 Interesting Essential Oil Facts
Plant life essential oils work to protect their host from all types of infestations and disease throughout their lifetime.
Mankind has come to understand that by harnessing these protective essential oils they can be used for human ailments too.
However, in order to do this, certain plants undergo a rigorous distillation process in order to extract these essential oils.
In fact, singular plant yields are virtually minuscule. In order to produce just 0.16 oz of rose essential oil, it takes 22 pounds of rose petals!
Just keep on reading for more interesting facts about oils that are said to harness the essence of life…
1. Essential Oil Compounds
An essential oil is comprised of phytochemicals– hundreds of them. These chemicals are plant-based and 100% natural.
There are 13 different categories of phytochemicals, with each essential oil falling into one or more of these categories.
Each one of these categories is responsible for the many therapeutic benefits contained within the essential oils we use day in and day out.
Just some of these categories include the following: phenols, alcohols, terpenes, aldehydes, ethers, esters, ketones, carboxylic acids, oxides, lactones and more.
Just for reference: lavender oil contains an estimated 200 phytochemicals, hence its use for a multitude of therapies.
2. Essential Oils are Volatile
No, we don’t mean volatile as in ”explosive”! Essential oils merely contain volatile compounds.
This just means that when the oil is exposed to air, it is immediately expelled as a gas. Hence the reason why essential oils have such a strong, powerful scent.
These volatile compounds also mean that undiluted essential oils evaporate very quickly into the air. So if used on the skin, it doesn’t leave a lingering, oily feel.
3. Essential Oils are Soluble
As we mentioned previously, essential oils actually contain zero fatty compounds. This means that they are lipid soluble and dissolve when combined with other fats.
Therefore in order to wear an essential oil as a perfume or use it in massage oils, combine it with a ”carrier” oil. This reduces the rate of evaporation and increases absorption into the skin.
Additionally, essentials oils have the unique ability to penetrate deep into cell membranes of the skin, tissue, and blood.
They are easily transported and metabolized by the body just like any other nutrient.
4. Essential Oils Carry Anti-Oxidants
One of the most renowned benefits of essential oils is their anti-oxidative nature. They are just as beneficial as many fruits and vegetables.
Essential oils help to protect against cell damage, cell mutation, cell oxidation, aging and a poor immune system. Along with this, they support vital bodily functions such as hormone and enzyme regulation and the secretion of endorphins and antibodies.
Essential oils are also incredible carriers of oxygen which, in turn, helps to transport important nutrients to cells throughout the body.
5. Essential Oils are Anti-Microbial
Essential oils help to protect against the spread and proliferation of bacteria.
During both test tubing and within the human body, essential oils have proven to fend off even the harshest of bacterias such as Staphylococcus aureus.
Some of the best oils to help fight against bacteria include the likes of tea tree, lavender, Manuka, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, thyme, and oregano.
Essential oil diffusion throughout the home works wonders in boosting the oxygen in each room while removing harmful toxins, ions, mold, and odors.
6. Essential Oils Help to Balance Stress and Anxiety
Humans and animals alike have an incredibly sensitive olfactory system which controls our sense of smell and the stimulations we receive.
Essential oils have proven highly effective in helping alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and stress through soothing this olfactory system.
Some of the most effective essential oils for stress relief include lavender, frankincense, bergamot, orange, lemon, ylang-ylang, chamomile and rose.
Research has shown that these essential oils help to quiet the body, mind, and spirit even if your sense of smell is compromised.
7. Essential Oils Have a Shelf-Life
High-quality essential oils tend to have a shelf-life, they cannot be kept forever, contrary to what many people think about oils!
Certain essential oils tend to last longer than others as they may not oxidize as quickly.
These include oils include a particular phytochemical known as sesquiterpenes. Sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, and vetiver can last up to 10 years.
Citrus-based essential oils last for a shelf-life is just one – two years, including tea tree, pine and spruce oils.
Most other essential oils will last a period of two-three years if stored correctly in dark glass bottles, out of direct sunlight or in the refrigerator.
Looking to Add to Your Essential Oil Collection?
At Think Oily we offer a plethora of information on essential oils, the best brands and diffusers on the market and more.
If you’re looking to learn more essential oil facts or find more information on which essential oil is best suited to your needs, explore more with Think Oily!