An essential oil is basically a natural oil with the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other sources from which it is extracted. An oil is deemed essential because it contains the “essence” of a plants fragrance. In addition to giving a plant its fragrance, it also plays a role in protecting a plant and pollination.

As many plant essential oils have antibacterial and antifungal properties, they work to protect the plant from these diseases. They also release a fragrance to that can attract pollinating insects to them or repel unwanted creepy crawlers. These same properties can be put to our use as well.

Extracted from seeds, leaves, flowers, bark, stem, and roots of plants, essential oils are often referred to as volatile oils because the aromatic molecules found in them change quickly from their solid or liquid state to a gas state at room temperature. The type of volatile components not only determines the aroma of the oil but the benefits as well.

Essential oils at one time were all extracted using a cold press process but with the discovery of distillation, many are now obtained through this method though cold press or expression as it is sometimes called, is still used exclusively for fruits such as orange and lemon.

In cold pressing, the rind of the fruit is punctured to open the pockets of oil and they run off into a container below. Then, using a centrifuge, the oils are separated from the juice. In cold pressing, small amounts of nonvolatile residue such as waxes remain in the oils. Due to this, citrus oils like orange, lime, grapefruit and lemon have an aroma identical to the peels.

Sometimes citrus oils are obtained through the distillation method which can make them better for diffusers as they contain no residue to clog the machine.

Distillation is as it sounds. Steam or water/steam is used to break through the plant material to remove the volatile elements. As they rise upwards, they are passed over a condensing coil to quickly cool them and change them back to liquid form. Since water and oil do not mix, the oil remains on the surface of the collecting container where it is siphoned off. Some oils are actually heavier than water in which case they are found on the bottom of the container. Clove oil is one such example.

Essential oils can be used alone or in a more complex blend depending on the desired benefit. You can gain the benefits either aromatically, topically or internally. Carrier oils are often used in aromatherapy and for topical use of oils.

Carrier oils are a vegetable oil derived from a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts. The term carrier oil, generally only used in aromatherapy, comes from the oil being used to carry an essential oil onto the skin. Carrier oils are used to dilute other oils before topical application to prevent skin irritation. Some carrier oils are odorless but many have a faint sweet nut smell.

In natural skin care, carrier oils are called vegetable oils, fixed oils or base oils. Fixed and base oils can be from marine and other animals and are generally not used in aromatherapy.

As the oils aroma quickly fills the air around it, your olfactory sense will immediately kick in to high gear. The olfactory nerve is connected to the limbic system which controls not only our emotions but learning and memory. Aromas have a very powerful effect. Diffusers, aroma jars, oils mixed with water or carrier oils in a spray, bath bombs, added to a batch of laundry or dryer sheets or in household surface cleaners are just some of the ways to infuse your life with these aromatic oils.

When applied topically, essential oils can provide a localized benefit. Massage can help increase absorption of the oil. Using massage oils, you get both the topical and aromatic benefit of the oils. To decrease the likelihood of any skin sensitivity, especially on the young, elderly and those with sensitive skin, it is best to dilute the oil. Generally, one drop of essential oil is mixed with three drops of a carrier oil. Use the mixture every 4 to 6 hours in small amounts as opposed to one large dose for the best results and to avoid irritation.

 Internally, you are probably already benefitting from these oils. That basil in your tomato sauce, cinnamon in your pie, dried herbs and spices are a great way of not only consuming and getting the health benefits of the oils but the smells while cooking awakens the olfactory receptors. Many supplements and teas also contain essential oils. 

As you browse through Dyanna Dreams collection of Essential Oils, you will see where they are sourced, recommended uses and benefits of each. Which oils you chose and how you use them will depend on your mood and purpose.   

Due to insufficient published data, use of essential oils in pregnancy is not recommended. Pregnant women often report a heightened sense of smell and taste and essential oils can cause irritation and nausea.

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