What Are Essential Oils
Essential oils are the subtle, aromatic and volatile liquids extracted from the flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, bark and roots of herbs, bushes, shrubs, and trees, through distillation. According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, essential oils were used thousands of years before Christ for their valuable benefits. In ancient times they were considered more valuable than gold. Essential oils hold a unique position in the universe of God’s natural substances. They have been used since ancient times, and they were an important part of the recipes used by Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician whose works were published around 400 B.C. Science is only now beginning to investigate and research their incredible properties.
Essential Oils Are Aromatic.
Plants produce two types of oils and chemically speaking they are very different. Essential oils are found in the stems, leaves, roots, seeds, flowers, branches, woody parts, etc. parts of plants. Fatty oils are found only in their seeds. Fatty oils are called vegetable, carrier, neutral, and/or base oils by aromatherapists. Nutritionists and organic chemists refer to them as “fatty acids”.
Essential oils are composed of tiny molecules, all less than 500 atomic mass units (amu) in molecular weight. By contrast, fatty oils are composed of much larger molecules, many weighing 1000 amu and more. Because of their infinitesimal sizes, the molecules of essential oils are able to easily reach every cell in the body within minutes. They are able to pass through the blood brain barrier too because of this. Essential oils are highly aromatic because of their infinitesimal size, and therefore, many of the benefits can be obtained by simply inhaling them. This can be done by breathing in the fragrance from the bottle, or they can be diffused into the room. In aromatherapy, when you see the word “volatile” used it is not meant as “explosive” but rather having a high evaporation rate which allows their molecules to stay suspended or diffused into the air which can last for hours.
When diffused, essential oils can be the best air filtration system in the world. They will:
(1) Purify, by removing metallic particles and toxins from the air.
(2) Increase atmospheric oxygen.
(3) Increase ozone and negative ions in the house.
(4) Destroy odors from mold, cigarettes, and animals.
(5) Fill the air with a fresh, herbal aromatic scent.
Essential oils are not simple substances but bio-chemically speaking, essential oils are extremely complex containing anywhere from 80 to 300 or more different chemical constituents. Many of these constituents are found in minute quantities but work together synergistically to contribute to their therapeutic actions to some degree. Just by putting them on the skin, or inhaling them, one is able to trigger responses both physically and emotionally. All of that – from just one “sniff” or application.
Understanding Essential Oils and their “Frequencies”
Understanding how essential oils may work cannot be fully understood without some discussion of frequency. Frequency is the measurable rate of electrical energy flow that is constant between any two points. In 1992, Bruce Tainio of Tainio Technology, an independent division of Eastern State University in Cheney, Washington, built the first frequency monitor in the world. In his book The Body Electric, Dr. Robert O. Becker establishes that the average frequency of the human body during the daytime is 62 to 68 MHz. The study of frequencies raises an important question about the frequencies of the substances we eat, breathe, and absorb. Many pollutants lower frequency. Processed/canned food has a frequency of ZERO!! The frequency of fresh produce is only 15 MHz, dry herbs from 12 to 22 MHz and fresh herbs from 20 to 27 MHz. Essential Oils start at 52 MHz and with Idaho blue spruce reportably topping out at over 500+. By using Young Living’s authentic, therapeutic-grade essential oils you’ll be infusing your body with their frequencies.
Their Therapeutic Action Is Also Dependent Upon The Chemistry Of The Oil
Although an essential oil may be labeled “basil” unless you know it’s botanical name you won’t know it’s chemotype or therapeutic action. There are various types of basil. For instance, some basil will be high in linalool, fenchol or methyl chavicol… whereas another basil might be high in eugenol… each of these basil’s will have different chemotypes and therapeutic actions.
Because of the distillation process and the mere fact that it takes a large volume of plant material to produce small amount of distilled pure essential oil it makes them highly concentrated and far more potent than dried herbs. Did you know that it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce 1 kilo of rose oil.
Producing Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils
The chemical constituents of an oil is just one of the many factors in determining the purity of an oil. There are a vast number of variables that affect these constituents including:
- the part(s) of the plant from which the oil was produced,
- condition of the soil,
- type of fertilizer (chemical or organic),
- geographical region,
- harvesting methods,
- and distillation processes.
For instance, common thyme has biochemically unique variants within one species and produces several different chemotypes depending on the conditions of its growth, climate, and altitude. This means that depending on the time of year it is distilled, one chemotype of thyme will yield an essential oil high in thymol. It will contain more thymol if it is distilled later in the growing season (ie., mid-summer or fall).
Proper cultivation is required in order to assure the more specific types on chemotypes, whereas wildcrafting can produce different types of chemotypes on the same mountainside.
The University of Ege botany department in Izmir, Turkey did studies and found that among Oreganum compactum plants within a 100 square foot radius, one plant would be high in carvacrol and another would be high in another compound which means there is no guarantee of the chemotype from wildcrafted plants even on the same hillside.
Plant material used to make essential oils should also be free of agri-chemicals and herbicides as these can react with the essential oils during distillation and produce TOXIC compounds especially since many pesticides are oil-soluble, that means that they readily mix into the essential oils.
It’s important to carefully preserve the delicate aromatic compounds within essential oils as much as possible. These fragile compounds are easily destroyed by high temperature and pressure, as well as with chemically reactive metals such as copper or aluminum. This means that using stainless steel cooking chambers at low pressure and low temperature should be used in order to produce therapeutic-grade essential oils.
Additionally, the distillation process will dramatically affect the chemistry and beneficial action of the oil. Usually oils extracted from a second or third distillation of the same plant material will not be as potent as oils extracted during the first distillation. However, there are some oils where a second or third distillation is needed in order to supply additional constituents that are only released with these additional distillations. In addition, oils that are steam distilled are far different from those that are extracted with solvents.
Aroma of Oil May Vary
Think of essential oils as fine wines. Each year the aroma of an essential oil grown on the same plot of land can and will vary from year to year. The climate from year to year changes which means that the amount of sun, and rain or not enough rain will influence the plant, and just like wines it will influence the end product, including the aroma. However, all essential oils produced or purchased by Young Living still are required to meet our strict standards for therapeutic value. To learn more on this topic click on the SEED-TO-SEAL icon (on the right side of this page) to learn how this assures you, from year to year, the very best that mother nature has to offer.
The Importance Using Pure Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils
I cannot stress enough the importance of using pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils. Most of the essential oils on the market today are adulterated, engineered, or “extended” with the use of synthetic made compounds that are added to the oil.
According to my favorite reference book on essential oils…
Some writers have claimed that a few compounds, when isolated from the essential oil and tested in the lab, can exert harmful effects. Even so-called “nature-identical” essential oils (structured essential oils that have been chemically duplicated using 5 to 15 of the essential oil’s primary chemical compounds in synthetic form) [think MAN-MADE] can produce unwanted side effects or toxicities. Isolated compounds may be harmful; however pure essential oils in most cases, are not. This is because natural essential oils contain hundreds of different compounds, some of which balance and counter the effects of other compounds.
The power of an essential oil lies in its chemical compounds and their synergy. Although the main constituents and fragrances of some essential oils have been successfully recreated in the lab by chemists, these synthetic oils are of inferior quality and most likely will lack therapeutic benefits, and may even carry risks and could be toxic. Also, many essential oils contain molecules and isomers that are impossible to manufacture in the laboratory. This would explain the lack luster results many people have experienced in the past when using inferior oils.