ABOUT Essential oils
We have a profound emotional and intuitive relationship to scent that was imperative to human evolution and our survival. We can smell changes in weather, changes in season and when animals are nearby. Science tells us that everything is energy, there is a subtle bio-energy that flows through all of life. Essential oils encourage our body to regenerate damaged cells, build stronger immune defences against viruses and sustain energy and vitality.
Do you feel that pull, that there is a better way? That we need to return to roots in order to take our next leap? As a global collective we are unfathomably rich. We consume information, products, energy without quantification because there is always more. Phone not taking the best pics? Get a new one. Shirt has a tiny stain? Get a new one. Full fridge but can't decide what to eat? 130 channels but can't find anything to watch? We are overloaded with choice and resources. And how is it working out? We are the sickest, fattest, most unhappy, polluted, hyper-charged, fatigued, angry and most disconnected we have ever been. It's time to shift.
Essential oils provide a direct connection to nature. A simple solution to health care. A nurturing comfort to emotions. A guiding light for meditation and going within. An effective chemistry set to clean just about any surface including bench tops, bathtubs, dirty dishes, skin, hair, laundry and keep pests out of your garden.
As pure aromatic compounds that are lipid soluble with a very low molecular weight (fancy speak for tiny), essential oils tick all the boxes for interacting with the human body. They're aromatic, so they connect directly with the limbic system via the olfactory bulb. Lipid soluble means they can permeate cell membranes, including crossing the blood brain barrier (most synthetic medications are water soluble so they don't). Being tiny gives them access to every organ and system in the body. Essential oils are plant medicine. When grown in the right conditions and harvested with care, they are an important component of an holistic approach to wellness.
But there is another reason, for me the most important. This planet we inhabit, these bodies we possess and the universe at which we gaze - are all connected. It is irrefutable scientific fact that at our smallest components we are nothing but vibrating energy. As difficult as that can be to comprehend when matter appears so solid, it is true. The incredible versatility of the formations of matter, the infinite variations in life are all just different frequencies and densities dancing about in a great orchestra. As human beings were are unique in that our manifestation allows us choice and influence. We directly impact the space around us through our actions, relationships, thoughts and feelings. As such we have a responsibility to be conscious in those choices. Through their chemistry, we use essential oils to influence our emotional states, to guide our bodies into natural healing and to reduce the load of harsh and poisonous synthetic chemicals. All these actions bring us closer to Mother Nature, and thereby closer to each other and our great cosmos.
The key reasons I use essential oils are:
- Toxicity: synthetic chemicals are toxic and we are exposed to them everyday through our personal care and household cleaning products, packaging, clothing, furniture and gardening tools. They disrupt the natural systems of the body resulting in dis-ease
- Healthcare: essential oils provide a go-to toolbox to support your everyday health needs such as digestion, respiratory support, immune support, skin irritations, inflammation and infection
- Emotional support: essential oils have a direct connection to the limbic system, triggering chemical cascades and shifting our emotional experiences to lift mood, manage anxiety, reduce stress and tension
- Effectiveness: they work! There is an oil for everything - and that oil is non-toxic, without nasty side effects, straight from mama earth, that consistently delivers therapeutic benefit, day or night
- Forward thinking: healthcare is changing and self-care has become an integral component of what 'healthy' looks like, nurturing the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our whole selves
The scope of use for essential oils is infinite. Take your favourite and make an all natural perfume that doesn't disrupt your thyroid. Combine with other base ingredients to make hand soap, body wash, face cleansers, deodorant or lip balm. There is no limit to the personal care products you can conjure out of essential oils. Or combine with household staples to make effective and cost-efficient cleaning and freshening products (think toilet spray, surface cleaner, pot scrubbing paste or jewellery cleaner).
It's easy to make essential oils a part of your daily practice in the following ways:
- Aromatically: diffusing essential oils can transform the character of a room and the mood of the household whilst purifying the air, freeing it from pathogens and, opening up your airways. Cold mist diffusers disperse tiny particles of essential oils into the air without altering their chemical composition, retaining therapeutic properties. Heat based diffusers, or oil burners, change the structure of the oil (just like cooking with olive oil) and will change the properties of the oil, potentially making them toxic. Always use a cold-mist diffuser.
- Topically: applying essential oils to the body is one of the most nurturing and practical methods of administration. With proper dilution, essential oils can be applied on the skin, hair, mouth, teeth, nails or mucous membranes of the body
- Internally: ingestion of essential oils is well supported by some, and strictly forbidden by others. You are encouraged to do your own research and to do what feels comfortable to you. I personally ingest essential oils, as the very same constituents have been ingested throughout history in the forms of aromatic herbs and culinary spices.
There are many useful resources available to support your use of essential oils, you can read more about them here.
What are essential oils? Answer: Everything! Because of their multi-constituent nature, essential oils are many, many things to many, many people. However, let’s keep things manageable and stick to the fundamentals.
Essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds, distilled from the flowers, leaves, fruit, roots, stems and bark of plants. These compounds perform important functions for the plant including defending against insects and animals, maintaining optimal plant health through antimicrobial action and wound healing, supporting continuation of the species by attracting pollinators and ensuring survival by preventing the growth of competing plants nearby.
Did you catch all that intelligence? It is truly incredible the role that essential oils play in plant-life, and when those plants are grown, harvested and distilled with care then all those important, life-giving, thriving, healing and abundant properties flow through to the resulting essential oil.
When you are getting started with essential oils, it is critical to understand the importance of quality and how to be discerning in your choices. Do not underestimate clever marketing in an unregulated environment. I recommend seeking evidence, transparency and responsiveness from the company you are entrusting with your health and wellbeing. Health and safety are paramount when using powerful plant medicines, and that is why I choose to use and align myself with doTERRA’s leading edge products, ethics, science and support.
doTERRA’s essential oils are sourced from over 44 countries world-wide, many are developing nations - not because it’s fun, or it’s cheaper or it’s easier, because it’s not! Because plants grown in their natural indigenous habitat, produce higher quality essential oils. It’s that simple. Like the concept of terroir in wine-making, the characteristics of the soil, sun, water, air, the entire ecosystem, significantly influence the resulting essential oil. And in keeping with mother nature, it is always better to grow a plant where it naturally thrives, where it naturally belongs, because the expression of that plant, will be the best possible expression you will find.
- Quality: what does quality mean in an essential oil? Firstly it has to be effective, delivering therapeutic benefit. It also has to do no harm and therefore cannot contain any fillers, synthetic ingredients or harmful contaminants. And it has to do both of these things reliably, so that you know with complete confidence that you can pick up your bottle of Lavender, Frankincense or Tea Tree and know that you are going to get the same result, every time.
- Purity: it may surprise you to know that many essential oils contain extenders, fillers and synthetic compounds even when they are labelled as organic, pure or similar. In a poorly regulated market labelling can be tricky to navigate. doTERRA respect your decision making so they publish the results of independent testing for every batch of oil on the Source to You website, so that you have the evidence you need that your oil is safe, pure and free from synthetics.
- Potency: for a an essential oil to be strong and potent, the originating plant needs to be grown in the right environment. An essential oil can be 100% pure but not potent in terms of therapeutic benefit, so it is important that oils are tested for the appropriate chemical composition, to ensure you get the effect you are after.
- CPTG Certified Pure Tested Grade is doTERRA’s own standard, developed to ensure that only the purest and most potent essential oils were being sourced and distributed for our health and wellbeing. This trademarked standard includes eight different tests, some of which are conducted by independent third-party laboratories, ensuring that every bottle of doTERRA essential oils contains no added fillers, synthetic ingredients or harmful contaminants. It is a mark of reliability, transparency and commitment to quality so that you can choose with the greatest confidence.