Is There Any Science Behind Essential Oils?

Essential oils are becoming popular for adding pleasant smells to one’s home. You have probably heard of some of the benefits they can provide as well. If you’re a skeptical person, then you are wondering if there is any science behind essential oils. Getting research approved for essential oils isn’t an easy process, but there have been studies done and some interesting facts discovered.

Power of Smells

Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and for adding scents to homemade skincare products and cleaning solutions. When you inhale a scent, airborne molecules interact with the brain and the respiratory system. This triggers the limbic system, which is connected to other areas of the brain. It’s not just essential oils but all smells that are known to sometimes have an emotional impact on people.

The Oil Effect

According to Roseman University Study of doTERRA Oils, “research has found that the essential oils tested have therapeutically-relevant cellular effects in many physiological, scientifically-validated research models. They also observed that the effects of essential oils were not replicated by administration of individual components within the oil itself, suggesting that the biological effects of essential oils are a property of the whole oil.”

Essential oils have high concentrations of oxygen. They perform a similar role in plants as blood does in a human. When the plant needs protection, oil is sent to the surface to help. A plant’s oil delivers nutrients throughout its cells just as blood does in humans.

Much depends on how the oils are harvested too. Oils can be extracted through expression, steam distillation or supercritical CO2 extraction. Expression involves grating a citrus fruit to capture its oils. When you use steam to extract oil from the plant, this method is called steam distillation. The resulting oil may have a different scent due to the process. According to AromaWeb, “supercritical CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide to create an extract that is chemically different when steam distillation is used.”

Nearly 300 Substances in the Oil

Each essential oil has up to 300 substances. It has a mixture of simple and complex chemicals. Failing to use them as directed can cause adverse effects. According to Blossoms and Blends, “dilution decreases your chance of sensitization and/or irritation. Essential oils are potent and using a carrier oil (fatty oil) can help make it easier for the skin to absorb without a reaction. Using an essential oil neat (straight out of the bottle) onto your skin for long periods of time can lead to sensitization. This is when your body’s immune system sees the essential oil as an invader and attacks. This is NOT a detox reaction, this is an allergic reaction.”  Just one pound of essential oil may have required over 200 pounds of flowers to create it.

Essential oils are excellent for aromatherapy when they are used as directed on the bottle’s label. You may find that they help you wind down after a long day. Although there is much research that still needs to be done, there is some science behind essential oils already and they are fairly safe to use.

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