If you are new to the world of essential oils, there are a few basics to know. Essential oils are the highly concentrated essence of flowers, seeds, bark, peels roots and buds of plants. Picture this — the peels of 50 yellow lemons squeezed into one 15ml bottle! There is a punch of naturally concentrated power in each bottle.
An essential oil takes on the intense scent of its plant source and is filled with active natural compounds. A few drops of any essential oil can be diffused to fill the air with mood enhancing aroma for hours. Essential oils can also be applied to your skin and hair by mixing into skin care “carriers” (such as rosehip oil and unscented lotion). When the active compounds in these essences enter the body through topical use or inhalation, they can benefit your body by soothing aches, nourishing hair, or reduce the appearance of scars. When inhaled, they can benefit your mind by boosting your mood or helping you to relax or focus.
Where Do Essential Oils Come From?
Essential Oils come from all over the world. We source our essential oils from India, France, California, and Italy. Each county has a unique growing condition that is ideal for each plant source. After harvest, the plants are processed through steam distillation or cold-pressing to obtain the essential oils. Sometimes the leaves are used, sometime the flower, or the fruit … it depends on which part of the plant has the most and best-quality oil content. The essential oil is shipped in bulk to the U.S. where it is tested and screened for quality, and then it is bottled. BCL Spa offers full-strength oils for specific aromatherapy purposes. Some of our essential oils are combined into effective and delicious-smelling blends, and some of them are cut with a natural carrier oil to create a safe strength for use on the skin.
How do they work?
The active components in essential oils work on both mind and body. Your sense of smell is one of the most powerful sensory stimuli. It can powerfully trigger changes in memory, emotion, and mood. When you breathe in the active components in essential oils, they work through your olfactory senses to give you feelings of energy, balance, strength or calm. Essential oils can also enter your body by absorption through the skin. The active components both cross the skin into the bloodstream, and are inhaled with the close topical contact.
Science is still catching up with the traditional uses of essential oils. Certain plant extracts have been researched by science, others have not. Lavender, for instance, has been shown scientifically to help with certain types of hair loss.1 But although Lavender has been touted anecdotally to help with a relaxation, mood, bruises, burns, and stretch marks, the science isn’t yet available to show that it works for everyone for these purposes.
Are Essential Oils Safe?
Good question! Since essential oils are highly potent products, they require special care and knowledge for safe use. Some essential oils have been blended into a base, to make them safe for use on the skin. Some of the active compounds in other essential oils interact with prescription medications, or aggravate conditions like asthma. Women who are pregnant or nursing also need to take special care to consult a medical professional before they begin using essential oils. Some essential oils are safe for children, others are not.
It’s a good idea to do thorough research about the essential oils you want to use, and ask a few key questions before you use them on someone else.