How Essential Oils Work

Essential oils are uniquely fascinating plant substances. And here you thought they were just “pretty” scents, but actually they are much more than that! People do seem to understand how essential oils work on an emotional level, simply because when we smell them, it livens and brightens our mood. Our mood can change dramatically by just smelling essential oils, making us become instantly brighter and more relaxed. However, something else is going on deep inside the body when we use essential oils. Depending on how we use them, it can provide us with an even greater benefit that we may not notice or feel.

Photos by Health Talks Online

Interestingly, an essential oil is not even an oil at all. They are called oils mainly because they are lipid (fat) soluble rather than water soluble. Essential oils evaporate quickly, especially with the presence of heat, so to get the maximum benefits, it’s preferred to use them with carrier oils when applied topically. Many people use essential oils topically for transdermal penetration because anything that we put on our skin gets absorbed into the bloodstream through our vast amount of pores. Using a carrier oil sends a steady stream of molecules into the blood stream compared to neat (or undiluted) application which sends a rapid flood of essential oil molecules into the blood.

dōTERRA Science Blog

When you smell an essential oil, those volatile molecules contain particles so nano in size, they can even cross the blood-brain barrier. Not many substances on the planet can do that. This is one of the reasons why when our olfactory senses become stimulated by these molecular substances, our mood can instantly change. Every essential oil also has a different chemical makeup of constituents that make it beneficial for different purposes. For example, lavender essential oil contains linalyl acetate which helps to induce a feeling of relaxation and calm. Too much of this constituent coursing through our bodies however, can create the opposite effect, thus stimulating our nervous system to the point where it prevents us from falling asleep. This is what we mean by essential oils being potent substances, because more is not necessarily better. 

Photo by Health Talks Online

Essential oils work even at an intracellular level by oxygenating, and literally excreting, toxins from our cells because they can penetrate through the cellular wall membrane. This is why many essential oils have antioxidant benefits. Clove essential oil in particular has the most ORAC (antioxidant) units than any other substance, even food! Myrrh essential oil is a bit far behind at second highest. Due to their powerful properties of penetrating the human body, it is imperative to always use CPTG quality essential oils to receive the maximum, and safest, benefits.



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