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Essential Oils

Essential oils, or aromatherapy oils, are the fragrant essence of a plant. These highly concentrated liquid oils are the foundation of aromatherapy, which is based on the idea that the aromatic oil from a plant has healing properties. Essential oils should not be confused with perfumes or other fragrance oils. Essential oils are natural to the plant, whereas fragrance oils are chemically produced to mimic certain aromatic scents for perfumes, colognes, candles, etc.
Essential oils are extracted one of two ways: either by steam distillation or expression, or pressing. Distillation is the most prominent method used to extract aromatherapy oils, however. This technique involves steaming the plant matter until it breaks down. The byproduct of this breakdown phase is the plant's fragrant oil, which is cooled, separated from the water and finally filtered into its pure essential oil.
History
Little is known about the history of aromatherapy, or where it originated specifically, but the Egyptians are credited with developing one of the first distillation machines to extract oils from certain plants -- cedarwood, clove, cinnamon, to name a few -- which were used to embalm the dead. The practice of using infused aromatic oils as a mood enhancer, however, is thought to have roots in China.

The Greeks also played a role in the history of aromatherapy. Megallus, a Greek perfumer, developed a fragrance he called megaleion, which consisted of myrrh. The "father of medicine" Hippocrates is said to have practiced aromatherapy (before it was dubbed so) for healing purposes. Greek mythology claims the gods were gifted with the knowledge of perfume and fragrance. 

The actual term "aromatherapy" first originated in 1937 when French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse invented the word after a burn incident spurred his curiosity about the healing power of essential oils. On the heels of Gattefosse's "discovery" that lavender oil helped to cure his burn, French surgeon Jean Valnet used essential oils to help heal soldiers' wounds in World War II, proving the medical benefits of aromatherapy.
Applications
Aromatherapy is based on the principle that natural fragrances, or essential oils, from certain plants or flowers can affect our moods, and consequently how we think or feel at any given time.

In fact, practitioners of Aromatherapy base their entire belief system on the ideology that essential oils, or aromatherapy oils, have medicinal benefits – including antidepressant and antibacterial properties, and plenty in between!

Certain essential oils can trigger physical or emotional effects on their own. For instance, lavender is a widely known calming agent, whereas peppermint is a mood lifter. Other oils are blended to achieve a desired physiological or psychological effect. Blending ylang ylang with grapefruit relieves stress.
Information courtesy of aromatherapy.com
More info about our blends coming soon!

 

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