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Essential Oil FAQs
What are Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are a complex combination of thousands of chemicals processed & distilled from plants & minerals which bring oxygenation to the systems of our bodies, nerves, blood & minds/emotions.
Are Essential Oils all natural?
Not necessarily, while the most trusted pharmaceutical companies producing Essential Oils are committed to 100% natural products, there are many companies that adulterate or extend Essential Oils by adding synthetic chemicals.
What are Essential Oils made from?
Essential Oils are processed from the roots, petals, seeds, leaves & bark of trees, shrubs & plants such as kitchen herbs, cedars & what we call ornamentals. Unlike vegetable oils, Essential Oils are not greasy & do not clog pores.
How were Essential Oils discovered?
There are references to incense & perfumes dating back 4,500 years. In 1817 an Egyptian papyrus was found dating back to 1,500 BCE in which were recorded formulas for what we now call Essential Oils & the symptoms they relieved. In the Middle East, Arabians were distilling essences of rose as early as 300 AD. There are hundreds of references to essential oils, incense & ointments in both the Old & New Testaments of the Bible, perhaps the most well-known are frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, rosemary & spikenard.
Who discovered them?
At the beginning of the 20th Century, Dr. Gattefossé & his team of chemists begun their scientific study of Essential Oils or Aromatherapy as the field of this science is also called. During World War I Essential Oils were used for their known anti-bacterial properties. In 1937 Dr. Gattefossé published his findings in his book Aromatherapy which has since been translated & republished. During World War II in China, where medical supplies were unavailable, doctors reported that many patients suffering from war injuries, were treated with therapeutic-grade Essential Oils with remarkable results.
How are they used?
In Europe, where they have had a long, open history in health care systems, there are three models for using Essential Oils:
The English system recommends diluting Essential Oils in a vegetable oil & using them as a body massage for stress relief & relaxation.
The French system prefers ingesting Essential Oils by adding drops to sugar cubes or bread. They have found excellent results by taking them internally.
The German system advocates inhaling Essential Oils; their research shows that fragrance & aromatic properties exert strong effects on our sense of smell & our brains, especially those areas that command our hormones & emotions.
Can you be allergic to Essential Oils?
In rare cases individuals beginning to use Essential Oils do suffer rashes or allergic reactions(watering eyes, sneezing). Often the use of undiluted spices, conifer or citrus oil can cause rashes as too the interaction of adulterated oils. Many people are allergic to petroleum-based personal care products. It is not so much that people will have an allergic reaction to Essential Oils as much as the interaction between Essential Oils & personal care products containing many commonly accepted chemicals, the most problematic being hydrocarbon-based chemicals, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, aluminum salts, quaternary compounds found in mouthwashes, antiperspirants, hand creams etc., & they will cause a reaction.
Are Essential Oils Safe?
As each persons body is different & each animals body differs, it is important before starting, to apply one oil or blend at a time. Allow enough time (3-5 minutes) for your body to respond. Keep a bottle of pure vegetable oil at hand in case you experience any discomfort or skin irritation at first.
Are they poisonous? What would happen if one of my children got hold of a bottle?
Treat Essential Oils the same way you treat any medicine. Keep all bottles tightly closed & stored in a dark, cool location. No, do not refrigerate them. Keep Essential Oils away from eyes & contact lenses.
How long do they last?
Essential Oils, properly stored, can & do last (maintain their potency) for many years. Some vials brought up to the surface from shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea over 2,000 years ago, are still potent.
Whats the safest place to use Essential Oils?
On the bottom of your feet for people. For animals it varies although paws, rumps & stifles are good places. Often, putting a little on yourself & allowing your pets to inhale the Essential Oils from you will soothe & relieve your pets anxiety before putting it on them.
How can Essential Oils help my pet, how do they work for animals?
Animals often respond in similar ways we do. They are not as sensitive to some of the constituents of essential oils (they have thicker skins) so applying the oils "neat" or full strength is possible. Some of the same usages in people, work for animals, i.e. arthritis, calming, fleas, parasites, inflammation, sore muscles, mites, ticks & trauma. As with humans, avoid your pets eyes. A spray bottle is a useful way of applying to hard to reach places or spine & flanks; then massage in.
What happens if my pet licks its paws & I just put an essential oil there?
Part of the process of essential oils for animals is for them to be ingested. It is recommended, in some cases, that oils be applied to gums, tongue or underneath the top lip. This will be discussed at time of prescription.