As essential oils grow in popularity, many people want to know more about their benefits and healing properties. We spoke with Scott Johnson at Young Living Essential Oils last week and asked him a few questions about how these fragrant and powerful oils work.
According to Johnson, PhD and director of Global Education and U.S. Sales at Young Living, “one of the things that makes essential oils so special is their ability to rapidly absorb into the human body.” The reason for this is that essential oils are fat-soluble nutrients, so they are attracted to the lipid (fat) membranes that surround our cells. “They penetrate our cell membranes, delivering nutrients to various cells and tissues to support health,” explains Johnson. Compounds of essential oils can be detected in the blood within minutes if applied topically on the skin.
Furthermore, essential oils can be used in a variety of ways, both internally and externally, and they have unique healing properties. If you’re using an essential oil to treat sore muscles, for example, it might be best to apply the oil topically. If you want to cleanse your body, however, you might take the essential oil internally. “It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish,” affirms Johnson.
Natural essential oils are made through a unique distillation process that involves extracting oil from plant material or resin. There are several methods—essential oil can be steam-distilled, hydro-distilled with the use of water, or cold-pressed with the aid of citrus oil that comes from the rind of the fruit.
Because essential oils are potent, rapid, and very volatile, people with certain conditions—like pregnancy, epilepsy or fever—must be especially cautious while using them. If you’re pregnant, stay away from oils that have phytoestrogens (like anise, clary sage, fennel, and mugwort), as these may stimulate uterine contractions. Also keep in mind that some oils (bergamot and citrus oils, for example) are photosynthesizing, so if you go into the sun with them they may discolor skin or create depigmentation.
That being said, essential oils are generally very safe to use. Indeed, the safety and natural benefits of essential oils were qualities that led visionary founder Dr. Gary Young to the creation of Young Living in 1993. A pioneer in essential oil study and production, Dr. Young made essential oils more readily available to people through a wholesale business model. He also helped spread awareness about the health benefits of each essential oil, and established Young Living’s five-step Seed to Seal process—“seed,” “cultivate,” “distill,” “test,” and “seal.” This process ensures the purity of each essential oil and serves as the foundation for Young Living’s distribution of essential oil around the world today.
Written by Nicole Kagan
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- How do I choose and use essential oils?(2013, July 16).