Nearly every ancient culture knew and used the amazing healing properties of essential oils. These incredible oils act as natural medicines and contain the most proven therapeutic compounds in the world. Backed by the latest research, holistic nutritional consultant Susan Branson provides 101 useful-and unexpected-reasons to add essential oils to your daily life.
SUSAN BRANSQN earned an undergraduate degree in biology from St. Francis Xavier University, then a MSc in toxicology from the University of Ottawa. From there, she worked in research: in the field, in the lab, as a writer, and as an administrator. She took time off and stayed at home after her second child was born. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom, she also took violin les-sons, photography courses, earned a diploma in writing, and ultimately became a holistic nutritional consultant. Susan is a member of CSNN's Alumni Association, Canada's leading holistic nutrition school.
The fresh scent of lemons, the soothing aroma of lavender, or the mystical fragrance of frankincense can conjure feelings of happiness, serenity, or clarity. Essential oil qualities stretch far beyond their beautiful scent and can invoke physiological changes in the both the mind and body. When inhaled, smell receptors in the nose send messages along the olfactory nerve to the part of the brain responsible for emotions and behavior. This part is also connected to other parts of the brain that control breathing, blood pressure, stress, memory, and hormones.' When ingested or applied topically, essential oils are small enough to penetrate the skin or other tissues within twenty minutes' and even cross the blood-brain barrier. The composition of each oil is unique to its source and can even vary widely within genera. Most oils are made up primarily of terpenes, which impart the particular aroma of the oil and give the plant its antimicrobial defenses. These properties, along with their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving abilities, are delivered to the individual using the oil. Essential oils do not contain vitamins, minerals, hormones, or nutrients.
These oils are volatile liquids produced from steam or hydrodistillation of plant leaves, stems, bark, flowers, seeds, or roots. The only oils produced differently are citrus oils, which are cold pressed from the citrus peels. It takes a lot of plant material to produce a small amount of oil and is the reason why pure essential oils can be quite expensive. Four thousand pounds of roses are needed to get one pound of oil; other plants don't need quite such high amounts of raw material. A pound of lavender oil can be produced from 220 pounds of lavender flowers. Essential oils are very concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
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