MelloDynamic Energy
A Holistic Approach to Health and Well Being

        All About Essential Oils


    The History of Essential Oils

    Essential oils are the oldest and some of the most powerful therapeutic agents known to man. Used throughout history, they span centuries of use in healing, therapy, and religious ritual throughout the ancient world.  Frankincense is repeatedly referred to in many Judeo-Christian and Muslim religious texts. Essential oils, such as Myrrh, Lotus, and Sandalwood were widely used in ancient Egyptian purification and embalming rituals. Clove and Lemon oil were used as disinfectants hundreds of years before the discovery of modern antiseptics.  Romans used essential oils in their temples and political buildings as well as aromatic bathhouses that were gathering places for the upper class.  Native Americans used many plants and their derivatives for healing purposes as well.  Ancient Egyptians were among the first civilizations to recognize the therapeutic qualities of oils.  In the early 1800’s, scrolls dating back to 1500 B.C., were found that listed over 800 herbal prescriptions and remedies including the use of many essential oils.  The chemical properties of essential oils had been studied and documented along with the development and refinement of the distillation process to extract the purest of the essential oils from the plants.  When King Tut's tomb was opened in the 1900s many jars with essential oil residue were identified. 

     

    Essential oils were utilized during the great epidemic of the Middle Ages known as the Bubonic Plague (1330 A.D.) which destroyed almost half of Western Europe’s population.  An enterprising band of thieves took advantage of the high mortality rate by robbing the dead without becoming infected by the disease. The thieves were eventually captured in Marseilles, France and put on trial.  The judge offered the thieves leniency if they would reveal how they managed to avoid the ‘Black Death.’ It was revealed that the thieves were perfumers and spice traders.  By rubbing themselves with a blend of highly antibacterial aromatics, they had effectively immunized themselves.  Young Living Essential Oils actually sells an oil blend called Thieves.



    Essential Oils Today
    The use of essential oils by some may be regarded as an alternative to modern medicine. It is important we embrace modern medicine and the positive qualities it has to offer. Individuals should consider healing solutions from both approaches, working together with experienced homeopathic healing providers and medical physicians.  Both practitioner methods used together generally offer a better healing modality than just one or the other.  Historically, there has been a feeling of disrespect and distrust between modern medicine and the essential oils industry/holistic care.  The truth of the matter is that in more progressive parts of the United States (and indeed, the world) this combination approach of oils/energy work and regular medical doctors.  In the deep South, these enlightened ways of thinking and dealing with illness are slower to be accepted mostly because of fear, ignorance of what is available, dogmatic religious beliefs, competition with the medical society establishment, and FDA regulations.

    As a modern holistic care provider, I see for the near future that modern medicine will begin to come together to a stronger degree and blend with alternative/holistic avenues of treatments such as essential oils, energy work such as Reiki, acupuncture, biofeedback treatments, etc.  The reason being…it really IS a better way to treat the overall mind and body of the human being. 

    Some believe that faith, no matter what the spiritual avenue of a person, combined with essential oils synergistically adds to healing. Many people believe plants were placed on earth as our pharmacy, and knowing their divine background increases their faith in the healing effects of essential oils. Often prayer is used as a complementary, supportive measure. For many, the effects of prayer and its intent used simultaneously with other modalities of healing offers some of the most effective healing opportunities for the mind, body, and spirit.  The effectiveness of oils is measurably enhanced as the vessel (body) is cleansed. Cleansing the body prepares the way for a greater pathway of wellness and healing. Just like a mother entering her child’s dirty room, oils might sometimes find themselves in overwhelming situations in the body. If essential oils could speak, they might be saying, "Wow, where do I begin?!"  Generally speaking, people who are healthy and relatively detoxified are much more likely to enjoy and recognize the benefits of essential oil usage.  A detoxification of the body can be very simple to undertake and helps to rid the body of daily toxins that become stored in the various organ systems. 

 



Essential Oil Production
Ancient alchemists, the earliest being from Islamic cultures in the East and then moving into Europe, began exploring the nature of how essential oils worked.  They explored the techniques of chemical separation through extraction and distillation.   From the distillation of plants first came perfumes then cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. During this period in history, the aromatic essences of plants first came to be known as essential oils.  These early researchers, the alchemists, were not always rewarded positively for their contributions and were often labeled as sorcerers or witches. We regard today’s modern researchers of essential oils with higher esteem.  Modern essential oils and aromatherapy use began to blossom in the early decades of the twentieth century.  In July of 1910, French cosmetic chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé, Ph.D. , was working in his lab when it exploded, setting his hand and arm on fire.  Frantically, he plunged his arm into a container of what he assumed was water.  However, it actually contained pure Lavender oil.  He was surprised at the analgesic effects and fearing further damage resulting from the accident, he continued with regular application of Lavender oil.  His wound healed with very little scarring.  He began to investigate the chemistry of the oil in order to discover which properties had caused the tremendous healing effect. Dr. Gattefossé continued his examinations of the healing compounds of other essential oils, and his studies laid the groundwork for the clinical use of essential oils. 

 
Essential Oil Quality and Grading Standard
Today, essential oils are becoming more accepted in mainstream society with many people using them for various healthcare needs.  One aspect which is very important in deciding on an essential oil to use is the purity of the product.  Many are graded as A, B, C, or floral water. 

Grade A essential oils are pure therapeutic quality (highest grade) and are usually made from naturally (often organically) grown plants distilled at the proper temperatures using steam distillation.

Grade B essential oils are food grade; may contain synthetics, pesticides, fertilizers, chemical/synthetic extenders, or carrier oils.

Grade C oils are perfume grade and may contain the same type of adulterating chemicals as food grade oils and usually contain solvents which are used to gain a higher yield of oil. 

Floral Water is a byproduct of the distillation process and can be very high quality if it comes from a Grade A distillation process.  It is of very low quality if it comes from poor quality raw materials and/or poor distillation processes. 


 

 

Below are three companies whose essential oils I use and their product integrity grading:

 

dōTERRA:  All of their essential oils and essential oil-enhanced products start from Grade A.   Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is the label you will see on dōTERRA Essential Oils.  www.doterra.com

Young Living:  Young Living Therapeutic Grade (YLTG) means that every essential oil that Young Living distills or sources has the optimal naturally-occurring blend of constituents to maximize the desired effect. Young Living is able to make this assertion because of our strict cultivation process—illustrated by the Four Ps—that guarantees the optimal potency of every Young Living essential oil.  www.youngliving.com

Mountain Rose Herbs:  This company is a certified organic processor through Oregon Tilth which is fully accredited with the USDA National Organic Program. Since 1987 we have continuously worked for the advancement of sustainable organic agriculture from the herbs offered, to the teas we process and the oils we have distilled.   www.mountainroseherbs.com


Essential Oil Application Methods

Topical Method:  Topical application of essential oils allows them to quickly enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body.  Simultaneously, as the oils are applied and absorbed into the skin the scent is inhaled giving a double benefit.  Logic often dictates where to apply an oil (or oil blend), and applying directly to the affected area is most effective. For example, headaches originate from certain places as in the case of a sinus headaches.  Applying essential oil to the temples, and/or applying it to the sides of the nose would be appropriate.  Other headaches start at the back of the neck.  Massaging the essential oil to the neck and shoulders can offer relief.   Pressure points on the hands and feet identified in reflexology or acupressure have also proven effective places to apply essential oils.  Administer directly to an effected area for pain relief or for protection from infection.  An essential oil (with or without a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil) in a spray or salve works well.  Situations to consider using direct application of essential oils includes burns, rashes, fungal infections, cuts, scrapes bumps, bruises and bites. 
Additionally, areas of inflammation and associated pain may be included in appropriate topical use such as muscle aches, joint pains, arthritis and gout.  For upset stomachs or digestive problems, direct application of an essential oil on the stomach (especially for children) is appropriate.

 

Cupping and InhalingTo utilize this method, place a couple of drops of essential oil to the palms of the hands.  Stimulate the olfactory cells by cupping the hands over the nose and breathing deeply 2-4 breaths. Add several drops of essential oil to a steaming hot bowl of water.  Place a towel over the head, letting it drape around the bowl and breathe in the vapors.  This method is helpful for sinus problems, coughing or colds. 





Are Essential Oils Safe For Infants and Young Children?
Essential oils are of great benefit for babies and young children using massage techniques.  Their skin is very sensitive and extreme care should be taken to use a carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil or almond oil) during the application.  A 2-5% carrier dilution is appropriate. Massage techniques for babies is also proven for pain relief including digestive discomfort and colic as well as other health concerns.  When using the correct essential oil, a massage is a physical type of ‘lullaby.  A highly effective method with babies/small children is to massage their feet with essential oils as it is considered a safe area to apply oils that sometimes may be considered "hot" (oils such as ginger, cinnamon, peppermint) or too strong for sensitive skin.  Make sure to use a carrier oil as stated above.

 




Which Essential Oils To Use?

Lavender:  Good for burns, insect bites, rashes.  Aids in calming the mind at bedtime for both children and adults.  Can help ease a mild headache.  Helps with earache pain.

Peppermint:  Good for headache relief.  Helps to calm an upset stomach or motion sickness.  Can be inhaled as a “pick me up” for focus and mood.

Lemon:  Can be used daily in water as a liver detox agent.  Use in the washing cycle to disinfect clothes. 

Wild Orange:  Mixed with distilled water in a spray bottle, can be used as a germ fighting agent on bathroom and kitchen counters.  Can be used for student focus and concentration when studying.

Basil:  Can be used to ward off insects.  Helps ease the pain of an earache.  Mental stimulant.


These are just a few essential oils and their uses.  Feel free to email me any questions about further essential oil properties and their healing benefits.

 

 

 

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