Essential oils have gained a great deal of attention over the last several years. In fact, global sales forged past 15 billion just a few years ago, and they’re expected to almost double during the years to come. As more people realize the benefits of essential oils and discover new and innovative ways to use them, their popularity could even surpass analysts’ projections.

If you’re interested in using essential oils, it’s important to understand what they are and how they work. Dozens of types of oils are out there. Each one has its own distinct aroma and set of potential benefits. You can even find a wonderful essential oil and aroma oil blend to enjoy in various ways. When these oils are combined in just the right ways, their scents and effects can complement each other and take their combined benefits to entirely new heights.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are concentrated extracts from natural products. They can come from flowers, leaves, stems, fruit peels, pine needles, seeds, roots, and other parts of plants. Which part of the plant the essential oil is extracted from depends on the plant itself. In some cases, the entire plant can be used to harvest oils. Other times, only specific parts are viable for this purpose.

How Are Essential Oils Made?

Manufacturers use an array of methods for extracting essential oils from plant materials. Steam distillation, solvent extraction, infusion, CO2 extraction, and cold and hot pressing are among the most common. Some of these methods are much more complicated than others. At the same time, some methods can leave behind unpleasant residues if they’re not carried out properly. It’s important to purchase essential oils from a trusted source to ensure you’re getting the safest and purest products available.

What Is the Difference between Essential Oils and Fragrances?

Numerous differences exist between essential oils and fragrances. One of the most important to keep in mind is how they’re created. Authentic essential oils are extracted from plant materials. They’re completely natural. They may be combined with additional essential oils and carrier oils, but they ultimately come from purely botanical sources.

That’s not the case with standard fragrances. Many of them smell like flowers, herbs, and other botanicals, but they don’t actually come from natural materials. Instead, they’re synthetic. They’re created in labs and designed to mimic the aromas of essential oils. They may have similar scents, but they won’t provide the same benefits as true essential oils.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Essential Oils?

Quite a few benefits can come from using essential oils. For one, they make your house smell nice and can help hide some unpleasant odors, such as those left behind by pets and cigarette smoke. Of course, that’s one of the simplest advantages essential oils have to offer. They only get more interesting and exciting from there.

Antimicrobial Effects

Studies have shown that certain essential oils can provide antimicrobial benefits. Some, such as tea tree oil, have been found to kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi in many instances. Though some essential oils shouldn’t be swallowed, they can be used for their antimicrobial properties on the hands, in the laundry, and in household cleaners among other alternatives.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Reports show that some essential oil can also be used to fight inflammation that comes from a range of medical conditions. More research needs to be done on just which essential oils are effective for different inflammatory conditions in humans. Still, preliminary trials indicate that thyme, oregano, and rosemary essential oils may help with the inflammation that comes with colitis and similar conditions.

Stress Relief

Research indicates that essential oils may also aid in relieving stress. Some experts believe the aroma of the oils helps relieve stress whereas others insist the chemical components of the oils entering the body through inhalation or osmosis actually generate the healing effects. Either way, countless people swear by the stress-relieving power of essential oils.

Battling Anxiety

Scientific studies vary regarding whether essential oils are effective for treating anxiety. That being said, numerous anxiety sufferers insist that certain essential oils help them relax and feel less nervous and uneasy. Those effects aren’t the same for everyone, and some people respond more strongly to different scents than others.

Alleviating Pain

When applied to the skin, some essential oils may help reduce certain types of pain. Peppermint oil, in particular, has been found to reduce the severity of headaches when applied to the forehead or temples. Peppermint and eucalyptus oil can provide relief from joint and muscle pain in some cases as well. Keep in mind, you should be sure to mix essential oils with carrier oils, such as hemp seed, coconut, or almond oil, before applying them to the skin.

Reducing Skin Irritation

Some types of essential oils may be able to reduce redness, dryness, and skin inflammation if used properly and regularly. Chamomile and rosemary oils are among the most popular and effective for treating skin issues. Again, avoid using pure, concentrated essential oils on the skin. Be sure to dilute them with carrier oils beforehand.

Combating Insomnia

Just as some essential oils can help reduce anxiety and stress, certain varieties may provide relief from insomnia. Lavender is the most highly touted for this use. You can place lavender essential oil in a diffuser by your bed or apply small amounts of diluted lavender oil to your pillow to name a couple of possible uses.

Making the Most of Essential Oils

So far, numerous uses for essential oils and aroma oils have come to light. Placing them in diffusers for aromatherapy is one of the most common. You can also place a few drops of certain essential oils in a humidifier to provide skin benefits and relieve congestion. If you’re interested in making your own natural soaps, skincare, and cleaning products, essential oils can add lovely aromas and provide a long list of advantages as well. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try different oils, combinations, and uses to see which ones work best for you.

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