Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. There are a wide number of essential oils available, each with its own healing properties.
Here are five things you may not know about essential oils:
1. Neroli oil, or “orange blossom,” is one of the most expensive essential oils on the market. It takes 1,000 lbs. of orange blossoms to make one pound of Neroli oil. This semi-precious oil is used to ease anxiety, depression, insomnia, and given its wonderful aroma, it can be considered an aphrodisiac.
2. Captain James Cook first mentioned Tea Tree oil in 1772 during his voyage to Botany Bay, Australia. He and his crew made a tea from the leaves to prevent scurvy. Tea Tree’s healing properties are abundant. Not only is it a natural immune booster, but it also fights all three kinds of infection. It works to heal skin conditions, burns and cuts, and also works as an insecticide. In addition, it helps to soothe and treat cold sores, respiratory conditions, muscle aches, the flu, Athlete’s foot and dandruff. Its uses are vast and its healing power is quick.
3. In the 1920s, French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse coined the term “aromatherapy.” The story goes that during an experiment, Gattefosse burned his hand and had nothing nearby to soak it in except lavender. Apparently the lavender quickly healed the burn, spurring him to begin research on the science behind essential oils.
4. Our sense of smell is the only sense directly tied to the limbic area of the brain, which is considered the emotional control center. This means that when essential oils are inhaled, they go directly to the brain. Our other four senses — taste, sight, touch and hearing — are first routed through the thalamus before reaching designated areas of the brain.
5. Essential oils are beneficial healers because they transport oxygen to the cells, which trigger great healing effects. It is safe to say that all of them are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-infectious, anti-tumoral, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic on some level.