- The Science Behind Essential Oils -

What is an essential oil?

Before we can find out if essential oils really work, we firstly need to understand what essential oils actually are.

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic 
liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from 
plants

Ok, so that sound like im talking in a foreign language, right? So allow me to break it down and explain exactly what it all means.

What is Hydrophobic?

 

Essential oils are hydrophobic, which means they are repelled by water. If you try to mix an oil with water, the oil will just sit on top of the water without mixing in. We have all seen in recent year the devastating damage caused by oil leaks in ships and tankers out on the ocean. the oil sits on top of the water, right? You can try this little experiment home by pouring a few drops of your favorite essential oil or even cooking oil into a small bowl of water. You will see that the two will not mix because the oil is hydrophobic and will try to repel the water.

What do you mean Volatile?

when we hear the word volatile we instantly think explosive or flammable, right? Volatile actually means that the oils can change their state of matter (solid, liquid, gas) quickly. This characteristic assists in the distillation of most essential oils. It’s because they are volatile, they can quickly turn from a solid to a liquid state during the distillation process. Volatility is also what makes the oils so potent. When you open a bottle of essential oil, you can quickly and easily smell the powerful aroma. This is because there are millions of microscopic molecules that evaporate and spread out into the air as you are inhaling the oil. In other words, the volatile molecules quickly go from liquid to the aromatic “gas” we smell from the bottle.

Aromatic, what’s that?

Aromatic means that something has a distinct and often pleasant smell. For example, the lavender plant is aromatic because the flowers on the plant have a specific floral and powdery smell that so many people enjoy. Each oil has a specific aroma that is determined by the part of the plant it comes from and its chemical makeup. Think of the smell of your favorite essential oil. That is the aroma.

Compounds, Eh?

 

A compound is a mixture of two or more elements. An example of a compound is water, because it is a mixture of the elements hydrogen and oxygen (H2O). Essential oils are made of many different pieces and parts. But not all compounds have a distinct smell. For example, water doesn’t smell much like anything. That is why essential oils are identified as aromatic compounds, to clarify that the oils have a particular smell depending on the plant they come from.

Each part of the tree has a specific chemical makeup that decides what the essential oil will smell like and what benefits it has for us.

 

Now that we understand the basics behind essential oils let look into the science and see if they actually work?

There are various articles and newspaper posts all over the internet on this subject, so, I am not going to go into too much detail. Instead, I will refer to the worlds leading essential oil company doTERRA, it is the company I am proud to be a part of, They have the best ethics I have seen in a long time. doTERRA have a whole blog with the science and well, pretty much any thing you would wish to look at in regards to how these amazing oils work. They work very closely with their own scientists and do all their own tests and research. They also have numerous doctors in their company working on essential oils and are learning new things everyday. For me to explain the science would take me months or even years, but what I will say is………. if your open minded to new things then you have nothing to lose.

This is their science blog page and is full of information, my opinion is do your research first. You may be surprised at how much you may learn.