Essentially Yours

Oils extracted from herbs and plants is often used to treat illnesses. They are now also being included in food!  

8/1/2016 3:44:55 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

Essential oils have been an integral part of ancient civilisations – be it Egyptian, Indian, Chinese or European, but it has seen a revival of sorts in these modern times. Recently my friend spoke to me about the soothing effects these oils had on her ailing father and how they were effective in reducing stress. 

The term aromatherapy as we know today was first coined in 1937 by the French chemist and perfumer Rene Maurice Gattefosse. In 1910 he burnt his hand badly in his laboratory and being the first available compound handy, treated his badly burnt hand with pure undiluted lavender oil, which not only immediately eased the pain, but helped heal the hand without any sign of infection or scar.

He also found that minute amounts of essential oils are absorbed by the body and interact with the body chemistry. During the Second World War, as a result of Gattefosse’s experiments, Dr Jean Valet used essential oils to treat injured soldiers with great success.

Essential oils are basically highly concentrated non-water soluble phytochemicals that are distilled from different parts of plants. They can be distilled from leaves, roots, flowers and other parts of plants and are very potent because of their concentration of phytochemicals.

Due to the numerous health benefits of essential oils, they are increasingly being explored by the scientific community for the treatment of a variety of diseases including cancer, HIV, asthma, bronchitis, heart strokes, and many more.

There are more than 90 essential oils, and each has its own health benefits. Most essential oil blend well with other essential oils in terms of function and odor, which allows herbalists to prepare a vast repertoire of aromatic essential oil combinations.

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