Overhead photograph of various essential oils and plant products used for aromatherapy and natural healing
Overhead photograph of various essential oils and plant products used for aromatherapy and natural healing

What Are Essential Oils? A Simple Guide to Natural Healing and Aromatherapy

What Are Essential Oils? A Simple Guide to Natural Healing and Aromatherapy

Want to get started using essential oils, but not sure where to begin? Below is your simple guide to the many uses and benefits of these therapeutic essences, used today in aromatherapy and fragrances. Learn what essential oils are, what essential oils can be used for, and their many restorative benefits and healing properties.

Aromatherapy candle using essential oil

What are essential oils?

Aromatic essential oils are the highly concentrated essences derived from plants. Used today in aromatherapy and fragrances, they have a long history in natural healing. The oils harness a plant’s therapeutic properties to restore balance to the mind, body, and spirit.

"A single essential oil contains as many as 100 different chemical components"

How are essential oils used in aromatherapy?

Today, there are around 150 essential oils used in aromatherapy. Each has a unique chemistry and properties that produce a distinct therapeutic, psychological, and physiological effect. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, decongesting, and antiseptic, oils can ease anxiety and lift the sprits.

Essential oil aromatherapy and healing benefits chart including pain relief, cleansing, immunity boost and more

How do essential oils work?

Our sense of smell is more sensitive and immediate than any of our other senses, which is why aromas are so evocative. Chemicals in a scent can trigger physiological responses and affect our mental state. These combined effects enable aromatic oils to work holistically on mind, body, and spirit, bringing balance, healing, and often a profound sense of well-being.

What are some of the specific benefits and effects of essential oils?

Essential oils can be used to help promote a state of mind. For example, stimulating oils can be used to enhance focus, while oils that are calming enable us to relax and help to combat the effects of stress.

Essential oil aromatherapy and healing benefits chart including improved well-being and mood, improved concentration and focus, relaxation, and more

Four examples of the positive effects of essential oils include:

• Enhanced well-being and mood

Essential oils have many components that affect the nervous system, helping to lift mood and enhance well-being. For example, studies show that the compound linalool in lavender and clary sage reduces anxiety, while limonene, found in many citrus oils, can ease anxiety and lift depression.

Lavender

• Promotion of relaxation

The relaxing effects of essential oils are well documented. How they help us relax is a complicated process thought to involve several parts of the brain. One theory is that linalool regulates the neurohormone GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). This in turn regulates levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine.

• Anti-septic benefits

Many essential oils have been shown to destroy the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause infection. For example, one of the best known antiseptic essential oils, tea tree, is thought to be as effective as conventional treatments for athlete’s foot.

• Cleansing properties

When functioning properly, our lungs, liver, digestive system, kidneys, and skin all help to remove waste products and toxins from the body. Negative factors such as stress, anxiety, poor diet, and lack of sleep can all interfere with this process. Essential oils often have detoxifying properties that help to cleanse the body and support a healthy excretory system.

Essential oil in vial

Introduce yourself to the world of Essential Oils for treating maladies and improving mental and physical well-being. Featuring comprehensive profiles of 88 essential oils, all-natural remedies for common ailments, aromatic recipes for home and beauty, and helpful guidance for blending, storing, and using essential oils, this introductory guide is packed with authoritative information from the experts at Neal's Yard Remedies.

Buy the book

Buy the book

Essential Oils Essential Oils

An introductory guide to essential oils and aromatherapy from the experts at Neal's Yard Remedies, a trusted Read more

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$19.95

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