Aromatherapy and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is increasingly present in our homes for the benefit and welfare it brings us.
Essential oils are used for millennia in China (cinnamon, anise, ginger), India, the Middle East (Khella, pine, fennel ...), Egypt, Greece, America (Aztecs, Mayans, Incas : Ho wood, sassafras) and Africa (frankincense, myrrh, ravintsara) for their powerful therapeutic properties. Only later in the eleventh century, that will appear the idea of extracting active ingredients from plants by distillation.
An essential oil, what is it?
An essential oil is a liquid extract, and volatile aromatic, traditionally obtained from a plant, and which focuses the therapeutic active. The essential oil is in a way the quintessence of the plant: a "super concentrated"! And contrary to what its name would imply a pure and natural essential oil contains no fat.
Essential oils, through their compositions, have the option to limit the proliferation of germs and leave it up to the body to remain active and to participate in his defense. An essential oil is composed of several hundreds of terpenic and aromatic molecules particularly active on human metabolism. This active family prevents germs adapt and become resistant.
The use of essential oils has increased, especially after the intervention of European governments, the medical and scientific community who have pointed to the danger posed by too frequent use of antibiotics causing the weakening of our immune system and bacterial resistance.
Essential oils are a natural alternative in the care of welfare. They have very varied properties: antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antispasmodic, relaxing, aphrodisiac, stimulant, digestive, etc ....
There is a wide range of essential oils on the market, but we must be vigilant on the quality of the latter because only chemotyped essential oils (that is to say, botanically and biochemically defined) are adequate to the practice of aromatherapy.
Optimize quality for perfect security
As stated above, an essential oil is composed of several hundreds of molecules. chemical analysis techniques very powerful currently available to researchers (chromatography, mass spectroscopy, magnetic resonance) have allowed us to have a deeper understanding of the molecular structures present in the essential oils. They consist of several very different molecular assemblies, each having different properties. The need for a thorough knowledge of the chemical constituents is fundamental for a therapist. In the same botanical species, this chemical change allows us to define precisely the nature of the subspecies, varieties, cultivars, and taxa aromatic plants. This chemical change generates the notion of: chemotype or chemical race. An important concept in aromatherapy. There is talk of an essential oil "biochemically defined" or "chemotyped".
The chemotype is a form of chemical classification, biological and botanical designating the majority molecule present in an essential oil. This classification depends on factors directly related to the specific conditions of life of the plant to know the country, the climate, soil, exposure of plants, phytosociological factors and the harvest period that can influence the composition of the essential oil ; we speak of an essential oil chemotyped: HECT. Knowing the chemotype is the guarantee of a therapeutic quality and job security of an essential oil.
Moreover, only an essential oil obtained by steam distillation (or by cold expression of the peels in the case of citrus) is of good quality, 100% pure and natural.
How obtain an essential oil?
The plant species, fragile, aromatic and volatile products are synthesized by the plant kingdom. They are found in all parts botanical (plants, leaves, flowers, fruits, wood, roots, seeds ...). This is by extraction of these species which is obtained the ESSENTIAL OIL.
There are several extraction methods of complex natural extracts:
Distillation by stripping with water vapor is used for all plants except citrus, regardless of the part used. This is the most reliable method of distilling and most used.
The cold expression of peel: this mechanical process is used only for citrus. Thus extracted essential oils containing non-volatile compounds (beta-carotene, steroids, fatty acids ...).
The distilled solvents. This extraction by chemical solvents alters the essential oils making them lose much of their virtues.
Where and how to buy good essential oils?
You can obtain essential oils in many pharmacies, drugstores and health food stores.
By buying an essential oil in such outlets, traceability will meet the requirements, guarantees of quality and efficacy.
To avoid the disadvantages (taste, overdose ...) related to liquid forms, essential oils presented in capsules have a real interest. These natural health products, real food supplements are approved by several public health departments. The dose and quantity appropriate to the product offers the advantage of security by limiting the risk of overdose and the low cost for the duration of treatment.
Did you know ?
The activity of essential oil on a particular germ, can be characterized and displayed by a aromatogramme. As susceptibility testing, it verifies the effectiveness of essential oil on a seed.