Producing essential oils of the highest grades is truly an art form. It takes a delicate balance of time, temperature and pressure during the distillation process to ensure the most complete range of molecular components is extracted. The finer oils will have the most wonderful aromatic bouquets for this reason - they contain a breadth of compounds when inhaled together give an oil a brilliant aroma. Relatively few essential oils are produced in this manner - many are destined for large manufacturing processes, and will not have the same aromas and therapeutic effects of the highest-grade oils.
Therapeutic and spiritual use of essential oils dates back thousands of years - essential oils were used by the ancient Egyptians along with many other ancient cultures. Hundreds of references to their healing properties in the Christian Bible, along with anointing for spiritual growth and insight. Frankincense resin continues to be used in the Catholic church today during mass as a purifying and uplifting aromatic incense - a similar application of essential oils can be the anointing of the third eye or temples with Frankincense, Myrrh, Cedarwood, Sandalwood or a combination of these mind-centering aromatics.
Modern use of essential oils in natural health, wellness and fitness programs began with the discovery of Lavender's healing properties by a French scientist in the middle of the last century. Lavender was found to have effective healing properties for skin wounds, strong anti-inflammatory properties, and wonderful calming effects when inhaled.
Most essential oils display antibacterial effects, some also with strong antiviral properties as well. They can be used to fight infectious illness, or support the immune system to prevent the onset of illness in the first place. It does take a qualified practitioner, or a significantly strong knowledge to choose the right oil for each condition, however.
What's your favorite essential oil? Have you used any? Let us know!