Herbal Homekeeping with Essential Oils – Part I of VI

Rose Pnk      Herbal Homekeeping: Aromatherapy

“…We are… the fragrance of life…” 2 Corinthians 2:16 

These days, you can hardly walk into a store, turn on the television or look through a magazine without seeing a personal care product featuring essences or properties attributed to something herbal! Aromatherapy has gone mainstream, with widespread promotion, increasing distribution and availability. We are aware of these products and sometimes their touted claims, but few know that the origins of aromatherapy actually date back centuries. It is not New Age!

Aromatic medicine has ancient beginnings, as illustrated by over 180 references to essential oils in the Bible! Today, aromatherapy is accepted as alternative medicine — and more to the moment, as complementary medicine (coordinated with all other therapies and treatments patient is undergoing). It has become an integrated therapy for many who seek holistic treatments.

Aromatherapy is a way to improve the quality of life on a physical and emotional level. It is the study of scent; and skilled use of essential oils for physical and emotional wellness. An art and a science combined, aromatherapy is based on the fact that individuals have uniquely personal emotional responses (based on memories and emotions) — pleasant and not — to certain scents. Modern day scientific studies are confirming the healing properties of essential oils, which have been practiced for centuries.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences distilled from plants, containing hundreds of organic and natural components, acting on many levels. Because these oils do not contain any alcohol, the scent is longer lasting and stronger. All are highly volatile, evaporating easily in the open air. Essential can be damaging to the skin, painted and varnished surfaces, and wood veneers. (NOTE: Essential oils are NOT for internal use or to be applied undiluted from the bottle directly on the skin!)

Direct light can damage these oils, so they are usually sold in amber-colored bottles, and should be stored in a dark cupboard, in a cool, dry environment, out of the reach of children. The retail price is generally higher for essential oils than for fragrance oils, because so much plant material is needed to extract even a small amount of essential oil in the distillation process.

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