While it’s easy to see how essential oils can work to protect or heal the plants they come from, it’s not always apparent how essential oils work on the human body. Essential oils contain specific chemical compounds that can interact on a cellular level, entering the body most readily through scent (the olfactory system links the scent receptors in the nose to brain sites. These aromatic compounds are volatile, which means they change quickly from a liquid to a gas. When you open a bottle and the smell of the oil hits you, this volatility is in action.

Within a few minutes, the powerful properties of of an essential oil can reach throughout the entire body system. Effects can often remain for hours, while any excess metabolizes out safely through the liver. Essential oils are safe for adults and children, and often lasting effects can be obtained with just one drop.

SCENT: Aromatic compounds are easily inhaled and absorbed through the respiratory tract and lungs into the bloodstream, where they are distributed throughout the body and used where needed. Aromatherapy (or mood management) relies on this principle, though many of the fragrances on the market are synthetic and do not contain the actual chemical plant-based constituents needed to create the desired physical chemical chain reaction.

TOUCH: Another common was of using and applying essential oils is externally, known as topical use. Many essential oils can be used directly on the skin or diluted with a carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut oil) in order to support skin health, ease occasional eruptions, promote cellular renewal, promote sleep, and many other uses. Since essential oils are fat soluble, they can easily cross through the skin membranes and into the body.

TASTE: A third potential use for essential oils is internal application, or ingestion, though it is still under investigation. *Note: I DO NOT recommend the uneducated ingestion of anything but the highest grade essential oil from DoTERRA (not all oils are created equal!). Drops of certain essential oils in a veggie capsule have provided many people from relief from occasional stomach upset, chronic pain, immune deficiency, and much more. Essential oils can also be used to replace herbs while cooking.

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*These statements are not monitored or approved by the FDA. Essential oils are not a drug.

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Melissa, a rare and precious essential oil