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The Science of Essential Oils

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Essential oils and human blood share several common properties: They fight infection, contain hormone-like compounds, and initiate regeneration.  Working as the chemical defense mechanism of the plant, essential oils possess potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. They also ward off attacks by insects and animals.  The ability of some essential oils to work as hormones helps them bring balance to many physiological systems of the human body.  Oils like clary sage and sage that contain sclerol, for example, have an estrogenic action.  Essential oils also play a role in initiating the regeneration process for the plant, the same way the blood does in the human body.

This similarity goes even deeper. Essential oils have a chemical structure that is similar to that found in human cells and tissues. This makes essential oils compatible with human protein and enables them to be readily identified and accepted by the body.

Essential oils have a unique ability to penetrate cell membranes and diffuse throughout the blood and tissues.  The unique, lipid-soluble structure of essential oils is very similar to the makeup of our cell membranes.  The molecules of essential oils are also relatively small, which enhances their ability to penetrate into the cells.  When topically applied to the feet or elsewhere, essential oils can travel throughout the body in a matter of minutes.

The ability of some essential oils, like clove, to decrease the viscosity or thickness of the blood can also enhance circulation and immune function.  Adequate circulation is vital to good health, since it affects the function of every cell and organ, including the brain.

Research indicates that when essential oils are diffused, they can increase atmospheric oxygen and provide negative ions, which in turn inhibits bacterial growth.  This suggests that essential oils could play an important role in air purification and neutralizing odors.  Because of their ionizing action, essential oils have the ability to break down potentially harmful chemicals and render them nontoxic.

In the human body, essential oils stimulate the secretion of antibodies, neurotransmitters, endorphins, hormones, and enzymes.  Oils containing limonene have been shown to prevent and slow the progression of cancer. Other oils, like lavender, have been shown to promote the growth of hair and increase the rate of wound healing. They increase the uptake of oxygen and ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the fuel for individual cells.

European scientists have studied the ability of essential oils to work as natural chelators, binding with heavy metals and petrochemicals and ferrying them out of the body.

Today approximately 300 essential oils are distilled or extracted, with several thousand and chemical constituents and aromatic molecules identified and registered.   The quantity, quality and type of these aromatic compounds will vary depending on climate, temperature, and distillation factors.   Ninety-eight percent of essential oils produced today are used in the perfume and cosmetic industry.   Only 2 percent are produced for therapeutic and medicinal applications.   

Because essential oils are composites of hundreds of different chemicals, they can exert many different effects on the body.   For example, clove oil can be simultaneously antiseptic and anesthetic when applies topically.   It can also be antitumoral.   Lavender oil has been used for burns, insect bites, headaches, PMS, insomnia, stress, and hair growth.   

Importantly, because of their complexity, essential oils do not disturb the body’s natural balance or homeostasis: if one constituent exerts too strong and effect, another constituent may block or counteract it.   Synthetic chemicals, in contrast, usually have only one action and often disrupt the body’s homeostasis.

To learn more about Young Living Essential Oils, buy direct from company at wholesale, or to become a distributor visit our Young Living website.new window icon  We also carry some of these Essential Oils in our office if you would like stop in to see what we have in stock.

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