Essential oil is a combination of a saturated or unsaturated hydrocarbon, aldehydes, alcohol, ethers, terpenes, ketones, esters, and lastly oxide phenol that may or not produce specified odors.
Characteristics of Essential oil
· They have a colorless and have a pleasant-smelling liquid which often have a high refractive index
· They are concentrated and so potent making them perfect to be used on pressure joints and also to rejuvenate.
· They are coming from different parts of a plant such as from glandular hairs, specialized cells, pockets and reservoirs not to mention in the intercellular spaces.
· They can be administered using different methods but in small quality such as through massage, inhalation or even simple application of the oil on the skin surface but it’s rarely taken internally.
· It’s proven to have antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
· These oils can be used for the treatment of both mental and physical balance through inhalation and external administration. Majorly used in aromatherapy process.
· Popularly known to relieve stress, regenerate and also rejuvenate a person.
· Due to their numerous properties, they can be used to treat diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer, Alzheimer in addition to labor pains during pregnancy.
· The use of aromatherapy has recently become popular. This therapy uses essential oil to treat cancer and sleep disorder. These oils are majorly used in therapeutic, aromatic, cosmetic, fragrant and for spiritual use.
· The main therapeutic agent used in aromatherapy is essential oils. Based on research, it has been discovered to be highly concentrated for their use.
For example, did you know that to make 1 pound of;
· lavender essential oil, takes 150 pounds or even more of lavender flower
· peppermint oil, takes 256 pounds-peppermint leaves
· rose oil, takes thousands of pounds of rose flowers
To be on the safe side, due its high concentration for substances, there is a need to dilute these oils when applying them externally. Only on special occasion should it be used undiluted but under the care of trained aromatherapy practitioner.
Risk associated with the use of Essential oil
Often, these oils are used to promote self-care. They are used to solve issues with acne and anxiety management. New findings have just revealed some scary discovery regarding the use of lavender and tree oils. This can make you reconsider using essential oils.
During the 100th annual meeting of Endocrine Society, a new discovery and expo presented shown that there are possibility that lavender and tree oil may be containing chemicals associated to the abnormal breast growth. In young men it is also called prepubertal gynecomasic. In addition, J. Tyler Ramsey who was the lead study author and also a member of post-baccalaureate research team at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) stated in his statement that these oils should be considered unsafe to the society based on the fact that they contain a large amount of chemicals. Therefore, they should be used with a lot of caution since some of the aforementioned chemicals are known to be potential endocrine disruptors.
There are eight chemicals used in these essential oils which are considered unsafe. They include; dipentene/limonene, alpha-terpinene, eucalyptol, alpha-terpineol, 4-terpineol, gamma-terpinene, linalyl acetate and lastly linalool. They were all tested and scrutinized in a lab if they indeed contribute to breast cancer cells. These chemicals were tested against breast cancer cells and it was determined that they reduce testerone and increases oestrogen in the body.
It’s more worrisome to known that apart from the fact that these chemicals have been found in lavender and tea tree oils, they have also identified other 65 essential oils having the same chemicals and are currently available in the market
Generally, it’s normal to be wary of anything that can affect hormones in the body. but this doesn’t translate that it’s time to stop using lavender oils. In regards to Ieuan Hughes, pediatrics’ professor at the University of Cambridge, the probability that these essential oils will have adverse effect to everyone is minimal. he told BBC that there is possibility that some individual is more sensitive to these chemicals’ effects or are excessively using them and therefore not everyone using these oils will have the same adverse effects. Henceforth, more research should be conducted before declaring essential oil unsafe from your routine but still the facts found are worth keeping so it’s worth keeping them in mind for future reference.