The Chemistry of Essential Oils
Essential oils and plant extracts have been woven into history since the beginning of time. Linked to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of mankind for their medicinal and emotional properties. Essential oils may combat infectious disease by killing viruses, bacteria and other pathogens. Their delicate fragrance balances moods, lift spirits, and chases away negative emotions.
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Because of the tiny molecular structure of the components of an essential oil, they are extremely concentrated. One drop contains approximately 40 million-trillion molecules. Numerically that is a 4 with 19 zeros after it: 40,000,000,000,000,000,000. We have 100 trillion cells in our bodies, and that's a lot. But one drop of essential oil contains enough molecules to cover every cell in our bodies with 40,000 molecules. Considering that it only takes one molecule of the right kind to open a receptor site and communicate with the DNA to alter cellular function, you can see why even inhaling a small amount of oil vapor can have profound effects on the body, brain, and emotions. Sometimes too many oil molecules overload the receptor sites, and they freeze up without responding at all, when a smaller amount would have been just right. This is why we say that when using oils, "sometimes less is better." Sometimes more is better, too. Knowing the difference is the art of aromatherapy.
By David Stewart, Ph.D.,R.A.
The Egyptians may have been the first to discover the potential of fragrance. Many hieroglyphics on the walls of Egyptian temples depict the blending of oils and describe numerous recipes.
Well before the time of Christ, the ancient Egyptians collected essential oils and placed them in alabaster vessels. In 1922, when King Tut's tomb was opened, some 50 alabaster jars designed to hold 350 liters of oils and still containing traces of oil were discovered.
The Romans purified their temples and political buildings by diffusing essential oils and also used aromatics in their steam baths to invigorate themselves and ward off disease.
(The information in this article was collected from Life Science Publishing and ---------)