Essential oils, known as nature’s living energy, are the natural, aromatic volatile liquids found in shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. The distinctive components in essential oils defend plants against insects, environmental conditions, and disease. They are also vital for a plant to grow, live, evolve, and adapt to its surroundings. Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plant sources via steam distillation, and are highly concentrated and far more potent than dry herbs.
While essential oils often have a pleasant aroma, their chemical makeup is complex and their benefits vast—which makes them much more than something that simply smells good.
Historically, essential oils have played a prominent role in everyday life. With more than 200 references to aromatics, incense, and ointments throughout the Bible, essential oils are said to be used for anointing and healing the sick. Today, essential oils are used for aromatherapy, massage therapy, emotional health, personal care, nutritional supplements, household solutions, and much more.
Young Living Essential Oils, the leading provider of essential oils, offers more than 300 essential oil singles and blends. All Young Living essential oils meet the Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ (YLTG) standard. This means that every essential oil Young Living distills or sources has the optimal naturally-occurring blend of constituents to maximize the desired effect. Only YLTG essential oils should be used for the primary methods of application, which include inhalation, topical application, and internal use.
Historical Use of Essential Oils
Essential oils are considered mankind’s first medicine and have been used around the world for centuries. Essential oils and other aromatics have been used in religious rituals, to treat various illnesses, and for other physical and spiritual needs.
Research dates the use of essential oils back to 4500 BC. Ancient Egyptians were the first to discover the potential of fragrance, and records demonstrate that oils and aromatics were used for treating illness and performing rituals and religious ceremonies in temples and pyramids. In fact, three oils that are still commonly used today—cedarwood, myrrh, and frankincense—were used in the embalming process.
According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, priests and physicians used oils thousand of years before the time of Christ. There are more than 188 references to oils in the Bible, and some precious oils like frankincense, myrrh, rosemary, cassia, and cinnamon were used for the anointing and healing of the sick. Additionally, biblical prophets recognized the use of essential oils as protection against disease.
The reintroduction of essential oils into modern medicine first began during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since that time essential oils have been used traditionally to kill harmful germs, as well as spiritually to balance mood, lift spirits, and dispel negative emotions.
Distillation of Essential Oils
The key to producing a therapeutic-grade essential oil is to preserve the delicate compounds of the aromatic plant through expert distillation. The proper process of steam distillation—passing steam through the plant material and condensing the steam to separate the oil from the plant—is strictly adhered to with all Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ (YLTG) essential oils. Proper temperature must be maintained throughout the distillation process, and pressure, length of time, equipment, and batch size are strictly monitored. This ensures that the naturally-occurring compounds contained in each essential oil product are of the highest and most consistent bioactive levels.
Watch a short video illustrating the YLTG steam distillation process.
Using Essential Oils
The following methods are ideal ways to use essential oils and experience their health-enhancing benefits:
Inhaling essential oils heightens the senses and can trigger numerous desired responses in the body. Follow these guidelines when using essential oils for inhalation:
- Inhale directly—simply smell them.
- Diffuse the oils using a diffuser, which disperses the oil in a micro-fine vapor into the air. The diffuser will not heat the oils, thus ensuring full benefits, as extreme heat can damage important constituents in the oil.
- Use with a humidifier. Put a tissue or small cloth, sprinkled with a few drops of oil, in front of the escaping steam. (Do not put essential oil in your humidifier. It will float on top of the water instead of rising with the water vapor and may cause damage to your humidifier.)
- Carefully pour hot water into a bowl and add a few drops of essential oil. Cover your head and bowl in a tent-like fashion with a towel. Breathe deeply and slowly.
Topical application of many essential oils is safe and can offer an enjoyable, relaxing experience. For topical application, follow these simple steps:
- Carefully tip the oil bottle and place 2–3 drops in the palm of your hand or directly on the desired application area.
- If dropping oil in your hand, rub palms together in a circular motion and then massage oil onto the desired point of application. If applying directly to the desired area, use your hand to massage the oil in a circular motion into the skin. Repeat if desired.
- Caution: Essential oils are very potent and some may be irritating to the skin. If irritation occurs, immediately apply pure vegetable oil such as V-6™ Enhanced Vegetable Oil Complex to the area to dilute. Please read label directions for each individual oil before using.
Many essential oils make excellent food flavorings or dietary supplements. To use essential oils for internal consumption, Young Living suggests these methods:
- Place several drops of oil into an empty capsule and swallow the capsule with water.
- Add 1–2 drops to a glass of water or rice milk.
- Put 1–2 drops onto a piece of bread or add to your meals when cooking.
- Add 1–2 drops onto a teaspoon of Young Living Blue Agave and swallow.
- Drop directly onto the tongue and swallow. Exercise extreme caution when using this method. Many essential oils are potent and should be tested by pouring a single drop onto a spoon and tasting a small portion to determine the amount of oil to be used.