Sunday, September 4, 2011

Aromatherapy for the Mind, Body and Spirit: Part 2, Your Nose Knows

Essential oils have been used in perfumery for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians, East Indians and Hebrews used them. Perfumes were used in bathing, anointing, ritual and as incense. Plant essences were used primarily in perfumes up until the early 1900's, at which point synthetic perfumes began to be developed. These chemical fragrances were relatively cheap to create which lead to the decline of natural perfumery.

Aromatherapy effects of dynamic natural plant essential oils cannot be duplicated by man-made chemical fragrance oils.   This is because Aromatherapy is a branch of plant medicine that has nothing to do with synthetic fragrances. However, because the health-promoting properties of true Aromatherapy are desirable, many companies use cheaper chemical fragrance oils that do NOT carry these benefits, but will mislead customers (knowingly or unknowingly) by using the terms aromatherapy or aroma to make it seem like they are the same thing. Some companies will even call a product ‘herbal’ if it has a lab created fragrance.   In order for a product to have genuine aromatherapy properties is must be made with unadulterated plant essences. Products labeled for example as "Lavender Fragrance Oil" or "Lavender Oil" you may assume are synthetics. A product made with Lavender essential oil will be labeled as such.

How can you tell if you are smelling a pure essential oil product or natural perfume? There are various ways to test an undiluted oil or essential oil for purity, but when it comes to diluted oils in body or or home fragrance products your nose is also a fine judge. When you smell a product made with pure essential oils you should feel drawn to inhale deeply. In contrast when smelling a chemical substitute you may feel like you want to immediately cease inhalation or even hold your breath. Just think of a trip down laundry or home fragrance aisle at the supermarket, which is often overwhelming for people even without chemical sensitivities. Using personal body products with chemical fragrances such as these may contribute to stress on the liver and development of chemical sensitivities over time.

In addition it is noteworthy that certain plant scents cannot be stabilized. Natural perfumery expert Mandy Aftel notes in her book Essence and Alchemy that following florals cannot be produced naturally: Freesia, Honeysuckle, Violet, Tulip, Lily, Gardenia, Heliotrope, Orchid, Lilac, and Lily of the Valley. Also you may find the following fruity 'flavor oils' in various lip balms, but I can assure you they are not essential oils. These are Cherry, Watermelon, Apple, Raspberry, etc. Citrus fruits flavors however can be condensed from collection of the essential oils from outer peel.

 This article was written by Cory Trusty of Aquarian Bath, who creates Natural perfumes made with pure essential oils or other plant based ingredients...never including chemical fragrance or flavor oils.  Her Mandarin Perfume is pictured below.

Part 1 of this article can be read here.

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1 comment:

  1. There is nothing more relaxing than taking a bath and cooking some aromatherapy oils. Just merely soaking in the tub and inhaling these essential oils is relaxing.



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