By Laurie Bechler and Caitlin Spencer, Professional Blends LLC © 2019
Essential oils, we see them everywhere, they are all the rage now! They’ve actually been the rage for centuries. The medicinal use of plant aromatics have been the craze since before the time of ancient Egypt.
Why?Simply put, they work!How do they work? Phytochemicals.
These plant chemicals pack a punch. Today's science has unlocked some of the secrets that explain the potent therapeutic effects plant aromatics have on our bodies and why their use has withstood the test of time.
What has science discovered?One way these evaporative oils help us is via the nose. In Aromatherapy 101 we learn that when these scent molecules waif through the air and up the nasal passages they go right to the olfactory receptors that reside in our nose. The perfect scent molecule then pairs with its perfect receptor partner and the dance begins. The scent molecule reaches the receptor and like a ”key” unlocking the door, a process starts resulting in an electrical signal which relays a message straight to our brain. The message is sent to our limbic system which is responsible for all sorts of jobs. Learning, memory, emotion, and motivation are just a few of the things controlled by the limbic system, there are many more.
Another way we benefit is by topical application. Remember, anything on the skin is in the body! The molecules in essential oils are perfectly design to go through the layers of the skin to our capillaries and into our bloodstream. Then what?
Recent scientific discoveries found olfactory receptors are not just in the nose but all throughout our bodies, on the heart, kidneys, prostate, skin, etc. Over 150 receptors have been discovered so far with more to come. The process basically works in the same way. The “scent” molecule travels throughout the body in the bloodstream until it finds the “door” that its “key” will unlock. The door opens and the desired reaction begins. Science has found that our bodies are “smelling” and “tasting” things internally all the time and this ability is crucial for our health and well being.In the previous article we discussed the importance of the skin as our body’s first line of defense. It’s a wall of protection keeping invaders out and moisture in. The process of tattooing breaches our wall so it’s vitally important to give our beloved barrier what it needs to repair and stay strong and healthy. Scientists have found at least four (4) olfactory receptors on our skin and discovered how the epidermal cells respond to them. The research shows that these scent molecules trigger cell healing! This is just one of the many benefits of using essential oils.
The following is a brief list of some of the chemicals scientists have found in aromatic oils: Terpenes: detoxify, cross the blood brain barrier, increase oxygen to the brain, some are antibacterial and antiviral Pinene: is antiseptic Esters: are antifungal Aldehydes: are a sedative, and anti-infectious Cineoles: are anesthetic, antiseptic, and an expectorantThe above just names a few of the active compounds in plants ( phytochemicals ) and what they do.
We hope you enjoyed this “taste” of the science behind essential oils. In our next article we will discuss the proper use and application of essential oils so we can get the optimum benefit from these wonderful aromatics. Methods on how to select the proper essential oil for your own personal needs, how to choose and mix botanicals and essential oils, and different application techniques will be discussed. This information will give you the tools you need to put the power of plants in the palm of your hand! Reference: • Désirée Maßberg, Hanns Hatt. Human Olfactory Receptors: Novel Cellular Functions Outside of the Nose. Physiological Reviews, 2018; 98 (3): 1739 DOI: 10.1152/physrev.00013.20172. Shepard BD1, Pluznick JL2. How does your kidney smell? Emerging roles for olfactory receptors in renal function. PMID: 26264790 PMCID: PMC4752438 DOI: 10.1007/s00467-015-3181-8