What are Essential Oils?
Unlike fatty oils, like olive oil, avocado oil, nut oils etc, essential oils are a volatile, aromatic liquid, the essence, of a plant. This means they are aromatic substances from plants which easily evaporate - this is the fragrance we can smell, and flavour we can taste. In the plant essential oils also carry oxygen, protect the plant from stress (e.g. when a branch or flower is cut liquid runs out in the same way blood helps to clot a human wound) and repel invasion (fungus, bacteria etc). Many are also natural chelators - meaning they bind to toxins and heavy metals and help remove these from the plant.
The oils can be found in many parts of the plant, e.g. eucalyptus and tea tree oils occuring in oils sacks within the leaves, peppermint in glands on the leaf. Rose oil is extracted from the petals, while clove is from dried flower buds. Essential oils can also be found in the seeds, the bark, wood chips, resin, and roots.
Essential oils are very complex in their chemical structure, containing between 80 to more than 300 chemical constituents, many yet unidentified. At the same time, because plants are never grown under the exact same circumstance, no batch of essential oil will ever be the same. The exposure to sun, rain, soil types and temperature is always changing and therefore always producing a different chemical fingerprint in the oil. This also means it becomes impossible for virus and bacteria to build up resistance to an essential oil.
The molecular size of essential oils is so small that it can easily and quickly pass through the human skin barrier and into the blood stream. Within 20 mins, the essential oil can reach throughout the body and into all of the cells. As cell membranes are a semi-permeable lipid layer, and the essential oils are lipid-lovers, the small size of the molecules allows them to penetrate the cell membrane, carrying oxygen and nutrients into the cell. In other words, essential oils function in a way very similar to our own blood.
Essential oils are furthermore very concentrate, so very little is required for a single use in order to achieve big results. So while a small bottle may seem small, it goes along way. Plus, a pure essential oil will not have a shelf life, meaning it can last a long time.
Why use Essential Oils from Young Living?
Young Living is a brand which guarantees that no chemicals are used in any point of the process. They refer to this as their Seed to Seal process, meaning that nowhere along the line from seed, planting, growing, harvesting, distilling or bottling, will the essential oil be adulterated in anyway. No pesticides or fertiliser used on the soil, the seeds or the crops. Nothing except steam used during the extraction. Even the machinery used for distillation are cleaned using natural products and essential oils. It means that no chemical additives are used to synthesize parts of the oil, nor are the oils cut for re-selling of valuable components e.g. to the perfume industry.
Young Living goes to great lengths to extract the oils in a way which ensure that the unique chemical components of each oil are protected and retained throughout distillation. They use state of the art distilleries, low temperatures, low pressure steam and longer cooking times. They have even identified optimal times for harvest, extraction and distillation conditions for each type of oil. E.g. Ylang ylang flowers are best collected between midnight and 9am in the morning. This is when the essential oil content in the flowers is at its highest and best. While lavender essential oil is best harvested when the glucose levels are at their peak. Meaning, after cutting the lavender flowers, leaving them to dry for a few days before distilling, allows the glucose to convert into essential oil and create a richer oil. And Young Living continues to research and study the all aspects of essential oil and their benefits.
Young Living owns 16 of their own farms across the world, and in that way are able to ensure their high standards are adhered to and no contamination has taken place. They even weed the fields and harvest lavender by hand! The essential oils which are outsourced from partner and co-operative farms, therefore need to fulfil the "Seed to Seal" requirements. And no matter which batch of oil, they are all tested, each and every one. Several times. Young Living even has independent laboratories test each batch using five different types of analysis to ensure the quality requirements are met.
On their website, Young Living states "we produce the best, most authentic essential oils in the world. We are committed to providing pure, powerful products for every family and lifestyle, all infused with the life-changing benefits of our essential oils."
And I they are the best. Ever. If you're still not convinced, read my blog post about why I only use Young Living. OR get in touch so we can arrange for you to experience the oils first hand - because when essential oils are pure and powerful, you can not only smell the difference, but you can FEEL the difference.
Read more about Essential Oils