The Chemistry of Essential Oils
When identifying which naturally occurring chemicals essential oils are made up from it is important to note that there are over 30,000 known aromatic molecules which just as many that are as yet unidentified. An essential oil can be made of between 100 and 300 components. Each has its own aroma and potential therapeutic action. The main classifications are shown in the following chart.
A Definition of an Essential Oil:
An essential oil is a powerful, concentrated substance that is extracted from certain species of flowers, fruits, grasses, leaves, roots and trees. It is "the heart and soul of the plant. It is the essence that deters bugs from eating the plant. It is the fragrant aromatic heart of the plant that attracts bees and pollinating insects. It is the chemical components contained in the tiny plant cells that are liberated during the extraction process". Aromatherapy for the Beauty Therapist by Valerie Ann Worwood
This month, New Directions unveiled a breakthrough - the world's very first 100% certified organic Aloe Vera Gel. It seemed only natural to work on an organic version of this product, as not only is it one of the biggest selling of the range, but a contender in the botanical health and beauty realm that has well and truly broken free from any niche constraints. In fact, it has never been in such constraints; the benefits and validity of the Aloe Vera plant have long been recognised on the broadest social levels. I remember my grandmother (by no means a classic follower of alternative treatments and therapies, or even natural remedies) collecting Aloe Vera leaves from her garden, to sooth my sunburn when I'd stayed out in the sun for longer than little Aaron was supposed to. Like Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, it is an ingredient that has been found tried and true (and hence, part of our culture) for as long as most of us can remember - and long before we were even born. The Greek scientists had declared the plant to be the universal panacea; the Egyptians declared it “The Plant of Immortality”; and the Native Americans knew it as “The Wand of Heaven”. That's a fairly impressive history! But what is the secret of Aloe Vera, and for what problems can it be helpful?
While depression and anxiety are nothing new, most of us can recognize the growing profile and prevalence of this psychological phenomenon in our modern world. As our lives become faster in a world increasingly demanding and, for some, seemingly threatening, depression and anxiety is something many of us will experience, to some extent (whether personally, or through someone we know), at some stage of our lives. Whether we face a stressful period of our life, find ourselves unable to manage the general build up of stress (whether from balancing work, family or relationships), or must confront a more severe and enduring emotional battle, most of us can relate to a moment in time when, regardless of the facade we may create for others, we find ourselves unable to cope, or simply no longer enjoying our day to day lives. Life isn' meant to be easy. But for many of us, it isn' meant to be so hard, either.
Special guest, Michael Livingstone, joins us for a fascinating beginner's guide to the wonderful world of aromatherapy