Copyright 1993-2008, Joint Adventure. Brian Skinnis is the founder of Joint Adventure. You can contact him via e-mail.Essential oils are the quintessential expression of a plant and its environment. The oils are formed by aromatic plants through the process of photosynthesis that combines nutrients from the earth, air, water and sunshine together with the plants own unique properties. This combination of elements carries the life force of the plant and is stored in tiny pockets between plant cell walls. Similar to our own immune system, plants draw upon this vital force to protect and sustain their life.
Experiencing an essential oil is a profound connection with a plant's healing power. Pure essential oils offer a naturally balanced form of therapy. This holistic therapeutic quality is impossible to duplicate synthetically. Many of today's synthetic medicines duplicate the active ingredients naturally occurring in plants. A synthetic duplication of a plant's active ingredient can be very powerful and beneficial; however, they create an imbalance in our systems, often needing to be offset by other supplements or medication.
Economics and The Onslaught of Synthetics
Awareness is growing of the synergistic and balancing purpose of the plant's ingredients previously considered inactive. The growth of alternative medicines, now estimated at over $10 billion per year, is at least some evidence of their value. The art of Aromatherapy, or the therapeutic use of essential oils, is among the fastest growing segments of the emerging alternative health care industry.
Economics have led some companies to attempt to duplicate pure essential oils synthetically. These oils are sometimes labeled "Natural Identical," but at their very best may duplicate up to 96% of a pure essential oil's chemo-types. In addition to not achieving a 100% duplication, "Natural Identical" oils are unable to recreate the life energy from which natural oils come. It is this life energy that many consider vital for an essential oil to communicate therapeutically. Our own immune system response is extremely intelligent and efficient in its communication with the body to counteract disease. Synthetic medicines lack the intelligence of life and tend to bombard our systems with a type of "one track" mind and attacking anything that resembles the disease they are designed to fight. This attack on the disease affects molecules that intelligence would normally avoid, resulting in the side effects common in modern medicine. While natural essential oils carry intelligence and work in harmony with the individual, they cannot be standardized the way their synthetic counterparts can be. The quality and exact chemo-type balance of an essential oil will vary by location grown, cultivation methods, rainfall, temperature, harvest, distillation processes, aging and storage.
The Need for Education and Care
The variability among essential oils is what makes aromatic medicine require not only skill, but intuition moving it away from the exact science that Western medicine is traditionally built upon. A high level of knowledge, intuition and personal care must be developed when practicing Aromatherapy. Essential oils are potent -- each drop can contain the medicinal value of over an ounce of the dry herb. The art of Aromatherapy involves a commitment to continual education and the responsible application of this beautiful gift of nature.
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