An essential oil is a liquid distilled from the leaves, flowers, or other parts of a plant - in effect capturing the plant's "essence" in a highly concentrated form. Essential oils are distributed in a much purer form than perfumes or other products that are derived from plants but include artificial components. Even a small amount of these potent oils are said to have important therapeutic and health benefits, depending on the plant used.
Essential oils are generally used in some form of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy, as the name implies, involves controlled exposure to some particular scent in order to promote health or emotional well-being. Some practitioners of alternative medicine also advocate the consumption of essential oils or their use as topical treatments for certain illnesses. Essential oils have a wide variety of applications. Some may be used as antiseptics, while others are associated with emotional or mental well-being and other effects.
Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Articles: Selection of articles on essential oils, their uses, their properties, how to effectively create aromatherapy treatments in the home, how to find and compare essential oils, and much more.
Aromatherapy and Herbs for Healing: Interesting article about the historical use of essential oils, tying the topic in to the present day and the current state of research.
The International Federation of Aromatherapists: Large amount of information on essential oils from a premier nonprofit devoted to researching the efficacy of aromatherapy and related processes.
American Botanical Council: Great resources on a variety of topics related to herbal medicine, including essential oils, aromatherapy, and more.
How Do I Choose and Use Essential Oils?: Referenced overview on choosing essential oils, the various methods of applying them - including some unusual methods - and uses for the oils in everyday life.
Essential oils may be classified broadly into two kinds: organic and non-organic. Organic essential oils are derived from plants grown without pesticides or other artificial additives. Many practitioners believe that organic oils are markedly superior in a number of ways: their quality, scent, and benefits. Organic oils may be more expensive than non-organic alternatives, since only a small amount of essential oil can be produced from a relatively large quantity of plant matter. However, the benefits of organic essential oils are worth the price in many cases; this is also true of other organic products, which may be purer, more potent, and generally healthier than non-organics.
Organic Consumers: Essential Oil: Index of producers, suppliers, and professionals who use or supply only organic essential oils, divided by state.
There are as many types of essential oils as there are plants. Essential oils may come from a huge variety of trees, flowers, fruits, and other plant products both typical and unfamiliar. Some of the most popular essential oils used in aromatherapy include peppermint, ginger, lavender, and the oils of citrus fruit. The popularity of an essential oil is usually linked to its therapeutic effects. There are also regional considerations; areas where oranges are grown may offer more ready access to oil of orange, for example.
Ginger Essential Oil: Properties and uses of ginger essential oil.
Fibers & Fiber Plants: Includes facts on the use and benefits of violet, lavender, ylang-ylang, and several other plants and how their oils are used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
Essential Oil Directory: Compendium of information on essential oils' effects. Broken down by alphabetical order, and consists of dozens of individual listings with facts on the use and history of each oil.
Properties of Essential Oils: In-depth listing of essential oils and their benefits, provided by the Wellness Directory of Minnesota. Same site includes several other articles about essential oils and aromatherapy.
Healing Properties of Essential Oils: Simple, highly accessible index of different essential oils and their uses for both physical and emotional health.
There is a huge variety of uses for essential oils. While much aromatherapy focuses on controlling negative emotions and heightening positive emotions, there is a broad range of applications, including sinus relief, headache relief, and relief from arthritis. Certain essential oils are even used as aphrodisiacs! With so many applications, it's no surprise that there is a large community in America and elsewhere made up of people who use essential oils for health on a regular basis.
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for Natural Health: Selection of articles discussing the benefits of essential oils for health, including women's health, stress relief, digestion, and a variety of others. Good introduction to the health value of essential oils.
Common Cold Remedies: Variety of home remedies for the common cold and sinus complications, including essential oil remedies using lavender, pine, and more.
Essential Oils for Arthritis: Includes detailed instructions on a blend of several essential oils for controlling pain associated with arthritis.
"Essential Oils for Pain Relief": Article from Massage Today discusses the use of essential oils, particularly lavender and sage, for pain relief.
Different Uses of Essential Oils: Huge compendium of brief articles on all topics related to essential oil use. Also has information on the benefits and uses of a large variety of oils and the plants they come from.
"Essential Oils for Management of Symptoms in Critically Ill Patients": Scholarly article from the American Journal of Critical Care.