Thursday, December 6

Essential Oils for Emotional Balance: Introduction

We mammals live because we ingest plants, directly or indirectly. In this way, the very matter of which our bodies are composed originate in plants. We are, in this sense, part plant. Further, in the grand evolutionary scale, plants and animals are still close to each other. Just as a gardener can care for a plant and offer it more vibrant health, so can plants heal us.

Essential oils are oils within some plants which contain volatile aromatic compounds, the 'essence'. These compounds perform medicinal functions for the plant. For example, all essential oils are anti-microbial to varying degrees, thus protecting the plant. These essences may perform similar medicinal functions for animals which ingest or rub against the plant, or use it in any other way.

The healing influence of plants has a broad spectrum of possibilities. The study and use of these healing influences is called herbalism. Distilled essential oils are one shade in this spectrum. As such, they have many unique advantages and disadvantages. They are potent. They are sensual, directly engaging the sense of smell. They easily pass through the skin. Because of the volatility of their compounds, they evaporate and fill the air. When essential oils are extracted, water which is full of similar volatile aromatic compounds is also produced, called flower water or hydrosol. These hydrosols are another shade on the spectrum of plant healing, and are milder than essential oils.

In addition to their overtly physical actions, plant essences influence our emotions. They inspire feelings of calm, energy, deep strength, reflectiveness, lightheartedness, and warmth, among others. They also influence our bodily systems in ways which will influence our emotions, through stimulative or sedative effects. Each plant essence has a unique influence. These influences can be used for many purposes. I'm going to address the use of essential oils for the purpose of emotional balance, based on my simple knowledge and experience.

There are often times when our emotions seem to lurch back and forth, while we would prefer a more steady and regular movement through our life's journey. We know what sort of lifestyle allows us to thrive; one which is more regular, peaceful, close to nature, full of exercise and pleasure and fresh good food and social connection. As we consider all the good practices and healing methods available to us, plant essences are a practical and effective healing method to start with or include. They are potent, delightfully sensual, and easy to use and store. Because they speak so directly to our bodies and emotions, we can employ them for an immediate subtle effect. In this way they can tame those lurching emotions, bring back a sense of balance, and allow us to be more ourselves again - and expand to enjoyable and empowered dimensions of ourselves of which we may not be yet aware.

Many people are attracted to essential oils, but wonder where to start. While the expense involved is generally affordable, it does mean that each purchase is a small investment and you will want them to be well chosen. The next post will suggest a group of the most useful essential oils to begin with, describe their unique influence, keeping price in consideration. It will include suggestions for how to use them, as well as some information on safety and proper use.

Remember, as you go into healing through essential oils, that the whole world around you offers natural healing. Remember also the senses of sight and sound and taste and touch, as you cultivate your home environment and plan adventures. The process of evaporation is the original distillation, drawing potent compounds out of the many plants and the very earth around you. Breathe deeply of fresh air, full of diffuse wild essences, and take in all the good that the world around you has to offer.

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