Essential aromatherapy involves the use of plants for the purpose of healing and psychological well being. The term aromatherapy is new to the twenty century but the Chinese and Egyptians have used plants in their medicinal practices for centuries. Initially aromatherapy controlled of only burning the plants as incense.
It was not until some cultures invented a method of distilling the plant that the extraction and identifying of essential oils began. Historians have found evidence that certain essentials were used to embalm the dead in ancient Egypt. As science progressed through the centuries, methods were developed that produced the essential oils that we know today.
For a time, the use of these was mainly for fragrance, but in today's health conscious world, they are used more and more for spiritual, physical and psychological well being.
In true aromatherapy, there is no use of synthetic products. These synthetics may be refereed to as fragrances but they are not true essential oil. In true aromatherapy, other natural ingredients are used in conjuction with the essential oil. These may include herbs, sea salt, milk powders, sugar, clay, mud, jojoba, and some cold pressed.
Essential aromatherapy is covered extensively in many books and reference manuals. The use of essentials must be carefully monitored because incorrect use of essential oils can be dangerous as they are very potent and can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
For quick reference purposes, here is a list of some basic aromatherapy definitions:
Essential: The liquid that results from the distilling a plant (in steam or water) and / or flowers, leaves, stems, bark, or roots.
Carrier: used to dilute an essential oil for application to the skin.
Fragrance or Perfume: Artificially produced scents
Absolute: These are the same as essential oils except they are even stronger as they are extracted using strong solvents. These must be used with extreme care because of their strength and the fact that some solvents may remain.
C02: These are essentials oils that are also extracted using solvents and C02. They do not however have any temporary solvents present and some believe their aroma to be truer as they are not exposed to heat.
Infused: A carrier oil that has been infused with herbs. They are less concentrated and more oily than essentials.
Hydrosols: This is the fragrant water that remains after the essentials have been distilled from a plant.
This is just a brief summary of some of main ideas involved in essential aromatherapy.