Essential oils are the backbone
of aromatherapy. Essential oils provide the ‘aroma’ part of
the aromatherapy. These [essential oils] are liquids stored in various places in plants, that
can be removed from the plant using steam distillation, cold pressing, chemicals, or
fat-absorption. These can be stored in the peel of a fruit (which is where citrus fruits hide
theirs), in the petals of a flower (like the fair rose), in the bark of a tree (the magnificent
evergreens, for example), or its leaves (as the eucalyptus does), in the sap of a plant (the
strong myrrh bush does this), or, in some rare cases, outside the plant itself ...”
(http://members.goldrush.com/~jayde/at.html). After the extraction, you have the very
concentrated essence of the plant. These oils, once extracted, have applications in health
(mental, spiritual, and physical), beauty, cooking, and cleaning (both of the body and of
the house) (http://members.goldrush.com/~jayde/at.html).
Essential oils, contrary to the use of the word "oil" are not really oily at all. Most essential oils are clear, but some oils such as patchouli, orange and lemongrass are amber or yellow in color (http://www.geocities.com/~aromaweb/fglossary.html). Perhaps a simpler definition of an
essential oil would be: concentrated fragrant components of plants and herbs
Essential oils can be delivered in a number of different ways. Some include:
inhalation, therapeutic massage, fragrancers, room sprays, baths, showers, perfumes,
humidifiers, scented candles, or even wood fires.
Back to Aromatherapy and Stress Reduction Page
Psychology DepartmentThe Health Psychology Home Page is produced and maintained by David Schlundt, PhD.
Vanderbilt Homepage | Introduction to Vanderbilt | Admissions | Colleges & Schools | Research Centers | News & Media Information | People at Vanderbilt | Libraries | Administrative Departments | Medical
|Return to the Health Psychology Home Page|
|Send E-mail comments or questions to Dr. Schlundt|