A form of alternative medicine that uses volatile plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering mind, mood, cognitive function, or physical health. Aromatherapy does not cure conditions, but helps the body to find a natural way to cure itself and improve immune response.

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Highly concentrated plant cell extracts or aromas; all have aromatic principles. They are essential because they are essential to the plants survival and function in its environment. They are extracted by various methods from a plant’s fruits, flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots. Mixed with a carrier (such as water, oil, alcohol, or lotion), and then put on or applied to the skin, sprayed or diffused into the air, or inhaled from a tissue or cloth. Because they are highly concentrated, they must be used on the skin with caution to avoid over-exposure, toxicity, or sensitization and must be diluted in a carrier before application to the skin. Spraying or diffusing one or two drops into the air dilutes them into the air molecules so they do not need to be mixed with a carrier.

Not for internal use, EVER!!!


Mechanisms of Action:

  1. is the influence of aroma on the brain, especially the limbic system through the olfactory system.
  2. the direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils on the body; oils interact with the glands that excrete hormones and enzymes to cause changes in bodily functions.

Synergy: The interaction or cooperation of two or more substances combined that produce an effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. When combining certain essential oils their synergy can provide a more effective and well rounded therapy than a single oil.


History of Essential oils: extraction and use dates back to the first century and recorded in Dioscorides, De Materia Medica. In the 11thcentury, the steam distillation extraction process was invented by Avicenna and provided more quality oils for use allowing them to be employed as medicines. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse coined the term Aromatherapy in a book he wrote in 1937 covering many oils, their compositions, and their uses. Jean Valnet was a French surgeon that pioneered medical use of essential oils as antiseptics while treating wounded soldiers during World War II.