Pros And Cons of Essential Oils: Know The Features
Updated: Apr 5
Essential oils are known as simply as the oil of the plant from which they were extracted. An essential oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance, the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. They are often used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile chemical compounds from plants. In chemistry, volatility is a material quality which describes how readily a substance vaporizes. Essential oils are usually lipophilic(oil-loving) compounds that are immiscible with water. The most common way to safely dilute essential oils for topical use is in a carrier oil.
Essential oils are often used for aromatherapy, useful to induce relaxation, and other healing effects. Research has shown that essential oils have also potential as a natural pesticide. In case studies, certain oils have been shown to have a variety of deterring effects on pests, specifically insects and select arthropods. These effects may include repelling, inhibiting digestion, stunting growth, decreasing rate of reproduction, or death of pests that consume the oil.
But improper use of essential oils may cause harm including allergic reactions and skin irritation, and children may be particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of improper use. The potential danger of an essential oil is sometimes relative to its level or grade of purity, and sometimes related to the toxicity of specific chemical components of the oil. Many essential oils are designed exclusively for their aroma-therapeutic quality; these essential oils generally should not be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted or "neat" form. Essential oil use in children can pose a danger when misused because of their thin skin and immature livers. This might cause them to be more susceptible to toxic effects than adults.
Certain essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy, but care must be taken when selecting quality and brand. Some essential oils may contain impurities and additives that may be harmful to pregnant women. Sensitivity to certain smells may cause pregnant women to have adverse side effects with essential oil use, such as headache, vertigo, and nausea. Pregnant women often report an abnormal sensitivity to smells and taste, and essential oils can cause irritation and nausea when ingested. Always consult a doctor before use.
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