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Essential Oil - Sniff your way to Well Being

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Having spent several hours in researches about the mechanism and the working of various essential oils, here I share how they are used to benefit our health and wellbeing, how they can be used, how to store them and the safety mechanisms. I shall emphasize more on those oils that are beneficial to the skin and hair through these sections.
Essential Oil - Sniff your way to Well Being
What are essential oils?

Essential oils are basically natural or the concentrated form of oils derived from their sources, mainly plants, by various methods that include distillation, cold pressing/extraction, etc. They derive their name from the fact that they are the ‘essence’ of their parent source.  They have a very specific and distinct aroma representing their source. For example, lavender essential oil is the purest or concentrated form of oil derived from lavender.

Mechanism of essential oils:

Essential oils are believed to work in three modes:

a. Aroma: When an essential oil is inhaled, it reaches the smell center called the ‘olfactory’ center in the brain. Thereafter these sensations are transmitted to the higher centers called the amygdala and the hippocampus areas in the brain.  Amygdala is responsible for processing emotions and hippocampus for memory. These oils signal the brain to bring about positive changes in these perceived emotions. They are also absorbed by the alveoli (the smallest functional unit) of the lungs and from there to the entire circulation and body.

The methods to get the aroma of the essential oils are:

- You can sniff the oil directly from the bottle
- Use a diffuse: Pour a couple of drops into the air diffuser and enjoy the aroma.
- Apply a small amount to your handkerchief and sniff it.
- Apply a few drops on your palms and then sniff your palms. You can also apply it to your wrists and sniff it if you’d wish.

b. Topical: Well, as far as topical application is concerned, they are absorbed by the skin and thereafter into the bloodstream, thus bringing about the associated change. These oils, being concentrated and pure (make sure you pick a trusted brand), work effectively since they are absorbed by the skin easily.

This includes direct application on arms, wrists, behind the ears, over the neck, naval, palms or soles of your feet. My personal favourite would be the soles of the feet, as research proves that applying on the soles produces affects the entire body and so is application near the naval. You can also apply it directly over the area of concern. For example, for a back pain, you can directly apply over the painful region.

c. Internal absorption: Internally, the essential oils are directly absorbed into the blood stream by the digestive system.

This involves oral intake. You can take the essential oils orally by adding a drop or two in water, or your soup. Kindly remember, the essential oils are highly concentrated, so in most cases, one drop is more than sufficient for 500ml of liquid. You can also have it in the form of capsules or soft gels. Storage:

Essential oils are ideally stored in amber-coloured bottles and away from the sunlight. There is no need to refrigerate them. They are pretty much user-friendly.


Apart from not applying directly on the eyes or ears, these essential oils are pretty safe. Some oils should not be used in certain conditions. For example, peppermint oil shouldn’t be used by lactating mothers as it is shown to reduce the milk outflow. Thus, make sure you research and read the bottle instructions of the oil well, before consuming them.

Stay Beautiful!

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 21st December 2016.
Dr. Akshari Anchan
Dr. Akshari Anchan is a contributing writer at Inspiration Unlimited eMagazine.

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