What Are They?
Essential oils are frequently referred to as the "life force" of plants. Unlike fatty oils, these "essential" oils are volatile, highly concentrated, substances extracted from flowers, leaves, stems, roots, seeds, bark, resin or fruit rinds. The amount of essential oils found in these plants can be anywhere from 0.01 percent to 10 percent of the total. That's why tons of plant material are required for just a few hundred pounds of oil. These oils have potent antimicrobial factors, having 200-300 therapeutic constituents. Beware of imitations. Essential oils cannot be substituted with synthetics. Only pure oils contain a full spectrum of compounds that cheap imitations simply cannot duplicate.
With the continual bombardment of viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal contamination in our world, essential oils are a great benefit to help protect our bodies and homes from this onslaught of pathogens. Immune systems need support and essential oils can give it.
Because of the enormous amount of raw product used to make wholly natural essential oils, lots of products on the market have been polluted with lower quality, commercial-grade oils or contain other chemical substances to reduce the cost or increase the profit margin - a fact not usually revealed on the label.
Essential oils have unique properties that have been prized worldwide for thousands of years, being used therapeutically in early Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations. Often the secrets of plant aromas were reserved for kings or other favored elite. For hundreds of years, extensive trade routes became established to transport perfumed ointments, resins, oils and spices throughout the ancient world.
Why Use Nature's Sunshine's Essential Oils?
Not all essential oils are alike. To have results, you must first have quality and potency. Plants need to be harvested at the right time of the year and the right parts of the plant must be used. The distraction process must be pure to avoid contamination and quality control standards need to be in place to assure potency of the final product.
Chemicals can be used to extract the oils more quickly and in greater quantity with production costs reduced. Unfortunately these solvents are toxic to humans and animals and they also destroy the life-giving properties of the oils.
Essential oils are also sold diluted and some are not even true essential oils, but a synthetic version. When diluted the carrier oils can go rancid and leave stains which a pure essential oil will not do. Synthetic versions are very popular as deodorizers and for candles. They have no value therapeutically for the body.
Pure and potent essential oils are steam distilled by low pressure and low temperature to preserve the properties of the oils. Testing is then done to make sure the active properties are present in the final product.
Nature's Sunshine uses several methods to verify the quality of essential oil products. These include sensory evaluation, testing color and clarity, verification of plant species and country of origin, and laboratory analysis using both Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).
Nature's Sunshine vs. A Popular Competitor
The GC/MS are widely known as two of the most important tools for identifying and analyzing volatile oils. Recently Nature's Sunshine's Lavender Essential Oil was compared with a popular competitor's lavender oil using all of these methods.
The Nature's Sunshine product outperformed the competitor in every test. Using GC/MS, it was found that Nature's Sunshine's lavender oil contained greater amounts of many key constituents than the other sample.
The competitor's sample indicated the use of two different species of lavender, something you'll never find in Nature's Sunshine's pure lavender oil. Higher peaks on the Nature's Sunshine graph show that our lavender oil is a much more powerful product.
The quality of essential oil products differs greatly. Count on Nature's Sunshine for the premium quality you expect and deserve. You can be sure that Nature's Sunshine Products has analyzed its complete line of essential oil products. Using high-tech Gas Chromatography (GC) and Mass Spectrometer analysis (MS), we test each lot of essential oil to ensure it is 100% pure, free from contaminants and measures up to strict quality standards. Because an oil's aroma is just as important as its chemical fingerprint, all oils also undergo strict olfactory (smell) evaluation.
All of our essential oils are either steam distilled or cold pressed. Read more on Nature's Sunshine's Quality.
What is Aromatherapy?
It is the use of aromatic essential oils to benefit the body - in emotional and physical health and beauty. Science has discovered that our sense of smell plays a significant role in our overall health.
Early in the 20th century a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, began studying what he called "aromatherapy." After severely burning his arm in a laboratory accident, he thrust the arm into the nearest liquid, which happened to be a tub of lavender oil.
Surprised by the quick healing that followed, Dr. Gattefosse spent the remainder of his life researching the value of essential oils. His success made aromatherapy popular, and it became well-known in Europe.
An essential oil is inhaled and directed by the olfactory system to the limbic system of the brain. In turn, the brain responds to the particular scent affecting our emotions and chemical balance. Essential oils are also absorbed by the skin and carried throughout the body via the circulatory system to reach all internal organs.
By carefully choosing one or more oils, you can experience beneficial effects promoting overall health - and even specific targets. Benefits depend upon the unique nature of each person's response to an aromatic stimulus.