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RachelleW posted a blog entry in Shades of an Apple Green HomeEssential oils have long been used by mankind to treat a wide range of skin ailments and stomach problems, as well as to clean and improve the smell of a home. Recently, essential oils have received positive press in the media, and this has attracted more and more people to them. Yet, since there are many people who are not completely familiar with their use, there are some questions that arise. What Are Essential Oils and How Do They Work? All essential oils come from plants. The oil is extracted from the plant using a wide range of methods, most commonly distillation and expression. In order to be classified as an essential oil, the oil must have the chemical properties of the plant it is extracted from as well as the aromatic properties of that plant. Essential oils work because they are made up of tiny molecules that can easily be absorbed in the body through the skin. These molecules then interact with the body and depending on the plant that they are derived from can kill bacteria, kill viruses, help the body eliminate toxins, as well as provide a wide range of other cures. How Are Essential Oils Used? Most essential oils are used for topical applications. They are often placed on the skin either on the palm, temples, or on the sole of the feet. Since the skin is permeable, the oils are absorbed into the skin, providing different benefits. Some oils are inhaled. This is done by adding a few drops of the oil into a humidifier, putting them in a diffuser, boiling them in water, or by simply smelling the bottle. Some even choose to ingest essential oils, but more research should be done before deciding if this is appropriate for all oils. How Is the Quality of Essential Oils Determined? There are no governmental guidelines determining the potency level of essential oils. The quality is going to be determined on how pure the oil is, if it is directly from the plant, or if it has been adulterated with other sources. Additionally, its integrity, that is if the oils are extracted from a single type of plant or if they are a mixture from different plant species, is an important quality. Every company will define what quality means. Essential oil enthusiasts like Gary Young, founder and CEO of Young Living Essential Oils, have decided to create their own organic farms and distilleries to make sure that the essential oils they use are pure. The quality of the essential oil a person gets will depend on the price they pay for them and the person or company they buy them from. How Effective Are Essential Oils? There are people who have strong opinions about this. There are some individuals who believe that essential oils are the magical cure-all for everything, be it physical or mental. Others do not share this belief. It is a proven fact that essential oils have been used on every corner of the globe by billions of individuals over thousands of years, and these individuals attest to their effectiveness. And it is a fact that all pharmaceutical medicines are based on organic chemistry, including the chemical makeup of some organic oils. What Are the Top Five Oils One Should Consider Purchasing? Some of the more popular oils include lemon, peppermint, frankincense, eucalyptus, and tea tree. It is recommended that people learn about the oils before using them. Once they understand how the oil works and once they see how it makes them feel, then they can increase the amount they use. Essential oils have been providing relief to mankind for many years. It is recommended that a person takes their time and do their research prior to selecting essential oils in order to find the ones that are the most reliable and useful for their situation.