Essential oils are aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Plants have been used for years as medicine and healing agents. The healing properties of these different plants can be found in the oil form of these natural medicines.
Therefore, essential oils can most easily be viewed as PLANT MEDICINE.
How does plant medicine work?
The molecules in essential oils go into your system through different entry points depending on how you're using them. Common entry points are nose (aromatherapy), skin (topical application) and mouth (internal ingestion). They then enter blood vessels, get circulated throughout the body and communicate with your cells in different ways. This is the same way medications/pharmaceuticals work but minus all the side effects!
How do essential oils affect health?
Every essential oil has different properties as it comes from different plants and different parts of plants. This means they affect our health in different ways. Some oils are antibacterial, some anti-inflammatory, others act as analgesics (pain relievers) or antiseptics (disinfecting/cleansers).
There's also oils that act as antihypertensives, antivirals, sedatives, relaxants, antidepressants, etc. Many of the oils have multiple properties (which is why they help multiple conditions). For any health condition or symptom, there's an oil that can help!
How do essential oils affect mood & emotions?
On a mood & emotional level, essential oils work in different ways. As mentioned above, different oils have different properties therefore, some oils have an antidepressant effect and others have anti-anxiety properties.
The compounds in essential oils work on the nervous system - many calm the sympathetic nervous system (stress response) and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (calming response) and essential oils communicate with the limbic system of the brain which is the center of emotions (some calm anger/agitation, some relax & soothe, other uplift & energize.