Gift of the Earth.
Founded in 2008, doTERRA was built on the mission of sharing therapeutic-grade essential oils with the world. Having seen for themselves the incredible benefits that can be had from using these precious resources, a group of health-care and business professionals set out to make this mission a reality. They formed a company and named it doTERRA, a Latin derivative meaning “Gift of the Earth.”
Where do Essential Oils Come From?
A variety of plants cover the Earth in different shapes, sizes, colors, and scents. Many of these plants contain compounds that typically can’t be seen with the naked eye—they hide within the roots, flowers, seeds, bark, or other areas of the plant. These compounds are known as essential oils. They are highly concentrated, making them extremely potent. Also referred to as volatile aromatic compounds, essential oils give a plant its aroma, protect it from harsh environmental conditions and insects, and even play a part in plant pollination.
The Science Behind Essential Oils
When you hear the word “volatile,” you may think it holds a negative connotation; however, in the case of essential oils, volatility refers to a substance’s ability to change its state quickly. The chemical makeup of volatile aromatic compounds in essential oils allow them to disperse quickly through the air. This is why you can instantly smell the potent aroma of an essential oil from the moment you open the bottle—even from a distance.
How do Essential Oils Work?
As volatile aromatic compounds move quickly through the air, you will experience the scent when the compounds interact directly with sensors in the brain. With over 3,000 types of volatile aromatic compounds discovered so far, it is important to note that these compounds greatly determine the benefit, aroma, and nature of each essential oil. Because of unique chemical makeup, each essential oil will vary from species to species, and even from plant to plant. The delicate ratio of aromatic constituents found in any given essential oil are what make it unique and give it specific benefits.
Essential Oil Use Throughout History
Essential Oils are not a New Trend
While some view essential oils as a new trend, the use of plant extracts and plant-based products is deeply rooted in traditions of the past. Ancient civilizations used plants for things like aromatherapy, personal care, health care practices, religious ceremonies, beauty treatments, and food preparation.
How Were Essential Oils Used Anciently?
Essential oil use is not a fad, but rather a long-time tradition started centuries ago in civilizations all over the world.
- Egypt: Egyptians used plant-based products in beauty treatments, food preparations, burial rituals, and religious ceremonies.
- Greece: In ancient Greece, men like Homer and Hippocrates explored the aromatic uses of plants, building on discoveries made by early Egyptians.
- Rome: Ancient Romans often used plant extracts for massage, perfume, and scented baths.
- Iran: In medieval times, people in the region of Iran often used and traded spices or resins for perfumery and maintaining health.
- India: Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic healing system native to India, has developed over the span of 5,000 years and includes the use of aromatic and plant compounds.
- China: For centuries, traditional Chinese practices have included the use of plant materials to promote wellness.
- France: Rene Gattefosse, a French chemist, is credited as the first to coin the phrase “aromatherapy” as he studied and researched essential oils thoroughly in the 19th century.
How are Essential Oils Made?
It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equal. The purity of an oil can change depending on geographic location, distillation methods, weather, and other factors. Additionally, no matter how well a plant is selected, cared for, and harvested, the quality of an essential oil can either be preserved or destroyed during the distillation process. Because of the attention to detail and precision necessary in distillation, it becomes less of a process and more of an art form. Distillers must be precise and pay careful attention to harvesting methods, temperatures, time of distillation, the amount of pressure used, etc.
How Does a Plant Become an Essential Oil?
The exact process for producing an essential oil will vary depending on what type of plant the oil comes from. However, the basic idea is that plants go through a specific distillation process using special machinery in order to separate the essential oil from its plant parts. The essential oil hides within different parts of the plant, often in microscopic amounts. During the distillation process, the machinery will separate the essential oil from its original plant part. For example, when citrus oils are produced, machinery is used to separate the essential oil from the rind of the fruit.
Using Essential Oils Today
While essential oils and plant extracts have been used for centuries, essential oils still hold relevant applications today. With advancing technology, improved quality, potency, and safety, essential oils are now more accessible and easy to use in everyday life. Although essential oils were often used as a part of cultural practices and traditions of the past, we now have increasing scientific evidence and research to show the effectiveness and safe nature of essential oils in our day and age.
Essential Oils for Health Benefits
In ancient times, people used essential oils and plant parts to improve their health and well-being. Because essential oils can be used to soothe occasional skin irritations, promote healthy digestion, support good oral health, create feelings of clear airways*, and more, they have long been a popular choice for those who want to maintain good health.
Essential oils offer a variety of benefits, and each individual experiences essential oil use in their own way. Fortunately, the diversity of essential oils makes them a helpful way to maintain health, even for those who have specific health concerns, seek diverse health benefits, or experience sensitivity. Using essential oils for health benefits has become popular because it allows the user to tailor the experience to their specific wants and needs, rather than settling for a generic solution.
The Emotional Benefits of Essential Oils
With unique chemical structures, each essential oil holds a variety of benefits for the user. Some essential oils hold soothing, toning, and grounding properties, while others are known as energizing, uplifting, warming, or renewing. As our bodies go through an array of emotions and physical states throughout a single day, essential oils can help us manage and maintain well-being.
The chemical design of an essential oil gives it specific benefits. Some essential oils are helpful for cleansing or purifying, while others provide a soothing sensation to the skin. The aroma of essential oils can also create a chemical reaction in the brain, eliciting emotions and internal responses.
Our sense of smell can produce powerful, mental, physiologic, and emotional responses.
How to Use Essential Oils
Now that you know what an essential oil is and where essential oils come from, it is time to learn how to use them. You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the wide array of benefits that essential oils hold. All you need is a basic understanding of how to safely and simply use essential oils during your daily routine
Why Essential Oils from doTERRA are the Best on the Market
When you choose doTERRA, you are choosing essential oils gently and carefully distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy. Each doTERRA essential oil is also carefully and thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. Experienced essential oil users will immediately recognize the superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade doTERRA essential oils.
While there is a science to the distillation of essential oils, it is also an art. Distillers not only rely on years of experience, they also employ modern technologies and techniques.
The most common method of extracting essential oils is a low-heat steam distillation process. In this process, pressurized steam is circulated through plant material. The essential oils are liberated from the plant and carried away by the steam. When the steam cools, the water and oils naturally separate and the oil is collected. To ensure the highest quality oil extract with the correct chemical composition, the temperature and pressure must be closely monitored. Too little heat or pressure and the oil will not release; too much, and the oil’s composition and potency will be affected.my.doterra.com/heleneillston1
Steam distillation is the most common way to extract aromatic compounds (essential oil) from a plant. During the steam distillation process, steam passes through the plant material. The combination of heated steam and gentle pressure causes the essential oil to be released from microscopic protective sacs. As the vapor mixture flows through a condenser and cools, it yields a layer of oil and a layer of water. The essential oil rises to the top and is separated from the hydrosol (floral water) and collected.
Some have asked about the difference between first distillations in comparison to complete distillations. The temperature for steam distilling is usually between 140–212 degrees Fahrenheit. Since different plants require different pressures, times, and temperatures, using this particular distillation method makes it possible to adjust the temperature based on the plant type, making it a very effective and precise way to obtain the purest compounds.
Unlike steam distillation, expression, sometimes referred to as “cold pressed,” does not involve heat. In this process, oil is extracted from the product under mechanical pressure. doTERRA uses expression to extract all of its citrus oils, such as Wild Orange, Lemon, Lime, Bergamot, and Grapefruit, from the rind.
Proper distillation requires a consideration for the uniqueness of pressure, temperature, time, and harvesting practices, each of which may be as diverse as the plants themselves. A poor distillation process can alter or destroy the necessary aromatic compounds that comprise the essential oil, leaving a substance far different from the intended goal and something that would not be used to support health and wellness. For this reason, the best distillation artisans dedicate their efforts and work to only a few select plants. This focused effort develops proper knowledge and experience, helping ensure congruency between the oil chemistry of the plant and its distilled form.