Introduction to aromatherapy
I am taking the time to talk to you today to share my knowledge and my passion. By: Catherine Mühlethaler
What the experts say...
But who am I?
I was born into a family of passionate visionaries, who created the Yon-Ka line, who believed in the virtue of plant extracts and essential oils back in 1954.
In 1968, working as a beautician, I took on the responsibility of our "Applied research" department, and then moved on to become executive director. My sister Françoise, who was a biochemist, became the CEO.
The number of PHYTO experiments we tried out in our group of family and friends.
But that's another story for another day.
Today, I'd like to talk to you about essential oils, with a brief introduction to aromatherapy applied to beauty treatments.
What are essential oils?
Contrary to what you may think, essential oils are in fact not oils; they are not from the "fat" family.
There is a simple experience to prove it.
Apply a drop of essential oil to a cigarette or silk paper. Do the same with a drop of vegetable oil and compare the two marks.
One will disappear within a few minutes: this is the essential oil, other wise known as an aromatic essence; the other, the vegetable oil will leave a permanent mark, which is exclusively composed of fat.
By definition, essential oil is the odoriferous and volatile part of the plant, its perfume, its aroma.
From which parts of the plant can essential oils be extracted?
Every part of the plant can contain this essential oil; some plants even produce several types of essential oils, each of them with its own olfactory signature and various properties. This is the case for the bitter orange tree:
- bitter orange essence from its fruit zests,
- orange bloss
om essential oil from its flowers,
- petit-grain essential oil from its budding green sprigs and little green fruits.
The "ingredients" of essential oils
Every essential oil is characterized by:
- specific physiological properties
- a specific scent
*Up to 250 ingredients in true lavender essential oil, over 270 in Damascena Rose essential oil and practically only one in wintergreen.
To qualitatively and quantitatively identify the ingredients and quality of an essential oil, Yon-Ka uses a sophisticated method of analysis known as chromatography, in the gaseous phase, allowing it to reject batches which are non-compliant with its specifications.
Can essential oils be dangerous?
You may have read articles that raise this question.
Essential oils are known for their powerful actions, and for reasons of safety we advise respecting this important fact.
Remember that an essential oil applied pure will soon travel through the various layers of skin and end up in your blood stream and the air you breathe out.
For this reason, Yon-Ka has always refused to provide undiluted essential oils to the public or to beauticians. All our products are pre-dosed for maximum effectiveness and optimal safety.
Does "optimal safety" imply even a minimal risk?
All substances, regardless of their composition, can cause allergies or intolerances.
But if the necessary precautions are respected to avoid overdoses, dangerous associations and essential oils known for their allergenic effects, these active ingredients are substances with extraordinary physiological and sensory properties.
Aromatherapy used in well-being and beauty treatments
Depending on their ingredients, essential oils can be antiseptic, fungicidal, healing, regenerating, anti-inflammatory, soothing, stimulating... and breathing in their aromas can also influence our minds. For years, through encephalograms, and cerebral imaging, researchers have been studying their actions on our deep nerve structures, where our emotions and memory are controlled. Certain essential oils have a relaxing effect; others contribute to improving or calming our sense of awareness.
But, at the risk of repeating myself, beware of hazardous improvisations and leave it to the specialists to guide you in your quest for well-being, beauty and health.
When we meet again, I will talk to you about the marvelous essential oil extracted from LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA or true lavender.