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Digital Subscriptions > Vegan Food & Living Magazine > Nov-18 > Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Claire Kelly explores the world of essential plant oils for use in aromatherapy and healing

Most of us are familiar with our shampoo or shower gel containing lavender or tea tree, but did you know essential oils from plants have a long history of use for their therapeutic properties? The Art of Aromatherapy is an ancient form of herbalism dating back to Egypt, Ancient Greece and China in which the therapeutic properties of aromatic essential oils were harnessed for health and wellbeing. Essential oils are the volatile substances extracted from aromatic plants by steam distillation, expression, maceration or solvent extraction. In fact, the Egyptians are thought to have engineered the first distillation machine. The term ‘aromatherapy’ was coined by a French chemist named Gattefosse in the 1930’s, when he observed the healing power of lavender oil on a skin burn. It’s the active phyto-chemical constituents in aromatic oils that therapeutically interact with the body, in much the same way that other plant preparations can positively eff ect health. However, essential oils must be imbibed in one of three ways to receive the benefits. They can be breathed in and then enter the blood stream through the respiratory system. They can also be absorbed through the skin, as the molecules are small enough to travel through the epidermis into the blood stream. Lastly, the actual aromas of the essential oils have a direct eff ect on our olfactory system – our sense of smell. This goes on to directly aff ect the limbic system in the brain, which is responsible for basic emotions, memory, behaviour and mood.

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About Vegan Food & Living Magazine

If you want Christmas to be as stress-free as possible, it's never too early to start planning – particularly for the perfect festive lunch. So we kick off the Christmas celebrations in our November issue of Vegan Food & Living with a range of festive ideas and recipes that guarantee your best vegan Christmas yet. From Gaz Oakley's perfect Christmas lunch to fun mocktails, fancy alternatives to Christmas cakes and great gift ideas we've got it all. Also this issue, we talk about what to do if someone you love stops being vegan, why hemp is becoming a beauty favourite and share 10 steps to sustainability.