Home Essential Oils What Are Essential Oils?

What Are Essential Oils?

by Kara Dulin

Essential oils are profound plant extracts with therapeutic properties. For thousands of years cultures across the world have used plant based medicine to support or treat a variety of ailments. What began in Egypt more than 4,000 years ago eventually spread to countries like China and India where most of what was explored back then resulted in what is currently practiced in modern day Ayurvedic medicine. Over thousands of years, millions of people have experienced the benefits of essential oils.

As modern society advanced, world leaders recognized the importance of sustainable harvesting of Earth’s precious resources. We have a long history of leveraging Mother Nature to support our bodies and minds, let’s take a look at why these conservation efforts are important steps in the future of medicine.

Who knows, or can say, what potential cures for cancer or other scourges, present or future, may lie locked up in the structures of plants which may yet be undiscovered, much less analyzed?… Sheer self-interest impels us to be cautious..

From U.S. Congressional deliberations on the bill introducing the Endangered Species Act, 1973

Today, about 40% of all pharmaceuticals are derived from plant based chemistry. Aspirin, codeine, quinine, and pseudoephedrine represent some of the more commonly recognized medicines which are in fact products of plant extracts or synthesized plant compounds.

To explore this further, “the first commercial pure natural product introduced for therapeutic use is morphine marketed by Merck in 1826, and the first semi-synthetic pure drug aspirin, based on a natural product salicin isolated from Salix alba, was introduced by Bayer in 1899. This led to the isolation of early drugs such as cocaine, codeine, digitoxin, quinine and pilocarpine, of which some are still in use and several other recent plant derived compounds, which have undergone development and have been marketed as drugs which include Paclitaxel from Taxus brevifolia for lung, ovarian and breast cancer, Artemisinin from traditional Chinese plant Artemisia annua to combat multidrug resistant malaria, Silymarin extracted from the seeds of Silybum marianum for the treatment of liver diseases.” (1)

If you ever doubted the effectiveness of plants or essential oils, this knowledge alone makes it difficult to ignore the possibilities.


Essential oils are comprised of hundreds of different kinds of natural chemical compounds and work together to address biological needs within the human or animal body systems. These constituents, together with receptors in the human body, create specific biological responses. Let’s further explore the importance of both constituents and receptors.

Chemical constituents, or plant compounds, are responsible for the characteristic aroma and biological activity within each type of oil. In general, pure essential oils can be categorized into two distinct groups of chemical constituents; the hydrocarbons which are made up of terpenes (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes), and the oxygenated compounds which includes ketones, phenols, and oxides, to name a few.

Receptors are proteins that specifically bind with different types of molecules to facilitate chemical communication within our bodies. You have millions of receptors on your body, but we want to focus on your sensory and thermoreceptors, because they’re the ones involved in touch, taste, and smell. When compounds in essential oils bind to receptors, they trigger specific effects in our bodies depending on the oil’s constituents and how you’ve applied it—topically, aromatically, or internally.” (2) 

It’s clear that essential oils offer impactful biological actions in the body. When we use these oils to create better wellness for ourselves or our families, it only makes sense to avoid products that are adulterated with synthetics or contain harmful chemicals like pesticides. There is only one company that offers pure, therapeutic grade essential oils and stands by this standard with a quality commitment like none other.


Aromatherapy today is based on both ancient wisdom and modern day advancements. It’s well known, yet not thoroughly understood by many, that essential oil usage goes back thousands of years and has been used to support a variety of body systems. We personally have used essential oils to support areas like our skin, sleep, emotions, cognition, nervous system and digestive system.

What I love most about essential oils is that we can get really creative with their usage. We’ve made lip balms, body butter, cleaning sprays, linen sprays and delicious recipes to enjoy, like roasted rosemary potatoes and spicy, lime guacamole. The options are truly endless!

Essential oils provide many opportunities for personal growth. Beyond their amazing aromas, oils offer opportunities for improved wellness, creativity, connection, empowerment and reduced overall toxic burden on our bodies. To learn more about essential oils, sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you my FREE class on essential oils and the Young Living lifestyle, which is the easiest way to get started exploring oils for yourself.


(1) Source: Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560124/

(2) Source: Young Living Essential Oils https://www.youngliving.com/blog/do-essential-oils-really-work/

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