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The Origins of Essential Oils

It is not known what specific era or region the practice of using essential oils originated from but it has ancient roots that historically date back to Egypt, China and India. Egyptian temple priests were renowned for their herbal preparations, tinctures, salves and ointments. Hippocrates, the Greek physician documented the medicinal influence of over 300 plants, and advised that 'The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day'. Ayurvedic literature records Indian doctors administering to patients, oils of cinnamon, ginger, myrrh, coriander, and sandalwood.

How Do They Work?


Oils are called 'essential' to denote that they represent the very essence of odor and flavor of the specific plant from which they are derived; such as, the essential oil of peppermint. When applied to the skin, the oil molecule passes through dermis, into the capillaries and into the bloodstream. Absorption can also occur through the hair follicles and sweat ducts. When inhaled, airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and almost immediately reach the brain. Thus, inhaled essential oils can affect the body through several systems and pathways. Plants produce volatile oils to communicate with the world around them and humans smell them naturally when outside in the fresh air. Each plant has healing properties unique to its species. Essential oils contain large amounts of terpenes found predominantly in plants. Research shows that certain terpenes protect DNA, slow tumor growth, lower LDL cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and kill germs. By inhaling or massaging specific essential oils, the human body can receive in the substantive and vibrational qualities representative of the plant being used. 

How Are They Made?

Extracting essential oils from plants is done through a process called distillation.  In distillation by steam or water, many parts of the plants are used, including the plant roots, leaves, stems, flowers, or bark. Steam distillation pumps steam into a distilling pot that holds the plant material. Steam passes through the plant material and rises to the top, whereby it extracts the essential oil and carries it into the condenser. The vapor then changes to liquid water and oil, and as oil and water do not mix, the essential oil floats on top of the water.  


There is also solvent extraction, which involves mixing plant material with petroleum ether, methanol, ethanol, or hexane until the essential oils dissolve, forming a solvent-extracted essential oil. The carbon dioxide distillation process is where gas converts to a liquid state under high pressure, and then dissolves molecules from plant material. Once dissolved, the liquid carbon dioxide returns to normal pressure, changing the CO2 back to a gaseous state. The gas disperses, leaving the oil essentials behind. 

Most importantly however, is the quality level of the plants being harvested, where they are grown, whether they are wild crafted, certified organic or pesticide free. Since the government does not regulate essential oils, many manufacturers create them with toxic chemicals and cheaper brand oils. Quality matters. The more advanced practitioners have access to high-end essential oils because they are privy to more professional connections in their industry. It is best always, to find a qualified and trusted acupuncturist, aromatherapist, or naturopath to guide you the proper organic brands.

A Listing of Essential Oils 

  • Frankincense Essential Oil

  • Geranium Essential Oil

  • Ginger Essential Oil

  • Grapefruit Pink Essential Oil

  • Helichrysum Essential Oi

  • Hop Essential Oil

  • Hyssop Essential Oil

  • Jasmine Essential Oil

  • Juniper Berry Essential Oil

  • Labdanum Essential Oil

  • Lavender Essential Oil

  • Lemon Essential Oil

  • Lemongrass Essential Oil

  • Lime Essential Oil

  • Magnolia Essential Oil

  • Mandarin Essential Oil

  • Marjoram Essential Oil

  • Melissa Essential Oil

  • Mugwort Essential Oil

  • Myrrh Essential Oil

  • Myrtle Essential Oil

  • Neroli Essential Oil

  • Niaouli Essential Oil

  • Nutmeg Essential Oil

  • Orange Sweet Essential Oil

  • Oregano Essential Oil

  • Palmarosa Essential Oil

  • Patchouli Essential Oil

  • Pennyroyal Essential Oil

  • Pepper Black Essential Oil

  • Peppermint Essential Oil

  • Petitgrain Essential Oil

  • Pine Needle Essential Oil

  • Pink Lotus Essential Oil

  • Radiata Essential Oil

  • Ravensara Essential Oil

  • Rose Essential Oil

  • Rosemary Essential Oil 

  • Rosewood Essential Oil

  • Sage Essential Oil

  • Sandalwood Essential Oil

  • Spearmint Essential Oil

  • Spikenard Essential Oil

  • Spruce Essential Oil

  • Star Anise Essential Oil

  • Sweet Annie Essential Oil

  • Tangerine Essential Oil

  • Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • Thyme Red Essential Oil

  • Verbena Essential Oil

  • Vetiver Essential Oil

  • White Lotus Essential Oil

  • Wintergreen Essential Oil

  • Wormwood Essential Oil

  • Yarrow Essential Oil

  • Ylang Ylang Extra Essential Oil

  • Ylang Ylang III Essential Oil

  • Allspice Berry Essential Oil

  • Angelica Seed Essential Oil

  • Anise Seed Essential Oil

  • Basil Essential Oil

  • Bay Laurel Essential Oil

  • Bay Essential Oil

  • Bergamot Essential Oil

  • Blood Orange Essential Oil

  • Camphor Essential Oil

  • Caraway Seed Essential Oil

  • Cardamom Seed Essential Oil

  • Carrot Seed Essential Oil

  • Cassia Essential Oil

  • Catnip Essential Oil

  • Cedarwood Essential Oil

  • Celery Seed Essential Oil

  • Chamomile German Essential Oil

  • Chamomile Roman Essential Oil

  • Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil 

  • Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil

  • Citronella Essential Oil

  • Clary Sage Essential Oil

  • Clove Bud Essential Oil

  • Coriander Seed Essential Oil

  • Cypress Essential Oil

  • Elemi Essential Oil

  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  • Fennel Essential Oil

  • Fir Needle Essential Oil

How Are They Taken?

Essential oils have stood the test of time through the centuries and have proven their efficacy and effectiveness on every level of human healing. There are many new clinical studies and publications documenting the efficacy and benefits of essential oils as well. Essential oils are used in many ways, including: applying directly where needed, via massage, by inhalation, by diffusion, as a compress, in the bath, as natural oral care, in beauty products, as non-toxic repellents, for food preparation and in steam therapy. Aromatherapy, utilizing essential oils is now a global link between cultures, modalities and health care professionals.


Essential Oils are generally administered in these ways:

  • inhalation

  • ingestion

  • transdermal

*As part of one's consultation, Dr. Rodger, ND may design specific essential oils for individuals based on muscle testing and symptom assessments.

Your Health is an Investment - Not an Expense


with NJ's Top

Naturopathic Doctor


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