There are many misconceptions about essential oils — how to use them, what to use them for and even what they actually are — but once you have a handle on some basic knowledge, the therapeutic possibilities are endless.

According to Dr. Eric Zielinski and his wife, natural health guru, Sabrina Ann Zielinski, essential oils are not “oils” at all. In their recently published The Essential Oils Diet, the couple takes us on a deep dive on the power of essential oils, including a few facts like this one we’d never heard before.

Dive in below and stay tuned for more from the authors on how to use essential oils internally in a few safe and profoundly useful ways. Essential oil obsessees — you need to pick up this title quickly!

essential oils Millions of people already use essential oils for health, well-being and relaxation. You may be among them, particularly if you have already read Dr. Z’s first book, The Healing Power of Essential Oils. Essential oils are inherently bioactive, but unlike bioactive-rich foods, essential oils are not a source of nutrition. For example, both the fruit of the lemon and lemon essential oil (extracted from the rind) contain bioactive compounds, but the latter doesn’t provide any energy in the form of calories, vitamins or minerals. However, together they become far more than the sum of their parts.

What Are Essential Oils Exactly?

While foods supply energy in the form of calories and many contain small amounts of bioactive compounds, essential oils offer a more concentrated form of bioactivity. In fact, they symbolize the essence of bioactivity — minute but highly concentrated compounds able to heal body (and soul) with metabolic effects that can assist in weight loss, or weight gain if that is your concern. Certain oils can also boost your energy level, so you can be more active and burn more body fat.

It may surprise you to learn two things about essential oils. First, essential oils are not “essential.” And, second, they are not “oils.”

The scientific term for essential oils is volatile organic compound, which paints a much better picture of what we’re referring to. The volatile components of a plant are the parts that are released quickly into the air. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the naming rationale this way: “Essential oil, highly volatile substance isolated by a physical process from an odoriferous plant of a single botanical species. . . . Such oils were called essential because they were thought to represent the very essence of odor and flavor.”

The essential oil is why you smell lavender when you lean down and sniff the blooms. It releases as you walk through the garden and brush against the plants. The scientists who had the privilege of naming this chemical component believed the oils to be “essential” to the plant as much as they were volatile (quickly released).

Essential oils also are not oils, which are the liquid form of fats (i.e., lipids) at room temperature. Like lipids, essential oils are insoluble in water, hence the misnomer “essential oil.” However, because the components of essential oils are terpenes, they differ from fatty oils because they do not contain the glycerides of fatty acids.

Rather, they are the lipophilic (i.e., fat-loving) and hydrophobic (i.e., water-hating) volatile organic compounds found in plants. In practical terms, this means essential oils dissolve readily in fat but don’t mix easily with water. This characteristic of essential oils is also one reason why they are transdermal.

We’re ready to drop more essential oil knowledge on you, but first we wanted to set the
record straight! For more on essential oils now, check out our stories here. 

Reprinted from THE ESSENTIAL OILS DIET: Lose Weight and Transform Your Health with the Power of Essential Oils and Bioactive Foods © 2019 by DrEricZ.com. Published by Harmony, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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