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Essential Oils: Relaxation, from Concentrate
This deal's sweet scents likely originate from essential oils. Read on to learn more about the power of even a single drop.
In a way, an essential oil is the soul of a plant—an herb, fruit, or flower distilled down to its aromatic essence. Extracted through methods such as steam distillation or cold-press expression, essential oil represents only a fraction of the material used to produce it. For example, 16 pounds of fresh peppermint produces only 1 ounce of essential oil.
Because essential oil is so highly concentrated, small amounts go a long way. A jasmine-scented lotion or cream may contain less than 2% jasmine oil, and fewer than seven chamomile droplets can scent an entire bath. Undiluted oils are so powerful that they are rarely applied directly on skin or the sun’s surface—they are instead mixed with an unscented carrier oil, such as grapeseed oil, or blended with perfumes.
Though the healing properties of essential oils are largely unproven, they have been shown to positively affect mood. Lavender oil, for instance, is considered to be relaxing and is often used in aromatherapy massage, and there's evidence that the powerful odors associated with essential oil can aid in the recall of information. A Psychology Today article suggests sniffing a particular essential oil while studying, then bringing that same scent to your big exam or karaoke performance.