What are Essential Oils? Featuring Scott Johnson
Welcome back to a central oil solutions with Doe Tara. The podcast real here. Exciting useful and simple everyday uses for essential oils experts in the field. If you like what you hear today rate review and subscribe wherever you listen. We always appreciate hearing from you. Today we're excited to sit down with Dr Scott Johnson author of multiple books and hundreds of articles about health wellness and essential oils to talk to him about what essential oils are where they come from and how they work. Scott thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with us today. The first thing we want to know is how did you get into learning and researching about essential oils? It's kind of a niche group. So what brought you into it? Yeah it is kind of an odd topic to gravitate towards but mine is kind of an interesting story as well I have been using essential oils for many many years. The first one is introduced to as tea tree essential oil but the first couple that I got introduced to. I really didn't know what I was doing with them. Like probably take people and it wasn't until years later that I was in a class that was teaching about essential oils and they talked about how Putin they are in. They're the most concentrated in potent botanical extracts. That are available for us to use. But then the next words that came out of their mouth was and these are just used for your emotions. That's about it and I thought That doesn't make sense. You just told me. These are the most potent botanical extracts. But then you say all I can do is affect my emotions with them and so that really was what led me on a journey to really start discovering what essential oils do started. Look at research and find out that they they do more than just affect our emotions and one of the frustrating things that I found in in doing that was there is so much conflicting information out there on essential oils. I would one quote unquote exper- and they would say to do something and then the next quote unquote expert would say the exact opposite right and so it just kept me confused and led me to want to continue to research them and find out more about essential oils. Well that is so cool and like you said. There is such conflicting information out there. All of these people take to the Internet and like people do on the Internet claim. They're an expert. They claim they have all this knowledge. So it is really hard to find out the actual truth and make sure you're getting reliable information. Yes for sure. So one of the things that I want to help clarify is where essential oils come from. And how they've been used. So can you tell us a little bit about the history of essential oils? The history of essential oils dates back for as far as recorded history really but they weren't really true essential oils than they were being. That were being used way back then. The the existing records that we do have and through archaeological research and the digs that. They've done their suggestive evidence of aromatic extracts being used among ancient Egyptian cultures ancient Chinese and even the Indus cultures and so we really can't pinpoint exactly who was the first to use them. But we do know that all of those various ancient cultures did use them. But what like I said? They weren't true essentials they were really more crude extracts and so they were putting these botanical 's in fats from animals or from vegetables in order to extract the aromatic compounds. That are in plants. You know other things that we have the record use of essential oils or or airmen addicts include the Yellow Emperor's classic of Internal Medicine which was actually a book written by the Chinese. Many many years ago that won actually records the use of various aromatic plants Within that book we also have other historical accounts of Greek physicians. That used aromatics and So there is a substantial amount of history showing those the use of the aromatic compounds are contained in plants but we didn't really see truly distilled essential oils and tell clear into the late tenth and early eleventh century when a Persian physician kind of developed the modern distillation procedures. The one debate about that is. He may have been actually doing that because he wanted. The floral waters that came from that process than the essential oils themselves but he did end up getting essential oils and then a further. We had Spanish physicians that were using Romantics in the thirteenth century and from the Fifteenth to about the Twentieth Century you had European scientists. Who are really getting into the nitty gritty of essential oils. And they were studying them. They were distilling them. They were analyzing them. And they were cataloging their properties that they were finding because of that. So then you fast forward to today and now we have thousands of period scientific studies that contribute to our knowledge of essential oils. How they what their composition is. And so it's we've kind of come full circle from the real crude rudimentary aromatics to true essential oils that we have very good solid science backing behind and that is incredible that you know you could look back to ancient Egypt and find them using these plants and the same ones that maybe we're using today and they were benefiting from them right. So how did we get from those rudimentary extracts? They're using animal fats to pull out to these researched essential oils that we have. Today it was Refinement of the distillation or the extraction process over years and decades of of time a combined with that beginning scientific validation that started in Europe in the fifteenth century with them studying essential oils and helping to discover today helping to discover those mechanisms of action the pathways that they work on what systems they might be supporting and then when you combine now with centuries of trial and error in using these aromatic extracts and essential oils. Then you get a better guide to how to use them in a as a clinical perspective in human beings that is just incredible and the science and research that it. I'm sure it has taken to get us from point. A. To Point is astronomical when you really think about it so Scott. One thing that so Scott. One thing that people might not know is that essential oils are not actually oils. So could you tell us a little bit about that? And tell us why they are called essential oils. Yeah you know the the name essential. Oil is a bit of a misnomer in itself because they aren't oils. As far as you know we get a vegetable oil. You feel olive oil. You configure fill. It's really viscous and oily. Essential oils are not like that. Instead they're concentrated liquid extracts that contain volatile aromatic compounds and some non volatile compounds. An example of a non volatile compound would be the Fiorano coomer ends that are found in some citrus essential oils. Those are what helped make will make the essential oils contain them to be more photo sensitizing. But the term essential oil really is believed to originate. Clear back from the Middle Ages and it's it's because back then. Alchemists were actually searching for what they thought was the fifth element to go along with fire water earth and air so the in the search for this fifth element during that time the advent of distillation produced a liquid that they saw sat on top of the water and it didn't mix with the water and so back then anything that was lighter than water and couldn't mix with it was called oil interest. And so because they called that or classified as an oil they called this liquid the quintessence of of the plants and so then became known as the essence of the plant. And eventually we got to the term essential oils because the alchemist believe that this liquid. They were finding what they coined. An oil was essential for all living things. So that's kind of how essential oil terminology got started.