Essential oils, a gift of the Earth

Published Aug 7, 2013 at 5:05 am (Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm)

Our lives are constantly enhanced by fragrances and aromas. Scents can be pleasant and enticing and even therapeutic. Often what’s cooking in the kitchen fills the air as foods and herbs are not only aromatic, but tasty, too.

In recent decades, interest in aromatherapy has grown. From early times, this branch of alternative medicine has been known to have both curative and therapeutic effects. The use of high grade essential oils continues to gather believers as knowledge of their properties spreads throughout the younger generation.

Used throughout history for their medicinal and healing benefits, oils have also been used in food preparation, beauty treatments, personal hygiene and religious ceremony.

History reports that essential oil extracts were used in the Dark Ages in Europe for their antibacterial and fragrant properties, but it has been said that it was the Persians who began to refine distillation methods in extracting oils from plants. Records show that French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse healed a badly burned hand with pure lavender oil, rediscovering the powerful healing properties of essential oils in 1937.

Natural aromatic compounds are found in seeds, bark, stems, roots, peels and flowers for use in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, flavoring food and drink and for adding scents in incense and household cleaning products.

With organic, natural and pure filling our vocabulary these days, aromatherapy and holistic approaches have often become popular topics of conversation. My interest was piqued recently, and I joined a group of men and women for a presentation on doTERRA essential oils led by Peters Township resident Ruthi Bosco.

Interested in aromatherapy since her high school days, Bosco did plenty of research a couple years ago as she searched for relief from pain in her arthritic neck.

“I massaged two drops of doTERRA’s Deep Blue oil on my neck and almost instantly my pain was gone,” said Bosco. “The blend of wintergreen, camphor, peppermint, blue tansy, German chamomile, helichrysum and osmanthus was a great help. Immediately, I wanted to learn more about what scientific studies found. With no hesitation, I joined the doTERRA team and attended the national convention to participate in workshops and classroom studies to gain more knowledge on the benefits of quality oils and to pass on my findings onto others.”

A few hints of Bosco’s search of essential oils:

• The Women’s Health Kit contains essential oil blends formulated to address the changing health needs of women.

• A drop of lavender oil rubbed on the bottom of feet is good for sleep.

• Curb headaches and hot flashes with peppermint.

• Control acne and asthma, burns and depression with basil.

• Relieve tired and sore joints and muscles with Deep Blue.

Bosco is also co-author of “Everyday Cooking with Essential Oils.” At the Peters gathering, she incorporated essential oils such as wild orange and basil into the food samples offered to her audience, including the recipe listed.

Panzanella Salad

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

2 drops basil essential oil

Small loaf of stale Italian bread, cubed

5-6 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into large pieces

1 medium red onion, sliced thin or chopped

1 medium seedless cucumber, cut into bite-size pieces

6-8 leaves fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained

1 roasted red pepper, sliced, cut into medium size pieces

Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil oil. Toss in remaining ingredients and garnish with fresh basil. Let rest about 10 minutes. Serves 5 or 6.

This year’s doTERRA annual Essential Oils International Convention & Training Conference is in Salt Lake City, Oct. 2-4. Bosco can be reached at 724-941-6799 or doterraruthi@verizon.net.

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