Do essential oils have the same benefits as their whole plant or herb counterpart?

Although derived from the same plants, essential oils are the concentrated essence of a plant and should not be confused with actual plant material. The herbs themselves contain many other properties in addition to the scent and are often dried and used in cooking, medicine, as supplements and in herb wraps. Even though herbs have a strong smell, (especially fresh), this is often not the same concentration or odor as the actual essential oil. In herbology, often more of the plant material is used, not just for the scent, but for the many other healing properties that the plant contains. In many cases the same properties that apply to the herbs also apply to the essential oil; in other cases many differences exist.

Of course I use fresh herbs in my cooking, but the quantity I use is small in comparison to the amount of plant material that is actually distilled for a small amount of essential oil, which is why essential oils are 75 – 100 times more concentrated. One drop of essential oil could be equivalent to a handful of basil or marjoram.

In choosing between herbs and essential oils, it is good to research the benefits of both for the specific condition. Like any complementary treatment, the answer to one’s problems or ailments exists in choosing many different approaches. The term holistic means taking into consideration diet, exercise, subtle energy, emotions and lifestyle. Herbs may be more appropriate in some instances while essential oils, homeopathy, bach flower remedies or mineral supplement may be more appropriate in other instances.

Here’s a thought:

To receive the most subtle particles in a plant, you must be fully conscious, wide awake and full of love and appreciation.

Essential oils, the versatile tools of the aromatherapist, are the essence of plants. They are the most concentrated form of herbal energy, representing the spirit or “soul” of the plant and are responsible for the plant’s fragrance. Doesn’t that give you goose bumps ? 🙂

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