Let’s start with saying, Essential oils are plant extracts converted to liquid form for a predetermined therapeutic purpose. The understanding that essential oils are of therapeutic use is derived from the underlying assumption that plant extracts in form of herbs, roots, flowers etc, have been useful to humans ever since we walked on earth. 6000 year old Rig Veda from Indian civilization, 5000 year old Egyptian civilization and even 3000 year old Roman civilization have documented use of plants and it’s extracts for medicinal use. Why do essential oils have a special place? A question that invokes curiosity and when one comes in contact with an essential oil, it’s mesmerizing impact just reinforces the aura of mysticism in them.
Essential oils were only in reach of aristocrats, royals or imperial families which makes them exclusive and something that one would aspirationally want to use but in modern day, people have access to it but there is limited trust on anything other than modern medicine to go for when it comes to curing diseases. Now, the only reason why Essential oils maintain a high snob value is, preciousness, not so easy availability of pure ones and of course, wellness is very upmarket in today’s world. Let’s see how that works one by one.
Precious: Well, this one is more than just being about money. There is barely less than 10% of people among essential oil manufacturers and trader (let alone buyers) who can really differentiate between a pure and diluted or adulterated essential oils. The reason is not so much to do with capability, it is more to do with variety. The factors that play to have unrecognizable wide variety of essential oils is that the smell, color and texture varies based on farmlands where the aromatic crop is cultivated, specie of the plant, part of the plant used for extracting oil, differences in segregation processes of plant parts from manufacturer to manufacturer. So it ceases to be about high prices, it is also about being able to procure the purest form or even adulterated form which suits ones purpose. Essential oils turn out to be expensive as well as hard to find. Yes, turns out that they are playing hard to get! That’s why they are so mystic.
Snob Value: Once the first hurdle is crossed, snob is a natural sense that would prevail among those who have the pure variety of the essential oil. Something like, Cleopatra wearing a Neroli to make political alliances to suspend logical reasoning because of the overwhelming fragrance which is sweet and metalic, both feminine and masculine. If I own Holy Basil Essential Oil, that comes from the holy land of Mathura where Krishna spent his childhood, if I get Myrrh from Egyptian farmland, if I get Frankincense from Jerusalem or I have Patchouli from deep forests of North East India, I feel exclusive, royal and sort after. I am going to feel above the bourgeois or among the top most of my social class if I use Essential Oils over off the shelf expensive perfumes. It is hard to see the reason behind it, but one overriding reason is that essential oils do play with mood and it is a natural outcome to feel great about having them on as your personal fragrance.
Well-being: Modern medicine has helped humanity to get where it is today. Surviving deadly diseases in the past was impossible without the work of research and development in drugs and medicine. However, in today’s domesticated lives, we need more than just “not falling sick”. There is a recognized need of well being from emotional and mental stand point which is considered at par with physical well being. Having a healthy body is not so much of an asset if the mind the continues to be unstable. This is where essential oils play a very significant part in ensuring we are abreast with staying cognizant of our mental well being without any sense of shame. Essential oils have the ability to somehow, pleasantly without any addiction cure stressful mind, switch moods and change environment of the space.
Spiritual Connections: All the energy healing systems are inspired at some level with philosophy or concept of spirituality. Barely any healing system is able to exclude essential oil from a healing protocol. It is indeed mysticism as to how one thing that is liquid and volatile appears to be the only connection between humans and the spiritual realm.
Essential oils are one of the most mystical man made liquids that withstood time, civilizations and geographical diversity. There is something in each of them that brings well being so naturally to our homes that even the things that are not captured in scientific study sits deep in human experiences of using essential oils.