Essential oils have played a huge part in the health and well being of humans for hundreds of thousands of years. Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in every part of a plant from its roots to its petals. These compounds are often wonderfully fragrant – from the scent of a flower through a field of lavender to crushed fresh mint – and form the aromatic qualities of essential oils. Beyond giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils also provide plants with protection against predators and disease and play a role in plant pollination.In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their delightful scent, essential oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. And today, as modern scientific thinking leans towards a more holistic approach to wellness, essential oils are once again being recognised for the multitude of benefits they can offer. Unlike herbal medicines, essential oils are not concentrated from whole plant parts, but extracted from flowers, leaves, roots, peel, resin or bark. Pathway to healing – How they workEssential oils are used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used as a single drop at a time or in complex blends depending on the user experience or the desired effect. The scent of an essential oils acts like a messenger that has a short cut to the brain, where it affects the limbic system – a type of switchboard that controls blood pressure, hormone levels, breathing and the nervous system.When essential oils are smelled, inhaled or absorbed through the skin or any other body tissue, they directly stimulate the limbic system creating pathways to affect physical, emotional and mental changes.For many thousands of years incorporating essential oils into daily life has been shown to promote a more balanced state of mind, enabling us to cope better with potentially difficult events and reducing the likelihood of succumbing to modern day stresses or common illness.