You’ve probably been hiding under a rock to not have noticed the recent surge in popularity of essential oils for a variety of uses; both medicinally and as a replacement for toxic chemical cleaning products. However, despite viewing this as a positive step, I am personally very wary of the increase of MLM distributors who are unfortunately not adequately educated on the full risks and safety advice for many oils, particularly with regards to pregnancy, children, and the advocacy of unnecessarily ingesting oils. So, this week I’m pleased to present an introduction to essential oils that has been written by Laura A’Bell, (known fondly by many as Lolly) – a highly experienced Aromatherapist and the Founder/CEO of Harriet Herbery & Moppy Organics Pty Ltd. Lolly will also be following up with us in coming weeks with more specific information about safe family use of oils and herbs. Enjoy!

I have adored essential oils for a few decades now and began my formal training in 1999. It’s only in recent years that so many people have realised the amazing benefits of these oils – it’s so exciting to see so many people using them!

I run an aromatherapy practice specialising in family safety for children and mums as well as an organic vegan skin care and aromatherapy company (Harriet Herbery) which uses essential oils and herbs in all our products.

Each month I deliver workshops around the east coast of Australia on safety in using oils. With the increase in people discovering these exciting smells, it’s really important that people understand how powerful these oils are. Once people understand the safety around aromathearpy, they feel more confident using oils in the home.

I thought the best place to start with this blog would be to introduce what essential oils are. My next guest next blog will follow up on using oils safely and effectively.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.

The inhaled aroma from essential oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing.

Aromatherapy is used for a variety of applications, including pain relief, mood enhancement and increased cognitive function as well as energy work through the use of subtle aromatherapy.

The different smells and chemical constituents of aromatherapy oils can produce different emotional and physiological reactions both singularly and in synergy blends.


Aromatherapy works through two main channels, the olfactory system and through topical absorption (through the skin pores).

Our nasal cavities have thousands of olfactory nerve cells that carry scent directly to the olfactory bulb which is located at the back of our nose. Nerve endings send messages directly to the brain.

It is said that our sense of smell is around 10,000 times more sensitive than any other sense and recognition of smell is immediate extending directly to the brain. This is the only place where our central nervous system is directly exposed to the environment. That is why inhalation directly affects the central nervous system. The Olfaction response bypasses the neo-cortex or conscious brain and goes directly to the limbic system.

Smell is the strongest link to the subconscious and we retain memories associated with smells for very long periods of time. Smells retain a power to move us. Memories are instantly conjured up from the past from our scent. Mothers recognise babies by smell as do babies to their mothers.

It is said that our bodies can process up to 100,000 different smells and remember them. That’s a massive amount of memory retention! I’ve been developing a range of synergy blends for use with dementia patients so they can immediately conjure happy  memories in their lives – it’s joyous work and demonstrates the power of smell!

This is how Aromatherapy works – it brings balance to mind, body and spirit which in turn brings harmony to the whole person.

Essential oils are minute molecules and are therefore easily absorbed through application to the skin. This is known as transdermal absorption. Essential oils do not dissolve in water but dissolve in fat therefore they attach themselves to the natural body fats and fluids in our body and gain access to the lymphatic and blood systems through the connective and lymphatic tissues. Here they can affect physical changes and indirectly stimulate or sedate the immune system and other various body systems.

Unlike other treatments which are taken internally, aromatherapy works more effectively because it has direct access to the various body systems and does not have to pass through the stomach where gastric juices could deter its effectiveness.

Internal digestion is not recommended and not used in aromatherapy without professional supervision as some essential oils can be TOXIC IF TAKEN INTERNALLY. Always seek the advice of a trained aromatherapist prior to ingesting oils.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and should always be approached with respect and proper attention to safety. Essential oils can sometimes cause irritation or sensitisation. When buying essential oils, always seek 100% pure essential oils that are either certified organic or wildcrafted. Aromatherapists will always use the best quality essential oils so it’s always a good idea to see where they are getting them from! Remember to always keep them in a dark wooden box away from sunlight and heat, or a refrigerator if necessary. And remember to keep them stored well away from where kids can access them!

Disclaimer: This information is only to be used for educational and entertainment purposes. It is not intended to heal or treat any disease, and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Connect with Laura on Facebook and Instagram

Visit the Harriet Herbery online store

Join the Harriet Herbery Facebook group