The Absorption and Effects of Essential Oils

By David Crow, LAc.

Glandular

Essential oils probably exert their most powerful and direct pharmacological effects systemically via the blood supply to the brain. They also have an indirect effect via the olfactory nerve pathways into the brain. Essential oil fragrances are absorbed through blood circulation and nerve pathways from the sinuses into the central glands of the brain, which control emotional, neurological, and immunological functions.

Skin

Essential oils are absorbed in minute quantities through the skin. Depending on the oil, they’re absorbed via dilution and application (carrier oil, compress, etc). Many of the indications for specific oils include various skin conditions.

Respiratory

Essential oils are inhaled during treatment, which have a direct healing impact on the sinuses, throat, and lungs. Many essential oils are specific medicines for respiratory conditions.

Circulatory

Many essential oils have beneficial effects on circulatory problems, both through dermal and respiratory absorption. These oils enhance the circulation, with effects similar to a massage.