Candles have been used by humans for thousands of years. Even though we may not use them as frequently as in the past, whenever the electricity goes down we still remember to light a candle. The flame of the candle will always have that mystical effect on our minds. We can see the flame there shining, but we can’t touch it.
Aside from relying on candles to light up a dark room we can use them to diffuse certain essential oil scents into the atmosphere. This is where aromatherapy candles come to play. These are special candles made from essential oils, so pleasant aromas fill the room. Aromatherapy candles have also been used for the past several centuries and they are still used today as a way to relax the atmosphere and rejuvenate a person.
What goes into an aromatherapy candle?
A candle made for aromatherapy use has 3 main components: the wick, the wax and the essential oil. The wick is the part of the candle that the user is going to light up. It is the part that will hold the fire which will burn down the wax. It is the tiny rope that lies inside the wax from the top to bottom of the candle.
By definition, the wax is a substance that is solid in room temperature but starts melting whenever the temperature is raised up. In case of the candle, the wax is usually the outer part of the candle within which the wick is found. As the wick is burning, the wax melts down until the whole candle has burnt out.
When it comes to essential oils, they are only used on aromatherapy candles. There are many types of oils that can be used to make aromatherapy candles; it all depends on the type of effect you may want to get out of it. Generally people rely on those types of candles to bring about a sense of well-being. If that is your case you might want to go for candles made with lavender to ease up your sleeping time. If you are dealing with some headache you might want to go for basil candles. During those periods where you find yourself dealing with nose congestions, aromatherapy candles with clove oils can be of help. Take note that clove oil can also be used as an aphrodisiac, just in case your lover pays you a visit, and you know which candle to light up.
There are many kinds of aromatherapy candles you can buy but you need to be careful. Not all candles are as safe as you would want them to be. In the past, before the industrialized period, human beings used to rely on nature to produce all that they needed and that included candles. Not all candles today are produced using those natural methods. Here are the reasons why you should not take any random candle that you pick as a safe one.
In ancient times, only natural wax was used to make candles. It could be beeswax (wax made from bees), soy wax (made from oil extracted from natural soybean), rapeseed wax (oil extracted from rapeseed), palm wax (made from palm berries) and candelilla wax derived from the leaves of the shrub. There are many other natural waxes that can be used but because the industries are much more interested in making profit they tend to go for much cheaper wax products.
An example of a cheap wax product popularly used today is paraffin wax. This type of wax is derived out of petroleum. You should know that when it burns, 11 known toxic substances are released in the air and some of those toxins are known to cause cancer. Examples of those substances are benzene, formaldehyde and toluene. Aside from that paraffin wax burns much faster than naturally made ones so even though you may think you are saving money when buying one, in reality you are spending more because you will need more candles to cover the whole period within which you intend to use it.
The soot is the black powdery substance that is found on the ceiling exactly above the area where the lit candle was placed. That substance may not be safe for humans and
unfortunately all kinds of candles produce soot. Research done by the Environmental Protection Agency showed that petroleum based wax emits 100 times more soot than other natural wax. With all that it only makes sense to use natural wax.
When it comes to the candle’s wick, a good wick is a 100% cotton wick. The current industrial candles have some hazardous chemicals in their wick. Toxic elements like lead, zinc and other metals are found in it. Lead is known to cause the malfunctioning of the kidneys, the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system. Remember when you burn a wick made with lead the chemical is spread into the air and gets into your body through your respiratory system. If you can’t get a cotton wick you can try a pure hemp wick. That is also a good alternative.
The essential oils
As mentioned before, industries are always trying to cut cost and make more profit without thinking of the long term consequences of the choices they made. Today the big candle companies prefer to go for all kinds of chemically derived fragrance instead of the real natural essential oil scent. You need to be careful what you choose. Because you see “Lavender” written on the box that you shouldn’t immediately think it contains real lavender, it might be synthetic lavender. The fact that it smells like lavender does not mean it is the real thing.
Again because a lot of crops used today are genetically modified, it might not necessarily be an organic plant that is used for the extraction of the oil, which implies that the final product might contain pesticides.
There is a lot of misleading labelling going on so take the time to carefully read the label over and over to make sure you know what you are buying. If you see something like “Parfum” or “Fragrance Oil” be extra cautious. Some companies may choose to mix their chemicals with a small amount of essential oil. You may see on the front side it mentioned the name of the essential oil but on the back label you will read that they’ve also added synthetic fragrance. It is important to note that even a tiny amount of synthetic fragrance may not be good.
Benefits of organically made aromatherapy candles
The good news is there are still some honest companies that distribute real all-natural true aromatherapy candles made with essential oils. These candles produce much less soot; they burn much slower and give their users a real sense of well-being. They lift the spirit and create the atmosphere for the individual to meditate and have access to inner peace.
All-natural true aromatherapy candles may be slightly more expensive compared to the other ones but it is still worth the investment. Considering all the risks you may endure with the cheap candles it makes sense to go for the healthier choice.
- License: Image owned by Lotus Garden Botanicals