(EOs) have become quite popular, and it is easy to understand why. They are easy to use and provide a highly concentrated form of plant-based medicine. Essential oils are most often used therapeutically through inhalation or topical application. Inhalation brings the oils directly into the respiratory system, making EOs a good choice for many respiratory infections and ailments. A nebulizing or ionizing diffuser is the best way to inhale the essential oil, but a humidifier could also be used.
EOs are not oils in the sense that olive oil is; they are hydrophobic, volatile chemicals that have been steam-distilled from a plant. It takes a large quantity of plant material in order to get a small amount of oil.
Distillation of essential oils requires special equipment and advanced skills that are outside the scope of this book. However, if you have the land to dedicate to growing the plants and the inclination to learn how to distill them, you will have an extremely potent form of plant-based medicine that will be worth lots of whatever currency is in place in a post-disaster world.
Those who have the resources to grow enough plant material to make this effort worthwhile will be restricted to what grows in their area. Thankfully, several herbs that are high in volatile oils grow in many locales such as thyme, peppermint, sage, and rosemary should be doable. The oils produced by these relatively small planting will give you enough antimicrobial and pain-reducing medicine to keep you well stocked.