Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
At toxic doses, any substance, including essential oils, can be damaging to the body—damage that begins at the cellular level. If too many cells become affected, damage of entire tissues or organs may result.
One of the primary ways that substances cause cellular damage is by disrupting the cell’s membrane. Recall from Module 2 that a cellular membrane is the outer most boundary of a cell that separates its internal contents from the environment. In order to provide this separation, cellular membranes are composed of a special phospholipid bilayer. A phospholipid is a type of lipid molecule containing a hydrophilic head and two hydrophobic tails. A bilayer simply means that the membrane is composed of two layers of phospholipids that are lined up tail-to-tail to form a continuous, waterproof barrier. This barrier is important for the life of the cell because it keeps vital molecules and organelles inside of the cell, while simultaneously preventing unwanted substances from entering the cell.