One of the most popular trends in the wellness industry is essential oils. They have been used a long time ago and are still popular until now. If you have not heard about them, then probably you were sleeping for a long time or probably living under the rock.
Almost every home today is already invaded by these tiny, scented bottles. After all, they have a lot of benefits, from wellness to health. If you’re still new to these oils, this article will provide you with everything that you need to know about these therapeutic wonders:
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are organic compounds which were obtained from plants. These essential oils are composed of tiny molecules. If an essential oil is applied to the body, particularly on the skin, it penetrates the cells, making a positive effect.
When it comes to making the oils, the process of distillation is being used to separate the water and the aromatic compounds from the plants. Then, they’re combined with carrier oils. The results are what is now known as essential oils. Take note that not all plants can produce essential oils. There are only certain types of leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, and roots that can be used to make essential oils.
For those who are wondering why they’re called essential oils, well, this is because the oil is extracted contains the essence of the plant’s fragrance and other beneficial elements.
Today, these essential oils are now being used in many forms of alternative medicine such as Aromatherapy. This is because there had been several instances that prove the effectiveness of essential oils in treating and improving certain health conditions.
However, the improper use of the substance may result in skin irritation and allergic reactions especially for those people who have sensitive skins. Despite this, there are still a lot of advantages to essential oils than disadvantages, and these are preventive measures to using them, so they’re safe more than dangerous.
Do Essential oils Work?
In aromatherapy, essential oils have the capabilities and the power to change the way we react ourselves and those from the outside. This statement was made by Cher Kaufmann, a licensed massaged therapist who wrote the book Nature Essential Oils: Aromatic Alchemy for Well-Being.
Mr. Kaufmann believes that the active compounds coming from plants and their fragrances can have a positive impact on a person’s wellbeing, including its biological, mental, emotional, and even spiritual needs.
Dr. Sarah Villafranco MD who is an emergency doctor from the Washinton D.C. added that our sense of smell is connected to a part of the brain called the limbic system, which is often associated with our memories and emotions. This is how essential oils affect our psychological and mental wellbeing.
Furthermore, the concept of aromatherapy revolves around a person’s sense of smell. As it’s connected to his memory and emotion, when using the oils, a person will likely reminisce about a particular moment and even feel certain feelings.
This is the reason why smelling the scent of chocolate cookies will make you feel young like you’re a few years younger. Mr. Kauffman beautifully sums it up in his book that smelling things that a person likes will help him in reducing or relieving stress.
There are also other potential benefits that essential oils can bring to the table according to medical experts, and this is about the oil’s pharmacological properties.
A good example is the Tea tree oil, which has been proven to kill germs and fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Other essential oils have shown anti-inflammatory properties – Peppermint oil, which has been proven to be effective in helping people that are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
It is believed that Peppermint oil has these anti-inflammatory properties, thus reducing the contractions of the muscle in the gastrointestinal tract. Furthermore, a medical study has shown that Lavender-oil capsules are very much effective in helping people with anxiety, and its effects are comparable to the popular anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam.
Last but not least, medical experts are optimistic and excited about the essential oils’ potential of being an alternative or possible replacement of antibiotics. Although this is still in the experimental phase, a lot of scientists are looking for ways to develop the potential of essential oil in keeping people healthy without feeling the negative effects of antibiotics.
What are essential oils Benefits?
There are a lot of cases that prove that essential oils bring a positive impact on the health and wellness of a person. Whether it’s scientifically proven, the testimonies of several individuals will convince us to try the positive effects of essential oils on the body.
Migraines and Headaches
Recent medical studies have shown the effectiveness of Lavender and Peppermint oil when it comes to alleviating headaches, especially when it is applied to the person’s skin.
This study has been supported by another medical experiment almost 30 years ago, which shows people relieved from their headaches after using a Peppermint oil mix with ethanol.
Some wellness experts suggested that people should apply a mixture of Sesame and Chamomile oil to the temple to treat migraines and headaches.
Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
Based on statistics, almost half of the people who are diagnosed with stress and anxiety have used alternative forms of therapy in treating their condition. This is where aromatherapy comes in as it has been proven to have positive effects in fighting mental health sicknesses.
Others have said that the fragrance or the scent of essential oils can even be an alternative therapy for people with these disorders.
There had been a lot of studies that showcase the anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils, which can assist people to combat anti-inflammatory conditions. There was a study conducted on animals, specifically rats, which shows Oregano and Thyme essential oils have helped in inducing the remission of colitis.
There was also another experiment conducted on rats using Rosemary and Caraway oils, which produced the same results. For humans, it has not been clinically and scientifically proven. However, several testimonies have proved otherwise.
Sleep and Insomnia
Several studies have been conducted, which show the positive effects of essential oils on the quality of sleep of a person. For instance, smelling Lavender oil has helped women improve their sleeping habits after giving birth. There were also some reported cases wherein essential oils have helped people with heart problems increase the quality of their sleep.
Colds and Congestion
Essential oils coming from Oregano, Ginger, Lemon, Cinnamon, and Eucalyptus can help a person who has colds and congestion. All you have to do is use a few drops of essential oils to a bowl of boiling water, then submerge a towel in the bowl and put it on your head. After that, inhale deeply for a few more minutes to feel the effects.
People who are suffering from digestion problems can use essential oils for remedy. It can help if you feel bloated, constipated, and gassy. Simply rub the essential oil to your stomach to feel the positive effect. Essential oils coming from Peppermint, Basil, Ginger, Sage, and Oregano will help treat this condition.
Uses of essential oils
Antimicrobial and Antibiotic Properties
There had been a renewed interest and optimism in the medical field with regards to researching the antibiotic and antimicrobial properties of some essential oils.
Tea tree and Peppermint oil have been thoroughly investigated to have anti-microbial effects. This experiment, however, was done in a laboratory setting, and the need for human experiments is still needed. Nonetheless, medical experts are optimistic about the essential oils’ future to replace antibiotic and antimicrobial medicines.
Mood and Productivity
Have you experience feeling tired, bored, and out of focus? When you lack the energy to do your daily routine, use essential oil to brighten up your mood and increase your productivity.
Essential oils are natural mental boosters that will make you alert, thus clearing your mind. Among the popular essential oils that you can use includes Rosemary, Orange, Lavender, Peppermint, and Jasmine.
If you want to treat yourself to a relaxing activity, one of the best ways to do this is by using essential oils during your bath time. After a long day, a few drops of Chamomile, Lavender, or Jasmine oil during your bath can give you the much-needed relaxation and calmness in your nervous system.
When you have plans of traveling in the future, it’s a good idea to bring some essential oil with you. Essential oils have the benefits of giving a person calmness and balance during flight situations.
Upon the arrival of the destination, the essential oil will also come in handy in fighting the effects of jetlag. Essential oils like Bergamot, Rosemary, Lemon, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, and Lavender are some great choices for this.
Essential oils are also effective in dealing with skin problems and diseases. For instance, tea tree oil can be used in treating acne and other similar skin diseases. Cedarwood oil has been found to have positive effects on oily skin. For eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin, Bergamot oil can be your alternative treatment.
Citronella and Deet oils have been found to have mosquito repellent properties. It has been proven to protect the skin for 2-3 hours from bites to some type of mosquitoes.
Essential oils have been used by a lot of homeowners to scent their own homes. Some people have used it to freshen up their laundry as well.
Some people use essential oils on their recipes. Essential oils from Lemon, Basil, Lime, and Lemongrass can be a good option in your kitchen. These oils bring scent and other health benefits to your foods.
Cleaning and Personal Care Products
Essential oils have been used as homemade and personal care products. There are essential oil companies that are already making cleaning products made from these oils.
Essential oils from Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree can be mixed with vinegar to formulate a DIY cleaning recipe. They can also be mixed in their homemade toothpaste, deodorants, and soaps.
Top 10 Popular Types of Essential Oils and their Uses
There are about more than 90 types of essential oils that are available for human use. All these essential oils provide different benefits and unique fragrances. Some of the most popular ones used today are listed below:
1. Lemon Oil
It is now normal to see Lemon oil products being displayed in commercial stores and establishments. You will find this essential oil in many grocery stores and products such as soaps, household cleaners, and even flavored sparkling water brands.
The fragrance that comes from lemon oils exemplifies cleanliness and freshness. That is why it has been used extensively in several commercial products. More than the freshness, lemon oil also has anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and astringent properties, making it not only pleasant-smelling but helpful too.
Lemon Oil also is good for skincare because it contains D-limonene, a substance that helps the prevention of wrinkles. It also helps tone the skin and improves blood circulation.
Lemon oil also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can be useful by all individuals. Aside from these, the fragrance coming from Lemon oil has antidepressant properties that can help a person boost his mood. Based on research, the scents of Lemon can elevate norepinephrine, an anti-stress hormone that can be found in the body.
2. Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass is a popular ingredient in the kitchen, but its essential oil also serves a lot of purposes. Originated in Sri Lanka and Southern India, the plant had been added into a lot of products such as tea, cleaning products, and even on medications traditionally used to heal fever and gastrointestinal issues.
The Lemongrass essential oil scent can be a good mood-changer while some researchers have indicated that it contains anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and even anti-fungal properties.
A study also suggests that Lemongrass essential oil contains pharmacological and medicinal properties, which include the prevention or slowing down of cancerous cells and even tumors. Lemongrass oil can also be combined with tonic to reduce dandruff in just 1 week.
3. Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon oil is one of the oldest essential oils that were discovered. This oil has been used by the Egyptians from 1550 BC. It was considered an important commodity during that time, especially during trading.
The scent of Cinnamon has been proven to be effective in treating colds and muscle pains due to its analgesic properties. It also contains anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and anti-oxidants properties that could potentially help a person with neurological and heart problems.
4. Lavender Oil
There are about 39 species of Lavender oil, but almost all types contain several components that can bring substantial benefits to the body. These components include camphor, linalyl acetate, Linalool, and eucalyptol, making it a powerful essential oil.
The lavender essential oil also has antioxidant, sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antimicrobial, anesthetic, antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-booster properties. Indeed, Lavender oil is one of the most important essential oils that are relatively safe to use.
5. Tea tree Oil
Originated in Australia, the tea tree has been used by native Australians in treating colds, coughs, wounds, sore throats, and some types of skin ailments.
The tea tree essential oil contains anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and even anti-cancer properties. The oil can also be used in treating acne as it also kills bacteria. Because of this, it’s also effective in treating gingivitis, dandruff, and even influenza.
6. Clary Sage
This plant’s medicinal properties bring a lot of benefits to the skin as it is antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent and can help in boosting blood circulation.
The use of these herbs can be traced a long time ago during the medieval times wherein herbalists and doctors used the plant’s seed to treat people with vision problems. The plant was also used to add flavors to wine during that time.
Clary Sage has also been proven to contain antidepressant properties and the ability to regulate hormones. A 2014 study to 22 menopausal women aged 50 and were depressed have indicated that taking the Clary Sage oil has helped reduce their depression.
The results indicated that the essential oil has lowered their cortisol levels while improving their thyroid hormone levels. Furthermore, a 2012 research has shown that Clara Sage, together with Marjoram and Lavender, can be used as an effective treatment in reducing frequent menstrual pain and cramping.
7. Eucalyptus Oil
If you are frequently using Vicks VapoRub, you are probably familiar with Eucalyptus medicinal plants. Eucalyptus has a strong smell, which is similar to camphor, another ingredient of Vicks VapoRub. The scent of this plant can help alleviate clogged airways, thus significantly improving one’s breathing quality.
The Eucalyptus plants can also be used as pesticides as it has the properties that can kill insects, bacteria, mites, fungus, and even weeds. The plant was also believed to have the ability to kill the parasite that causes Malaria.
This essential oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve your immune system. This plant’s scent may be strong, so it can also be used as an insect and bug repellent.
8. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint’s scent is almost familiar to everyone as its smell can be found on our toothpaste, shampoo, and even mouthwash. The smell of Peppermint can also be found in our medicinal cabinet and even in chewing gum.
The Peppermint Essential oil is composed mostly of two ingredients, menthone, and menthol. These two compounds are considered antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and a stimulant.
With its active components, Peppermint oil has been proven to treat headaches quickly. It can also help reduce nausea and improve memory and concentration. And because it has analgesic properties, it can easily numb down and reduce skin pain. The Peppermint oil has also been used on several lip products while putting it in your nose can help you feel refreshed throughout the day.
9. Rosemary Oil
The fragrance of Rosemary essential oil can be comparable to the spices that we put in our foods. This oil can also be found on natural skincare products as it can help prolong the life span of the products. The Rosemary essential oil is also a stimulant.
When inhaled, the scent of the oil can help increase the heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and even boost the immune system. It has also been proven to help the nervous system, especially in controlling the organ function.
The Rosemary essential oil can increase brain wave activity as well while stimulating several parts of our body system. So, this makes it an effective mood booster. It can be used to alleviate anxiety and depression because of its ability to reduce the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Lastly, you can combine Eucalyptus with Rosemary fragrance so that your home will smell like a virgin forest.
10. Sweet Orange Oil
The sweet orange oil is one of the best smelling essential oils. The scent of this essential oil can be added on dishes, making your food more appetizing.
The smell can also lift one’s mood, so it’s not only effective when added on foods but your house as well. Another benefit of sweet orange oil is that you can use this to reduce your cravings for sweets, really beneficial when you’re on a diet.
Besides, as backed by research, this essential oil, when inhaled, can help people with anxiety by boosting their mood.
Furthermore, the research also shows that when it is applied to the body, the subject’s breathing and pulse rates slow down, thus calming a person. Then, alleviating stress, thus making a person happier.
The popularity of essential oils in the health and wellness industry is not an accident at all. The substantial benefits and other uses that people can get from these oils are enough to convince people.
With several varieties to choose from, people can have a lot of options to check out. Use the guide above for a start. You’ll see that once you start using essential oils, you’ll be much happier, healthier, and calmer, so give them a try.