The Health and Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils
The History Behind The Oils
Over the centuries cultures from Ancient Egypt, The Far East, Native America and Europe have used the medicinal properties of plants in many ways. Combining the plants with healing oils to be applied to the skin or used to inhale the scent is an ancient practice and one that is gaining popularity in modern culture. Essential Herbal oils are used to promote health and wellbeing as well as beauty treatments.
What are Essential Oils Exactly?
Essential oils are concentrated extracts of plants flowers, roots, stems or leaves. They are extracted using distillation, maceration, which is placing the plant in heated oil to release its essence and scent the oil or expression, such as when you crush a citrus rind to release the oil. Each plant has its own chemical make-up and that determines what the oil is used for. The most common uses for essential oils are stress relief, headaches, and respiratory issues such as colds or asthma. However they have also been used to treat digestive issues, skin ailments such as eczema, acne or burns and as anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents. They are also commonly used to promote sleep.
How Do They Work?
There are many theories as to how they work. The main thought is that the molecules are absorbed through the skin if used in massage oil or by inhalation through the nose. Once they enter the nervous system through the bloodstream they have an effect on the brain which sends signals to the body for healing or relaxation. It is a well-known fact that the sense of smell is deeply rooted in the emotional centers of the brain and breathing in pleasant, therapeutic scents could therefore have a profound effect on a person’s stress level and mood. Many illnesses and symptoms can be improved simply by removing stress from the body and mind.
Keep In Mind
There are a few things to keep in mind when looking into Essential oils and Aromatherapy. Now that is has become more popular in our culture there are quite a few things labeled “aromatherapy” that are actually just chemical scents that don’t have any therapeutic effect and aren’t good for you. If you buy a candle or room freshener, be careful to actually read the label and make sure it’s a natural essential oil. You can buy a diffuser and pure oils to use in your own home very easily but again, make sure you are getting quality oils. You should never ingest essential oils unless directed by a trained professional. Some oils are toxic when taken internally. Don’t put undiluted oils on your skin. They are very concentrated and can cause irritation when applied directly. When used correctly Essential oils can be a wonderful addition to anyone’s health regime.
Popular Essential Oils To Look For:
Lavender: Used for calming, headaches, and skin conditions. It is thought to have antidepressant, antispasmodic and antiseptic properties.
Peppermint: Used for settling the stomach, migraines and respiratory issues particularly reducing congestion and phlegm.
Sandalwood: Used for insomnia, depression and as a decongestant.
Rosemary: Used as a stimulant, mental fatigue, PMS and as an analgesic.
There are dozens of Essential Oils available and just as many or more uses for them. Look into adding some to your health and beauty routine and find out the benefits for yourself!