You’ve probably heard about the numerous benefits of essential oils but were maybe confused as to what they were exactly or how to use them correctly. Essential oils are organic compounds that have been extracted from plants, typically from the flowers, fruit, leaves, seeds or bark of the plant.
Essential oils, which are highly concentrated, have been used for over 5,000 years by many different cultures and for many different health conditions like fighting the cold or flu, relaxing sore muscles, healing various skin conditions, balancing hormones, and improving digestion. These oils are also commonly used in cleaning and personal care products.
This is how concentrated the oils are – it takes 65 pounds of rose petals to make one single 15ml bottle of rose essential oil.
But what makes essential oils so therapeutic and powerful? These oils are what protect the plants from insects and environmental hazards. They also help the plants adapt to environmental changes. By using essential oils, you are leveraging the protective and healing power of plants.
Essential Oils Then and Now
Essential oils have been used throughout history in many different countries. We know oils were used by the Egyptians, Arabs, Greeks, Indians, Romans, and the Chinese as perfumes, cosmetics, and medicine. Some cultures even used the oils in spiritual rituals.
It wasn’t until 1928 that the science of aromatherapy was born by a French chemist names René-Maurice Gattefossé, who used lavender oil to heal a burn on his hand. Experiencing great results, he further studied the properties of lavender oil and how it could be used to treat other types of skin issues like wounds and infections.
His main goal was to help injured soldiers during WW1, but it wasn’t long before alternative medical practitioners embraced aromatherapy throughout Europe. It wasn’t until the 1980s that aromatherapy became popular in the United States when oils were suddenly added to candles and lotions. Soon, physical therapists and massage therapists were using aromatherapy and essential oils in their practice.
But it’s not just alternative practitioners who embrace these oils. They are being used in mainstream medical hospitals as health experts now realize they are an effective and non-invasive way to treat a variety of medical conditions. Essential oils can also be safely combined with other therapies and medications.
Medical facilities like Vanderbilt University Hospital are using essential oils in the treatment of anxiety, depression and infections in hospitalized patients.
In a 2009 study, pre-operative patients who received aromatherapy with lavandin oil were significantly less anxious about their surgery than controls. Other oils like neroli, sandalwood and lavender oil have also been used effectively to treat anxiety in hospitalized patients.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine noted that women who used aromatherapy during labor reported less pain overall and were able to use fewer pain medications.
Medical facilities are also now using essential oils for their antibacterial and anti-fungal benefits. Besides treating skin infections, cuts and burns, essential oils have been found to boost the immune system and help with insomnia. Frankincense oil has also been linked to fighting certain cancers, like brain and bladder cancer.
8 Essential Oils You Should Start Using Today
The following are some essential oils that you may find beneficial for your health.
This essential oil is great for Improving respiratory issues like bronchitis, sinusitis and allergies. Try rubbing a little on your chest or adding it to your humidifier.
As already mentioned, Frankincense oil has shown a lot of promise in fighting cancer. One reason for this is its ability to fight inflammation. And, as we’ve said many times on this blog, inflammation is the cause of ALL DISEASE.
Ginger oil is also powerful at fighting inflammation and supporting joints. It is also great for digestive upset and relieving nausea.
Lavender oil is highly regarded for its ability to help muscles relax. It also helps to improve mood and heal cuts and burns.
Myrrh is a natural anti-septic and can prevent and reduce infections. It is great for promoting beautiful skin and reducing stretch marks that are common from rapid weight loss and pregnancy. Those with hormonal imbalances should also consider using Myrrh oil.
Peppermint oil supports a healthy digestive system. It is also effective at reducing fever, headaches and muscles aches. Need more energy and focus? Try peppermint oil.
Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca)
Tea Tree has been effectively used for boosting the immune system. It is also great at reducing bad odors around the house (listen up pet owners!). Add to this the fact that Tea Tree is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent and you see why many people are keeping a bottle in their bathroom and kitchen cupboards.
Ever wonder why Sandalwood is often used in perfumes, personal care products and candles? Because it is a natural aphrodisiac that improves libido. Just sayin’.
How to Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used in a few different ways:
Always speak with your doctor before ingesting an essential oil.
As I mentioned, these oils are incredibly concentrated and a little goes a long way. Usually 1 – 3 drops mixed with water will work well. Peppermint, lemon and Frankincense oil are great taken internally in small doses. Oils like Oregano and clove should not be taken for more than a week.
Because essential oils have a chemical weight of less than 1000m, they are easily absorbed by the skin. This means all of that good stuff will easily pass through the skin barrier and into the bloodstream for internal therapeutic benefits.
One of the coolest things about essential oils is how easily they can get into the bloodstream. There is mounting evidence that suggests molecules can gain access into the bloodstream when inhaled. Once inside the lungs, the molecules can then be circulated throughout the body and get to work on healing.
Essential oils are truly one of the simplest ways you can start improving your health today.