Essential oils have been a household name in the health and beauty industry. There are so many things that make essential oils quite appealing, some of which is accredited to their aromatherapeutic and health properties. But before we dive into what the benefits of essential oils are, let's take a look at what essential oils really are.
Essential oils are liquified essences (scent, flavours) of plants. These essences are contained in the plants aromatic compound and these aromatic compounds give the essential oils their unique characteristic essence. The process by which the essence of the plant is turned into a liquified form(oil), is called distillation.
Types of essential oils
Peppermint: used to boost energy and help with digestion
Lavender and Orange: used to relieve stress, soothing
Sandalwood: used to calm nerves and help with focus
Bergamot: reduces stress and improve skin conditions like eczema
Rosemary: reduces inflammation, antimicrobial properties, ease stress
Chamomile: improves mood and relaxation
Ylang-Ylang: used for the treatment of headaches, nausea, and skin conditions
Tea Tree: used to fungal infections and boost immunity
Jasmine: helps to combat depression, childbirth, and libido
Lemon: aids digestion, mood, headaches, and more
Stress reduction: due to the aromatherapeutic properties of essential oils, they are used as remedies for stress reduction. Essential oils like lavender and orange oils have been used for stress relief by inhalation. E.g. scientist has found that orange oil can reduce stress when inhaled 2.5, 5 or 10 drops.
Other ways essential oils can relieve stress is when applied as massage oils. Using essential oils like peppermint can give that cooling and soothing effect to a sore muscle, which in turn reduces stress.
Sleep and Insomnia: you probably know how frustrating it can be when you just can’t fall asleep. I find it even more frustrating when given sleep or a melatonin tablet to help me sleep. I usually wake up feeling heavy headed and forgetful.
So, trying out essential oils for sleep is really a great way to go. Lavender does it, as its aroma is very soothing and relaxing that it helps you to naturally fall asleep. You can use it by sprinkling a few drops on your pillowcase, sheet or around your bedroom. Studies have even show lavender oil improve the sleep of women after childbirth as well as patients with heart diseases.
Fungal Infections: essential oils like tea tree which comes from the leaves of the Australian melaleuca alternifolia tree, has been used to treat fungal infections like athletes’ foot, ringworms, nail fungus etc, thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. This has been backed by scientific research which suggests that tea tree oils for the treatment of fungal infections can be more efficient when combined with other antifungal drugs. In this instance, 60 participants were given tea tree oil in combination with an antifungal drug, and a placebo. After a while, 80% of those who received treatment were cured compared to 0% of those who received a placebo.
Inflammation: Essential oils like rosemary, thyme, oregano do contain anti-inflammatory properties that help with the treatment of inflammation.
Things to be mindful of:
Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin, but be added to a generous amount of base oil 2.5% dilution, that is 15 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoon carrier oil
Types of base or carrier oils can be jojoba, coconut oil, almond oil etc
Reactions and allergies might include:
Skin rash, headaches, inflammation. Ingestion of some oils like tea tree can cause loss of muscle control and coma.
I hope this gives you an insight into essential oils and how they benefit your health! In our next article, I will write about the Skin Benefits of Essential Oils.