What are essential oils? Essential oils are the concentrated liquids extracted from plants and they are largely used in aromatherapy to improve physical or psychological well-being. They are also used in cosmetics, or to treat aches and other health conditions.
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Some of the health benefits that people appreciate essential oils for include:
- Promoting healthy skin, by treating diseases such as blemishes and fungus
- Promoting relaxation, reducing stress, insomnia and improving neurological disorders
- Stimulating digestion
- Balancing weight
- Alleviating pain
How Are Essential Oils Extracted
The methods used to extract these oils are distillation and expression. The extraction components include the rind of the fruit, seeds, leaves, flowers, twigs and the bark. In distillation, manufacturers use either water distillation, steam distillation, or water and steam distillation.
Steam distillation involves the passing of pressurized steam through the plant material so that the oils can evaporate out. For fragile plants the manufacturers use solvents to create the essences. This process is generally used in diffusers and perfumes since the solvent residue is not suitable for topical use.
The Effect Of Essential Oils On The Brain
Essential oils posses neuroprotective, anti-aging potentials and are effective in dementia, epilepsy, anxiety and other neurological disorders . When using the essential oils in aromatherapy, they can trigger emotional and even physical responses and allow vivid memory recalls.
This is because the sense of smell is linked to some of the oldest and deepest parts of the brain ( limbic system). This way affecting the thinking processes, emotional behaviour and moods.
To help you inhale the essentials through your nasal passages, you can purchase an essential oil diffuser.
If you have a particular health condition before purchasing any oils, do your research work properly. Take your time to learn more about the available types, their properties, benefits, as well as the contraindications of the plants used to produce them.
Health Benefits And Uses Of Specific Essential Oils In The Video Below:
Criteria By Which To Choose The Best Essential Oils:
- Label: Botanical name, plant part, country of origin, expiration date, chemotype (if applicable) and “Keep Out of Reach of Children” statement;
- Cost: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is;
- Testing: Especially GC/MS testing (gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests);
- Organic, unsprayed, or wild crafted (Any pollutants on the plants can be more concentrated in the essential oil);
- NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy) or other association memberships;
- Sustainability and economic cooperatives or initiatives.
There are a number of reputable companies that offer relatively good quality oils: Edens Garden, Plant Therapy, Aromatics International, Essential Elements, Native American Nutritionals/Rocky Mountain Oils, Stillpoint Aromatics, Mountain Rose Herbs, Aura Acacia.
When used topically the essential oils should always be mixed with other carrier oils (or emulsifiers) before they are rubbed into the skin.
My Personal Experience With Essential Oils
It was kind of a random path that led me to essential oils. Since I had several chronic health issues I new that plants are very healing already. I’m using teas and tinctures for a couple of years now so when I was looking for something that might enhance the plant’s potency. After a thorough research, I knew I had to try the essential oils.
EO Great For Bacterial / Viral Infections And Cold Symptoms
My first attempt at using them was while having a bad sinus infection. It was getting worse every time I had a cold. By rinsing the nose with a solution made of water (8 oz.), salt and baking soda plus 1 drop of sage EO, I got rid of my sinus infection in 3 days. For this I used a neti pot.
For relieving the discomfort caused by blocked sinuses I used eucalyptus oil in a diffuser. Even a small amount of eucalyptus oil it was shown to be enough to relieve headaches, arthritis and muscle pains.
Then, I found out that oregano oil is a powerful antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiparasitic agent with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, emenagogue and anti-allergenic properties.
As a person with allergies and a compromised immune system I managed to get rid of flu fast by taking 3 – 4 drops of oregano oil, 4-5 times/day. Oregano is a very potent oil, I also used it to address bacterial infections, parasites (are also killed by bergamot and peppermint), candida, just to name a few. Most of these pathogens were causing my allergies, gut and other inflammations throughout the body.
Dozens of studies confirm that oregano oil benefits are proving to be superior to some antibiotics, without the harmful side effects.
You should be careful about the brand you choose as not all of them are suitable for internal use or external. When you try to choose oregano oil, first, you need to know its purity and effectiveness, i.e carvacrol concentration (the higher the better) and the ratio of oregano oil mixed with olive oil. It also should be wild and organic. The one I opted for after a thorough research was this one.
Great For Skin Infections
Frankincense and myrrh are two of the most revered oils in history, they have so many healing properties and usually used together in order to enhance the therapeutic effect. I bought so many types of oils, but if I had to choose only two, they will definitely be my choice due to their
Moreover, successful results were obtained in treating engorged breasts (topically) while breastfeeding. The situation was so critical that I was on the edge of developing mastitis.
Due to no improvement while using the antibiotic cream prescribed by the lactation specialist, I decided to try my own natural treatment.
I massaged the affected area with frankinsence, myrrh, thyme and clary sage EO (diluted in a carrier oil) additionally I was pumping and doing salt water soaks. In 4 days there was no sign of plugged ducts or mastitis and I could resume my feeding schedule.
Some time ago, after a dentist visit, for a root canal surgery, my gums were very sore and in huge pain. That’s when I learned about anti-inflammatory and analgesic nature of clove oil. I applied it between gums (1/2 tsp olive oil with 3 drops of Clove EO) and gained relief within an hour.
It is also useful in treating wounds, cuts and very very effective for relieving tooth ache and mouth ulcers. It also helped me tremendously in calming down my baby while teething, it works every single time.
Stretch Marks And Skin Scars
One of the most common problems that women experience after pregnancy is the appearance of stretch marks, even if I used moisturizing agents (without essential oils) every day, I ended up with stretch marks anyway.
If you really want to reduce the appearance of stretch marks I recommend using oils like rose, geranium, myrrh and helichrysum in a body butter. Massage the affected area twice a day until you will see the difference. These oils have cell-regenerative properties. You can also try contrast showering which is a great way to tone your skin.
Final Thoughts: The highest quality of essential oils are those that are PURE and true, these are not cheap diluted type essential oils that you buy for house cleaning, you need to use the highest quality possible.
Some essential oils are more likely to cause skin reactions and irritation, test and dilute them in a carrier oil before use. Essential oils do not mix with water, they float in tiny droplets on the surface and they can be highly irritating, I learned that on my ow skin.
Also do not ingest essential oils unless stated otherwise and if you are in any doubt about any condition you may have, you better seek the advice of a licensed practitioner before using pure essential oils internally.