What Can Essential Oils Do For Your Health?

Do you know much about Essential Oils?

Well, before this blog I certainly didn’t. I decided to write about essential oils today as I keep seeing them. I see them at the local health food store, during my regular visits to the Vegan market and of course, I see them advertised online. I thought that it was time for me to learn a bit about them so I extracted the parts of information that I thought would be useful and I’m sharing that with you in this article.

Essential oils have a long history when it comes to supporting health and wellbeing. Many oils have specific properties that make them great choices for treating specific health issues but their effects can go far beyond this. Research has shown that the part of your brain which controls memory and emotions (limbic system) can be acted on by scents to affect the whole body.

What are essential oils?

The scent you smell when breathing in the delicious aroma of a rose is the essence, or essential oil, of Rose. Some plants give off an aroma; others do not. The reason why only some plants have an essential oil remains one of Mother Nature’s mysteries.

The essential oils in our bottles are substances that have been extracted from the plant. These oils are highly concentrated. Can you believe that it takes approximately 50 rose flowers to create just a single drop of Rose oil? Because they are so concentrated, essential oils are precious. Even used sparingly, they can offer immense therapeutic benefits.

With that in mind, let’s talk about how essential oils can help you to take control of your health and wellbeing

1. Menopause Symptom Management

Phytoestrogens are plant-based oestrogens. Essential oils containing phytoestrogens may help balance hormones and may improve a range of symptoms, including mood swings, hot flashes/flushes and irregular periods.

Lavender oil may reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes/flushes, headaches and heart palpitations.

Rose oil may improve mood and reduce hot flashes/flushes by balancing hormones.

Geranium oil has shown similar benefits to rose oil, balancing hormones, supporting menstrual cycle regularity in perimenopause and improving mood

2. Anti-aging

It’s no surprise that rose oil typically makes the list of top anti-aging essential oils. Why can rose essential oil boost skin health and possibly slow down the aging process? There are several reasons:

First, it has potent anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, it contains antioxidants that fight off free radicals which encourage skin damage and skin aging. Free radicals can cause damage to skin tissue, which results in wrinkles, lines and dehydration.

3. Sleep

If you’re struggling to drift off into a natural sleep most nights and you often wake up during the night, choosing the right essential oil could be a game changer for achieving a deeper and longer sleep.

Cedarwood can help to reduce autonomic motor activity, which is great news for anyone who suffers from Restless Leg Syndrome at night.

Sandalwood is another essential oil that can suppress activity of the nervous system, which helps with better sleep. In studies on rats, it has led to less time awake at night and more deep sleep. Similar studies on humans have come to the same conclusions so it seems like a great choice if you’re someone who wakes up often during the night and struggles with disturbed sleep.

Valerian is often included in teas and supplements that aim to get you to sleep better due to its calming qualities as a herb so it’s no great surprise that the oil does the trick too. According to studies, valerian oil can help you fall asleep more quickly and for longer. That’s some serious relaxation power!

4. Pain Relief

Chamomile oil can ease pain from a range of problems, including stiff and painful joints and muscles, headaches, nerve pain and digestive issues. A lot of this is due to its anti-inflammatory qualities.

Ginger oil is another essential oil that has impressive anti-inflammatory benefits and this can work well for people with arthritis. In one study, ginger oil was effective in easing pain and stiffness in older people with chronic knee pain. Another study found that ginger oil worked well for 75% of people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

For headaches and migraines, lavender is also a great option. Peppermint oil has been shown in studies to be as effective as paracetamol for treating tension headaches and is also a useful choice for Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.

How to use Essential oils?

Because essential oils are highly concentrated they should very rarely be used “neat” (undiluted). Doing so can cause irritation or an allergic reaction.

Note: Children who are under12 years old, the elderly on multiple medications, pregnant and lactating women and those with serious health conditions are advised to use essential oils under the guidance of an Aromatherapist or medical professional knowledgeable about essential oils. Do not put essential oils in or around the eyes, the ears or other orifices.

1) Apply to Skin Using a Carrier Oil

Essential oils are fat-soluble, which means they are immediately absorbed by the skin. After mixing and diluting the essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil or grape seed oil they can be applied to your skin.

2) Simply Inhale

You may choose to carefully inhale your essential oils. Open the bottle of essential oils, hold it up against your nose or place a few drops on a tissue and take a deep breath to inhale and enjoy. When using a new essential oil for the first time, only use one drop to make sure you don’t have a reaction or sensitivity to the oil.

3) Steam Inhalation

Boil 2-3 cups of water, pour it into a bowl and add 2-5 drops of oil to the water. Place your nose about 30 cm away from the bowl, cover your head and bowl with a towel and slowly inhale the steam. Using either energising or relaxing essential oils can make this method useful any time of the day or night. If you notice any discomfort or irritation, stop immediately.

4) Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

Electronic diffusers are designed to disperse a super fine mist of essential oils. They will gently fill the air with the aroma and healing benefits of the essential oil of your choice within minutes. Put a few drops of essential oil in your diffuser, turn it on and circulate the oil into your room.

5) Use in a Bath

Adding essential oils to your bath is an amazing way to take a relaxing time-out during your busy day. Buy a box of simple Epsom salts to use as the base for your essential oils. If you just drop the oils into the water, they will not dissolve as well as they do when first mixed into the salts. Don’t combine any other chemically produced soaps or products into this mix though or you won’t be able to fully benefit from the essential oil.

It’s important to treat essential oils like any other medication and to take the following precautions:

  • Avoid using more than the recommended dosage.
  • Perform a patch test on a small area of skin before using essential oils for massage.
  • Introduce only one essential oil at a time. Otherwise, if an allergic reaction occurs, it is impossible to know which oil caused it.

As you can see, essential oils can play an important role in helping you to stay healthy and happy!

Photo by Cosiela B. on Unsplash

References:

https://www.aromahead.com/online-course/introduction-to-essential-oils/reference/general-reference/safety-guidelines

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321645.php#application

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12898420

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17879595

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317918.php#Using-essential-oils

Medical Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For medical advice always consult your physician. The information provided in this blog is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this blog, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages.