Essential oils are compounds which are extracted from various plants, and these oils contain the essence of the plants used. The essential oils provide the scent and flavor of the plant, and they are typically used in aromatherapy and various forms of alternative medicine. The essential oils are procured through distillation or cold pressing, and the extract is combined with a carrier oil. These oils have been used for thousands of years for a variety of cosmetic, health and wellness purposes.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are nothing more than the fragrant ingredient that is naturally in plants. Essential oils generally are used to stimulate particular reactions or emotions and are also used to help the body when tired, stressed, or in pain. The idea utilization use of essential oils is by utilizing the olfaction process to bring about the preferred state of relaxation or relief, within the mind or body.
How To Use Essential Oils
There are only two ways in which you can use them. The first is to apply them directly or indirectly to your skin, through methods such as spraying the oil on to your skin, rubbing directly onto your body through massage, or placing drops in a nice hot relaxing bath. And secondly, you can inhale the fragrance through the use of a diffuser or evaporation. You must never take them orally through drinking or with food, no matter how much you dilute the quantity as consumption can cause significant poisoning even in small amounts. You must also consider that the use of undiluted essential oils on sensitive skin or in the nostrils can irritate or burn.
Which Method Of Applying Essential Oils is Best?
How you apply them is very much dependent on what effect or result you are looking to gain. Also, you will need to consider whether or not certain oils will create an adverse reaction on your skin due to their potency. If you are looking to treat issues within your skin, such as marks or burns, then, of course, massaging directly to the affected area is the best option at the relative potency (in other words – never apply direct to your skin, without first diluting them). If your objective is to improve your mood, overcome tiredness or stress etc., then the best methods of application are by way of inhalation through either a diffuser or inhaling steam through adding a few drops of the relevant oil to a bowl of hot water.
When using directly on your skin, there are some key factors you need to take into consideration. Firstly, oils will generally be placed into three different groups; Neat, Dilute, Sensitive. If the oil is within the Neat group, then there is no need to dilute it. If it is categorized within the Dilute group, then this is telling you it must always be diluted. And if it is within the Sensitive group, this is an indicator that you should dilute if applying to sensitive skin, and particularly to young children/babies.
Areas Of The Body You Can Apply Oils.
Essential oils cannot be applied to every part of the body, due to the various sensitivity levels of our skin. There are eight key areas of the body where you can use them, and each area naturally generates a specific result. The key areas are The face, for helping with the complexion. The forehead, temples and neck, especially the upper part of the back of the neck at the base of the head, to help relieve tension. The inner roof of the mouth, to help bring about a balance within your emotions. The abdomen area, which helps with digestive issues. The chest, to help with breathing. And finally, the feet, primarily through massaging the soles, which helps benefit the whole body.
Types of Essential Oils
According to Olive Oil Times, a study conducted by researchers based at the University of Pavia, Italy established that this oil can help to enhance the healing process of burns and other wounds. The oil is extracted from leaves of the eucalyptus tree, which happens to be an Australian native.
After extraction, the oil can be used to treat a broad array of conditions and diseases including asthma and nasal congestion, in addition to acting as a good tick repellant. It can also be used to treat first degree burns once it has been diluted. The oil is also available under different names such as: white ironbark, fevertree, red ironbark, and gum tree.
Available as an oil. Always ensure that you have diluted it before applying on the burnt area to guarantee maximum efficiency. As is the case with any other medication used to treat burns, you can expect to experience some side effects after using this oil. Potential side effects will include:
If taken orally, some of the allergic reactions may include:
- abdominal pain
- Multi-organ failure
- Blue discoloration of the skin
- Irregular heartbeats
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
- Coordination problems
Helichrysum Essential Oil
The plant is renowned for its spicy and exotic scent, which is the reason why many perfume makers choose to incorporate it into their products. Its leaves and flowers have additional uses as they have for many years been used by traditional medicine men in Bosnia, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
According to Verywell Health, this oil can be used to soothe the mind and the body, reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, as well as promote the healing of burns and wounds.
Researchers have started to use science-based tests as a way of determining some of the claims that have been made in support of this oil. In most of the studies that have already been completed, the samples have been small, which demonstrates a need to conduct further testing so as to come up with more conclusive evidence.
Some of the potential benefits that may come with using this oil include:
There are herbalists who believe that this oil is an important component of the holistic first aid kit. They claim that this oil can be used to help treat:
- inflammation of the kidneys
- ear infections
Research into the benefits of using this oil have also established that the oil contains some antimalarial properties. What this means is that the oil can be used to treat malaria, in a test tube, at least.
According to WebMD, this oil is derived from an aromatic herb found in the mint family. The mint plant in question is a cross between watermint and spearmint. It’s a naturally occurring plant in Europe and North America. The oil is extracted from the leaves of this plant and can be used in numerous ways.
Forms of this Oil
The peppermint oil exists in a number of forms. Some of its examples include:
- Essential oil: This is a highly concentrated form. In this state, it can be used for aromatherapy purposes or be diluted for application on the skin surface to assist in treating burns and other wounds.
- Extracts: in this form, the oil is highly diluted and is mainly used in adding flavors to your food.
- capsules: these are intended for oral ingestion as dietary supplements
The oil has a very sharp odor which many of its users tend to describe as refreshing and cool. It mainly comprises of two chemical components: menthone and menthol.
The oil has wide range of uses. For instance, it can be used:
- To treat several conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), headaches, nausea, and the common cold.
- as a fresh pleasing scent that is often added to cosmetic products and cleaning products such as soaps and detergents.
- as a topical application to assist with headaches, muscle pain, itching, and to treat first degree burns
Records of its use can be traced all the way back to Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt. Many of the benefits associated with this oil are today based on personal testimony. There’s, however, ongoing research that is aimed at determining its health benefits.
Also referred to as olibanum, Frankincense is an oil manufactured using the leaves of the Boswella tree. The tree, according to Verywell Health, is mainly found in regions that are dry and mountainous and is common in parts of the Middle East, Africa, and India.
This oil tends to have a spicy, woody smell and can be absorbed via the skin, taken as a supplement, inhaled, or steeped into a cup of tea. It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for many decades and appears to provide numerous benefits to its users. It has been seen to assist in treating first degree burns, in promoting better oral health, and in reducing asthma. It can also assist in fighting various types of cancer
Can Reduce Arthritis
This oil contains essential anti-inflammatory properties that can assist in reducing joint inflammation brought about by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Some scientists believe that using this oil helps to avert the release of leukotrienes. These are compounds known to bring about inflammation in the joints
Boswellic and terpenes acids are the most potent anti-inflammatory properties in this oil. Animal and test-tube studies have established that boswellic acids are as efficient as anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal drugs. But they have fewer negative effects than the drugs.
Maintains oral health
This oil can help in preventing mouth sores, bad breath, cavities, and toothache. The acids provided by the oil have potent antibacterial properties that can assist in preventing as well as treating oral infections.
In a certain test-tube study, the oil was found to be efficient against the Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. It is a bacteria known to bring about gum conditions.
This oil has for many years been used in helping to relax the body thanks to its emotionally and physically balancing properties, according to News Directions Aromatics Blog. This herb is native to mountainous areas of Northern Africa and the Mediterranean region.
Apart from its cosmetic uses, the oil is also believed to have some important medicinal uses. In contrast to its traditional plant form, this oil is quite toxic when ingested orally.
The herb is very well regarded for its beauty and skincare use. It’s also quite common in fragrances and shampoos as it assists in purifying the condition of your skin. You can buy it from drugstores as an over the counter product. Some of its variations are also used to provide some flavor to foods and other baked goods. It also comes with numerous renowned medicinal properties.
This oil is believed to contain anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which assist in treating bug bites and minor burns. Some studies have also suggested that it can be used to treat restlessness, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Additional research has shown that consuming it with tea can also aid in eliminating digestive problems, e.g., abdominal swelling, vomiting, upset stomach, intestinal gas, and nausea.
Apart from assisting with problems related to the digestive system, it also assists in relieving pain caused by sores, headaches, toothaches, and sprains. You can also use it to prevent unwanted hair loss.
This is a grassy, tropical plant that is used in herbal medicine and when cooking. The oil is extracted from the stalks and leaves of a plant bearing the same name. According to Healthline, the oil has a potent citrus scent and is often used in personal care products, as well as in cosmetic products.
The plant grows in the subtropical and tropical regions. Once extracted, the oil can be pale or bright yellow and will normally have a lemony scent with a thin consistency. It’s an oil that has been used in traditional medicine for fevers, stomach problems, and for pain relief. It’s antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties also make it ideal for use in treating burns and other superficial wounds.
Some of its benefits include the following
A study conducted in 2016 found that this oil was effective in assisting to fight the Acinetobacter baumanni bacterial strains. This is a bacterial strain known to cause blood infections and pneumonia.
This oil is not only effective in inhibiting this bacterial strain, but it’s also capable of killing it. This means that the oil can be used as a complementary therapy when dealing with conditions and illnesses that don’t respond to modern-day medication.
Severe inflammation can bring about many health issues such as certain types of cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. A study conducted in 2014 established that this oil contains important anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to fight fungal infections.
Easing Rheumatoid Arthritis
Its properties can assist in alleviating the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. This is mainly due to the presence of anti-inflammatory properties. People who have used it to fight this condition have reported experiencing less pain.
This oil is made from the Origanum vulgare plant. The plant has a potent concentration of naturally occurring plant compounds. It’s advisable not to ingest this oil orally as it can be harmful to your health.
Whether you opt to take it as an oral supplement, or to apply it topically, you will find that this oil has very many health benefits. According to Medical News Today, many of its benefits can be attributed to the presence of powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It’s important to note that there are some potential risks and issues to using this oil
Some of its benefits include:
Oregano oil is able to fight bacteria thanks to its high carvacrol levels. For example, staph infections are commonly caused by Staphylococcus. While there are strains that are known to naturally occur in your body, when this bacterium begins to grow, you can expect to start experiencing some highly bothersome symptoms.
Some studies have established that carvacrol found in this oil is able to get rid of this bacterium.
Healing Wounds and Burns
When diluted, this oil can be used to treat burns and small cuts and scrapes appearing on your skin. Compounds such as carvacrol and thymol can also assist in protecting open wounds from bacterial infections.
Aiding Weight Loss
The oil is also an important tool that can be used by individuals who are interested in losing the extra weight. Scientists have established that carvacrol is able to disrupt some of the processes that often lead to the production and accumulation of tissue in the body. Additional research is, however, required to help in proving some of these claims.
St. Johns wort
As stated by WebMD, this oil is also referred to as Demon Chaser, SJW, and Tipton Weed, among many other scientific names. While there’s research to prove that this oil can be used to treat depression as well as wounds, burns, and numerous other medical conditions, researchers have always cautioned that there are downsides associated with using this herb.
SJW is a naturally occurring herb. The supplement can be purchased from any drugstore without a prescription. While this definitely sounds good to its users, this shouldn’t be taken to mean that the supplement is harmless.
SJW is a flowering plant whose flowers can be used to make tea, pills, and liquid extracts. This highly popular herbal supplement is in many cases used to ease depression-related symptoms.
While some studies have shown that it can be used to treat major depression cases, the FDA is yet to approve it for use as a treatment substance for any disease. The authority has actually classified it as a dietary supplement as opposed to being a drug. As such, it has not been tested to determine its efficiency and safety.
Its important to note that the regulations put in place by the FDA for dietary supplements are not the same as those used for drugs. Unless a company has introduced or identified a new dietary ingredient, the FDA doesn’t expect the company to provide its officials with any evidence to help in proving its effectiveness and safety.
Tea tree Oil
Tea tree oil can be used for a number of purposes including keeping your nails and skin healthy. Apart from its many benefits, a majority of which are backed by scientific evidence, the oil is both safe and inexpensive. The oil has over the years proven to be a popular remedy that not only provides many benefits to the skin but one that can also treat various skin conditions.
The oil is produced as an extract of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree species, a native of Australia.
You can use this oil to assist with numerous conditions. Some of the most common uses include:
The presence of antibacterial properties in the oil means that it is capable of speeding up healing, especially when dealing with burns. But there are no sufficient studies in this area to help prove some of the theories advanced by scientists.
A particular study was conducted to compare healing times when dealing with different types of wounds. The team behind the study compared healing times using this oil and conventional medicine.
From the results of the study, it was established that three out of the four participants had enhanced healing times thanks to combining modern medicine with this oil.
The presence of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties means that this oil can be used to treat skin conditions such as acne. A study involving fourteen patients suffering from severe acne helped prove that this oil can, in fact, be used to assist in dealing with severe acne conditions.
The people taking part in the study were required to apply this oil twice a day for a period of twelve weeks. Its efficiency was measured by looking at the rate at which the lesions decreased.
According to Healthline, this herb is an important member of the mint family that is commonly used for food seasoning and in herbal medicine. Apart from changing the way your food tastes, the Thymus vulgaris plant also acts as a source of a very essential oil.
The oil from this plant contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. Its main use is in toiletries, cosmetics, and as a food preservative. Some mouthwash manufacturers also use it as one of their ingredients.
Today, this oil is used to treat a number of skin and medical conditions. It can either be used alone or together with other therapies
Thymol is the most common terpene found in this particular oil, and which is known to have potent antimicrobial properties. Some studies have established that this oil plays an important role in treating bacterial infections, e.g., Staphylococcus Aureus. The oil has also been seen to be efficient against the Escherichia and Enterococcus bacterial strains.
The oil has been found to be an efficient mosquito repellant. When applied to the skin, some studies have shown that it is capable of repelling mosquitoes for between one to three hours. It can, therefore, be used as a substitute to DEET-based mosquito repellants, especially at a time when mosquito-borne illnesses are becoming too common around the world.
Skin Wounds and Conditions
The oil has been used to relieve symptoms associated with atopic dermatitis as well as in treating first degree burns. Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a popular skin condition that is normally characterized by the appearance of itchy, scaly skin patches. Even though this condition is most prevalent in children, it’s not recommended to use this oil on kids.
It contains antifungal properties that help to make it effective in the fight against Candida albicans. This is a form of yeast that is normally found inside and outside the human body. Its overgrowth can lead to vaginal pain and itching and skin lesions as well.