Essential oils and aromatherapy have been used for centuries to better the physical, mental and spiritual states of humans from all parts of the world. Essential oils and their various benefits and applications have garnered much adoration and curiosity over the past century: they are touted to fix everything from a smelly kitchen to a broken heart. We’re here to impart some knowledge about these mysterious potent and powerful wellness aids and give you the skinny on essential oils and how they can benefit you.
An essential oil is by definition a liquid that purely and essentially contains the chemical properties of a plant within it and is in a liquid form. These oils are produced by extracting and distilling plants or plants of plants, such as seeds, bark, leaves, flowers, etc. Each plant has different chemical properties and hence, different uses and applications.
WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY?
Aromatherapy is the name given to therapy that is employed by the use of essential oils. Most commonly, essential oils are used in aromatherapy through inhalation or absorption by the skin. The oils are then able to absorbed into the bloodstream and work their magic on various ailments and conditions from there on.
FOR FIGHTING VIRUSES & BACTERIA
Many essential oils such as tea tree, bergamot and peppermint can help fight bacteria, fungi and viruses of different kinds and additionally also help in building antibiotic resistance naturally in the body. It’s important to note the usefulness of essential oils here as antibiotics cannot fight viruses in the body whereas these potent and powerful extracts can.
For example, lavender and lemongrass essential oils have been shown to have strong anti-fungal properties and can be effective in treating yeast infections. Lemon and sweet orange essential oils are detoxifying when used in and on the body or even diffused in the air using a diffuser.
Acne is a widespread condition that limits its effects to not just teenagers but adults too and can commonly be painful and mentally troubling. Tea tree oil is currently one of the most effective acne fighting aids available. It can effectively fight infection, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory which makes it well suited in the treatment of acne and related skin conditions.
FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Essential oil inhalation and application has been shown to have a substantially beneficial effect on neurological conditions, stress related diseases and behavioural disorders such as anxiety, high blood pressure, depression and dementia. Aromatherapy has been known to have much success in the treatment of anxiety: essential oils of cedarwood and sandalwood have particularly powerful anxiety fighting potential.
We all by now know how important a good night’s sleep is for optimum health and wellness. Several well-known essential oils are known to be effective in ensuring better and more quality sleep such as lavender, frankincense and sweet orange. Some are useful in inducing sleep while others have a sedative effective, calming the nerves and the mind.
Essential oils such as lavender and peppermint have shown properties that can calm the mind and ward off headaches. Studies conducted using peppermint oil showed that when applied on the forehead and temples, it significantly reduced pain brought on by headaches. Hence, peppermint oil has been shown to be a much safer and more effective alternative to providing relief from headaches than conventional treatment drugs such as aspirin.
Above, we’ve just outlined a few of the myriad of uses that essential oils have. Read below to get more information on each of the most commonly used essential oil that have the widest array of benefits:
Lavender oil has a soothing and calming effect on the nerves and skin. It can relieve muscular and joint pain (especially sport injuries), help ease the digestive system and is beneficial for respiratory problems. It can also help to soothe acne, burns and bug bites.
Tea tree oil has an excellent effect on the health of the immune system. Its anti-infectious properties make it effective against respiratory ailments of all kinds. On the skin, it can balance oil content, battle herpes, sunburn and heal wounds.
Lemongrass oil revitalizes the body and relieves the symptoms of jetlag. It aids in relief from respiratory conditions muscles and joint pain, bad circulation and helps in clearing up acne and oily skin. It is helpful in keeping pets free from lice and fleas.
Ylang-ylang oil has a sedative effect on the nervous system and is useful in relieving impotence, high blood pressure and balances the oil content in the skin and scalp, making for luxurious and healthy hair.
On the skin, ylang-ylang oil has a soothing effect and its balancing action sorts out over-dry as well as overly-oily skin by balancing the secretion of sebum, and has a stimulating effect on the scalp which promotes more luxurious hair growth.
Eucalyptus oil relieves ailments of the respiratory tract including stuffiness caused by flu and allergies. It is also effective in improving circulation and relieving joint and muscle pain. It has a soothing effect on infected and inflamed skin conditions.
The oil has a calming effect which reduces tension and anxiety. It alleviates respiratory conditions and loosens mucus from the lungs and urinary tract. Its astringent and hydrating properties make it excellent for use on dry, scarred and/or inflamed skin.
Cedarwood oil benefits the skin by relieving itching while its astringent properties make it great for acne, oily skin, as well as for hair and dandruff. It helps loosen mucus, helping with chest infections and eases muscular and joint pain. It has a calming effect on the mind and helps with anxiety and tension.
Citrus Aurantium Dulcis
Sweet orange oil brings happiness and warmth to the mind and helps to induce sleep. It has diuretic properties and helps in detoxification, heightening the immune system and is a great overall tonic. It is a good diuretic and is most useful in balancing water retention and obesity. Its lymphatic stimulant action further helps to balance water processes, detoxification, aiding the immune system and is a great overall tonic.
Geranium oil can be used to help in the treatment of acne, bug bites and wounds. It aids in relief from menstrual pain and is known to soothe tonsillitis and a sore throat.
Cypress contains monoterpenes, making it beneficial for oily skin conditions. It has a grounding, yet stimulating effect on the emotions, making it a popular oil to diffuse during times of transition or loss. Prior to a long run, apply to feet and legs for an energising boost.
Frankincense oil calms the mind, clear the lungs and throat and eases breathing making it excellent for use when meditating. It is helpful for use by expectant mothers, providing a calming effect during labour. It is also known to help in repairing aging skin, wounds, scars and inflammation.
Citrus Medica Limonum
Lemon oil not only increases our mood and concentration but is also stimulating while it is calming. It can also be used to help with fever, infections, asthma, obesity, skin disorders, hair conditions, stomach problems, and tiredness to name a few. It has anti-infection, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, and antifungal properties. Lemon oil works in many areas of your life, from household cleaning to supporting brain energy and freshening the air.
Bergamot oil can be used in the treatment of several neural and mental disorders including depression and stress. Its antiseptic and antifungal properties make it excellent for combating skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Citrus Aurantium Amara
Neroli oil eases the digestive system and is a good general overall tonic. It calms and rejuvenates the mind, aiding in headaches and vertigo. On the skin, it heals damaged cells, helping clean up scabs, wounds and stretch marks.