Essential botanical oils are commonly associated with “aromatherapy,” (also known as “essential oil therapy”) a holistic therapeutic treatment that uses natural plant oils to promote health and well-being.
There is a lot to be learned from essential oils and how they are of benefit to humans. What are essential oils? Do essential oils work? What kinds are there? What are the health benefits? Let's discuss the answers below:
What Are Essential Oils, and Do They Work?Essential oils are highly concentrated plant oil extracts. Extraction methods vary, as do areas of the plant where the oils are extracted from, but typically, essential oils are extracted from the most fragrant areas of the plant.
Essential oils are extracted through a distillation process, or through other methods such as cold pressing. Keep in mind that essential oils are very potent, and should be handled with care.
As little as a couple of drops can have quite an effect, and in most cases, will probably need some sort of dilution before direct application to your skin. They certainly should not be ingested, at least not before discussing with a physician or botanicals expert.
A plant's extracted natural oils maintain the natural fragrance and aromatic effects of the source plant.
Essential plant oils are most commonly breathed in, or diluted and then rubbed on the skin to be absorbed, after which the oil chemicals can interact with your body in various ways.
Rubbing them into your skin can have a calming, softening effect, while inhaling the plant aromas can take effect in different areas of your limbic system, or part of your brain that affects emotions, behaviors, and long-term memory.
The limbic system may also play a role in controlling some involuntary functions of the body, like heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.
Popular Types of Essential Oils
Here are 10 of the most popular essential oils along with the health claims most frequently attributed to them:
• Citrus: To help aid energy, digestion, mood, headaches, etc.
• Lavender: To help with stress relief.
• Eucalyptus: Helps with energy and alertness.
• Peppermint: Helps boost energy and digestion.
• Sandalwood: Helps calm nerves and with focus.
• Bergamot: Stress reduction and to relieve skin conditions like rashes.
• Rose: Helps boost mood and reduce anxiety.
• Chamomile: Helps with relaxation.
• Tea Tree: Helps boost immunity and relieve infections.
• Jasmine: Helps relieve depression, libido, and childbirth.
Health Benefits of Essential Oils
Despite our familiarity with essential oils, most people don't know that much about them. What are their potential health benefits?
Relief of Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
An estimated 43% of all people with stress, depression, and/or anxiety are known to use some kind of alternative therapy to help with their condition. Essential oils have been lauded (and studied to some degree with positive results) as being effective in relieving stress/depression/anxiety symptoms.
Blinded studies are difficult to conduct because of compounded scents of many oils, and so definitive benefits and effects remain inconclusive at this point.
Sleep Quality and Insomnia
Most studies done on essential oils have showed that their scent, lavender in particular, has positive effects on the quality of sleep.
The scent of lavender oil has been seen to have positive effects on the sleep of females after childbirth, and also to help the sleep of heart disease patients.
Migraines and Other Headaches
An old Persian headache remedy is to mix chamomile and sesame oils to the temples.
Applying a combination of peppermint essential oil and ethanol on participants' temples and foreheads was known back In the 90s as effective to relieve headaches and migraines.
More recently, peppermint and lavender oil applied directly to someone's skin has been found to help relieve headaches, as well. However, more conclusive scientific studies are still needed to solidify these claims.
Other Benefits of Essential Oils
Other benefits of essential oils seen in various studies include reduction of inflammation and even antibiotic and antimicrobial qualities. For more information, checkout this article here: https://www.livescience.com/52080-essential-oils-science-health-effects.html.
Be sure to see our essential oil products, add them to your bath or spa, and enjoy the benefits of a healing, relaxing experience!