Essential oils are one of the trendiest items in alternative health. They have bandied around as having a variety of different health properties, which, in turn, has led to some backlash. The mentality here is having people be so overzealous when it comes to essential oils means that they may be used in place of medical options, even in situations where they are necessary.
Let’s clear the air here a bit. Essential oils have value, but like anything in alternative science, you want to use them as a compliment, not a replacement, to conventional medical care. In addition, you probably want to keep your doctor or medical professional in the loop when you start incorporating these.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are all around us, but you probably don’t notice them at first. This is because all the components of the essential oils that we praise so much are in different plants, including some common ones. Where we start to see differences is due to the fact that commercial essential oils are compounds extracted from some plants, in theory, leading to the essence of the plant. These oils are created via distillation or mechanical methods. Generally, the chemicals are then paired with a carrier oil to create the final product. The obvious thing that you notice at first is the fact that these different oils have strong, pleasing scents. This is their first use, for aromatherapy or just making a space more pleasant. But what about going beyond this? It’s best to look at the following standouts.
Lemon: This is a nice starter option because you’re probably used to the smell of lemon from various cleaning products, and it’s pretty easy to get your hands on it. Part of the reason why it has so much use in this area is due to the high amounts of citric acid in it. This helps to kill bacteria around the home. An alternative potential use may be on the skin. Lemon essential oil is a source of something called d-limonene. This promotes circulation and is actually a common ingredient in many cosmetic products.
Clary Sage: This product is of particular interest to women, specifically, women going through menopause. When dealing with hot flashes and looking for natural relief, some people recommend putting a little bit of clary sage essential oil on your neck or feet. Another possible way to use this is to add a few drops to a tissue or napkin and inhale it through your nose. It’s also believed, like many other essential oils, that clary sage oil produces effects similar to conventional anti-depressants.
Lavender: Lavender is another essential oil product popular for its scent before anything else, but there may be more to this than that. For example, some studies have shown that lavender oil may be effective as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Diluted oil, used topically, proved to have effects comparable to a prescription pain medication. Tests have been done in other areas of pain relief, including treating children after a tonsillectomy and people who suffer from migraines.
Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus essential oil is similar to lemon in that its main area of strength is fighting microbes, fungi, insects, and bacteria. However, it may also have applications regarding supporting respiratory health. For example, it serves as an expectorant, helping to loosen phlegm in the nasal passages and lungs.
Peppermint: Think of peppermint oil as the “jack of all trades” when it comes to essential oils. Tests have shown a variety of different positive effects, from helping to fight nausea and indigestion to working against headaches and anxiety. For the digestive issues, it’s known that peppermint oil helps calm certain muscles, including the involuntary smooth muscle of the stomach.
There are also studies suggesting that the best path may not be using essential oils alone. These have tested essential oil blends and shown success in different areas, such as pain relief. Generally, you don’t want to start here, though, as if you get success, you won’t know which essential oil has the best effect on you. The important thing to remember out these oils, any types, is that not all products are created equal. You want to be sure that you are getting your oils from the best sources around, like Ananda Apothecary Essential Oils, to raise your chance of success.