What are Essential Oils
Essential oils are a blessing of nature, which humanity has been using since 3000 BC. Essential oils were already known in ancient Egypt, Macedonia, and India. The famous Medieval physician Avicenna is believed to be the first person to distill essential oils. He even developed various massage techniques using essential oils. The use of oils was so widely used that it created aromatherapy to deal with their use for healing and therapeutic purposes.
Essential oils are obtained from plants – currently we know about 2,000 different essential oil plants, found all over the world, but mainly in the tropical zone. These plants have oils in every part of them: flowers, stems, roots, seeds, resin.
How are Essential Oils Produced
Essential oils are obtained in a few ways, usually by:
- steam distillation
- cold pressing or
- alcohol extraction.
Only 10% of produced essential oils are used in aromatherapy, the rest is used by pharmaceutical and food companies and for the creation of perfumes. Essential oils combine with alcohols and fats.
Essential oils are not soluble in water.
Each natural essential oil contains at least several dozen compounds, including alcohols, esters, aldehydes, terpenes, ketones. However, it is worth remembering that while there are many ingredients in the oil itself, when buying a natural essential oil, make sure that it contains only one ingredient. The manufacturer does not distinguish all the compounds contained in a specific essential oil (not all of them are known to us all the time), but informs what kind of oil we bought, e.g. oleum citrus nobilis – mandarin oil, oleum citrus limonum – lemon oil, eucalipti oil globulus – eucalyptus oil, oleum citrus grandis – grapefruit oil, oleum pinus silvestris – sandalwood oil, etc.
Essential Oils Benefits
– Reducing inflammation
Some paper state that they may reduce inflammation in the body. However majority of those studies are carried on animals not humans so their efficacy is not known for sure.
– Reducing Stress
Aromatherapy is a complementary form of home-based treatment popularly used to relieve stress & anxiety. There are studies showing that certain essential oils help fight anxiety (sweet orange) and stress – when being massaged with essential oil.
– Migraines & Headaches
Peppermint and lavender oil make wonders when relieving headaches. Applying chamomile and sesame oil to the temples may treat headaches and migraines too. This is a traditional Persian headache remedy. I personally rely on feverfew drops for my tension headaches (UK, US)
– Fight Insomnia
Most studies state that inhaling lavender oil has a positive effect on sleep.
Many studies state that some oils have antimicrobial effects.
Essential Oils Types
The properties of essential oils are very diverse – and depend on which one you choose. Below is a table with the properties and application of the most popular of them – see which one will be the most effective in specific cases!
|Lavender oil||Lavender oil has a calming effect – it’s the perfect remedy for tarnished nerves. It is also used to soothe various types of pains: muscular, menstrual & rheumatic. Lavender oil is also often a component of cosmetics fighting … cellulite.|
|Lemon oil||Used in the production of acne cosmetics – it prevents the formation of blackheads and regulates the secretion of sebum. Lemon oil also has a bactericidal and toning effect. It inhibits the action of free radicals and slows down the breakdown of collagen fibers, so it also has anti-aging properties.|
|Eucalyptus oil||Eucalyptus oil is used to prepare inhalations in the treatment of colds and colds. It has a disinfecting and cleansing effect.|
|Pine oil||Like eucalyptus oil, pine oil is used in respiratory infections of the body, it also increases our immunity. However, it can cause allergic reactions in people with very sensitive skin.|
|Cedar oil||It works well for people with cardiovascular and digestive system diseases, because it cleans the veins and digestive tract.|
|Tea tree oil||It has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. It cleans pores and helps fight acne and mycosis.|
|Basil oil||It improves concentration, helps with insomnia, gastric problems, and in the case of various types of pain: rheumatic, migraine, menstrual.|
|Jasmine oil||It’s an aphrodisiac, also used as an ingredient in cosmetics (oils) oils and hair care cosmetics.|
|Mint oil||It has an analgesic effect – thanks to the menthol content, it gives a feeling of coolness on the skin. It is also used during inhalation and in the case of gastric ailments. Often used in home aromatherapy.|
|Sandalwood oil||It’s anti-inflammatory and is a natural aphrodisiac. Helps fighting insomnia, calms, boosts mental alertness.|
|Bergamot oil||Reduces inflammation & stress, lower cholesterol levels, and increase positive mood. Helps fighting skin allergies.|
How to choose an essential oil for ailments?
Headaches: basil, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, geranium oils. Hypertension: lavender, marjoram, rosemary, rose, sage and ylang oils. Hypotension: bergamot, mint, lavender, lemon oils.
Colds, runny nose, cough: anise, cypress, eucalyptus, tea, lavender, mint, rosemary oils.
Stress: juniper, lavender, lemon balm, neroli, geranium and rose oils. Digestive disorders: lemon, caraway, coriander, lavender, mint, geranium, rose and sandalwood oils.
Rheumatic pains: ginger, coriander, cypress and eucalyptus oils.
Muscle aches: cypress, juniper, lavender, mint, rosemary oils.
Insomnia: rose, geranium, juniper, lavender, marjoram and mandarin oils.
Apathy: hyssop, mint, rosemary and thyme oils.
Fatigue and lack of concentration: basil, geranium, mint, rosemary oils.
Depression: Basil, Lemon, Fir, Lavender, Neroli, Patchouli, Orange, Rose, Pine, Ylang Oil.
Anxiety: marjoram, mandarin, neroli and ylang oil.
Changeable mood: cypress, geranium, mandarin, orange and sandalwood oils.
How to use essential oils?
Essential oils can be used in three ways:
Inhalation with oils can be done with a diffuser (this is the method most often used for colds and for cleaning the sinuses). People suffering from insomnia and headaches can put one or two drops of the appropriate oil on the pillow before going to bed. Fragrance therapy can also be performed by sprinkling a little oil into an aromatherapy fireplace, into a vessel with warm water or on a handkerchief that you put on your nose.
Topically on the skin
Another effective way to use oils is by rubbing them into your skin. Through the pores of the skin, the ethereal particles enter the bloodstream instantly (after just 30 seconds). Most often, oils are rubbed on the hands, soles of the feet, auricles and around the nape of the neck, but they can also be used for full body massage.
Important! Some oils can be very powerful and many of them irritate the skin, so you need to dilute the essential oil with a base oil before using it. Most often it is one of the vegetable oils, e.g. coconut or olive oil. The best ratio is assumed to be 1 drop of essential oil to 6 drops of base oil.
Oils for internal use should be approved for oral use (information about this must appear on the packaging). Depending on the ailments, you can put a few drops of the oil under the tongue, you can rinse your mouth with a little bit of oil or dilute it with any liquid and drink it.
Descriptions of the methods of application and recipes for using individual oils are placed on the packaging.
Where to buy essential oils?
They are available in online stores, drugstores, stores with oriental products, and even home furnishings or … flower shops. However, you should always carefully check the composition of the product you are buying – if they are natural as claimed. The most recognized and best brands seem to be DoTerra and Young Living.
Essential oils and pregnancy
The use of essential oils during pregnancy is not recommended, especially in the first trimester and in women who have had a previous miscarriage. Some of them can cause contractions that are threatening the pregnancy. We are talking mainly about hyssop, cypress, lavender, rosemary, juniper, basil, marjoram, sage and nutmeg oils.