Did you know that the earliest record mentioned on essential oil dates back all the way to the 10th century? The first person believed to have refined the extraction and production methods for essential oil was an Al-Andalusian pharmacist, physician, and chemist known as Ibn-al-Baltar. While also a man of science, Ibn was often quoted saying that man’s biggest mistake was relying only on Western medicine which is only designed to cure your pocket of its money.
Centuries later and this still remains a solid fact. But surely, can men of science who have worked diligently in labs to create thousands of drugs and cures be wrong? The answer is no; they’re not wrong. The only problem is that once you combine health and profits, it’s obvious who’s winning that fight. The last thing that any medicine industry wants is a miracle, broad spectrum substance that literally treats hundreds of common ailments at the same time. Why do you think your doctor always prescribes dozens of pills and medications for even the simplest of coughs?
On the other hand, there are those who view anything other than western treatments as inferior. So could essential oils be just another snake oil story or old folk’s tale? This segment aims at shedding light on what essential oils are, if they have any benefits at all and how they can be put to good use.
What are Essential Oils
Also known as ethereal, aetherolea, or volatile oils, essential oils are concentrated hydrophobic liquids that contain certain compounds from the plant of origin. These volatile oils are either distilled or extracted from different parts of the plants such as the leaves, flowers, resin, barks, roots and even peels. Naturally, plants have their own ways of healing, growing and protecting themselves from all sorts of dangers. By separating the oil and water based plant matter, you are literally concentrating the most powerful healing compounds of the plant into one single, effective oil.
Benefits of Essential Oils
All the benefits and uses of essential oils come from one key aspect – the properties found within the plant. It’s these properties that give essential oils all their strength, power, capabilities and merits. Enough chit chat – let’s dive right into it.
1. Analgesic Benefits – Immediate Pain Relief
Thanks to their analgesic properties, some essential oils fall in the group of drugs used to achieve analgesia. This property allows essential oils to alter the peripheral and nervous system to provide relief from pain and in some cases, completely eliminate the sensation.
2. Anti-inflammatory – Facilitates Faster Healing
One of the main benefits of most essential oils includes acting as anti-inflammatory agents. This basically means that some essential oils are able to reduce swelling or inflammation of the skin. To achieve this, the oils counteract the Cyclooxygenase enzyme which creates inflammation. Drugs with similar anti-inflammatory effects include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen. However, these meds have more serious side effects compared to essential oils.
3. Antispasmodic Benefits – Relieves Muscle and Body Spasms
Some essential oils contain antispasmodic agents that really work wonders for several ailments. As the name suggests, these agents suppress muscle spasms in the body. Antispasmodic agents are able to treat symptoms associated with cramps, tummy pain, and most notably, symptoms of diarrhea and IBS.
4. Antiseptic Benefits – Powerful Cleansing Power
When it comes to killing germs and cleaning a wide range of surfaces, nothing works better and safer than essential oils. Thanks to their antiseptic properties, some essential oils are great for disinfecting and sterilizing non-living substances and reducing the risk of infection or sepsis on living tissue.
5. Antibacterial Properties – Kills Germs
Essential oils are widely known for their antibacterial benefits. Simply put, this allows the oils to not only destroy bacteria, but also suppress growth and curb their ability to reproduce. That’s why you’ll find that most soaps make sure of essential oils thanks to these antibacterial properties.
6. Antifungals – Destroys Fungal Infections
There are plenty of ailments brought about by fungus. Essential oils contain antifungal properties that can be used to treat mycoses such as athlete’s foot, candidiasis, ringworms, thrush, and many other fungal infections.
7. Insecticide – Works as Bug Repellent
As I said before, plants have their own ways of protecting themselves from attack. This includes keeping bugs and insects at bay. To achieve this, plants synthesize their own insecticides and bug repellents. Some essential oils are rich in insecticide properties, giving them the advantage over bugs, insects, and other critters.
8. Aphrodisiacs – Naturally Enhance Libido
Some essential oils actually act as aphrodisiacs and agents of romance. Not only can using them enhance your libido, but some of these oils have also been known to boost feelings of lust, affection, devotion and even love.
9. Aromatherapy Benefits
Thanks to the aromas and fragrances that come with essential oils, almost all of them provide aromatherapeutic benefits. The sweet scents not only promote relaxation and relieve stress, but they also promote wellness and healthy living.
Essential Oil Applications
Now that you know some of the wonderful benefits of essential oils, how do you intend on using them? The most common ways that essential oils are used today include:
1. Topical Application
Typically, most essential oils have a very small molecule size with a chemical weight of less than 1000m. So according to scientific testing, any substance with a molecular weight of less than 1000m should be easily absorbed by the skin. Therefore, essential oils applied directly to the skin will be absorbed and pass into the bloodstream for both external and internal benefits.
Essential oils can be incredibly effective when used internally, but you should always remember that these oils are extremely powerful and not all of them can be ingested. However, most of them are safe if taken the right way and please consult your doctor before doing so. Just a few drops mixed with water is plenty and should go a very long way.
There is no question that essential oils are absorbed into the body via inhaling. Using your essential oils in a diffuser can help you reap all the above benefits. Diffusing the oils allows your lungs to absorb them. Aromatherapy not only helps relieve stress, but it also cleanses the air and improves your mood as well.
4. Personal Care
Today, the fastest and most convenient way to make use of essential oils is by adding them to your home care products. This makes an excellent way to take advantage of the oils in a safe and routine manner. Some of the best DIY recipes for personal care include adding essential oils to shampoo, body creams, soap, bug spray, toothpaste and household cleaners.
Uses of Essential Oils
Over the years, essential oils have developed literally thousands of uses. Today, we’ll be looking at all the popular categories of uses that some of these oils fall into.
A: Essential Oil uses for Cleaning
Thanks to their antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and all sorts of useful properties, essential oils excel at cleaning a broad range of surfaces. From pets, floors, kitchens, windows, cars, all the way to ourselves, there’s no shortage of cleaning uses for essential oils. We’ve compiled some of the most common cleaning uses for these oils.
All Purpose Cleaner – By adding just a few drops of lemon oil, tea tree oil or your favorite essential oil to warm water, you can make your very own all-purpose surface disinfectant. What’s more, adding some baking soda to the mix will result in a sports gear cleaner.
Clothes Cleaner – Adding about 20 drops of your favorite essential oil to your washing machine will result in cleaner clothes.
Eliminating Shower Scum – Essential oils have certain cleansing properties that are ideal for breaking down scum and killing bacteria. Adding just a few drops of essential oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender in hot water and spraying it on all bathroom surfaces will create quite the scum killer.
Trash Can Freshener – Lining the bottom of your trashcan with essential oil soaked cotton balls will help reduce any odors as well as
eliminate harmful bacteria build-ups.
Dish Cleaner – Having already looked at some of the properties which help essential oils break down grease and dirt, it goes without saying that essential oils are the ideal dish cleaners. Whether it’s regular Tupperware or greasy pots and pans, oils like lemon, tea tree, or peppermint will give a grease-free, spot free rinse.
B: Essential Oils for Skincare and Beauty
By now, you probably know that skin and beauty is a billion dollar industry in the US. What you don’t know is that big brand names use a ton of chemicals and hydrogenated oils to achieve this. So while a commercially produced product will work, it might only be temporary, and it will cause internal toxicity in your body. Essential oils allow you to enjoy all natural, healthy and beneficial products that ten times more effective than conventional skincare products. Let’s look at the most common essential oil uses for skin and beauty.
Anti-Aging Creams – Thanks to their anti-inflammatory, sedative, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antibacterial and antiseptic properties, essential oils make for well rounded, skin care solutions. Not only do they return moisture to dry skin and lighten up scars and stretch marks all over the skin, but the oils also contain powerful anti-aging benefits that keep skin looking as young as ever by eliminating fine lines and wrinkles.
Acne Face Wash – Some of the properties we’ve named above also help for all sorts of skin conditions. For instance, Rose oil contains a compound that helps eliminate bacteria specifically associated with acne and other numerous skin conditions. What’s more, essential oils help with regeneration and rejuvenation of new cells as well.
Sunscreen – Essential oils contain certain properties that help cancel out harmful UV rays from the sun. And unlike your commercially produced sunscreen that contains harmful and toxic chemicals, essential oils are all-natural and also come with a ton of other benefits such as constant moisture provision.
Hair Growth – Essential oils have been known to stimulate the hair follicles and encourage healthier hair growth. What’s more, oils like Lavender, sage and Rosemary essential oils actually take things a step further and inhibit hair-loss causing hormones.
C: Essential Oil Uses for Bugs
Aptly termed as nature’s very own protective mechanism, essential oils might just be the best solution to deterring and eliminating any pests and insects bugging you. As we’ve already established, these oils are extracted from different parts of plants. What many of you may not know is that these oils are considered to be an accurate composition of a plant’s immune system.
So when the plant is alive, these oils performed vital functions such as antibacterial and antifungal activity, deterring a barrage of insects and animals, keeping rival vegetation at bay and plenty of other similar protective tasks. You can imagine just how stronger all these aspects become once you have a bottle of pure, unrefined essential oil. Oils such as lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, citronella, clove, orange and dozens of other essential oils have been proven to have insecticide properties that keep bugs and insects at bay. And unlike chemical sprays that contain DEET and other highly toxic chemicals, essential oils are absolutely safe even for kids and pets.
D: Essential Oil Uses for Natural Medication and Remedies
This is where essential oils thrive. Once you see just what some of these oils can do, you’ll understand why the conventional medicine industry hates essential oils with everything they got. Essential oils not only have the power to replace literally every type of treatment known to man, but they provide efficient cures without all the negative side effects or ordinary drugs. Don’t believe me? Then why don’t we wind up this piece with just a few remedies and medical uses of essential oils?
This is probably the oldest use for essential oils known to man. Thanks to their concentrated scents and strong aromas, essential oils have been used to liven the mood and create a conducive living environment for all. Not only does this help relieve stress, but aromatherapy can also be used to get essential oils in your body.
Healing Burns and Bruises
Thanks to their sedative, rejuvenate and healing properties, essential oils have been used to treat burns for a while now. They work to numb the pain of burns while encouraging the skin to heal. Similarly, essential oils come highly recommended for treating bug bites. Due to their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, essential oils are able to reduce swelling while preventing infection from some insects.
Remedying Coughs, Bronchitis and Asthma
When it comes to clearing up the respiratory system, some remedies still remain popular even to date. You’ll notice that most nasal passage cleaning products have eucalyptus, peppermint, sage, among other plants. Using essential oils is diffusers not only provides a powerful remedy for coughs and sinusitis, but it also soothes the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
Some essential oils contain so many sedative properties that they can be used as highly effective painkillers. If you’re experiencing any backaches, migraines, headaches, neck pains or joint inflammation and pain, essential oils can be used to offer immediate pain relief. Combining peppermint, cypress, ginger and coconut oil should make for one heck of a powerful homemade pain relieving rub.
Before we sign out, there are a few things that you should know about essential oils. Because they are quite powerful and highly concentrated, there are some people who we wouldn’t recommend to use them. This includes pregnant women as well as people taking any heart medications. As for the rest of you, always make sure you handle these oils with the utmost care. Not only are they highly concentrated, but they’re also damn expensive too, so learn how to make the most of your essential oils when you can.
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