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Explore the Benefits of Essential Oils

EssentialOilsSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

 

 

Valued throughout the ages for therapeutic purposes, spiritual enhancement, beauty care and food preparation, the popularity of essential oils continues unabated today, especially in holistic and traditional medicine. The popularity and use of aromatic plant essences can be traced back thousands of years. References to essential oils can be found in Egyptian hieroglyphics, ancient Chinese medical texts, sacred 5,000-year old Ayurvedic medical literature, and the writings of early Greek and Roman physicians. Numerous biblical mentions appear in both the Old and New Testament. While western medicine has been slow to accept the time honored wisdom of these herbal and botanical remedies, interest in the healing properties of plant oils has soared in recent years, as the use of essential oils becomes more prominent in western culture.

Essential oils are concentrated volatile aromatic compounds or essences extracted from plant seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and leaves. These small organic compounds are called volatile because they tend to quickly change from their solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature. This means that they can rapidly move through the air and directly interact with nasal olfactory sensors, making them ideal for aromatherapy use. The healing powers of essential oils have withstood the test of time with proven efficacy and effectiveness. In countries such as Germany, France and England essential oil remedies are prescribed by physicians and are readily available at pharmacies across Europe. Especially valuable as antiseptics, research studies have shown essential oils to have numerous powerful healing properties with a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications, including infections, pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, stress relief, and sleep issues.

While over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds have been identified, each botanical species has unique and specific benefits. Essential oils may be applied topically, inhaled and in some cases, ingested. The application method depends upon the oil, the condition to be treated and the desired effect. Wound care, for example, involves topical application. For effects on mood, inhalation might be preferred. The addition of oils to bathwater involves both inhalation and topical absorption. A diffuser is the preferred way to scent a room with an essential oil, such as lavender, to enhance relaxation and support sleep. Dry evaporation involves scenting a cotton ball with several drops of oil and leaving it in your immediate vicinity for continuous exposure. A few drops of oil may also be added to a water spritzer and sprayed into the air to deodorize a room or set a mood. Peppermint, for example, would stimulate alertness.

Essential oils derived directly from nature are intended to provide pure, uncompromised healing to induce harmony of the mind, body and spirit.

An essential oil home remedy kit might include:

Carrier oil – While some essential oils may be applied directly to the skin, other highly concentrated oils require dilution in a carrier oil before application. Jojoba, sweet almond, or coconut oil work well as carrier oils. As a general rule, three drops of pure essential oil should be added to one teaspoon of carrier oil before application.

Lavender – Lavender oil has a wide range of applications. It has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-itch properties. Lavender is used to calm anxiety, tame stress, support sleep and improve mood. A natural pain reliever, it’s useful for treating minor burns, cuts, scrapes, bruises and insect bites.

Lemon – Lemon oil has multiple benefits, including air purification and healthy respiratory function. Lemon oil may be mixed with raw honey to calm a sore throat, or with tea tree oil for household cleaning. Diffused lemon oil is uplifting and energizing and has been shown to aid positive mood.

Peppermint – Peppermint oil has been studied intensively and has been shown to boost positivity and invigorate the mind and senses. Peppermint is used to freshen breath, alleviate occasional stomach upset, and promote healthy respiratory function.

Melaleuca or tea tree oil – A must-have for every home care kit, well researched tea tree is one of the most versatile and widely used oils. Well known for its cleansing properties and rejuvenating effects on the skin, it promotes healthy immune function and acts as an effective antimicrobial and antifungal agent.

Frankincense – This earthy, uplifting oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and potential anti-cancer properties. When applied topically, frankincense promotes healthy, younger looking skin. Frankincense boosts immunity and helps to fight infections, and when used aromatically, frankincense reduces anxiety and promotes peacefulness and calmness.

Oregano – As a potent and powerful plant-derived antifungal and antibacterial, oregano is useful for treating minor infections, toe nail fungus, athlete’s foot, and gingivitis. Taken internally, oregano supports healthy digestion and respiratory function.

Rosemary – Rosemary oil acts as a mild stimulant that helps to increase alertness and promote mental clarity and concentration. Helpful for stress management, it eases muscle spasms and relieves pain from arthritis, sprains, strains and fibromyalgia.

Chamomile – Chamomile essential oil has powerful anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Nicknamed the “plant’s physician” because of its positive effect on plants growing nearby, chamomile has a calming and soothing effects on the skin, mind and body.

Professional Supplement Center carries a variety of essential oils, carrier oils and aromatherapy diffusers:

Jojoba Oil - OrganicJojoba Oil by Now Foods: An ideal carrier oil, this shelf stable, pure, certified organic multipurpose oil is commonly used to promote healthy hair and skin. Expeller-pressed and hexane free.

 

Lavender OilLavender oil by Now Foods: This 100% pure lavender essential oil is steam distilled from flowering tops. Its floral aroma is wonderful for soothing, normalizing and balancing.

 

Organic Frankincense...Organic Frankincense Essential Oil by Dr. Mercola: This rare, wildcrafted oil is steam distilled from the gum of boswellia trees. Utilized for emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing, this oil mixes will with lemon, orange and lavender, and is safe for use around children and pets.

Orange Oil - OrganicOrange Oil by Now Foods: This 100% pure, certified organic oil is cold pressed from fresh fruit peel. When diffused, it provides a refreshing, uplifting, and invigorating environment. Taken daily it promotes healthy immune function and provides an energizing boost when inhaled.

Organic Oil of...Oil of Oregano by Natural Factors: This certified organic, wild crafted Mediterranean oregano oil is hand harvested and guaranteed to provide a minimum of 80% carvacrol, the active ingredient with a wide range of health benefits including antibiotic and antioxidant activity.

 

Willow Forest...Willow Forest Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser by Greenair: A customer favorite, this quiet ultrasonic diffuser delivers the natural benefits of essential oils in a powerful and efficient way. Choose rotating or fixed color for creative ambiance. Runs for up to six hours. Automatic shutoff. Available in white or black.

Amber Glass Serene...Amber Glass Serene Living Ultrasonic Diffuser by Greenair: Suitable for home of office, this hand blown glass diffuser utilizes high-frequency ultrasonic electrical vibrations to create an ultrafine aromatherapy mist. Also available Marble Blue and Obsidian.

References:
How Do I Choose and Use Essential Oils? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-do-i-choose-and-use-essential-oils
Essential oil. https://www.britannica.com/topic/essential-oil
What are Essential Oils? https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/what-are-essential-oils
Essential oils continue to grow in popularity. http://abc3340.com/archive/essential-oils-continue-to-grow-in-popularity

 

The Rediscovery of Essential Oils

EssentailOilsSusan Brown Health and Wellness EditorTechnically, essential oils are not oils at all but are highly concentrated aromatic plant components derived from flowers, leaves, seeds, stems, roots or bark that have mental, physical, spiritual and emotional therapeutic benefits. These essences give plants and flowers their distinctive, oftentimes powerful fragrances, aiding pollination while also functioning as a repellent, allowing a living plant to grow and thrive. Many consider essential oils precious and potent gifts from nature; they have been in use for thousands of years in food preparation, beauty treatments and physical wellness. In fact, if we were able to take a peek into the ancient Egyptians’ medicine chests dating back to 4,500 B.C., we would likely find myrrh, cinnamon, frankincense, cedarwood and other highly valuable aromatics used for healing negative energy and releasing emotional trauma.

From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, we know that priests and alchemists used essential oils to heal the sick, for religious ceremonies, cleansing spiritual rituals, and the embalming process. Hippocrates, was said to have utilized aromatherapy to enhance massage techniques, and theorized that the body possessed inherent natural healing powers, which he suggested should be nurtured. He believed physicians were guardians of this healing power, charged with keeping the body healthy and strong. China and India extensively embraced essential oils for use in herbal remedies in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Essential oil references appear in both Christian and Jewish religious texts as holy anointing oils used in healing rituals; they were also purported to have been burned to fight sickness and plague.

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Avicenna, a first century Persian philosopher, scientist and author of one of the most famous medical books, The Canon of Medicine, is credited with perfecting the distillation process for extracting essential oils. From ancient Greece, to the fall of the Roman empire, to the Renaissance, to the 1700’s, essential oils remained highly prized, precious aromatics. Research suggests that ancient peoples had a great understanding of the intrinsic medicinal and healing properties of essential oils. In the more modern era, as new medical philosophies and techniques emerged, the knowledge of the powerful protective properties of certain oils were forgotten or cast aside.

In the United States, Dr. Benjamin Rush, who served as Surgeon General in the Continental Army, along with Benjamin Franklin, established our first hospital in Pennsylvania in 1751. The two men differed in their approach to developing a national medical system. While Franklin agreed with Hippocrates, Rush was of the philosophy that “physicians were the masters of nature and that as opposed to allowing nature to follow its natural healing course, the business of healing should be taken out of her hands.” Until Benjamin Franklin passed in 1790, he continued to subscribe to his personal philosophy of healthy living, that included moderate diet, exercise, and self-control in all things, writing in Poor Richard’s Almanac, “Time is an herb that cures all diseases.”

The Pharmacopoeia of 1820 consisted mainly of herbal medicines. Today, you won’t find herbals, but will find that approximately 40% of pharmaceutical medicines are either a derivative of, or synthetically derived from herbs. During WWI, physicians began to rediscover the antibacterial and wound healing properties of essential oils. When the supply of antibiotics ran short during WW2, essential oils were shown to have a powerful healing effect on battlefield injuries. Today, the various medical properties of over 270 varieties of aromatic compounds have been identified. While Ayurvedic and Eastern medical practitioners have long touted the benefits of holistic and natural remedies, many people are adhering to healthy lifestyles and exploring the benefits of essential oils today.

Essential oils may be applied topically or inhaled using a diffuser. Three to five drops of highly concentrated oil may be diluted with one teaspoon of a carrier oil such as coconut, sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil and applied directly to and absorbed through the skin. Try placing the oil on the wrists, behind the ears or on the temples. Because essential oils are composed of very small molecules, the compounds can pass through the skin and into the circulatory system. Carefully inhaled oils allow oil molecules to enter the bloodstream though the lungs. To get the benefits of absorbing the oils through the skin, while also enjoying the therapeutic scent of the oils, some prefer to add 10 – 15 drops of oil mixed with ½ cup of Epsom salt to bath water. Try soothing oils such as lavender or eucalyptus.

Generally, when applying topically, a drop or two will not only suffice, but will provide the maximum benefit whether you are seeking spiritual or emotional wellbeing or total mind/body wellness. As essential oils are very powerful, it is recommended that they not be used excessively. It’s important to note that not all oils are food grade. Although some recommend that one drop of oil may be taken internally, it is suggested this usage only be undertaken with the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and many more essential single oils and blends. Suggestions for your home care essential oil kit include:

Lavender Oil by Now Foods

Lavender Oil by Now FoodsSave 30% This lovely scented calming oil is known for its stress relieving and relaxing effects. It may be applied topically to accelerate the healing of bruises, cuts or skin irritations. 100% pure lavender oil.

 

Peppermint Essential Oil by Amrita AromatherapyPeppermint Essential Oil by Amrita Aromatherapy– This versatile, stimulating oil may be used for exhaustion, mental fatigue or headache. Applied topically, peppermint oil helps to relieve sore muscles. Because of its anti-viral properties, peppermint helps to clear congestion and improve breathing by fighting respiratory and sinus infections when diffused. 100% pure, therapeutic quality essential oil.

Organic Lemon Essential Oil by Dr. MercolaOrganic Lemon Essential Oil by Dr. MercolaSave 12% Known for its cleansing properties, lemon oil helps to rejuvenate energy, stimulate lymph drainage and purify the skin. Mix with a carrier oil and apply for a healthy boost in mental alertness. Lemon oil is known to repel insects from both people and pets. 100% pure, food grade, Non-GMO organic essential oil.

Eucalyptus Oil by Now Foods

Eucalyptus Oil by Now FoodsSave 30% When used in a diffuser, eucalyptus helps to clear sinuses and clear congestion. It may also be used to relieve sore muscles and to promote feelings of relaxation. 100% pure eucalyptus oil.

 

Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil by Dr. MercolaOrganic Tea Tree Essential Oil by Dr. Mercola –  Save 12% Applied topically, tea tree is well known for its powerful antiseptic properties and its ability to treat wounds. To relieve skin inflammation, fungal infections or acne, dilute and apply topically. 100% pure, Non-GMO organic tea tree oil.

 

References:
Egyptian Art and Science of DNA Healing Transformational Masters. http://www.raindropeducation.com/id74.html
History of Essential Oils. http://airase.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/HistoryOfEssentialOils.pdf
Benefits of Essential Oils: 10 Natural Ways to Heal Yourself. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/02/benefits-of-essential-oils_n_5536808.html