Essential oils are highly concentrated natural extracts that come from plant leaves, flowers, and stems. These oils have unique aroma and properties by capturing the plant’s scent and essence. There are various methods to obtain essential oils such as distillation, steaming, and mechanical methods such as cold pressing. The extraction method is very important because excessive use of chemicals during extraction can affect the properties of that particular essential oil. It usually takes several pounds of any plant to get some essential oil.
How Does Essential Oil Work?
Essential oils are extremely popular due to their amazing therapeutic properties. Due to their antibacterial, anti-fungal, and other properties, these oils have a special place in the medicine cabinet. Aromatherapy is incomplete without these essential oils. Essential oils have been used for centuries for well-being. You can inhale them, both for their amazing scent and their therapeutic properties. Nowadays, people are using these essential oils in diffusers and humidifiers to reap their benefits. The use of essential oils to treat various skin issues is also in trend. Essential oils can be diluted with carrier oils and applied to the skin or affected area. When the essential oil is applied to the skin, then active ingredients in the oil get absorbed in the skin just like any other topical creams. Different essential oils have different properties, and their application brings different results. For example, chamomile essential oils are famous for treating eczema, and ginger essential oil is applied to get relief from arthritis pain. Massaging the essential oil to the affected area of the skin increases its absorption. After absorbing from the epidermis, these essential oils come into the bloodstream and carried to the affected areas, and then metabolized in the liver.
Essential oils can work in our bodies through inhalation. You can inhale these oils through the mouth and nose. Different essential oils are inhaled for different purposes in aromatherapy, as every oil has unique characteristics. Essential oils work through the olfactory system. When we inhale through the nose, the molecules interact with the olfactory system and with the brain. These inhaled molecules pass through to the lungs and respiratory system. When you inhale an essential oil, its odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the different receptors in the brain and limbic system.
The limbic system is known as the emotional brain and controls various functions such as breathing, blood pressure, emotions, and hormones. That’s why aromatherapy helps to release stress and elevates mood. This research also supports that aromas affect the limbic brain.
Inhalation of essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects. Different oils and their smells affect the limbic system so differently.
According to research, the limbic system is also related to making memories, so familiar smells and odors can trigger some emotions and take you on a memory lane trip. An aromatherapist knows very well which essential oils have specific benefits and how to use that particular oil. Researchers and studies also support that aromatherapy works. This study supports that aromatherapy helps to relieve sadness and reduce stress levels.
Migraine is hard to bear. This study supports the idea that lavender oil helps to reduce headaches and migraine. Forty-seven migraine patients were part of the study. They were divided into two groups. One group inhaled lavender oil for fifteen minutes, while the other group used liquid paraffin for the same purpose. They were asked to record the severity of the headache after a thirty-minute interval. Potential with lavender essential oil recorded the reduction in their headache as compared to the other group.
There are many drug-resistant skin issues such as eczema and psoriasis. Some essential oils like chamomile and tea tree oil can help in such conditions.
Popular Essential Oils
There are more than ninety essential oils that are available with unique aromas and characteristics. Every essential oil has different properties and therapeutic benefits.
- Lavender essential oil is helpful in calming the nerves and relieving stress.
- Tea tree essential oil has antibacterial properties and is great for treating acne. It also boosts immunity.
- Jasmine essential oil helps with stress and childbirth.
- Rose essential oil elevates the mood and throws away the stress.
- Eucalyptus oil relieves respiratory tract complaints. It has decongesting properties and is beneficial in stuffiness caused by flu and allergies.
- Ylang-ylang oil also has many unique properties, so when inhaled, it brings different effects, and when applied to the skin, it brings different results.
Many people think that essential oils are natural, so these are harmless, but the fact is that careless use of essential oils can cause havoc.
- Always do a patch test before using any essential oil on the skin. Don’t apply any essentials directly on the skin—mix the essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it on the skin, especially tea-tree and peppermint oil.
- Some essential oils can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
- You can’t ingest any essential oil, and it can be fatal
Wrapping up the Things
Nowadays, essential oils are extremely popular and the best choice for those looking for natural solutions to their health issues. Moreover, their versatility has made them popular in recent years. People love that they can use essential oils for various health issues instead of traditional medicines. Different essential oils have different properties and can address your specific health concerns. Some essential oils are soothing, while some are emerging and warming. So you can tailor essential oils according to your need and want by mixing them with other oils. The good thing is the different studies and research also supports the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. But there is still a need for more human studies and trials on the effects of different essential oils for different health concerns.