7 Benefits of Having Essential Oils: Find Yours Today
Aromatherapy has become a buzzword in the last few decades, but few people actually know how essential oils benefit health and wellbeing.
Aromatherapy isn’t just a way to make your living room smell nice; it’s an alternative form of medicine that can be used to treat various ailments and enhance the body’s innate healing capabilities.
The magical ingredients? Essential oils.
Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic oils derived from plants, fruits, spices, resins and herbs. Essential oil benefits are reputed to range from emotional and spiritual to physical and mental.
The man who is widely credited with coining the term ‘aromatherapie’ was the French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé. It’s said that in 1910, Gattefossé burnt his hand in a vat of oil and claimed that lavender oil (into which he flung his hand afterwards) healed the scars remarkably.
But many different cultures were already using aromatherapy extensively throughout history – from the Ancient Egyptians and Chinese to the Greeks and the Romans.
The tale of the French chemist is just one example of aromatherapy’s reputed benefits. Many others exist, both throughout history and today in real-life personal accounts.
These are some of the most common reasons people typically use essential oils to treat:
1. Relieve stress and anxiety
They don’t call it ‘aroma-therapy’ for nothing. A beautiful and calming scent really can feel as soothing as a chat with a therapist! Essential oils are renowned for their abilities to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and increase feelings of relaxation and wellbeing.
Try these: lavender, ylang ylang, bergamot, chamomile, rose, vetiver, lemon.
2. Protect the immune system
There’s a reason why so many varieties of cold and flu medication smell like lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree, wintergreen or other fresh, herbal scents. Vicks, anyone? Many of these essential oils are incredibly antimicrobial, meaning they can give a boost to your immune system and help your respiratory system fight off infection.
Try these: lemon, oregano, frankincense, peppermint, ginger, eucalyptus.
3. Soothe headaches and migraines
Although a small tablet of ibuprofen can do the job, too many painkillers over an extended period of time can be hard on the liver. Essential oil benefits include reducing the stress and anxiety that can often cause headaches, but in some cases can also help muscles relax, which helps on a physiological level. Next time your head starts throbbing, rub some diluted essential oil into your temples and feel the benefits for yourself.
Try these: peppermint, rosemary, lavender, sandalwood, fragonia.
4. Lull to sleep
Out of all the essential oil benefits, the power to induce sleep is perhaps the most popular. It’s an old wives’ tale that hanging a sprig of lavender above the bed will encourage a long and restful sleep!
And there is some truth to this: numerous studies have found that lavender essential oil can assist with relaxation and calming of the mind. Many people also find other essential oils useful as a sleep aid too.
Try these: lavender, chamomile, melissa, jasmine, sweet marjoram.
5. Relieve pain
Essential oils assist with pain relief in a myriad of different ways. Some are renowned for reducing the inflammation associated with muscle aches and spasms, while others may be more useful in treating swelling or itchiness of the skin.
Essential oils are very potent, however, and should always be diluted in a carrier oil to prevent a nasty skin reaction. For example, magnesium oil can make a good addition to a pain relief oil blend.
Try these: juniper, peppermint, clary sage, rosemary, helichrysum, cypress.
6. Boost memory
So many essential oil benefits are not well known. If they were, everyone would have a stash in their medical kit at home! One of the mysteries of essential oil is that it can help with memory loss, and also aid in forming new memories. How can that be so?
Well, did you know that we process memories in the same part of our brain where we process scent? This could, perhaps, have something to do with it. Studies have shown that aromatherapy can have real measurable effects on human memory. For this reason, essential oils are commonly prescribed in Europe to elderly people who are beginning to show signs of dementia.
Try these: sage, rosemary, basil, lavender, peppermint, grapefruit.
7. Treat depression
Homeopathic healers often recommend essential oil blends with their tinctures due to their ability to work as a complementary medicine. This is often seen in cases of depression. Essential oils can uplift and comfort the mind, which can be especially useful in times of mental distress.
Try these: bergamot, lavender, [P24] ginger, ylang ylang, chamomile.
Ready to get started with essential oils? Play around with them yourself and see which ones you respond to best.
Although essential oils are wonderful to work with, there are unsafe ways of using them. It’s best to consult an aromatherapy professional, homeopath, doctor, natural healer or essential oil product specialist before using your oils.
Some people are allergic or sensitive to essential oils. Not all essential oils are suitable for pregnant women.
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