Gone are the days when essential oils were found solely in grandma’s purse and the odd medicine cabinet. These aromatic, calming oils have grown especially popular with the younger crowd, thanks to magazines and bloggers sharing their experience with trendy diffusers. And while lavender and eucalyptus oils can fill a room with a calming scent to create a relaxing atmosphere, these oils are much more than natural fragrances. Not only can you use essential oils to clean your home, they also provide various health benefits.
Essential Oils 101
Essential oils originate in different areas of sweet-smelling plants, like flowers, leaves and even seeds. They help these plants adapt to their environment, so when we are exposed to these essential oils, we reap the same types of benefits. Each essential oil has its own unique power, and utilizing them to heal, relieve pain, or prevent a virus is a form of aromatherapy.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Eucalyptus for Cold, Flu & Cough
The antibacterial and antiviral properties found in eucalyptus were discovered in a 2012 study. These agents can help fight a cold or flu virus, and help to clear congestion when diffused or added to boiling water.
Lavender for Anxiety
A study published in Phytomedicine considered the effects of lavender on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Researchers split a group of GAD patients into two groups, providing one group with lorazepam and the other with lavender oil. The results revealed that the lavender oil reduced anxiety by 45% and lorazepam by 46%, demonstrating that the oil works just as well as the drug.
Peppermint for Indigestion
Researchers studied the effects of peppermint and caraway oil on indigestion and found that when combined, the effects of these oils are comparable to cisapride, a drug that relieves indigestion. After splitting a group of 118 patients into 2 groups, and providing one with the oils and the other with the drug, each group had an equivalent reduction in pain scores.
Sage Oil for High Blood Pressure
80 diabetic patients were chosen at random to take either a 500mg sage extract capsule or a placebo daily for 3 months. The study showed that there were significantly lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and high levels of good cholesterol in patients who ingested the sage. The glucose levels in the sage group also reduced by 95% in comparison to the placebo group.
Using Essential Oils
- Add a few drops of oil to a cloth, or rub it in your hands, and breathe in
- Dilute with water and spray on clothes or furniture
- Hold the bottle a few inches from your nose and breathe in
- Take capsules, or drink in water or tea
- Apply a drop under your tongue
- Add a few drops to a diffuser
- Drop in boiling water
- Apply on wounded/painful area
- Combine with other oils or creams and apply to skin
There are many oils and foods to aid your journey to healthy living. Learn how one particular food can help you live to see your 100th birthday.