Over the last few years, essential oils have exploded into mainstream popularity. And though it might feel like this health product came out of nowhere, the truth is that essential oil was already used for centuries.
While you’ve probably heard something about essential oils like using black seed oil which is easily available online from theblessedseed can be good to use and has many benefits. To find answers to these questions, all you have to do is to keep reading!
What are Essential Oils?
In its most basic sense, essential oils are plant extracts. They are highly concentrated oils extracted from the leaves, flowers, stems, roots, bark, or other parts of plants. They are highly concentrated and potent, with a strong aroma and flavor that is characteristic of the plant from which they are extracted. That is why they are called “essential oils,” because they contain the “essence,” which is the aromatic and flavor components of the plant from which they are extracted.
Essential oils have been used for centuries for their wide range of medicinal, health, and therapeutic benefits. Their antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties make them a useful and versatile product in your medicine cabinet.
Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy, which uses scents to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. They can also be used topically to improve the health and appearance of the skin or ingested in small amounts for their potential health benefits.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Here’s a look at some of the common health benefits that essential oils have been used to offer:
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
Perhaps one of the most popular benefits of essential oils is their ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Different essential oils have different scents, and many are believed to be particularly effective at promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. Some come with sedative properties that can induce a calm, peaceful, relaxed, and uplifting feeling.
Some of the best essential oils for stress and anxiety include chamomile, bergamot, orange, rose, ylang-ylang, vetiver, and frankincense.
2. Alleviates headaches and migraines
Essential oils can work as natural migraine and headache relievers because they can effectively treat the trigger and address the root of the problem instead of masking it. Some essential oils reduce stress and improve circulation – all of which can be major causes of headaches and migraines.
Lavender is popular for treating headache pain, as it can be relaxing and calming. Other essential oils that can relieve headaches include eucalyptus (relieves sinus pressure that causes headaches), peppermint (offers a cooling effect and stimulates blood flow), and rosemary (promotes circulation, reduces inflammation, and gives a calming effect).
3. Aids in sleep and insomnia
Some essential oils offer sedative properties, which can be helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep or getting through the night. Among all essential oils, lavender is best known as an effective sleep aid because of its ability to calm and relax a person through its scent.
Smelling lavender oil’s relaxing fragrance has been shown to improve sleep quality. It’s tested in women after childbirth, patients with heart disease, and older adults living with dementia – all of which are types of people who usually experience low-quality sleep.
4. Boosts immunity and fights diseases and infections
Many essential oils come with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antifungal properties that help boost the immune system and fight infections. Essential oils also help support the immune system by fighting off harmful pathogens and reducing inflammation.
Some of the best essential oils for your immunity include oregano, ginger, lemon, myrrh, frankincense, eucalyptus, peppermint, and cinnamon. Studies have shown that essential oils can effectively destroy several viral, fungal, and bacterial pathogens. Since antibiotic resistance is a major threat in modern health care, using essential oils as a form of combination therapy can help fight bacterial infections more safely and naturally.
5. Alleviates pain
Some essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus oil, are believed to have pain-relieving properties when applied topically. They may be particularly effective at reducing headaches, muscle soreness, and joint pain. Also, there are many oils that, when used aromatically, can also reduce aches and pains. Some essential oils that are useful for alleviating aches and pains include peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme, ginger, myrrh, frankincense, chamomile, and marjoram.
6. Supports skin and hair health
When used properly, essential oils can be used topically, as well. It may help improve the skin’s health and appearance, depending on your skin type. Essential oils may help protect your skin from sun damage, calm irritated skin, reduce signs of aging, and thicken your hair. Some oils, such as lavender and tea tree oil, are believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help with acne and other skin conditions.
7. Supports respiratory health
Essential oils can be used to support respiratory health by reducing inflammation, easing congestion, and promoting relaxation. Some oils, such as eucalyptus and peppermint oil, are particularly effective at improving respiratory function.
8. Detoxifies the body
We all inhale and ingest a myriad of chemicals, substances, and environmental toxins that can be dangerous to our health. Some oils function as mild diuretics, which can help increase urine production and improve detoxification. Some oils aid digestion and remove toxins that build up within the body.
Some oils that promote internal detoxification include grapefruit, lemon, fennel, ginger, and lemongrass.
9. Balances hormones
There are essential oils that can help balance estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, and cortisol levels. Some oils, like thyme, clary sage, and geranium, help balance out estrogen and progesterone levels to improve conditions like PCOS and infertility, as well as PMS and menopause symptoms. Meanwhile, some can help improve a man’s libido by increasing testosterone levels and improving mood.
10. Boosts energy
Some essential oils can help boost energy levels and improve athletic performance. Some come with stimulating effects that can increase brain oxygen, leaving you feeling refreshed, energized, and focused. Peppermint oil, in particular, was proven to reduce exhaustion in athletes. Other essential oils great for increasing energy include lemon, grapefruit, lemongrass, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
11. Improves brain function
With cognitive performance-boosting properties, essential oils can benefit many people who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. It has been found that some essential oils come with powerful antioxidants that work to prevent free radical scavenging, reduce inflammation, and naturally improve brain function.
12. Reduces inflammation
It has been suggested that some essential oils may help fight inflammation. Thyme, oregano, caraway, and rosemary essential oils are some that offer anti-inflammatory effects.
How to Use Essential Oils
You can’t reap essential oils’ benefits if you don’t know how to use them. Aromatherapy is a popular use for essential oils, but there is more to them. Here are the different ways you can use essential oils:
Aromatherapy is the practice of using scents to promote relaxation and reduce stress, and a type of aromatherapy is diffusing essential oils. Using a diffuser, essential oils spread their aroma in the room. This device disperses tiny particles of the essential oil so you can breathe them in.
Popular types of essential oil diffusers include:
- Electric diffusers
- Ceramic diffusers
- Lamp rings
- Reed diffuser
- Ultrasonic diffusers
Whatever diffuser you choose to use, avoid direct contact with the essential oils and dilute it first. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in a diffuser for the proper oil-to-water ratio.
2. Dry evaporation
If you don’t want to use a diffuser, you can try dry evaporation – although the scent won’t probably spread as a diffuser can. This method requires a dry material like a cotton ball or fabric. Add a few drops of essential oil to the dry material and smell the aroma as it disperses.
You can add the material to the vents in your house, car, pillowcase, or shirt collar.
Inhaling essential oils can be an effective way to support respiratory health. Essential oils can be added to a bowl of hot water, and the steam can be inhaled or added to a vaporizer or humidifier. Eucalyptus and peppermint oils are particularly effective at improving respiratory function.
4. Topical use
You can also use essential oils for skin care and massage in different ways, as they can be applied topically to the skin for various purposes. Dilute them to carrier oils, such as coconut or jojoba oil, to use as a massage oil. Check for recipes online to make a blend. Focus on rubbing the essential oil blend in tightness, muscular pain, and tension areas. You can also gently rub it to pressure points like wrists, temples, and third eye.
Another option is to add essential oils to your favorite cosmetic products, like serums and toners. But always make sure to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil first, and do not add too much oil.
If you want to create an essential oil blend for topical use, it’s best to store it in a small rollerball bottle so you can easily apply it to your skin.
5. Bath and shower use
While you may not want to store essential oils in the bathroom because the heat and humidity may affect their quality, you can find a lot of uses for them there. You can add a few drops of essential oils to your shampoo, body wash, or conditioner.
To inhale essential oils during your shower, add a few drops on the shower walls or a few drops of diluted oils to a warm washcloth you can use to exfoliate your skin. During baths, you may also choose to use an essential oil bath salt or a bubble bath product with an essential oil ingredient.
6. Household use
Essential oils can be used in various ways around the home. They can be added to natural cleaning solutions to add a pleasant scent and boost their cleaning power. Some essential oils, such as lemon and grapefruit oil, are believed to have disinfectant properties that can help kill germs and bacteria.
You can find many DIY recipes for household cleaners that use essential oils for their scent and antibacterial properties.
Some essential oils can be ingested in small amounts for their potential health benefits. Some oils, such as peppermint and ginger, are believed to aid digestion and reduce nausea. It’s important to note that not all essential oils are safe for ingestion, and they should only be used under the instruction of a trained herbalist.
However, a lot of experts advise using essential oils this way. Because they are so potent, they may be harmful as you take in a lot of plant material without realizing it. Some oils in certain amounts can even burn the mouth’s mucosal lining, so follow directions closely.
Most Popular Types of Essential Oils
There are hundreds of different types of essential oils, each with its own unique scent and potential health benefits. Here are some of the most popular types of essential oils:
1. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils and is known for its calming and relaxing properties. This gentle oil can offer a lot of benefits and can be used in a variety of ways. It is often used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can also be added to water to make a room spray or a body spritzer, and also for bath water to make your bath even more relaxing. It helps with stress, sleep, and pain. It even comes with antibacterial properties, as it was used as a cleaning agent in hospitals before the discovery of antiseptics.
2. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is a refreshing and energizing oil that is often used to improve focus and concentration. It is also believed to have pain-relieving properties and can be applied topically to sore muscles and joints. It can improve respiratory function, relieve sinus congestion, and improve digestion. Its stimulating scent can relieve headaches and nausea and improve brain function.
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal oil that is often used to treat acne, dandruff, athlete’s foot, ringworms, and other skin conditions. It is also believed to have immune-boosting properties.
4. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil is a refreshing oil that is often used to improve respiratory health. It’s great to have during the cold season. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties and can be added to a warm bath or diffused in a room to promote clear breathing.
5. Lemon oil
Extracted from lemon peels, lemon oil is a fresh and uplifting oil that is often used to improve mood and reduce stress. It is also believed to have antimicrobial properties and can be added to natural cleaning solutions to kill germs and bacteria. It’s safe for aromatherapy and topical use, but avoid direct sunlight exposure after use.
6. Frankincense oil
Known as the “king of oils,” frankincense comes with a woody and earthy oil that is often used in meditation and spiritual practices. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied topically to improve the appearance of the skin.
7. Chamomile oil
Chamomile oil is a calming and soothing oil that is often used to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Most of us are familiar with chamomile as an herbal tea that you drink when you’re stressed or when you find it hard to sleep. Besides promoting relaxation, chamomile oil is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied topically to soothe irritated skin. It can also aid in digestion, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation.
8. Rosemary oil
You probably already use rosemary to add some flavor to your recipes. But rosemary extract offers additional benefits like reducing stress and pain, improving brain function, lifting mood, and reducing joint inflammation. It’s safe to use in aromatherapy and topically on the skin when blended with carrier oil.
9. Bergamot oil
Extracted from the rinds of the bergamot orange, bergamot essential oil is a sweet and zesty oil that comes with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and pain-relieving properties. If you like Earl Grey tea, you’ve already enjoyed it in a similar form.
10. Cedarwood oil
Often used in aromatherapy applications, cedarwood essential oil helps deodorize indoor environments, repel insects, induce sleep, and reduce anxiety. It prevents mildew development, relaxes the body, enhances concentration, eases tension, and clears the mind.
11. Clove oil
Traditionally, clove essential oil has been used for easing digestive upset, helping with respiratory conditions, and relieving pain. Research has found that clove oil can offer benefits for the skin as it has antibacterial properties to help prevent infection, and it can also be used for relieving dental pain like toothaches. It can also be used as a topical pain reliever perfect for adding to your massage oils, and as an insect repellent.
12. Grapefruit oil
Grapefruit oil can help everything from offering stress relief, reducing blood pressure, and protecting the skin. Use grapefruit oil to relieve anxiety, clear complexion (especially for acne-prone skin), and help protect burns and wounds from being infected.
Safety Precautions When Using Essential Oils
While essential oils have many potential health benefits, it’s important to use them with caution and follow proper safety guidelines. People who should not use essential oils without a doctor’s recommendation include older adults, children who are younger than 12, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, make sure to consider the pets in your environment, as some oils can be dangerous to pets.
Here are some of the safety and health risks associated with using essential oils:
1. Skin irritation
Essential oils are highly concentrated, and it has the potential to aggravate the skin. It can cause skin irritation if not properly diluted. It’s important to always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil, before applying them topically. Avoid using them near sensitive areas such as the eyes, mouth, or ears. Do not apply them to broken, cracked, irritated, or inflamed skin.
2. Allergic reaction
Some people may be allergic to certain essential oils and may experience allergic reactions such as hives, rashes, or difficulty breathing. It’s important to perform a patch test before using a new essential oil and to stop using it immediately if you experience any adverse reactions.
Some essential oils, such as citrus oils, can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and increase the risk of sunburn and skin damage. It’s important to avoid sun exposure for 24 hours after using these oils topically.
Some essential oils can be toxic if ingested in large amounts. It’s important to never ingest essential oils without the guidance of a professional herbalist who can instruct you on the right amount of essential oils to ingest.
5. Interactions with medications
Essential oils can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, antidepressants, and some chemotherapy drugs. It’s important to speak with your healthcare provider before using essential oils if you are taking any medications. Also, you must talk to a doctor first before using essential oils if you have health problems like low immunity, high blood pressure, and epilepsy.
6. Inhalation risks
Essential oils can be harmful if inhaled in large amounts or over prolonged periods of time. It’s important to always use essential oils in a well-ventilated area and to follow proper dilution guidelines when using them in a diffuser or vaporizer.
7. Hormonal imbalance
Some essential oils may affect the endocrine system when directly applied to the skin. There were cases in which prepubescent boys developed gynecomastia, or the swelling of breast tissue, after applying lavender oil topically. The condition went away after the use of essential oil was discontinued.
Essential oils have many potential health benefits, and you should try them to improve your health and aid with your health issues. But should be used with caution and proper safety guidelines. It’s important to do your research and speak with a trained professional before using any essential oil for a specific health condition, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking any medications.