More than just an enjoyable part of a day at the spa, essential oils can provide tons of important health benefits all on their own! These oils, primarily made with plant extracts, are used as active ingredients in cleaning and personal hygiene products, pest control products, and over-the-counter medications like certain lice sprays and mentholated lozenges or rubs. Studies have even shown that these oils could be an exciting development in the battle against antibiotic resistant superbugs.
However, you don’t need to use products containing essential oils to benefit from them. These oils can be used as aromatherapy, massaged into the skin, added to bathwater, used in a compress, or burned in a diffuser. There are more than 90 types of essential oils, and most have antibacterial qualities as well as varying emotional and physical impacts. These oils can often be blended together to create a combination of functions to suit your needs – as well as a unique, soothing odor.
Historically, this rich, woody essential oil has been used in medicines, skin and beauty treatments, and a wide range of hygiene products ranging from perfumes to mouth fresheners. The medicinal properties of sandalwood are extensive – this antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and sedative qualities make it perfect for treating conditions including depression, reproductive health, bronchitis, stress, and even insecurity.
Sweet, fresh, and floral, lavender is especially useful when it comes to relieving tension and pain, but it can also be used as a disinfectant for the skin and hair, stimulates blood circulation, and helps control respiratory issues. Studies have shown increased cognitive function and reduced stress and anxiety after inhaling lavender oil, making this a perfect choice for anyone who struggles with nerves. This fragrant oil can also be used as an insect repellant – and applied to any bites or stings reduce pain or irritation, thanks to lavender’s anti-inflammatory properties.
This oil has a familiar minty fragrance, and is used to treat gastrointestinal issues including nausea and flatulence. It’s also especially effective for relieving the pain of headaches and migraines, and the stimulating effect of this oil is ideal for people suffering from exhaustion or mental fatigue. Peppermint is a great alternative to traditional medications for anyone suffering from a cold, as this oil can help expel phlegm, clear congestion, and ease breathing.
The spicy, woody scent of frankincense is one of the most potent essential oils for ensuring good health. An application of this oil to cuts and scrapes can prevent wounds from sepsis, as frankincense can help promote cell regeneration and recovery – which can also help prevent the formation of cancer cells. Frankincense can heal scars and stretch marks, cure coughs and colds, relieve allergy symptoms, sooth anxiety, stress, and grief, and even mitigate potential brain damage from head injuries.
Anyone who has had to suffer through a bout of athlete’s foot knows how unpleasant fungal infections can be – and cedarwood is a great way to treat these growths. This sharp, woody oil is used for a number of conditions, including skin problems, arthritis, bronchitis, cystitis, tuberculosis, and gonorrhea. Cedarwood is great for cleansing toxins, water, salt, and fat from the body, and helps to prevent hair loss.
This fresh-smelling essential oil is great when you’re fighting an influenza outbreak. Not only does lemongrass help keep fevers down, it can kill bacteria, soothe inflammation, inhibit microbial growth, and reduce pain. This potent oil also reduces hemorrhaging and helps prevent wounds from becoming septic. It’s also very stimulating, and inhaling this oil can help with exhaustion and fatigue.
When shopping for essential oils to add to your health care routine, keep in mind that these are not interchangeable with fragrance oils. Essential oils are made from plants, but fragrance oils are artificially created, usually with synthetic chemicals, to give off a particular scent. They do smell nice and can generally be purchased quite inexpensively, they don’t have the valuable therapeutic benefits of essential oils. To get the full health benefits of essential oils, choose oils that are high quality and pure.
These oils are very strong, and if not used properly, could cause unwanted side effects. Check with a health care professional before you begin treating any serious conditions with essential oils.
Thank you to Jon Reyes who wrote this article. Jon is a guest author from Clearwells and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under his belt.
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