Everyone’s raving about essential oils, but is there science behind the hype?
We all have that friend. The minute you feel a cold coming on, have an ache or experience a pain, they suggest essential oils. “I have the perfect peppermint oil for that.” “Here’s a blend that’ll cure you in no time flat.” It seems like everyone jumped on the bandwagon. And if you’ve never tried them, it’s a little too easy to dismiss it all.
But is it mumbo jumbo? That’s the question we wanted to get to the bottom of.
With so many people touting the benefits, there has to be something there, right? Here’s what we learned:
What are Essential Oils?
When pressure or steam is added to certain plants, the extract of that plant is, for lack of a better term, extracted. These essences are then usually mixed with a bit of steam or pressed to create a highly concentrated liquid. A real essential oil isn’t manufactured in a lab or combined with chemicals, it’s pure and unaltered.
While they’re used for a variety of reasons, most of us would use essential oils as aromatherapy. Inhalation through sprays and diffusers is one common way to absorb them, but a diluted topical application is another way to absorb the oil’s essences and reap the possible benefits.
What are the Benefits of Using Essential Oils?
Speaking of benefits, fans claim they improve your physical, mental and spiritual well-being and help to reduce stress. Thankfully, they may be right.
According to a study done by the The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, aromatherapy with essential oils was shown to positively impact moods, reduce symptoms of cancer patients including nausea and vomiting, and some oils even have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Wow!
Are Essential Oils Harmful in Any Way?
Because of their concentrated nature, essential oils are very volatile. If you’re using them topically, your oils should always be diluted using a carrier oil, such as olive oil.
Many varieties should also be kept far away from children, especially if there’s a risk of ingestion. Some harmful, even toxic essential oils include peppermint, sandalwood, and tea tree oils. Your best bet is to keep all of them stored safely away from anyone who doesn’t know how to handle them.
Should I Use Essential Oils?
As you can see, science backs the benefits of pure essential oils, but it’s important to exercise caution when using them. Follow the directions of each oil explicitly. Meaning you should always store securely, dilute appropriately, and use a proper inhalation mechanism.
The next time your back aches or your headache just won’t quit, try an essential oil. You may be amazed at the results. Plus, it’s backed by science. Sweet!— Tina Jepson