What are they?
Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile plant extracts that have a strong aroma. The oils capture the plant's scent and flavor, also called its "essence." It’s particles come from distilling or extracting the different parts of plants, including the flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin and peels. The most powerful healing compounds of a plant are literally separated into a single oil. On average, they are up to 75 times more powerful than dried herbs.
Since how long have they been used?
These oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes and are recently gaining popularity. Old is gold indeed. As we know, today’s generation is constantly on a hunt to find the most natural, pure, safe and cost-effective products to maintain and enrich the quality of health amidst the various hazardous changes caused by busy lifestyles and ever growing environmental phenomenon. Essential oils due to its healing, antibacterial, antidepressant and other associated properties are multi-purpose which is why they stand out in the category of oils and are used in a complementary natural medicine treatment. The benefits of Essential oils are vast and their uses range from aromatherapy, household cleaning products, personal beauty care and.
A contemporary Emotional support (most well-known )
Essential oils help balance hormones and are able to relieve a stress (anxiety, depression etc) fostering state of mind. They have sedative properties which induce a calm, peaceful, uplifting and relaxed feeling. Many people having these conditions use it as an alternative and also a complementary therapy like for example in massages however, the effects may last only while the massage is taking place. They can also improve conditions like infertility, PCOS, PMS and menopause symptoms, cortisol, thyroid and testosterone levels etc.
Certain oils have the potential to aid in easing physical symptoms like aches, inflammations, digestive and sleep associated inconveniences. The scope of their usage covers headaches or migraines, upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhea, stomach spasms and even conditions like Irritative Bowel Syndrome. They also help absorb the nutrients, fats and protein that you need and thus aid in digestion. By aiding in digestion and urine production it also helps to flush out toxins that buildup in the body.
Because antibiotic resistance is becoming such a major threat in modern health care, using Essential oils as a form of independent or combination therapy can help to fight bacterial infections in a safer and more natural way. They have anti-viral and anti-fungal properties which also help boost immune system and fight infections.
For those having sleep disturbances, can use it as a complementary therapy to attain restful sleep.
A great news for our skin lovers is that these Essential oils can be used in skin, hair and beauty regimes while replacing products that are made with chemicals and hydrogenated oils. According to a review published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “at least 90 Essential oils can be identified as being recommended for dermatological use, with at least 1,500 combinations.” They are also used as a natural scent in homemade cosmetics and high-quality natural products.
However, for minor health problems, using Essential oils as a complementary therapy is probably ok but if you have a serious health condition or are taking medication, you should discuss their use with your doctor.
As mentioned earlier Essential oils are multipurpose. They are not only healthy for the mind and body but also help to improve the condition of your house like scents homes, acts as an environmental friendly alternative to man-made mosquito repellents, extends the shelf life of foods, freshens up things like laundry etc.
A Word of Caution:
You must always keep this in mind that although they are natural they need to be handled with care else like any other thing there may be harmful side effects. Also, too much of anything is not good. Just one drop of an Essential oil can be powerful as they are highly concentrated.
They are highly concentrated so must kept out of reach of children from being exposed to the sun or UV rays. Hence, store them safely. Also, pregnant women, elderly and people going through medical conditions must consult their medical practitioner before inculcating them in their daily routine or treatment. And, like any other product, toss out older oils. Nonetheless, adding Essential oils to your personal medicine cabinet can make a world of difference if you use them in the right way.