Essential Oils: What Are Their Therapeutic Properties?
Alternative medicine has become increasingly popular throughout the years and essential oils are a big part of that. But what are essential oils, what role do they play, and what are their therapeutic properties? For those who have never even heard of essential oils (we know that there are some of you… somehow), essential oils have been around for centuries, they are oils extracted from plants to capture their flavors, essence and scent to deliver different beneficial properties directly to the user.
Essential oils are used extensively in aromatherapy and various medicinal systems. They are said to have numerous health benefits and are constantly being explored by the scientific community for the treatment of various diseases including cancer, HIV, asthma, bronchitis and more. There are a wide variety of essential oils ranging from the more common scents like lavender, grapefruit, mint, frankincense and myrrh to more exotic essential oils like vetiver, ylang ylang, basil oil, cassia, helichrysum and more. All of these essential oils and more provide a variety of beneficial properties to the user and are experienced differently from person to person (because let's face it, we are all different and not everyone likes the same smells, so not everyone will achieve the same results).
Essential oils can be utilized in many different fashions including essential oil necklaces, reed diffusers, essential oil diffusers, directly on skin (if diluted) and help with a multitude of ailments. Some essential oils can even be used as bug repellent. It is important to note that essential oils are extremely concentrated and can be harmful if not used carefully or correctly. Never use Essential oils directly on your skin without any dilution. Severe sensitivity may occur in some individuals causing sensitivity reactions such as extreme dermatitis.
Some essential oils can cause allergic reactions, irritation or sensitization in some individuals and should be researched accordingly to avoid any problematic results. Certain essential oils can also be phototoxic and can cause irritation, inflammation and blistering when exposed to UV rays. Make sure that you stop using any essential oil or oil blends immediately that result in irritation, redness or reaction. When using essential oils, less is more. Don't use more than the recommended dosage. In order to achieve the psychological and physical benefits of essential oils they must be used correctly. Essential oils should not be scary, just make sure to respect essential oils, read the directions to apply correctly and you should be safe.
Here is a list of a just a few of our favorite beneficial essential oils and their properties:
Lavender: Helps with relaxation and encourages sleep, alleviates headaches and has been used topically to treat bug bites, reduce itching and swelling.
Peppermint: Helps with headaches, relaxation, indigestion as well as muscle pain, sunburn relief, IBS and more.
Spearmint: Spearmint has been said to have antifungal properties and also can help with headaches, relaxation, indigestion. Spearmint oil can also be used to ward off insects and soothe bug bites.
Roman Chamomile: Helps to calm the mind and has been known to help with skin conditions like eczema and inflammation.
Rose: Helps reduce anxiety and offers antioxidant properties that can help treat acne and improve your overall complexion when used correctly.
Hyssop: This is a healing agent that can help to decrease inflammation and minimize the appearance of scars.
Vetiver: Helps boost your mood and calm your nerves, it also offers antioxidant properties that are beneficial for skin health and minimizing scarring.
Myrrh: Helps to treat skin issues including cracked skin, athletes foot and even relieving acne.
Ylang Ylang: Helps provide relaxation, build self esteem, and acts as a bug repellent.
Frankincense: Offers digestive, antiseptic and disinfectant properties, Frankincense can help improve skin health and prevent oral issues such as toothaches, cavities, mouth sores and bad breath.
Cedarwood: Helps fight acne, treats eczema and reduces dandruff. Cedarwood also has been said to help with arthritis and relieves coughing.
Orange: Orange oil is full of vitamin C and offers a variety of skin care benefits. It is said to make skin appear brighter, smoother and clearer.
Lemon: This Antioxidant oil can help fight anemia, boost energy, relieve nausea and reduce inflammation.
Grapefruit: Offers antifungal properties that can help reduce any harmful bacteria in your body.
Basil Oil: Provides antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and is helpful when you are sick or have sore muscles.
Melaleuca: This is more commonly known as “Tea Tree Oil” and is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial treatment. It has been found to help hypersensitivity, treat eczema, treat staph infections and works well as a remedy for bug bites.
Arborvitae: is known to reduce stress levels and repel insects.
Cassia: offers tranquility to its user, cassia oil provides a warming sensation to the body.
Helichrysum: is full of antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have found that when helichrysum is applied to the skin, it can help treat acne, psoriasis and athlete's foot.
Oregano: Oregano oil offers antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that have been used to treat bacterial infections, psoriasis, warts and athlete's foot. One study conducted on oregano oil found that it has antioxidant properties that can help treat respiratory symptoms and fevers.
Anise: can be used to treat bronchitis, coughs, flatulence, colds, muscle aches and rheumatism.
Lemon Balm: Helps with insomnia, sleep disorders, nausea, fungal infections, herpes, stress, depression and more.