Ten ways essential oils aid your health
Essential oils are plant extracts made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. They have been used for nearly 6,000 years, with the aim of improving a person’s health or mood. They can be diffused, inhaled or applied on skin. Nailantei Norari writes on how these oils improve our wellbeing.
Improves skin health and hair growth
Essential oils such as lavender oil can moisturise, relieve itching and irritation, lighten scars and sooth insect bites.
The oil can also strengthen hair roots by improving blood circulation to the scalp and also helping get rid of dry scalp and split ends ensuring the hair grows long without breakage.
Patchouli oil can help tighten sagging skin while peppermint oil can stimulate the scalp for hair growth.
Improves mood and boosts energy
When some essential oils are inhaled, they affect the amygdala (collection of cells near the base of the brain), thereby reducing stress, improving mood and at times, can even boost energy.
Rose, chamomile and ylang ylang oils are soothing and can, therefore reduce anxiety, and boost someone’s mood upon inhalation.
Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Essential oils of plant species such as oregano, thyme, sage, lemon balm, basil and some other aromatic plants are of considerable importance as the source of natural antioxidant substances if ingested.
Oregano and basil can be ingested to soothe indigestion and cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
It is important to note that essential oils are concentrated and harsh and can, therefore, burn the digestive tract if taken alone.
They should be diluted using a carrier oil before ingestion.
Are antibacterial and antifungal
Eucalyptus or Lavender oils can be mixed with water and used to dust and wipe down surfaces at home thereby killing those nasty germs in the air and on surfaces around your home.
Some oils have antifungal properties. Lemongrass for instance can treat dandruff and fungal infections while neem oil can treat nail fungus and acne.
Essential oils are known to relieve a multitude of pains. Peppermint and lavender oil if applied to the temples can help alleviate headaches and migraines while spicy clove oil can be used to treat toothaches.
Eucalyptus oil relieves muscle pains and can, therefore be used for massage to sort out deep tissue pain.
Sleeping while a diffuser with a calming oil is on can help insomniacs get sleep and light sleepers get more restful sleep. Oils that are good sleep aids are lavender and jasmine.
If you do not own a diffuser, a few droplets on the pillow will do the trick.
Enhance mental focus
When you are experiencing negative emotions that make you feel down, or blue, the fresh aroma of lemongrass, frankincense, patchouli or vetiver root can cheer you up thereby increasing concentration levels.
For better mental acuity, warm your oil of choice in your palms, inhale it, then massage onto the base of the skull, or you can just rub it on the inside of your elbow and the wrists.
Depending on the inflammation, essential oils can be used to reduce swelling either through diffusion or topical use such as a massage, which is best for inflamed muscles or joints.
Ginger, thyme, helichrysum, lavender, clove and eucalyptus have anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce not just swelling, but pain as well.
Relieve coughs and colds
Putting a few droplets of eucalyptus or myrrh oil on the pillow can help relieve a cough or cold.
The active ingredient in VapoRub, is eucalyptus, which is commonly used to treat colds, congestion, and coughs, and is being studied for antibacterial benefits.
Myrrh and peppermint oils not only ease a blocked nose, but also help boost the body’s immunity.