Herbal Lessons: How To Use Essential Oils

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Jane Chitty writes regularly for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions using specially formulated essential oil blends. Jane lives in Cape Town, South Africa and frequently visits many areas of the world, comparing natural treatments and lifestyles–most notably in the areas of health, green living and nutrition.

Most people today remain unaware of the healing properties of essential oils, even though these oils have powerful therapeutic agents. We can still find written and other references, from ancient times up to the 1800s, attesting to the use of such oils for healing and annointing. It was only in comparatively modern times that the value of the oils was overlooked in the wake of the strides made in developing new medications and drugs. Now we are in the 21st century and there has been an overwhelming and often enlightened return to a more natural way of life on many fronts, including the use of essential oils.

Of course, the purpose of essential oils in their host plants is to defend these same plants against insects, environmental conditions and disease, while helping the plant to grow, live, evolve and generally adapt to its surroundings. Producers have had to relearn the distillation process to ensure that the complex chemical makeup of these essential oils is not destroyed so that more and more people can reap the vast benefits for themselves. Essential oils are extracted from the plants by steam distillation. They are highly concentrated and far more potent than dry herbs–some 220 pounds of lavender flowers make just 1 pound of essential oil. Essential oils smell good, too!

Essential oils have a variety of important health benefits.
Photo by Helena Liu/ Courtesy

Pure essential oils are used at Healing Natural Oils, including bergamot and lavender. Many essential oils have both physical and emotional benefits. For example, bergamot is one of the ingredients in a formula to treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis or cold sores, but its emotional healing properties can be applied to anger, anxiety or stress. Another use is as a natural insecticide to protect the body against lice and other parasites. During radiation treatment, bergamot oil can be inhaled (in aromatherapy) to reduce anxiety.

Lavender is another healing essential oil and forms part of the treatment for athlete’s foot, headaches and migraines, and scars and stretch marks. The emotional dilemmas of depression, irritability or panic attacks can be eased by lavender. The ability of essential oils to act on both mind and body only further proves how versatile and powerful they can be.

Each type of essential oil has a unique chemical structure that affects how it smells, how it is absorbed, and how it is used by the body. Even varieties of plants within the same species may have chemical structures inconsistent with eachother because of location and the way they are grown. The oils are also very volatile, evaporating quickly when they come in contact with air. Different essential oils will have different properties–antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic and more. They can rapidly penetrate cell membranes, traveling through the bloodstream and tissue to enhance cellular function in a natural, healthy way without the need to resort to the synthetic chemicals or drugs. The benefits of essential oils can be derived in three ways: the ingestion and topical application of therapeutic grade oils; the diluting of the oils in a carrier oil for massaging the body to relieve stress and induce relaxation; and the inhalation of the oils where the brain then receives the effects.

Many studies of essential oils have found that they have antibacterial effects when applied to the skin, while research on rats has shown that different essential oils can be calming or energizing. Safety testing on essential oils show very few side effects or risks when they are used as directed. Often referred to as nature’s living energy, essential oils have so much to offer.

Read More:Tea Tree Oil- The Mayo Clinic
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Overview- WebMD
Bergamot Oil- WebMD

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