Essential Oils or Plant Medicine - What is it? How does it work?
There have always been healers using the benefits of essential oils by making poultices, salves, and medicinal teas from the raw plants.
Plant medicine was the only medicine used for thousands of years until the pharmaceutical industry began to provide other options in the 1880s when they discovered “petrochemicals” (a chemical obtained from petroleum and natural gas) and started to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs.
It was only in 1937 that it was given the name “aromatherapy” and this name is a bit misleading. I know I paid no attention to it and felt I didn’t need fragrances – probably due to not liking the tar-based perfumes I so often smell on others. I really didn’t understand the idea of using smells to enhance my health.
But the medicinal power of plants is now becoming popular and I now understand why.
Additionally, they can be used in many combinations and they are safe.
Do you understand what essential oils are?
What is an essential oil?
An essential oil is the extraction of a plant’s “aromatic essence”. Plants have their own reason for making these essences.
Some plants use the oil to attract pollinators or to repel predators. It wards off insects and rodents and defends that plant from bacteria or viruses. In others, the oil discourages competitive species from growing too close. An essential oil can even serve as an antimicrobial system, keeping the plant protected and pest-free.
Essential oils can be used to manage pain, improve sleep quality, reducing stress, anti-inflammatory, improving mood, and soothing sore joints plus it has positive effects on the immune system and central nervous system.
Essential oils are created by glandular structures in the plant, either on the surface or internally. If you touch a lavender leaf, for example, you can smell the essential oil on your fingertips from the oil glands on the surface of the leaf. With a plant like eucalyptus, you have to break open the leaf to access the aromatic compounds.
When it comes to using essential oils for wellness, it’s often more practical—and accessible—to work with a concentrated essential oil than the raw plant itself.
What can be addressed with Essential Oils?
There is evidence that it can be used for:
Help for people who feel stressed or anxious enabling them to relax.
Stress or anxiety
Calming effects that lowers activation of the sympathetic nervous (responsible for fight or flight response. It addresses physical symptoms such as sweaty palms or a racing heart.
PMS or menopause symptoms
Skin problems or disorders, including bites, rashes, bruising, cellulite or acne.
Blood sugar fluctuations
Those with insomnia, anxiety, or even restless leg syndrome and hot flashes that strike during the night have been known to benefit from sleep-inducing essential oils.
Certain essential oils have antiseptic properties that help cleanse the air of bacteria, fungus and mold that can contribute to respiratory problems, such as congestion, coughing or sneezing.
Research shows that using citrus oils in aromatherapy practices can help improve overall immune function and reduce fatigue associated with depressive states. It’s been found that aromatic oils, such as orange and lemon (those with a citrus fragrance),
Essential oils that can help you overcome sinus infections, allergies, colds, the flu or coughs, and fatigue.
Diluted essential oils can be spritzed onto the skin or scalp to reduce acne, dandruff, cellulite, toe fungus, itching, inflammation from bites, and rashes and to improve wound healing. They have antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal and other cleansing qualities.
To help soothe tight or tense muscles, achy joints, inflamed tissue injuries, or pain from headaches, a combination of different oils can be inhaled or applied to the troubled area.
A few of the studies done: (studies done calling it Aromatherapy)
Results from one study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that patients who received essential oils therapy reported significantly greater improvement in their mood and perceived levels of anxiety and felt less anxious and more positive immediately following the therapy.
One study published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care found that aromatherapy helped hospice patients decrease pain, anxiety and depression, and promote an increased sense of well-being.
An International Journal of Neuroscience study involving 40 patients experiencing depressed moods and mental fatigue found that aromatherapy positively affects alertness, competency on testing (in this case regarding math problems) and improves overall mood.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Basic Physiology and Pharmacology found that turmeric (Curcuma longa) and ginger (Zingiber officianale) essential oils which are widely used in Asian countries as traditional medicine and food ingredients, have strong gastro-protective activities, including anti-ulcer potential.
How are essential oils made?
There are two main ways to collect a plant’s essential oil. All methods require a deep understanding of how and when to harvest plant material for maximal yield of the best and most powerful aromatics.
The oldest and most common method is,
The most common method of producing essential oils is steam distillation of the essential oil of the plant.
Citrus oils are obtained by expression (also known as cold-pressing or expeller-pressing, the former being a temperature-controlled process).
How to use essential oils
Essential oils have been used for centuries. There’s still much research to be done on the healing potential of essential oils, it’s clear that they are powerful,
Here are a few easy, effective ways to use essential oils in your daily life:
Inhalation and diffusion
Inhalation is one of the easiest ways to use essential oils in your home. You can use a diffuser, sprinkle oils on the shower floor as you bathe, or drop them into a tissue and inhale them.
There’s mounting evidence to show that certain inhaled essential oils can help with conditions like migraines and anxiety.
There is evidence to support the use of lavender essential oil as a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory and topical antibiotic making it very handy to keep around for burns and bug bites.
Essential oils can also be applied to the skin in the form of skin care products. Of course, not all oils are appropriate for skin care, and the concentration is important, so make sure you’re getting oils from a company with an educated formulator.
Household cleaning products
Some essential oils, like lavender, cinnamon, geranium and thyme have powerful antibacterial properties, making them excellent choices for DIY home cleaning products. The Key
The key to achieving results from essential oils is to use pure, therapeutic-grade oils rather than those with synthetic ingredients or synthetic fragrances. The effectiveness of essential oil practices always depends on the quality of the oils used.
We researched the best oil to use. There are a lot of cheaper versions out there and quality is what you need for plant medicine.
We have used our best judgment in compiling this information. The Food and Drug Administration may not have evaluated the information presented. Any reference to a specific product is for your information only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease