Essential oils: Types and Uses
Plants are the source of essential oils. Oils capture the essence of the plants, offering their scent and flavor. The composition of essential oils varies according to their aromatic compound composition.
A distillation process (with steam or water) or mechanical extraction, such as cold pressing, can be used to obtain essential oils. In order to make a product ready for use, aromatic chemicals are extracted and combined with carrier oil.
Since chemical processes do not yield true essential oils, hence the process in which the oils are made is important to prepare true essential oils.
How do essential oils work?
Aromatherapy is typically the most common use of essential oils, and they are inhaled through various methods.
- It is not recommended to swallow essential oils. Essential oils contain chemicals that can interact with your body in several ways. Some plant chemicals are absorbed when applied to the skin.
- It is believed that certain types of application, such as using heat or applying to different parts of the body, enhance absorpti Research; however, it is scarce on this topic.
- As you breathe in essential oils, your limbic system is stimulated, which is a part of your brain associated with behaviors, emotions, and long-term memory.
- It is interesting to note that the limbic system plays an important role in memory formation. It helps to explain why familiar smells can bring back memories or trigger emotions in some people.
- Other unconscious physiological functions controlled by the limbic system include heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Consequently, some people claim that essential oils can physically affect the human body.
Benefits of essential oils
1. Stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety are common problems among people; it has been estimated that 43 percent of people who suffer from such problems take different therapies to reduce these problems.
There have been a number of positive preliminary studies regarding aromatherapy. Studies suggest that some essential oils could help treat stress and anxiety alongside traditional therapies.
2. Headaches and migraines
Two studies conducted in the 1990s revealed that peppermint oil and ethanol mixture was applied to the foreheads and temples of participants.
According to recent studies, peppermint and lavender oils are also beneficial for reducing headache pain.
Additionally, adding chamomile oil and sesame oil together to the temples may relieve headaches and migraines. It is an ancient Persian remedy for headaches.
3. Sleep and insomnia
Women who have recently given birth and people with heart disease might benefit from smelling lavender oil to help them sleep.
4. Reducing inflammation
Some studies suggest essential oils may aid in reducing inflammation. In some experiments in test tubes, they showed anti-inflammatory effects.
5. Antibiotic and antimicrobial
As bacteria become more immune to antibiotics, more research is being done into other compounds that can combat infections.
How to choose the right essential oils?
Several companies claim to offer oils that are “medical-grade” or “pure,” but these terms are not universally defined and thus have little meaning.
Since essential oils come from unregulated industries, they can be of varying quality and composition.
Follow these tips to ensure you are selecting only high-quality oils:
- Purity: Make sure the oil is pure and does not contain any synthetic oils or additives. In contrast to names like “essential oil of lavender,” pure oils are usually listed by their botanical name (e.g., Lavandula officinalis).
- Quality:In the extraction process, the least amount of change is made to true essential oils. Make sure the essential oil you select has been extracted through mechanical cold pressing or distillation without the use of chemicals.
- Reputation: Make sure you are buying a brand whose products have a reputation for being high-quality.