The use of essential oils is ancient, dating back beyond record. From using the dried leaves and flowers of herbs and wild plants through to the development of sophisticated extraction techniques that used cold pressing or chemical extraction, the use of natural products for health is certainly not a new event.
We have examples of different uses from Greeks and Romans, as well as in the bible with the Christ child being gifted Myrrh and Frankincense (see here). Moving forward in history, we now have standardized quality control ensuring that therapeutic essential oils meet certain standards, and numerous research looking into the effects of alternative medicines, as well as trying to understand exactly how aromatherapy can be used. While there is still plenty of room for scientific research to further the field, a lot of what we do with aromatherapy is based on thousands of years of successful treatments.
What Are The Benefits Of Aromatherapy?
Using essential oils rather than synthetic or fragrant oils can have quite remarkable benefits, and although, despite some claims, they won’t cure autism or cancer, what they can do is increase your wellbeing. Using personal diffusers like the inhalers from Bemoxe can allow you to use essential oils to decrease your anxiety or increase your confidence whenever you need to. This is really just a more modern version of the older but more efficient method of carrying a cotton ball or hankie that was infused with appropriate scents.
Scientific research has been able to confirm that many of the beliefs about certain oils do meet the claims about them, for example, three of the most commonly used oils:
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) can be used straight on surfaces as an antibacterial and antifungal agent for cleaning; and used on the skin or inhaled can decrease stress, reduce the severity of headaches, ease muscular pain and actually help to boost the immune system. It also has properties that can help provide relief from itchy bites caused by sandflies, mites and mosquitoes, and may help keep said biting insects from wanting to take a bit of your blood in the first place. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/9268468
Peppermint also has anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious properties and is often used to help ease breathing when suffering from a cold or flu. The herb itself can be used as a tea to help settle an upset stomach, and of course the oil is used in a whole range of tooth products, both for the fresh feeling but also because of its ability to help prevent gum disease and remove bacteria.
Lemon has been shown to help improve both the appetite and the immune system – with lemons being a common drink to create health and wellbeing for both a morning pick me up and with honey to help relieve cold symptoms.
Are Essential Oils Safe?
Mostly, yes, there are no issues for a healthy adult using essential oils according to the directions. However, using them excessively, using them if you have certain medical conditions (including pregnancy) or on either children or pets can have negative consequences.
Certain essential oils, particularly citrus ones, will increase your sun sensitivity, so extra caution needs to be used if you are wearing these on your skin, even heavily diluted as part of a body lotion.
If you have epilepsy, or are around someone who does, you need to be careful with which oils are used. More stimulating ones such as sage or eucalyptus can increase the risk of a seizure coming on.
With low blood pressure you need to be aware of the really relaxing oils such as ylang ylang and lavender, generally you’ll be ok, but use with caution and be in a safe situation (if you’re using to have a relaxing bath make sure that either someone is with you or that if you pass out your head can not go under the water).
Anyone with high blood pressure, liver conditions or heart conditions should speak to an expert about what is going to be safe for them to use.
One side note about the claims about being able to cure cancer – there has been research into this, but it is ongoing and still in early stages. So, while the results are so far positive, they are looking at cells under microscopes not at breathing in lavender oil in a room diffuser.
There are lots of really positive uses for oils to increase joy and happiness, reduce your stress and anxiety and help to create a sense of calm and delight in your world.
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