Essential oils can be defined in various ways but the briefest and precise definition goes thus; essential oils are compounds derived from plant extracts. Since essential oils are extracted from plants they tend to have the scent, flavor, and essence of that particular plant.
Generally, essential oils are extracted from plants via two different processes or methods—chemical and mechanical methods.
The chemical method of extracting essential oil is called the distillation process. The distillation process is usually carried out through steam or water.
On the other hand, cold pressing is the most common mechanical method used for extracting essential oils.
Meanwhile, the essential oils are not the products gotten from the plant extraction but aromatic compounds. The aromatic compounds are the true definition of the essence of the essential oil. What this means is that the ailments to be relieved depend on the aromatic compound that makes up the essential oils in use.
Once the extraction process has been carried out to attain the aromatic compounds, they are combined with oil. The oil they are combined with is called a carrier oil. The result of this combination results in a finished product ready for the support of one’s health and well-being.
Furthermore, although the extraction can be carried out by two different methods, the method used is important. This is primarily because the essential oils derived from these methods define the effectiveness of the essential oils. Essential oils derived from the chemical method of extraction are not considered to be true.
As said earlier, essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy. They are however inhaled via various procedures. They are also used to improve one’s mood by alleviating anxiety. Therefore, the function of essential oils is not limited to only the treatment of ailments, such as headache, toothache, and skin infections.
Inhaling the scents from essential oils usually stimulates the nervous system—the limbic system to be precise. The limbic system is known to play a significant role in emotion, long-term memory, and behavior.
The limbic system is however also responsible for the regulation of unconscious physical activities. These activities include breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. Therefore, all of these biological activities can be controlled by essential oils. This is primarily because of the effects the scents from essential oils have on the brain—limbic system.
The benefits of using essential oils are widespread and only a few health benefits are known. Various research and studies have shown significant evidence of the effects essential oil has on various health conditions. This evidence however does not exclude the effects of aromatherapy.
– Reduction of inflammation
– Sleep and insomnia
– Headache and migraine
– Antibiotics and antimicrobial
– Anxiety and stress
Various test-tube research and studies on the effects of essential oils on inflammation have been carried out. This was however carried out on mouses and the result showed that essential oils are anti-inflammatory.
The essential oils used for this study are oregano, caraway, thyme, and rosemary oils. All of which showed the same result to the effects they have on inflammation.
Essential oils have been noticed via various studies to influence the circadian rhythm of sleep. Various essential oils were studied in this regard and Levander oil turned out to have the most influence on one’s sleeping habits.
The effect of essential oils on headaches and migraine stems from ancient medicinal treatments. In the medieval days, essential oils, especially peppermint oils were mixed with alcohol for this purpose. The mixture of peppermint oils and alcohol cured headaches and migraine pains when applied to the temple and forehead.
This ancient method of treating headaches and migraines also applies in this current age of modernism. This stems from the recent studies carried out on peppermint and lavender oils. It was however concluded that the application of lavender and peppermint oils to the skin cured headaches and migraines.
Furthermore, a traditional Persian headache remedy also cures headaches and migraines. This remedy primarily involves the application of chamomile and sesame to the temple and forehead.
Essential oils are known for their antimicrobial property, especially peppermint and tea tree oil. These oils were used in recent test-tube studies to check their antibiotics and antimicrobial effects. The results of these studies appeared to be positive in results.
Although these essential oils have positive effects on bacteria infections, more research needs to be carried out on humans. Therefore, there is yet to be a concluded result on the essential oils suitable for a particular bacteria infection.
Anxiety and stress
The scents or aroma from essential oils have been observed to have effects on the limbic system. The limbic system is a site of the brain that controls emotions, behavior, and various unconscious physical activities.
A study on the effects of essential oils on anxiety and stress with respect to aromatherapy was carried out. The result from this study showed that some essential oils can work side by side with other traditional therapy for the treatment of anxiety and stress.
Essential oils are beneficial for the treatment of various health conditions, such as headaches and migraines. To acquire this effect they must be applied on the skin or inhaled. However, they are not meant to be consumed.
Sometimes, their effects are exaggerated. Therefore, it is always advisable to speak with your doctor before using them for the treatment of your ailments.