What are essential oils and do they have health benefits ? The scented substances, the oils, are the waste products of a plant’s metabolism, first amongst the by-products of the plant’s chemistry, to be thrown out as excreta.
There are more than 90 types of essential oils, each with its own unique smell and potential health benefits…Despite their widespread use, little is known about the ability of essential oils to treat certain health conditions.
Stress and anxiety
It has been estimated that 43% of people who have stress and anxiety use some form of alternative therapy to help relieve their symptoms.. initial studies have shown that the smell of some essential oils can work alongside traditional therapy to treat anxiety and stress, using essential oils during a massage may help relieve stress too.
In the ’90s, two small studies found that dabbing a peppermint oil and ethanol mixture on participants’ foreheads and temples relieved headache pain.
One review examined 15 studies on essential oils and sleep. The majority of studies showed that smelling the oils — mostly lavender oil — had positive effects on sleep habits.
It has been suggested that essential oils may help fight inflammatory conditions. Some test-tube studies show that they have anti-inflammatory effects…. However, very few human studies have examined the effects of these oils on inflammatory diseases. Therefore, their effectiveness and safety are unknown.
Many people use essential oils to scent their homes or freshen up things like in the laundry. Sometimes they are used as a natural scent in homemade cosmetics and high-quality natural products.
Keep the following tips in mind to choose only high-quality oils:
- Purity: Find an oil that contains only aromatic plant compounds, without additives or synthetic oils. Pure oils usually list the plant’s botanical name (such as Lavandula officinalis) rather than terms like “essential oil of lavender.”
- Quality: True essential oils are the ones that have been changed the least by the extraction process. Choose a chemical-free essential oil that has been extracted through distillation or mechanical cold pressing.
- Reputation: Purchase a brand with a reputation for producing high-quality products.
Safety depends on several factors
As the essential oil market continues to grow, so do concerns about whether these highly concentrated plant extracts are safe for common use. Many consumers are unaware of the potential risks while using essential oils in their wellness, beauty, and cleaning routines.
There is still much we don’t know about the long-term effects of aromatherapy. Possible long-term effects need to be considered and studied before the use of popular oils becomes a main stream practice in Western medicine
Whether a specific oil is safe for you, depends on a number of factors, including your:
- underlying health conditions
- medication and supplement use.
- Essential oils are natural, but that doesn’t mean they can be used without taking precautions.