Essential oils are a unique
branch of herbal medicine that utilizes the medicinal properties found in the
essential oils of various plants. Through the different processes of
distillation, the volatile constituents of the plant's oil are extracted from
its flowers, leaves, branches, or roots. The oils then exert much of their
therapeutic effect through their pharmacological properties and small molecular
size making it very easy to penetrate bodily tissues, and help remedy many
How essential oils work
The chemical makeup of
essential oils gives them a host of desirable pharmacological properties,
ranging from antibacterial, antiviral, and antispasmodic, to uses as diuretics
(promoting production and excretion of urine), vasodilators (widening blood
vessels), and vasoconstrictors (narrowing blood vessels).
Essential oils also act on the adrenal glands, ovaries, and the thyroid, and
can energize, pacify, detoxify, and facilitate the digestive process. Their
therapeutic properties also make them effective for treating infections,
interacting with various branches of the nervous system, modifying immune
response, and harmonizing moods and emotions.
Essential oils are generally broad spectrum, meaning they benefit multiple
areas of the body simultaneously.
Conditions benefited by essential oils
Aromatic molecules that
interact with the top of the nasal cavity emit signals that are modified by
various biological processes before traveling to the limbic system, the
emotional switchboard of the brain. Because the limbic system is directly
connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure,
breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance, scientists have learned
that inhalation of oil fragrances may be the fastest way to achieve
physiological or psychological effects.
Some general conditions that can be remedied with essential oils
• Bacterial and viral infections
• Skin conditions
• Muscular disorders
• Autonomic nervous system imbalances
• Emotional stress
How to use essential oils
The benefits of essential oils can be obtained through
inhalation, external application, or orally by ingestion.
• Diffusers - disperse micro-particles of the essential oil into the air. Opt for a cold
• Steam tents - to employ this method, boil a pot of water, remove from stove,
and add two or three drops of essential oils.
• Nose cone - Take a napkin or tissue and make a 2-inch square. Place 2 drops
in the center of the paper. Fold in half and roll up to fit the nostril. Place
the dry end, with no oil, into the nostril and keep there for 20 minutes.
• Floral waters - Use about 10 drops of essential oils and the rest pure water to
fill a 4-ounce glass bottle with spray. Use as a room disinfectant.
• Bath -
essential oils in a hot bath can stimulate the skin, induce relaxation, and
energize the body. The heat of the bath helps the oils penetrate the skin
faster and enhances circulation.
• Massage - works the oils into the skin, and can either calm or stimulate the
• Capsule - put cocoa butter with a drop or two of essential oil into a
• Lozenge - put a drop or two of essential oil into a teaspoon of honey, or
onto a sugar cube.
• Mouthwash - put a few drops of peppermint in a glass of water.
When considering internal use please seek medical guidance, as many essential
oils can cause burning when not diluted or used properly.