Do Essential Oils Really Work and What are some of their Health Risks
Do Essential Oils Really Work?
Creighton University Medical Center School of Medicine is out to determine if alternative therapies actually work. Aromatherapy has long been recognized for the treatment of minor ailments as well as the promotion of emotional stability. But how does it actually work? The Medical Center reports that while there is widespread use, there is still not much scientific evidence to support claims of the ability to treat these ailments.
What studies have been done? The school has tested the lavender, chamomile, marigold and peppermint essential oils in several studies to see if there was a reduction in the perception of pain. Placebo tests were also performed in these studies as well. The results showed that there positive effects through the use of the essential oils although they were not conclusive. Does that mean that essential oils do not work? Absolutely not! What the studies do show is that there are positive physiological effects when aromatherapy was used as a complementary form of treatment.
The use of aromatherapy is rooted in our history with its use dating back some one thousand years. The Egyptians used essential oils for embalming the dead, but they also used them as medicines, for perfumes and as cosmetics. Throughout the centuries following the use of essential oils in medical treatments were refined through the use of improved distillation equipment and additional studies of plants. While the term “aromatherapy” is new, the practice of using essential oils as medicines is not.
We do know that aromatherapy combines uses the sense of smell to regulate emotional behaviors. We know that certain essential oils are known to induce feelings of peace, harmony, reduce stress, anger or fatigue as well as other emotional facets. Essential oils can also reduce anxiety or feelings of loneliness. There is an essential oil that can aid in the treatment of just about every negative emotion and enhance the positive ones as well. But how it all works has still not been proven.
We also know that essential oils used as a topical treatment have been known to exhibit anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic responses. Topical treatments are normally diluted mixes of essential oils with carrier oils such as apricot kernel oil or almond sweet oil. Essential oils have been used in the treatment of acne, athlete’s foot, eczema and other skin ailments. Essential oils have also been noted to reduce scarring tissue and stretch marks. Citrus oils have also been used to treat insect bites as well as act as insect repellant. There are so many uses!
While there still might be little evidence to support or validate the scientific processes of healing or emotional balance that take place within the body, we are still seeing positive responses! We are still seeing and experiencing the benefits of what aromatherapy can do when we add this to our regimen. Whether or not the use of essential oils is right for you, only you can decide. Take some time to consult with your doctor or aromatherapist and see how you can add nature’s benefits to your life!
Essential Oils Used in Healing
If you are ill, you should generally turn to a physician for help. However, in many countries, essential oils are used in the mainstream medical community. So, if you still need help after seeing your doctor, you can use essential oils to help you heal. The first thing to remember when using essential oils for healing is that you need to buy only the certified therapeutic grade oils. These oils are purer and more concentrated. They will cost more, but if you buy the cheaper oils they will have little healing effect.
Essential oils strengthen your immune system. They can help with viruses and cold sores, for example. Clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary, and neroli are just some of the essential oils that will help in this area.
There are also essential oils that are powerful antifungal agents. Some of these are tea tree, lemon grass, and rosemary oils. Fungi can cause many problems in the body. Many people are allergic to mold. Allergies of all types can be treated with tansy, spikenard, cajeput, and chamomile, to name a few. Tansy, along with eucalyptus and marjoram are essential oils used to help with asthma. Bronchitis can be eased with eucalyptus, rosemary, and thyme oils.
Digestive tract ailments can be remedied with different essential oils. Peppermint, ginger, and tarragon oils are useful for people who suffer from indigestion. Ulcers can be helped by frankincense, chamomile, and myrrh oils.
There are problems in the lower part of the digestive tract that can be helped with essential oils as well. Constipation responds well to dill, marjoram, and especially to ginger. Use myrtle, coriander, and orange essential oils, instead, for diarrhea.
Many of the troubles people face in modern times can only be recognized by doing a blood test. For instance, once your doctor tells you that you have high cholesterol, he/she will give you a course of action to take. If you want to speed that along you can use rosemary, chamomile, or lemon essential oils, too. Clary sage and cedarwood are helpful for high cholesterol as well. Many essential oils have been used in the treatment of high blood pressure, another silent disorder. Ylang ylang, Melissa, and yarrow are among the remedies available.
Women have used essential oils for their hormonal problems for centuries. Jasmine, cypress, and coriander are used to alleviate difficult menstrual cycles. For menopause, clary sage and fennel have proven to be effective.
Different kinds of pain are soothed by the use of essential oils. Clove, peppermint, wintergreen, and lavender are a few used for general feelings of pain. The lavender and peppermint are probably the best for headaches. Biting on a whole clove will release its essential oils to relieve a toothache.
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There are also essential oils remedies for even more serious conditions. These include tumors, heart problems, macular degeneration, and food poisoning. There is a way to use essential oils to treat almost every ailment known to man. Remember that, whenever possible, contact your doctor for evaluation of any health problem before relying on essential oils to heal it. In other countries, the doctor might prescribe essential oils. In the US, you can try them on your own, especially if your doctor agrees.
Health Risks of Essential Oils
Like anything, too much of a good thing becomes bad. There are risks associated with the overexposure of essential oils, but the proper use of them proves to be medically enhancing to our lives. It is always best to use the oils under the guidance of an aromatherapy practitioner. It is also prudent to seek medical attention should you experience any signs or symptoms of overexposure.
Most essential oils were not meant to be ingested. While the oils do have medicinal benefits, they are also concentrated. Keep in mind that there are exceptions to this rule of thumb and knowing what you are putting into your body is critical. For example, chamomile can be used in a tea to ease an upset stomach. It’s also important to note that what ever flows into your body gets processed in the liver and kidneys. Too much exposure to chemicals (even the natural ones) can be harmful to their functioning.
Many essential oils travel into the body by inhalation. The oil vaporizes into the air in the form of an aroma. We inhale those aromas and they then enter into our blood stream to affect our brain and nervous system. Prolonged effects may change the chemical make up of our tissues. Chemicals are still chemicals no matter if we can see them or not. What are the side effects of this inhalation? We may feel dizzy or light headed. We may even experience headaches or nausea. If we have experienced any symptoms like these, step out side to get some fresh air and let our body readjust. Remove the essential oil element and discard. Everyone’s body reacts differently to different things. If you’re also taking medication, using essential oils could impact that treatment.
Essential oils that are topically applied (meaning applied directly to your skin) may also create rash like symptoms or redness. These symptoms are temporary effects, but exposure to a large enough area could be darn irritating to deal with. Safely test to see if your skin can handle the oil application by applying a drop of oil mixed with a tablespoon of vegetable oil to your skin. If the skin turns red or if there is burning or itching, cease the use of the oil immediately and flush the area with water. Consult with your doctor and aromatherapy practitioner. Essential oils that are applied topically can heal many skin conditions like acne, eczema and athlete’s foot.
It is especially important that if you have a medical condition or are pregnant or nursing, that you consult with a medical professional before using essential oils. In addition, it is recommended that you read all the safety information before using the product.
While there are risks involved, the use of essential oils to promote health and wellness has been a growing market as people seek to find natural methods for cures. We find that risks vary from person to person and that moderation is best practice. Remember to be under the guidance of a doctor and / or aromatherapy practitioner while using the oils. Make the most of what nature provides and minimize risk by understanding what is involved and how to correctly use the product.