What are essential oils?
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for a variety of applications that include medicinal, aromatherapy, and for personal care products. They are highly concentrated natural oils that have been extracted by steam distillation or cold expression from the leaves, stems, flowers, rinds, bark, roots, or from some other element of the plants. The magic in these oils lies in the fact that they are not a single isolated compound but are a very complex blend of trace elements that have the remarkable ability to support the body and promote healing.
Essential oils have been called the “life force” or the “essence” of a plant. Even though these natural oils come from the inside of the plants, they are constantly changing their chemical composition in order to help the plant adapt to their ever-changing internal and external environments. Scientific research has shown that plants can produce these oils for a variety of purposes, such as for protection from predators, as a way of preventing competition from other plants, or to prevent fungal infections from taking hold, and to attract pollinators .
How essential oils can help promote healing
Essential oils have a very small molecular weight which allows them to be absorbed through the skin and circulate throughout the bloodstream. They are lipid soluble, which means they also have the ability to cross through the cellular membrane and heal the body at the cellular level. The Essential Oil Desk Reference, 4th Edition, says that “ essential oils are lipid soluble and can penetrate cellular membranes bringing an increase of 21% oxygen to the cells within 20 minutes of application.” Normal cell function can be reestablished when there is sufficient oxygen, and this also allows the cells the ability to once again expel their waste products. Dr. David Stewart, Ph.D., D.N.M. Integrated Aromatic Science Practitioner and author of the book Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: God’s Love Manifest in Molecules, states that essential oils are one of nature’s best cleansers. They have the ability to cleanse the body at the cellular level by removing pharmaceutical drugs, petrochemicals, and other disruptors of inter-cellular communication. They also have the ability to chelate heavy metals and other toxins by sending them out through the elimination pathways of the body, which include the liver, colon, skin, lungs, and kidneys. Some oils, including Frankincense and Sandalwood, also have the ability to cross the blood/brain barrier in order to promote healing.
Research shows that the healing properties within these oils are quite remarkable and they can be used to treat a number of health challenges that include arthritis, muscular soreness, nasal and lung congestion, sore throats, digestive issues, lymphatic or glandular congestion, various skin conditions, as a form of stress relief, and can even be an effective component of a cancer healing protocol.
There are hundreds of essential oils available on the market today, and each one has its own unique therapeutic value. It’s important to know which ones are the most effective in treating the condition that you are trying to improve, so reading up on a specific issue is always very helpful before getting started. The application method that you chose will depend on the desired effect and the essential oil that is selected.
How to use essential oils:
- Because these oils are very potent only a few drops are needed.
- Essential oils will evaporate quickly if you do not apply them with a carrier oil. A carrier oil does exactly what it says- helps to carry the oil into the body.
- Many oils are very potent and will need to be diluted with a carrier oil. Some good carrier oils include almond, jojoba, sesame, castor, Fractionated Coconut Oil, and others.
- You can apply the oil and carrier mixture to the bottoms of the feet, around the neck, over the liver or other organ, down the spine, onto the breasts or glandular areas, lymphatic areas, onto the wrists, or take the oils orally (this can only be done with certain therapeutic grade oils).
- Certain oils can be ingested by putting them into gelatin capsules, adding a drop to organic honey, adding a drop to a glass of warm water or tea, rubbing a drop onto the roof of your mouth with your thumb, placing a drop onto the tongue and pressing your tongue up to the soft palate towards the back of the throat, or by placing a drop under the tongue where it will be quickly absorbed into the blood stream. These oils must be of the highest quality, therapeutic grade. Consult with a trained aromatherapist before attempting this.
- Wound care involves topical applications.
- Mood effects can be addressed by inhalation or topical application.
- Bathing would involve both inhalation and topical absorption.
Some popular oils and their uses:
Lavender: is the most popular of all essential oils. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also be used to reduce the healing time of wounds, be helpful with insect bites, and for those suffering from allergies. Lavender oil has also been shown to promote relaxation and sleep. You can do this by adding a few drops into your bath or onto your pillow to help you relax.
Lemon: this oil is said to have detoxifying abilities and is also helpful for those with allergies. For cancer, lemon oil has the ability to utilize multiple mechanisms to thwart off cancer. They do this through cell cycle arrest, apoptosis (cell suicide), and by stopping tumors from growing their own blood vessels. A recent study tested lemon oil on a series of human cervical adenocarcinoma cell lines and found that the oil not only blocked the cancer cell lines from spreading, but also inhibited oxidizing free radicals from harming healthy cells. Lemon oil should be applied in a 50/50 ratio with a carrier oil to the skin, feet, or to the back of the neck and works well in combination with other oils.
Rosemary: can help relieve headaches, alleviate stress, and to stimulate blood circulation. It can be added to your shampoo to treat dandruff and to increase circulation to the scalp. This oil can also be used to support and detoxify the liver. For the liver – mix the rosemary oil with equal parts castor oil and then apply to the liver area and relax with a heating pad for about an hour.
Eucalyptus: has antiviral and antibacterial qualities making it ideal for coughs and colds. This oil can be applied topically or inhaled as this can help disinfect and clear the nasal passages and congestion from the lungs. This oil is also helpful for those suffering from allergies.
Oregano: has antibacterial and anti-fungal qualities. It can be helpful for those suffering from a cold or the flu, or for those with fungal infections such as an internal candida infection, nail fungus, or dandruff (which is a topical fungal infection). You can take this oil orally by placing a few drops on or under the tongue (only if it is therapeutic grade), or it can applied to the skin with a carrier oil when dealing with topical fungal infections.
Geranium: is said to be a “woman’s oil” because it can help with balancing the hormones, alleviate the symptoms of PMS, and be helpful to those transitioning into menopause. This oil cannot be taken internally.
Frankincense (sacred) : promotes health by boosting immunity and fighting inflammation. It is anti-bacterial and can be used to treat insect bites and small wounds. It can help to relieve congestion and mucus production, helps to regulate heavy menstrual flow, aids in digestion, and helps to calm the nervous system. This oil should be mixed with a carrier oil and then applied to the skin of the breasts or glandular area, or over the uterus. This oil can be taken orally by adding it to capsules, rubbing onto the roof of your mouth, or placing under the tongue (therapeutic grade only for oral use).
Sandalwood: there is currently a low supply of this oil due to high demand. It has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor qualities. It can help to relieve sore throats, congestion and mucus production, as well as to calm the body and to focus the mind so it is often used by those with a meditative practice. This oil can be used topically and internally.
Myrrh: is anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. It can be used on wounds, eczema and athletes foot. Myrrh can also be used for female hormonal issues including menstruation problems, menopause, and uterine tumors. It can be helpful in clearing the body of excess estrogen and xenoestrogens and is also good for detoxifying the liver. For the liver – apply myrrh mixed with equal parts castor oil over the liver area, then apply a heating pad and relax for about an hour.
Pain relief with essential oils -“The Morphine Bomb” – is made with 5 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil + 5 drops of Copaiba Essential Oil + 5 drops of Balsam Fir. The essential oils are put into Capsules and taken orally, as needed.
A natural deodorant- I use essential oils that are mixed with carrier oils and put into amber roll on bottles. I use Lymph Support Essential oil mixed with various other oils, but you can use any combination of oils that appeal to you. You want your body to sweat and release toxins, you just don’t want to smell bad. This works great and one can reapply during the day if needed, but I don’t find that it is necessary. I use the roll on to cover breast and arm pit area and then massage in.
- You should always use a carrier oil when applying essential oils to babies and children since their skin is much more sensitive.
- Children under 6 should not take essential oils internally.
- Avoid using essential oils during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Some oils are photosensitive and should not be used in DYI sun and skin creams as they can cause serious burning. These include citrus oils, bergamot, patchouli, and angelica.
- Only certain oils can be ingested and they must be of the highest quality, therapeutic grade oils. Consult with a trained aromatherapist before attempting this.
- For a list of oils that have been approved for internal use.
- Check with your doctor if you have a condition that may require additional treatment.