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I have already published in depth some of the main problems related to the modern use of essential oils my most controversial posts to date), but essential oils have many advantages, so I wanted to cover the positive side as well.
Benefits of essential oils
Although essential oils have a dark side if used incorrectly, many people have used them safely to:
- Improve immunity and accelerate disease recovery
- Treat the infection (under the care of a professional)
- Hormonal balance
- Make homemade cleaning up or beauty products
- For a diffuse and natural air cleaning
- Topically (when diluted)
- In recipes like homemade insect spray to prevent outdoor pests naturally
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated water-insoluble phytochemicals that are distilled from different parts of plants. They can be distilled from leaves, roots, flowers and other parts of plants and are very potent due to their concentration of phytochemicals.
Plants and herbs have been used for thousands of years and modern society has lost some of the wisdom of past generations and the ability to tackle diseases with these natural solutions.
Essential oils have gained incredible popularity in recent years, but they are really a millennial remedy that has become popular (although it is important to note that many modern essential oils are more concentrated than the oils used historically due to of best distillation techniques).
More is not always better …
Essential oils are extremely powerful and it is important to use as little as possible, not as much as possible. When a few drops of an oil that is used topically or aromatically work, making more of it or consuming it internally is not only unnecessary, but can be harmful.
Another concern with the modern use of essential oils (especially the excessive consumption that often accompanies regular internal use) is the long-term sustainability of essential oils. Because a large amount of plant material is needed to extract the oils, their long-term and widespread use could create a negative environmental effect worldwide.
The quality of essential oils on the market varies greatly. Essential oils can be quite expensive, but a high quality essential oil needs a lot of plant material to produce and is highly concentrated. Many inexpensive essential oils are commercially available, but are altered with other oils or not tested by third parties for their inferior quality.
High quality oils must be produced without chemicals and come from organic plants that grow in their natural environment and in the region of cultivation.
Safe use of essential oils
Essential oils are very powerful vegetable compounds and should be used carefully and in the right way. I’ve seen a lot of information that promotes regular internal use of essential oils, and while there may be a place, I think it’s important to be careful and consult with a qualified professional when consuming them internally, as they are so strong.
My two favorite ways to use essential oils are diffuse and topical use. The body can still use the beneficial parts of the oil and this is a much gentler (but still effective) approach.
Essential oils contain small molecules that are absorbed much more easily into the body than other types of oils, so when an oil is used on the skin, the body quickly gets the benefit of the oil. Therefore, it is also important to follow safe usage guidelines, even for topical uses.
I recommend diluting the oils used on the skin with a safe carrier oil and consulting with a qualified aromatherapist or functional medicine doctor before using them topically, especially in children.
Essential oils can also be diffused into the air. This process is known as aromatherapy and provides the benefits of the oils as they are inhaled. There is evidence that oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled.
Some research has shown that aromatic use is actually more effective than internal use and is certainly much safer.
My favorite essential oils
I have already written about this my favorite oils, but in short, they are excellent to use for daily activities:
- Mint– We use it on the feet for nausea or fever, in household cleaners and soaps and in the diffuser. For congestion, I add a few drops of mint and other oils to a pot of smoking water and breathe in the steam to help open the sinuses.
- Lavender– I use it in skin care recipes and as a soothing oil when needed. It is naturally antibacterial and I often add it to home cleaning products. I also add Lavender to the bath water to help me relax at night.
- Lemon, Lime and Orange– These citrus essential oils are astringent and antiseptic and are believed to stimulate the immune system. They are uplifting and considered cleaners. We avoid them in the sun as they make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. In some studies they are shown to have antimicrobial properties.
- Incense– I use the thyroid topically and it seems to have helped reduce the nodules that were forming (along with dietary changes).
- Romani– I add a drop to my shampoo to increase hair growth and improve scalp health.
- Tea tree / Melaleuca – I add to natural cleansers as it is naturally antibacterial and smells good when mixed with a citrus or lavender oil.
Save money with essential oils?
One of the benefits of using essential oils is that you can save money in other areas of the budget, such as using them. DIY beauty products i home cleaning products which no longer have to be bought in the retail store.
Where I have essential oils
I purchase essential oils from various companies and sources, depending on the mix and use. There can be a substantial difference in quality between brands, so I always make sure the font is certified organic and is available in various sizes (including discounted bulk sizes) whenever possible. However, the vast majority of the oils I use are bought here.
Whenever you buy essential oils, you should always make sure that they are:
- Organic, as pesticides can concentrate more on essential oils.
- Coming from the native region for each plant
- Not altered or adulterated in any way
- List the precautions and contraindications (pregnancy, medications, etc.) for each of your oils
Please take a moment to read this article with important risks and precautions before using essential oils.
This article was medically reviewed by Dra. Michelle Sands, ND. She has dual certification in Integrative Medicine and Naturopathic Medicine and is also a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Competitive Endurance Athlete. As always, this is not about personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor.
Do you use essential oils? What is your favorite oil blend and how do you use it?