When they hear about the health benefits of Essential Oils, many people roll their eyes, brushing it off as a passing fad or, at the very most, a nice-smelling air freshener. These oils, and their benefits, have been enjoyed since ancient times for stress relief, cleaning, health and beauty, etc.
Many people are still skeptical about using essential oils. Hopefully, I’ll be able to answer some of your questions and set your mind at ease.
What Are Essential Oils?
In simple words, essential oils can be defined as those oils that are extracted from various plants, mainly through the process of steam distillation. They are sold in the purest forms to get the maximum benefits out of them.
Many essential oils possess natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, which make them excellent for overall health and in cleaning products. Essential oils from eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon, lavender, grapefruit and peppermint are commonly used for home cleaning.
Essential Oils are highly concentrated and hence, they should only be used after diluting with carrier oils (such as olive oil or coconut oil). A few drops of an essential oil has the same properties as contained in multiple cups of herbal tea made from the leaves of the same plant. For example, a drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to 26-28 cups of tea made from peppermint leaves. Therefore, essential oils should be used with proper guidance and care, to make sure that you get their benefits and not face any negative effects due to overdose.
No Fatty Acids
One of the unique characteristics of essential oils is that they do not contain ‘fatty acids’ – the basic element present in other oils. Due to this, they are not as greasy as other kinds of oils.
So, What Do I Look For?
As a result of the wide popularity and a huge demand of essential oils, many companies have appeared in the market; but, not all of them are selling the right kind of essential oils. To gain maximum benefits out of an essential oil, it is extremely important that you buy one of the best quality. To make sure you do not end up wasting money, look for purity, know the Latin name of the particular plant whose essential oil you are looking for and go for the organic ones. Those who regularly use essential oils use their nose to identify their quality. The smells of pure essential oils are starkly different from the synthetic ones.
How Essential Oils Are Used
Essential oils are often used in the following ways:
- Topical application
- Facial Steams
- In cleaning products
One Last Thought
Make sure to dilute essential oils before using them or get guidance from experts to know about the right amount to use, especially if using the oil in pure form. Also, avoid using them on infants, children, the elderly, pregnant women or on those suffering from any serious health problem, unless approved by the doctor. Topical application is the safest way to use essential oils. Using them internally is not advised without medical guidance.