When we hear essential oils or aromatherapy oils, we think of alluring and calming fragrances, but the benefit of these oils way exceeds the aesthetic benefits.

The earliest use of essential oils dates back to between 3000-2500 B.C.  The Egyptian culture has been given credit as the first culture to have used aromatic extracts for physical and spiritual wellbeing, beauty care and culinary purposes.

Aromatherapy oils became popular back in the late seventies and early eighties when there was a soar in the interest of natural medicines and remedies and again recently as the rise of environmental concerns has kept the popularity of essential oils thriving. We look at these oils now as healthy and sustainable replacements in health and healing as opposed to harmful chemicals found around the home and in beauty products. 

But what are the actual benefits of using essential oils, what makes it so popular and does it work?

First of all, let’s define what it is. Essential oils are plant extracts. By pressing or steaming various parts of the plant, for example, the leaves, fruit or flowers, it captures the compounds of the plant that produces fragrance, flavours and overall beneficial properties of the plant. It usually takes several pounds of a plant to make a single bottle of these extremely potent oils.

We use essential oils for a range of skincare concerns due to their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties. Studies show that a variety of essential oils have various degrees of antimicrobial activity. These studies also indicate the presence of antiviral, nematicidal, antifungal, insecticidal, and antioxidant properties. 

While clinical studies are continuous with mixed results, there is still not enough evidence to conclude their effectiveness in human health. However, advocates vouch that oils can help dry, oily, and acne-prone skin.

Before we go any further, It is crucial to note the dangers of misusing these oils. These oils, although natural, are still chemicals and hazardous to you if diluted incorrectly or ingested. It is essential to follow the directions of professionals when using essential oils. Oils should never be applied directly to the skin, and you should always use a diffuser. Patch and allergy tests are highly recommended before use with a waiting period of 24 to 48 hours to ensure there are no allergic reactions.

Below is a list of some of the ailments it is known to aid in or reduce:

  • Nausea

  • Pain and body aches

  • Anxiety, depression, agitation and stress

  • Headaches

  • Circulatory problems

  • Menstrual problems

  • Menopausal problems

  • Fatigue and insomnia

Types of essential oils and their uses

Different oils have distinctive uses and effects. Here are a couple of widely used oils and their benefits.

Lavender Oil - It is said to relieve headaches and migraine symptoms, enhance relaxation and sleep, and also used as an antiseptic for minor cuts and burns.

Rosemary Oil - May boost memory, promote hair growth, support the circulatory and nervous system and also prevent muscle spasms.

Grapefruit Oil - It is a used as a mood balancer, may promote weight loss, suppress the appetite and helps to reduce stress and lower blood pressure

Peppermint Oil - This is a widely used oil for a variety of conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, nausea and the common cold and headaches. It is also regularly used as a flavouring agent in foods and products such as mouthwash. 

Orange Oil - Used in aromatherapy, this oil appears to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression; it is also a pain reliever with anticancer and antioxidant activity. Exercise performance and weight loss are also some of the benefits of orange oils.

Eucalyptus Oil - Aids in clearing your chest and silencing coughs. It is also a popular bug repellent, soothes cold sores, freshens the breath and disinfects wounds. 

Lemon Oil - Is known to ease morning sickness, reduce anxiety and depression, improve skin and cold symptoms, heals wounds, treats acne and gives you an overall energised feeling.

Essential oils are a mood booster and can change your mood with their aromatic fumes and even help in alleviating symptoms of various conditions. Despite varying research findings, there are still several benefits that are worth exploring. Important to always remember to use these potent oils as directed and get started today - explore and experiment to find the right oils for your needs.