The use of aromatic compounds, especially essential oils, as complementary or alternative therapeutic agents is an ancient practice, and it dates as far back as 6,000 years ago. Essential oils, which are predominantly condensed extracts of leaves, flowers, stems, roots, seeds, bark, and even resins, have been used for beauty and skincare, culinary purposes, spiritual and physical well-being.
With over 400 essential oils available, they have been proven to have various anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that are effective in treating common illnesses like allergies, colds, anxiety, and pain. They are also of major importance in the cosmetics and perfumes industries and can provide respiratory decontamination and decongestion.
In the article below, we will be discussing the top 5 benefits. Ready to learn? So, let’s get started!
Five health benefits of essential oils
Below are five common health problems that essential oils and aromatherapy have been proven to be effective against;
1. Anxiety, Stress, Agitation, and Depression
Studies prove that the smell of certain essential oils can work alongside conventional therapy to improve anxiety and stress levels. When inhaled, the aromatic molecules in them travel directly to the brain, especially the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, to stimulate relaxation and calmness. Hence, they’re used alongside conventional therapy to reduce anxiety and stress levels in patients, especially cancer patients.
2. Fatigue and Insomnia
Essential oils, such as lavender, possess relaxing fragrances thought to improve the quality of sleep. Studies in older adults living with dementia have proven that sprinkling them on towels around their pillows increased sleep time and quality remarkably. So, if you’re looking to get some good night’s sleep, you might want to consider getting an appropriate essential to that effect.
3. Inflammatory Conditions
Essential oils may be effective in curing inflammatory conditions. They may also be effective in soothing and providing relief to painful and irritated skin. They also help to reduce redness and swelling.
4. Allergies, Colds, Coughs, and Headaches
Some essential oils work as natural antihistamines and possess strong anti-inflammatory properties effective against most allergic reactions. Others, such as Peppermint, are strong and minty and unclog clogged sinuses immediately after application, reducing headaches.
5. Disease Prevention
Studies have proven that essential oils possess antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help prevent damage caused by free radicals on living cells. These free radicals can cause life-threatening diseases, predominantly cancer, and hence studies are ongoing as regards adding them to food to increase our antioxidant intake and prolong shelf life.
Since essential oils can cause certain reactions in the body, not all oils will be beneficial to everyone, and their chemical components can produce adverse effects when combined with medications. Therefore, depending on needs and preferences, it is advisable to consult an aromatherapist to get professional advice on suitable oils and blends.