For more than 5,000 years, cultures worldwide have consistently agreed on a super-powered remedy: essential oils. Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils, is a practice that has been relied…
For more than 5,000 years, cultures worldwide have consistently agreed on a super-powered remedy: essential oils. Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils, is a practice that has been relied upon to treat a range of ailments from skin conditions to bodily pain to cellulite. Bonus: some can even be used in cleaning your home. We’re here to walk you through essential oils, their history, and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are exactly what they sound like: oil extracted straight from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed, or root, of a plant or tree and created via distillation (when oil and water-based compounds are separated via steaming). A lot of plant is required for one bottle, but just one drop can have a powerful impact on your health.
Plants use essential oils to protect themselves from environmental damage, meaning you’re essentially harnessing the world’s most natural healing power.
Where did they come from?
Cultures including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans drew on the powers of essential oils for their medicinal or cosmetic uses. However, it wasn’t until René-Maurice Gattefossé burned his hand in 1928 that the practice became more mainstream.
The French chemist treated his wound with lavender oil, and was inspired to delve deeper into studying the oils thanks to how well it healed him. He devoted himself to helping injured soldiers in World War I, but aromatherapy has since drifted into the worlds of alternative medicine, massages, and physical therapy.
How to use them?
Because essential oils are so small, they can be absorbed into the bloodstream when placed on the skin. Putting a few drops onto different spots of the body can allow the oil to penetrate for a litany of therapeutic benefits
Essential oils can also be absorbed when diffused in the air, thanks to the blood vessels in your lungs. Different oils have different properties, but if you’re stressed, opt for lavender. To boost your mood or energy, try peppermint or wild orange. Bonus: it will make your room smell amazing.
Ingesting essential oils is a great way to maximise their medicinal benefits. However, they are extremely potent so be sure to take only one to three drops at a time. Oils like peppermint, lemon, and frankincense should be taken with water and can be consumed on a more regular basis, while oils like clove and oregano, both of which have very powerful antibacterial properties, should be diluted and not taken for more than a week at a time.
Essential oils are popping up in many beauty and personal care products, and are a handy addition when you’re DIYing your own. We love popping some oils into home-made shampoo, lip balm, toothpaste, and even household cleaners — you’ll be exposing yourself to their health benefits while knowing that what you’re using is free of any harsh chemicals
Keep an eye out for the second part to our essential oils guide, which will explore some of the most common and how they can help with everything from weight loss to growing thicker hair.
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