Essential oils might be a new idea for some people, but they have been around for a long time. They have been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for their spiritually and emotionally uplifting properties.
Essential oils are extracted through careful steam distillation and cold pressing. The purest essential oils are far more potent than the botanical from which they were extracted.
Essential oils can be diffused, inhaled, applied topically, incorporated into massage therapy, or even taken internally.
People use them:
- To inspire a positive emotional state
- Enhance physical wellness
- Purify their home
- Refine their skin
- Create deep spiritual awareness
Essential Oils Worth Investigating
- Lavender Oil is thought to have an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect when applied topically. Topical application of lavender oil has shown in one study to decrease perceived intensity of pain with needle insertion for hemodialysis. Also in another study, topical application of lavender oil using acupressure has also been shown to decrease perceived pain intensity with low back pain. Aromatherapy with Lavender oil has been shown to help with sleeping by improving the quality of sleep. It also has properties that help reduce anxiety. One study even showed that inhaled lavender oil might be helpful in the treatment of migraine headaches.
- Peppermint Oil is thought to have antiemetic properties. Aromatherapy with peppermint oil has shown helpful in decreasing post-operative nausea, especially when used in conjunction with controlled breathing techniques. Also, it has been shown to be helpful in reducing chemotherapy associated vomiting. Peppermint oil has not been proven to be helpful for all conditions that cause nausea. In several studies, however, it has failed to prove effective, especially in nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy.
- Copaiba Oil which is made from a neotropical tree that grows in the Amazon is thought to have anti-inflammatory, healing, and antiseptic properties. One study found it to be helpful, when applied topically, for the treatment of severe acne. Another study looked at Copaiba as a possible treatment for psoriasis and showed very positive preliminary results.
Essential oils can be used effectively for certain indications. It should be noted that these oils are not FDA approved or regulated and have not been approved for ingestion. Also, some of these oils that are sold in health food stores are not 100% therapeutic grade and may be distilled with toxic chemicals. If buying them, make sure you know what you are buying!
-Dr. Ronnie Shalev is a Board Certified Physician in Emergency Medicine