When most people think of essential oils, they immediately think of stress relief. While essential oils are wonderful for helping you let your worries of the day slip away, it’s not the only way that it can help your life. In fact, they have many purposes, such as improving your medical health, mental health and even your skin.
Understanding What Is Essential Oil
Before you dive into all the benefits, it's important that you understand what is essential oil. It’s a concentration of hydrophobic liquid. The aroma compounds in the liquid are from plants.
Other names you may hear essential oils referred to as are:
The Production Processes
The process of steam distillation or hydro diffusion produces essential oil. Steam passes through the plant and breaks down the cells in the plant. This enables the essential oils to run down to a cooling chamber where a separation process happens – water removal (called hydrosol) – and the essential oil results.
Carbon Dioxide Extraction
This type of essential oil extraction is much more expensive but it will produce stronger oil with a truer aroma. It also yields higher volumes and is much gentler on the plant.
Cold Press Extraction
This extraction is mostly used on citrus essential oils. It’s produced by cold pressing a rind or peel or also called scarification.
Solvents can also extract essential oils and are used on delicate plants such as flower petals. These oils are called absolutes.
Essential Oil for Stress Relief
Stress is a normal part of life. It gives people motivation to do things. It can get out of control easily though, if it’s not managed properly. One of the best ways to manage stress is to prevent it from skyrocketing and you can do this by inhaling essential oils.
According to a study by Hwang JH, inhalation of essential oil significantly affected blood pressure, subjective stress, state anxiety and serum cortisol levels of participants. The study’s conclusion was that essential oils reduce psychological stress responses, serum levels and blood pressure in participants with high blood pressure.
If you’re wondering which scents you should inhale to experience the same relaxing effects, here are the most popular ones:
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, research now confirms that the lavender scent elicits calming, soothing and sedative effects when inhaled.
Once you have the essential oil of your choice, you can inhale it in one of the following ways:
Getting a massage with the scent in the massage oil
Heated over a candle flame
Essential oil candle
Burned as incense
Diffused with a nebulizer
Healthful Uses for Essential Oils
Flaxseed and Fish Oil
Just as you would take vitamins to supplement your diet, you can also take supplemental oils. For example, Barlean’s Organic Oils sells a wide variety of flaxseed and fish oil to benefit your health. All you need is a tablespoon or two a day. You can add it to your salad, yogurt, cheese, oatmeal or anything else you think would go well with it.
According to the American Society for Nutrition, while coconut oil is high in fatty acids, they are good fatty acids. They are transported into the blood quickly and converted into energy, which speeds up the metabolism and can even help some people lose weight (as long as daily caloric intake doesn’t exceed the body’s need).
The American Society for Nutrition also mentions that research and clinical studies show that coconut oil can treat and prevent diseases such as:
Other benefits include:
Prevents free radical damage
Improves skin and hair
Oils for Skin Care
Who would have thought that oil would be good for your face? Here are the best ones:
Coconut oil: Use this oil on your hair as a moisturizer. You can use it on your skin to fight wrinkles.
Olive oil: Rub it on a wound as an antimicrobial and healer. You can also use it on dry skin and stretch marks as moisturizer.
Argan oil: You can use this on your skin, hair and nails as a moisturizer and it can protect against premature aging, wrinkles, as a disinfectant and sunscreen.
Sweet almond oil: This essential oil has vitamins E, A and B complex so it’s great as a moisturizer and protects against aging skin.
A Healthy Life Starts with Essential Oils
Make essential oils a part of your healthy lifestyle. They are easy to use and beneficial to the mind, body and soul.
- The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension, PubMed.
- Coconut Oil, American Society for Nutrition,
- Barlean's Organic Oils homepage.