Today we live in quite a scary world when it comes to what we put on and into our bodies. We have to be cautious because so many claims are made in the name of conventional and natural medicines. Research shows us over and over again that medical errors today are the third leading cause of death in the USA! People frantically search for natural ways to avoid going under the knife, believing they might never wake up after their op. And when it comes to natural solutions, many turn out to be just gimmicks. Many of these so-called products are the subject of hot debates as to their effectiveness or not. One such one is essential oils and the question is being asked – do essential oils really work?
What are the essential oils that we hear so much about today?
- Simply speaking, real essential oils are plant extracts, coming from the roots, leaves, twigs, fruit, flowers and just about everything about a plant. A process of distillation and other things gets it to the final outcome of essential oil.
- Going back in time, essential oils have actually been around since Biblical times. Today we hear words like aldehydes, ketones, oxides, and sesquiterpenes. At Jesus’s time of birth, the Bible tells us that the wise men took gifts of frankincense and myrrh to worship Baby Jesus. Today, we use other herbs and plants such as cinnamon, pine, cedarwood, spikenard and many others.
- Remember the Plague? That greatest catastrophe of all time, literally killing millions? Well, it was a combination of 5 rich essential oils that was called “thieves oil” that protected people from contracting the disease.
Today, many people use oils differently. They use them through diffusers – a very popular way of using the oils today – people love the way the oil molecules get released into the air, they notice how their moods change too. As you breathe in the molecules, they enter your lungs and then into your bloodstream.
Modern aromatherapy today
Today, essential oils are often sold cosmetically, but they are also used for therapeutic purposes and many people claim they show real promise with health issues. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NH), they say aromatherapy is a “complementary modality to use in conjunction with other therapies for health management”. Research on some essential oils shows that:
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is great for pain. College kids say they slept better wearing a lavender patch from trials concluded in 2015.
- Anise (Pimpinella anisum) oil can help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); also with depression that can often go along with IBS.
- Rose (Rosea damascene) helps to ease lower back pain.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) shows to be effective in regrowing hair in patients who suffer from androgenetic alopecia after just six months of treatment.
Essential oils don’t work all of the time
- An essential oil mixture didn’t prove effective in treating breast cancer patients’ skin after undergoing radiation therapy.
- Pediatric patients, after having their tonsils removed, showed no reduction in pain intensity after inhaling lavender.
- Women undergoing urodynamic exams for urinary incontinence did not see a reduction in stress from lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) after inhaling it.
However, researchers are still interested in the effectiveness of essential oils as medicinal treatments. Cancer researchers are studying promising results in managing certain aspects of cancer and have found that the oils are wonderful in the use of reducing the side effects of treatment like pain, fatigue and nausea. Read here about essential oils and cancer.
Natural does not always mean safe
There are warnings that essential oils can be an irritant to the skin. We know we get the benefits of the oils through inhalation, topical application, or ingestion, but how they really work is simply too complicated. But the oils and chemicals therein work together to provide amazing health benefits that just seem not to be capable of being replicated in a lab. Researchers can’t even answer why essential oils work. There are just too many factors. A lot more research needs to be done in many cases to answer the question as to whether they work. Thousands of users testify to the fact that they do!
We know that modern medicine has come a long way, but it can also be downright dangerous. Looking for alternative methods of treating our diseases is becoming ever so popular. You can see from history the long-term use of plant essences to cure ailments going back in time. The Western world is taking notice of essential oils, all for good reason. When we look at what plant oils are made of, we begin to realize just how powerful nature is. You decide whether essential oils really work. Just remember a couple of things:
- Always check the quality of your essential oil; don’t use when old
- Don’t trust all the buzzwords out there
- Don’t put the edible oils on your skin
- Tell your doctor you use essential oils because they can change the way the body absorbs certain cancer drugs.
- Dilute them
- Don’t use them on damaged skin or if your skin has a reaction
- Store them well
- Choose aromatherapy therapists carefully
- Preferably don’t use whilst pregnant
Do a study on the different oils, their risks and benefits. And when you have certain ailments, you might be so relieved you did!