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by Danielle McDonald June 08, 2018 3 min read
Essential oils could be coined the superheroes of the wellness world. They're not into bragging, they like to keep a low profile, but they're quietly helping people everywhere to keep chemical nasties, pain and even illnesses at bay. There's currently a lot of hype surrounding the benefits and uses of essential oils and, we get it, it can get a little confusing. So we wanted to unpack the facts and explain what essential oils are, and how they might be helpful for you.
Pretty simply, essential oils are the essence of different plants. Essential oils can be derived from flowers, herbs, greenery, pretty much any part of the plant you can think of. Plants produce compounds that play a significant role in keeping them alive. Some of these compounds have repellent effects, some attractive properties and some are protective for the plants. In a nutshell, different types of plants create different compounds for different plant needs, Jade Shutes explains in her article 'What are essential oils?'.They're smart little things, aren't they? It's because of these varied effects that essential oils have so many different uses. The type of plant and how the oils are extracted will determine what type of essential oil is produced and what benefit it can offer to you.
And more importantly: do they work? It's ok, we know you were thinking it. It's easy to see how some could doubt the power of essential oils. With a list of uses and claims that question modern chemicals and medications it's easy to see how one might be sceptical.
Centuries ago, humans figured out that the compounds produced by plants could be extracted as concentrated liquids and utilised to support wellness. There's proof the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Persians all looked to these aromatic oils for some kind of healing.
The best part: they don't just smell incredible, they're packed full of shiny goodness that really can work wonders for your mind, body and home.
While the physical effects of these oils may be undeniable, the psychological effects are somewhat harder to prove to any neigh-sayers. Luckily for those who support these little superheroes, legitimate research now proves a number of essential oils are responsible for altering brain-wave activity. In turn, this can alter your mood, reduce anxiety and promote an overall feeling of happiness. Lavender Oil, for instance, can regulate cortisol which is a stress hormone. Still sceptical? Check out this article by Linda Lee Smith.
Sciency-tech stuff aside, essential oils used in aromatherapy will usually have a positive effect on our overall state. Whether they are proven to alter brain-waves or not, sitting down to a cuppa, some relaxing music and a little aromatic goodness will go a long way toward improving anyone's mood. Right?
Humans have been using oils to relieve pain and treat a number of illnesses for centuries. Chronic pain responds particularly well to a number of essential oils. What's more, many oils not only reduce the pain but also work toward treating the cause of the pain. For instance, correctly diluted peppermint oil helps alleviate muscle pain and also improves blood circulation which reduces pain-causing inflammation.
Essential oils can be used as decongestants, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, anesthetics, the list goes on... Hereare a few more examples of how essential oils could help you.
Who doesn't want to replace toxic chemicals with natural, effective alternatives? With antimicrobial properties, these superheroes will not only have your house smelling divine, they'll keep it squeaky clean too. There are plenty of natural cleaning recipes online that will give you the perfect dilution quantities for these powerful cleaners.
You don't need to throw all of your medications and cleaning products in the bin but next time you're feeling stressed or at the store looking at chemical cleaners spare a thought for the little essential oil superheroes that may just be able to lend a helping hand.
Got any extra tips? Let us know how you use essential oils to improve your overall wellbeing below...
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