Interest in essential oils and their benefits have hit their stride in recent years. Since 2012, the weekly searches for essential oils on Google have nearly quadrupled.
According to the Atlantic:
Various oils have also been shown to effectively treat a wide range of common health issues such as nausea and migraines, and a rapidly growing body of research is finding that they are powerful enough to kill human cancer cells of the breast, colon, mouth, skin, and more.
But what are they exactly and how can use them to rewild our world? Here’s the breakdown:
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are basically plant-based oil extracts created through a distillation process. They contain aromatic compounds from the plant that originated them, and carry with them a concentrated version of the compounds that can be found in the plant itself.
Essential oils have been around for a very long time – the first record of their production was believed to be in the middle ages, in Spain. There are no comprehensive lists of all the different types of essential oils that have been produced, but there are many, ranging from rosewood oil, to patchouli, to orange peel. Each has its own properties and healing components . In order to insure that these plants and the knowledge of their use survive, it is vital that we educate ourselves, learn to use them responsibly and preserve them for the future.
Methods of use
1: Skin care
One of the most effective ways to use essential oils is in skin care. That is because essential oils have been clinically proven to reach deeper layers of the skin where they can naturally hydrate, nourish and rejuvenate skin cells. Essential oils improve appearance and texture and enhances skin’s elasticity and the healing process of dry skin. Many essential oils contain potent antioxidants that restore a smooth surface to ageing skin.
They’re often included in the ingredients of high-quality products: Naturally Considerate formulates its natural skin care products with pure, organic and wildcrafted essential oils—gifts from nature that synergistically assist the skin’s natural desire to revive, refresh and rejuvenate—gifts that encourage healing and growth. By choosing products like Naturally Considerate that incorporate pure essential oils into every product, you create a whole body approach to well-being with nutritive rich products that offer balanced benefits to the needs of your skin, your senses, and your emotions.
Take a look here.
Many essential oils have their greatest effects when lifted into the air. Oil diffusers are the most common way of using these essential oils. Depending on the type of oil used, they offer benefits ranging from anxiety relief, to relaxation, to mood boosting effects. Essential oils can also be used in massage. When a small amount of essential oil is diluted in a “base” massage oil, they confer their benefits directly through the skin due to pressure and warmth. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, benefits of essential oil aromatherapy include:
- Chronic or acute pain relief
- Arthritis & rheumatism (sub-acute phase)
- Chronic muscular/joint aches and pain
- Pregnancy and childbirth massage
- Reducing inflammation
- Enhancing immunity
- Relieving muscle spasms
- Relax and soothe the nervous system
- Aid in the treatment of sprains, strains, and repetitive movement injuries
Food-grade essential oils can also be used (sparingly!) in cooking. These oils aren’t your typical essential oil – they’re regulated by the Food & Drug Administration, and because essential oils are very concentrated they must be used in small amounts to add delightful flavors and aromas while cooking or baking. These oils act as a replacement for certain spices – for example, a small amount of thyme oil can be used in place of thyme for a flavor and scent that permeates the entire dish. Common sense rules the day when cooking with essential oils. You wouldn’t want to include patchouli oil in a dish – stick to food or herb-based oils like thyme, orange peel, and even peppermint.
Caution: Because essential oils are so powerful when concentrated, it’s easy to go overboard on your dish. And if you ingest too much of the oil, you could even become ill. But when used properly, not only are you ingesting vital nutrients, but the essential oils add incredible flavors to sauces, candy, and even marinades. Pick up some food-grade oils and give it a try!