Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties that help to boost your immune system and fight infections. The chemical substances found in the oils, such as terpenes, esters, phenolics, ethers and ketones, have the potential to fight foreign pathogens that can threaten your health. Some of the best essential oils for your immunity include oregano, myrrh, ginger, lemon, eucalyptus, frankincense, peppermint (or Mentha piperita) and cinnamon.
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There are three different categories of oils: top notes, middle notes and base notes. Generally, top notes are more stimulating, uplifting and refreshing and base notes are more sedating and relaxing, though this is not always the case. Whilst not always strictly accurate, another good general guide to this is that citrus oils (Lemon, Lime etc) can often be top notes, uplifting and stimulating, whereas floral oils (Lavender, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Rose etc) are more middle to base notes and more relaxing.
Shown to the right is a bottle with a rubber dropper top. It's okay to use a bottle with dropper top to store essential oils that are blended with carrier oils at very low dilution for a few months or less. However, do not store pure, undiluted essential oils in bottles with rubber dropper tops. The rubber will turn to mush and ruin the oil. It's okay if the bottle has a plastic orifice reducer (euro dropper) insert inside the bottle as the material can withstand essential oils.
Internally – you can also start using them internally by ingesting them. Young Living came out with its own Vitality brand that is approved by the FDA to ingest. This allows you to get the maximum benefit of the oil and fastest absorption rate. I’ve even used them in cooking, like oregano or black pepper oil for my pasta sauce or lemon oil for my Lemon Raspberry Protein Muffins.
Most oils can be toxic to humans as well. A report of three cases documented gynecomastia in prepubertal boys who were exposed to topical lavender and tea tree oils. The Aromatherapy Trade Council of the UK issued a rebuttal. The Australian Tea Tree Association, a group that promotes the interests of Australian tea tree oil producers, exporters and manufacturers issued a letter that questioned the study and called on the New England Journal of Medicine for a retraction. Another article published by a different research group also documented three cases of gynecomastia in prepubertal boys who were exposed to topical lavender oil.
Some essential oils have sedative properties, which can be helpful for people who are having trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night. Lavender oil, in particular, is known to be an effective sleep aid because of its ability to leave you feeling relaxed and calm. Some other oils that can be used to promote restful sleep include Roman chamomile, ylang ylang, bergamot and vetiver.
Aromatherapy, today, is described by the Federation of Holistic Therapists as the 'systematic use of plant essential oils for therapeutic purposes.’ Essential oils, that are extracted from aromatic plants, have properties which can trigger healing effects in the body. As a complementary therapy, aromatherapy is used to help people restore their health and wellbeing, naturally encouraging the body to heal itself. If you visit an aromatherapist the main treatment will usually comprise of a full body massage, using essential oils diluted in a vegetable base oil. There are also various safe and effective self-care techniques that you can use at home. So, how do you get started?
The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, hygienic and ritualistic purposes goes back to ancient civilizations including the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who used them in cosmetics, perfumes and drugs. Oils were used for aesthetic pleasure and in the beauty industry. It was a luxury item and a means of payment. It was believed the essential oils increased the shelf life of wine and improved the taste of food.