Western science is finally beginning to come around to all the health benefits of essential oils, yet their use for medicinal purposes dates back well over 5,000 years. The discovery of using herbal ointments and aromatic oils to treat digestive problems, muscle pains, headaches, insomnia, fatigue and plenty more started back in India, China and ancient Egypt — around the time the first pyramids were being built.
Essential oils are, basically, the concentrated extract of a plant or herb. Its aromatic “essence” is extracted by taking the flowers, leaves, resin, bark or fruit and distilling it through a process usually involving steam, water, or cold-pressing. The end result is a potent, powerful and pungent liquid with the same therapeutic benefits of the original plant or herb — but now intensified.
This is why the use of essential oils — whether inhaled or applied to the body — is called “aromatherapy.” Our sense of smell is directly linked to our brain, and aromatic oils can trigger healing effects right at the source of the problem. Or when applied onto the body, these oils can penetrate deep into skin, joints and muscle.
Here are seven age-old yet amazing health benefits of using essential oils:
1. Reduce Stress & Anxiety
Inhaling essential oils can offer many neurological and psychological benefits, because the healing aroma travels from your nose directly into your brain’s limbic system — the section responsible for emotional and behavioral responses. And by stimulating this section, certain essential oils can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, relieve stress and worries, calm your mind, help you relax, and even help stave off depression.
Certain scents, especially those containing lavender or citrus, have been found to calm your nervous system, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and activate your brain’s relax mode.
Best essential oils to use: lavender, citrus, orange, bergamot and frankincense
2. Relieve Headaches & Migraines
Essential oils have been used to treat headaches for thousands of years. Whether inhaled or applied directly onto your face and temples, the right essential oil can offer instant relief in reducing the severity of headaches and migraines.
Eucalyptus and peppermint are your best bet because they provide a minty, cooling sensation that’s ideal for relieving headaches and migraines. They’re both also used in many over-the-counter cold and flu balms because of their ability to offer quick vaporizing relief from symptoms.
Best essential oils to use: eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger, citrus and frankincense.
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3. Clear Sinuses & Congestion
Much like for treating headaches, breathing in essential oils that offer a cool, minty, vaporizing sensation are also best for providing immediate relief of nasal congestion and the opening of clogged sinuses. It’s been a natural home remedy for cold, flu and allergy symptoms for centuries.
Best essential oils to use: peppermint, menthol, eucalyptus, tea tree and mint
4. For a Boost of Energy
For energy anytime you need it, try inhaling a citrus-based essential oil like lemon or orange. They’re packed with terpenes and have naturally energizing properties. Menthol and peppermint oils also boast an invigorating and revitalizing effect, which can enhance your exercise performance, reduce exhaustion levels, and send oxygen to your brain.
Best essential oils to use: citrus, orange, lemon, peppermint, ginger and menthol
5. Relieve Stomach Discomfort
Essential oils are great for your digestive health! They can help relieve nausea and upset stomachs, relax gastrointestinal muscles to reduce inflammation and indigestion, and can promote better digestion by stimulating enzymes to help break down food and turn it into energy.
Whether it’s for the occasional upset stomach, bigger digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome, or nausea and queasiness from pregnancy or health issues — essential oils are well-researched in this department and make a great complementary medicine.
Best essential oils to use: peppermint, menthol, ginger, citrus, fennel and rosemary
6. More Restful Sleep
People who have used essential oils for sleep issues — namely lavender or frankincense — saw substantial improvements in sleep quality, restfulness, less disrupted sleep, and overall sleep amounts. Oils like lavender and frankincense have proven sedative effects, meaning they can directly help you fall asleep. Even for those with insomnia, overactive brains, and other issues that prevent sleeping well.
Make essential oils a part of your nightly routine just before bedtime to help you unwind, calm the mind, and improve the quality of your sleep.
Best essential oils to use: lavender, frankincense, chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood and orange
7. Soothe Sore Muscles
Essentials oils should always be part of your post-exercise routine. Rubbing a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil onto sore muscles or an aching back after a strenuous workout can offer immediate relief, thanks to their cooling effect and pain-relieving properties.
Many essential oils — especially frankincense, peppermint, menthol and eucalyptus — also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling, alleviate muscle tension, and improve blood circulation to promote the healing process. And not only for sore muscles either; these essential oils can also help relieve joint pain, inflammation and stiffness due to arthritis.
Best essential oils to use: eucalyptus, menthol, peppermint, lavender, frankincense, tea tree, sage, wintergreen, clove and citrus
As you can see, aromatherapy and essential oils offer a variety of different health benefits, depending on the particular essence you choose and the particular way you want to use it. You can also cover all your bases with a product like the SOOL Aromatherapy Wand, [ADD SOOL LINK HERE] a portable, pocket-size gadget that gives you four different ways to use natural essential oils.
Written by: Brandon Christopher