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Are Essential Oils Actually Helpful?

Many people say that essential oils help with ailments ranging from stomach pain to headaches to stress relief. Some even say it can have benefits for more complex diseases like cancer. But is this true? Are essential oils actually helpful when it comes to your overall health and well-being?

The truth is that some essential oils work well for some things, while others work well for other things. Some essential oils on the market simply smell pretty but don’t do much else, while other essential oils have some proven health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at essential oils so you can decide for yourself if they’re a good option for you.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. Essential oils capture the plant’s “essence” or aroma of the plant (hence the name). Each essential oil is characterized by its unique aromatic compounds. Essential oils are derived from plants through a process of distillation or by mechanical methods like cold-pressing. After the aromatic chemicals are extracted from the plant, they are combined with a carrier oil and sometimes alcohol.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

While the human body doesn’t need essential oils to function, they have been known to have positive effects on the body. Even though people most often rely on the senses of vision and hearing, they can also easily block those senses out by simply closing their eyes or plugging their ears.

However, no one can turn off the sense of smell because the nose is needed to breathe. Think of this as nature’s way of creating awareness of surrounding aromas. Similarly, it’s no coincidence that plants produce oils to communicate with the world around them.

What’s in Essential Oils That Make Them Work?

The active compounds in essential oils that help them do what they do are pinene and limonene. In addition, essential oils contain large amounts of terpenes, which are hydrocarbons found predominantly in plants. Research shows that terpenes in essential oils protect DNA, slow tumor growth, lower LDL cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and kill germs.

How to Use Essential Oils

You can use essential oils in several ways. The first, and most common way, is to inhale them by exposure. Specialized essential oil diffusers emit a mist of essential oils. Research has shown that inhalation is a quick and targeted delivery method. Some suggest ingesting essential oils via a capsule with a carrier oil or by drinking a few drops mixed with water. Note: This method should only be used when consulting with a qualified practitioner who can make sure the product you’re using is safe for ingestion.

Another method is transdermal use, in which the essential oil is diluted in a carrier oil and made into salves or balms and applied to the skin. When using this method, it matters where you put the oil. For example, placing the oil on an acupuncture point may be quite effective, but dabbing it on your forehead may have no effect at all.

What’s the Verdict: Do They Work?

From a qualified source, into the right hands, and applied in the right places, essential oils can be quite effective, powerful, and a good complement to traditional medicine. Essential oils can help with focus, decrease pain, and help nausea. In a recent study, participants experienced increased alertness and memory after using sage essential oil.

Another study showed a correlation between the use of cineole (a compound in rosemary) and cognitive improvement. In yet another study, patients who inhaled lavender essential oil reduced the post-op use of pain-relieving medication. When it comes to nausea, it was found that pregnant women experienced relief from inhaling lemon and peppermint essential oils.

Medical Clinics in Washington and Oregon

If you want to learn more about how essential oils can complement your health regimen, contact us at Lynx Healthcare. Our doctors and staff are committed to creating a multidisciplinary approach to treat you, including openness to holistic methods.

To make an appointment at a Lynx Healthcare clinic in Oregon or Washington, call us at (509) 591-0070, or simply request an appointment online.

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