3 Essential Oils and Their Health Benefits
Many of us are familiar with the term essential oils, but we may not be aware of the health benefits that these aromatic oils provide. Usually found in bottles smaller than the size of your palm, essential oils are potent in both fragrance and effect, with therapeutic uses that can help with common ailments.
Here are three essential oils and how they can be used to help with problems you may be facing this time of the year and beyond.
Chamomile oil relieves tight muscles
Studies hail chamomile for its therapeutic benefits. For instance, research from the journal Molecular Medicine Reports says that, when used properly, chamomile can help to improve cardiovascular health and the immune system. Most commonly, tea enthusiasts tend to prescribe chamomile tea as a natural, herbal sleep aid, but have you ever thought of putting chamomile in the bath?
If your body is feeling sore and your muscles are constantly tensed, try taking a chamomile bath to relieve those muscles. Known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, chamomile is also effective in providing relief if you’re feeling the tension. In fact, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, chamomile can also be effective in soothing muscle spasms, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and other mild infections.
After a long day, draw a warm bath, add a couple of drops of chamomile essential oil, and simply relax with a nice book and a hot cup of tea. We don’t recommend drinking the bathwater, though!
Lavender oil can reduce stress with aromatherapy
This time of the year can be a stressful time for many of us. We’re finally getting out of the winter rut, but the end of a quarter usually means an increasing workload. Don’t worry, I know the feeling, and lavender is my solution when I need to go to my happy place.
To combat stress, we turn to lavender essential oil, which has been shown to provide calming effects on the body and mind when diffused, helping to improve your mood. In numerous studies published around the world in medical journals such as Nursing in Critical Care and the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, the inhalation of lavender essential oil was shown to decrease blood pressure and improve moods. Furthermore, in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, a study conducted on women after giving childbirth was shown to help prevent stress, anxiety and depression.
I’m a big fan of DIY. If you are, too, follow these simple steps to make your own natural reed diffuser. Simply fill a glass vase with 20 to 30 drops of essential oil for every 240 millilitres of hot water and insert a handful of natural reeds (you can even use bamboo skewers). The oils will soak into the reeds and dispense the natural aroma around the room and create a relaxing ambience. The diffuser not only smells pleasant, but also adds a touch of personality to your room, and is both affordable and easy to make by yourself at home.
Tea tree oil to soothe skin irritations
Tea tree oil, with its strong and distinctive smell, is used for its anti-microbial properties to treat skin conditions such as dandruff, acne, lice and minor skin infections. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology recorded the effectiveness of tea tree oil in helping to reduce skin inflammation caused by histamines, and research from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that shampoo containing five per cent tea tree oil helped to treat dandruff. Also, a study from the Medical Journal of Australia found that tea tree oil was as effective as conventional acne medication (benzoyl peroxide) in dealing with acne, but produced fewer side effects. And these are just a few of the uses for tea tree oil!
Tea tree oil also boasts other uses that can provide instant relief. For instance, it can be applied to the skin to soothe the itchy bug bites you may get as we edge into spring. If you wake up with a bug bite that you just can’t help but scratch, simply apply a drop of tea tree oil directly to the affected areas for on-the-go relief.
Before using any essential oils topically, test a small amount on your skin first to test for an allergic reaction. Be sure to use high-quality, 100 per cent pure essential oils, available at your local CHFA Member health food store. Click here to find one near you.