When many people hear the words “essential oils” they think of things like bath soaps, lotions or scented candles. In reality, and maybe a surprise to some of you, essential oils are actually more impactful than just a pleasant smell. In fact, essential oils actually have many fantastic health benefits including treating anxiety, relieving muscle soreness and reducing stress.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids extracted from the natural oils found in plants. While in the plant, these natural oils play a role in different vital processes like pollination, preventing other plants from growing around them, and protection against predators or diseases. To extract these oils, a process known as distillation is used on plant materials like bark, flowers, stems, roots and leaves.
Typically, the distillation process is performed with steam or water as it heats up the plant materials until they reach their boiling points and evaporate. From there, the plant components are condensed by a cooler and then converted back into liquid form and separated from any other liquid like water.
These distilled oils were given the name “essential” because they contain the “essence” of the plant compounds that they’re originally extracted and distilled from.
How do they work?
Essential oils can work in a variety of ways. When inhaled, essential oils can affect various systems within our bodies like the olfactory, limbic, and respiratory systems. The olfactory system includes all of the physical components within our bodies that relate or contribute to our sense of smell. As we inhale the aromas of the essential oils, molecules will go directly through our nose or mouth and travel to different parts of the body like the brain or lungs.
When the molecules travel to the brain, they are believed to have an impact on our limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the part of the brain that is in charge of our emotions. The limbic system also controls bodily processes like our heart rate, blood pressure, stress and breathing.
Essential oils can also be applied topically to our skin and then absorbed into the bloodstream where they can reach these systems within our body or go through our digestive system after being taken orally.
General Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils can provide many physical and psychological benefits for you and your family. The following is a list of the general benefits that you may experience when using essential oils:
- Improves focus and concentration
- Boosts immune system
- Supports the digestive system and helps it to function optimally
- Relax and reduce stress
- Promotes overall wellness
- Healthier skin and hair
10 Most Popular Essential Oils and their Benefits
Depending on the source, there are well over 100 different essential oils that have been documented and researched. Of those, the following is a list of the commonly used essential oils and their respective benefits:
Bergamot – bergamot essential oil is extracted from the bergamot plant and commonly used in earl grey tea. This essential oil has been linked to reducing pain from tension and headaches, can aid in healing wounds, induces relaxation, reduces stress and can also help you feel fresh or energized.
Cedarwood – cedarwood essential oil comes from the cedar wood tree and has been found to help treat conditions like eczema, hair loss and joint inflammation. It also prompts the release of serotonin that is converted into melatonin, which improves sleep quality.
Chamomile – chamomile has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes and has been extensively studied by scientists and medical professionals. One notable study found that chamomile essential oil can act as an antidepressant, which makes it a great option for those who may suffer from depression. Research also shows that chamomile essential oil can help to ease symptoms of anxiety.
Frankincense – frankincense, also known as olibanum, is extracted from the Boswellia sacara tree that is most commonly grown in Somalia. Frankincense essential oil has been linked to boosting the immune system and aiding in the recovery from various infections or illnesses. It’s also been found to improve your mood and reduce stress.
Lavender – lavender is quite possibly the most used essential oil of all-time. It’s been traced back to ancient civilizations and also mentioned in the Bible. It has a wide range of benefits from preventing illnesses to treating diabetes. Lavender essential oils has also been linked to reducing anxiety and stress.
Mandarin – this sweet and calming essential oil has been used in Chinese medicines for thousands of years. Mandarin essential oils have a long list of healing properties and has been used to treat many conditions like insomnia, acne, stress and anxiety. It has a sweet, citrusy smell that is very popular with users especially kids.
Peppermint – peppermint essential oil is highly versatile with a wide range of uses from improving mental focus to eliminating bad breath. It’s also been linked to relieving headaches, soothing sore muscles, and improving digestive health.
Rose – rose essential oil is a very popular option for helping to treat panic attacks, anxiety, grief, and depression. It’s also been found to help relieve anxiety in pregnant women.
Vetiver – distilled from vetiver plant roots, which are native to India, this essential oil can help to heal wounds or scars and relieve inflammation. Vetiver essential oil has also been linked to reducing the effects of anxiety.
Ylang Ylang – derived from ylang ylang trees found in tropical regions, this essential oil is a popular choice for treating depression and anxiety. Not only does it help with these emotional conditions, but it also can help with inflammation and the cardiovascular system.
Treating Neurodevelopmental Disorders with Essential Oils
As you can see from the list above, and through a great deal of research, there are many essential oils that can be used to treat neurodevelopmental disorders like anxiety, ADHD and Autism. Combined with each other, essential oils can maximize the benefits that they have on these conditions by reducing symptoms like stress or depression and improving mental focus. Through my own personal experience, I have seen firsthand what essential oils can do and it’s why I include them in my holistic, all-natural approach to family health and wellness. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog that will share my special blend I use with my son for his ADHD.
How to use Essential Oils
It’s very important to exercise caution when using essential oils because they can be very potent. In larger doses, some essential oils are highly toxic. Typically, essential oils can be applied to your skin, inhaled or orally consumed. However, it’s highly recommended that the application of essential oils be supervised by a professional with a knowledgeable background in this area.
Another reason to seek professional guidance when using essential oils is due to the lack of regulations over their quality. The FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils and most people are left to believing the manufacturer’s claims. Not only will I educate and empower you on the topic of essential oils, I will also guide you in how to use them safely.
Where to buy quality Essential Oils
My family and friends all love doTERRA.
When you choose doTERRA, you are choosing essential oils gently and carefully distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy.
Each doTERRA essential oil is also carefully and thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. You will immediately recognize the superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade doTERRA essential oils.
The physical and psychological health benefits of essential oils are undeniable. Some of these oils have been used for thousands of years, while others have been extensively researched and proven to aid or treat a wide range of health conditions. Essential oils are a vital part of my approach to helping families on the road to Thrive.