Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for medicinal and health purposes. Boasting a number of detoxifying, antibacterial, antiviral and calming properties, they have recently gained popularity as a natural and cost-effective treatment for certain health concerns.
While most conditions can be treated with prescription drugs, some people prefer to use natural therapies. If you fall into this category, adding essential oils to your medicine cabinet can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. With so many oils to choose from, the benefits are endless. Whether you’re hoping to boost your energy levels at work or calm your mind on the yoga mat, essential oils have got you covered. In this article, we explore some of the most popular benefits of essential oils further.
If you’re struggling with hormonal imbalance, essential oils can help. Certain oils may help to balance progesterone, estrogen, cortisol, and testosterone levels.
Clary sage, thyme, and geranium can help to balance out progesterone and estrogen levels in the body. This can drastically improve conditions such as PCOS, PMS, and symptoms of the menopause. These oils may even combat infertility. According to a study in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, rose and geranium can affect the salivary concentration of estrogen in women. This can be helpful to those experiencing menopausal symptoms caused by low levels of estrogen secretion.
Essential oils can also lower cortisol levels, helping to improve your mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. They can also increase testosterone levels in men, leading to an increase in libido.
Many essential oils have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. This can boost your immune system and help the body to fight infections. Certain oils contain chemical substances such as esters, terpenes, ethers, phenolics, and ketones; these have the ability to fight foreign pathogens that can damage your health. Some of the most effective oils for your immune system are oregano, ginger, eucalyptus, lemon, myrrh, peppermint, frankincense, and cinnamon.
Studies have shown that certain oils can destroy fungal, bacterial, and viral pathogens, including Helicobacter pylori, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans infections. In modern healthcare, antibiotic resistance is becoming a major concern. With this in mind, using essential oils alongside antibiotics can help to fight bacterial infections more effectively.
For strong immune-boosting properties, choose oregano. This essential oil has displayed both antibacterial and antiviral properties in lab research. The oil contains thymol and carvacrol, two substances that have antimicrobial effects and can prevent the growth of bacteria.
Frankincense oil is also powerful, with studies showing that it can destroy dangerous viruses, bacteria, and even cancers. When tested in lab studies, frankincense demonstrated anti-cancer, anti-tumor, and anti-inflammatory effects. Specifically, the oil was shown to fight the cells of certain types of cancer. In 2012, a chemical compound found in frankincense managed to kill cancer cells that had become resistant to chemotherapy.
Essential oils can also benefit the digestive system. Certain oils help to relieve indigestion, stomach spasms, diarrhea, and even conditions of the gastrointestinal system, such as IBS. Essential oils can also help your digestion by stimulating the digestive enzymes that break down your food. Not only can this make your digestive system more comfortable, but it can also help you to absorb nutrients, fats, and protein more efficiently.
When it comes to digestion, ginger is one of the most effective oils. When used regularly, it can improve your digestive health by relieving constipation, indigestions, and ulcers. According to a recent study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, ginger oil can combat indigestion by stimulating gastric emptying. The oil can also be used to reduce nausea, ease abdominal pain, and relieve gas and bloating.
Peppermint is another great oil for digestion. Studies show that peppermint oil can provide fast relief from IBS symptoms. A few years ago, 72 patients with IBS took part in a 4-week clinical trial. During the trial, patients received either peppermint oil or placebo. The patients using peppermint oil reported a 40 percent reduction in their symptoms after 4 weeks, while the placebo patients only reported a 24 percent decrease. Just 24 hours into the trial, the patients using peppermint oil experienced a reduction in symptoms of 19.6 percent.
Other essential oils that may benefit digestion include lemongrass, fennel, marjoram, juniper berry, and black pepper.
Essential oils can also boost your energy levels and reduce fatigue. In some cases, they can even improve your athletic performance. Certain oils increase oxygen to your brain, resulting in a stimulating effect. Shortly after using these oils, you should feel energized, refreshed, and focussed.
According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, peppermint oil increased brain oxygen concentration, reduced exhaustion, and improved athletic performance in male athletes who consumed peppermint oil-infused water for 10 days.
Other essential oils that benefit energy levels include lemon, grapefruit, lemongrass, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
Some essential oils have neuroprotective effects and cognitive performance boosting abilities. Oils with these properties can help those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. A review published in Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience explained how essential oils help to improve brain function and reduce inflammation. According to the review, the oils possess antioxidants that inhibit free radical scavenging.
Certain essential oils can also improve memory, learning, and focus. For this effect, both sedative and stimulating oils can be useful. Stimulating oils, such as peppermint, can improve attention over a long period of time while sedative oils, such as lavender, can help calm the mind during tough exercises or situations.
Whether you’re hoping to boost your energy levels or improve your immune system, essential oils will do the job. To explore the benefits of essential oils during yoga, put a few drops of oil onto your clothing or yoga jewelry. As you practice, you’ll be able to absorb the benefits of the essential oil.