Essential oils have been used for cosmetic and medical purposes for a very long time. Essential oils have also been used for religious and magical rituals.
In aromatherapy essential oils are used within the scope of holistic medicine and its use is becoming more and more popular with the layperson.
The knowledge of the effect of essential oils is mainly based on experience. There are hardly any scientific studies on the effect of essential oils on illnesses. Only the effect of certain oils has been scientifically proven. Essential oils made from camphor, thyme and sage have a disinfecting effect.
How do essential oils work?
Aromatherapists assume that essential oils influence the body in two ways:
- Essential oils are absorbed into the blood circulation and several organs in various ways: through the mucous membranes when inhaling, through the skin by rubbing in and into the stomach or intestines by consumption.
- Essential oils reach the olfactory nerves by inhaling through the nose. These nerves transform the information into electrochemical signals and transmit them to the brain. The part of the brain which controls sensory reaction to external influences is closely linked to the body’s hormonal production and immune system.
Types of Application
The warm water enhances the body’s blood circulation which causes the oil to be absorbed quickly through the skin. Essential oils also evaporate together with the bath water and are inhaled during the bath.
The essential oil and water are heated in an evaporating dish of the aroma lamp by a tea light. An aroma lamp should not burn for a very long (more than 4 hours) as the constant sensory stimuli through the nose can lead to headaches and nausea.
Put one to two drops of an essential oil into one litre of boiling water. The oil combines with the steam and it is then deeply inhaled and transported to the respiratory tract.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
Essential Oils and Their Effect
- Eucalyptus: disinfectant and expectorant
- Jasmine: relaxing, anticonvulsant, harmonising
- Lavender: used for mental balance, soothing, inducing sleep, relieving pain
- Melissa: anticonvulsant, relieves swelling, used for antibacterial and antiviral purposes, soothing
- Peppermint: anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, mentally stimulating, refreshing, stimulates blood circulation
- Camomile: anti-inflammatory, relaxing, relieves pain, anti-septic, antispasmodic
- Thyme: stimulates blood circulation. Expectorant, anti-septic
Essential Oils with an Anti-Bacterial Effect
The essential oils of thyme, oregano, cloves, summer savoury and cinnamon have a particularly strong anti-bacterial effect (against bacteria).
Essential Oils with a Fungicidal Effect
The essential oils of thyme, oregano, summer savoury, lavender and tea tree have a particularly strong fungicidal effect (against fungi).
Essential Oils with an Anti-Viral Effect
The essential oils of eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon, Melissa, hyssop and cypresses have a particularly strong antiviral effect (against viruses).
Essential Oils with an Expectorant Effect
The essential oils from rosemary and eucalyptus have a particularly strong expectorant effect.
Side Effects of Essential Oils
Essential oils do have side effects! Using essential oils sparingly and in low doses are basic principles of use. Allergic reactions, asthma and epileptic seizures are possible side effects.
Essential oils should not come into contact with the eyes or mucous membranes. The risk of side effects is especially high if essential oils are applied internally.
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The Essential Oils Handbook: All the Oils You Will Ever Need for Health, Vitality and Well-Being, Jennie Harding