A Quick Guide to Essential Oils and Their Health Benefits
Although essential oils have been around for centuries, we’re finally starting to see more of their prevalence and acceptance in Western culture, and we couldn’t be happier.
Since utilizing essential oils and practicing aromatherapy are considered holistic methods of healing, it’s understandable how Western culture was a little slower to catch on. However, in today’s world, people are clamoring for ways to naturally boost their health and ease common ailments, which makes using the life-force of plants an appealing practice.
If you’ve been wondering exactly what essential oils are and what they can do, read on and consider this your quick guide of all the essential (forgive the pun) things you need to know about essential oils and their health benefits.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are the natural constituents of a plant that are extracted through the methods of distillation or cold pressing.
The oils that are obtained through these processes are highly concentrated and can contain more than 100 naturally-occurring chemical compounds, many of which have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
It’s these properties and levels of concentration that allow for essential oils to be effective in aiding, easing and boosting a variety of health benefits for both the mind and body.
This is just the tip of the peppermint leaf, so if you want to get real science-y with your knowledge of essential oils, the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy has a ton of great information about the biological role of essential oils for plants and how plants store their essential oils.
What’s the history behind essential oils?
Much like the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling, essential oils have been utilized for centuries. We can’t be sure exactly when the use of essential oils became a global practice, but we do know essential oils such as frankincense and myrrh have been used since the biblical days.
Throughout history in areas as far reaching as China, to Egypt, to India, to Italy, essentials oils have been used for religious and cosmetic purposes, but most notably, many of the foundational cultures of the Earth used various blends of essential oils in pills, powders and ointments for medicinal and healing purposes.
All this to say, the practice of using essential oils has stood the test of time and it’s because using the most potent properties of Mother Nature has uncovered a world of natural and holistic health benefits.
So, what exactly are their benefits?
Obviously we’re believers in essential oils, but this question gets a little tricky to answer simply because there are hundreds of different essential oils (just as there are hundreds of types of plants), and you guessed it, they all have different benefits.
Some essential oils, like peppermint, are known to aid in boosting concentration, easing digestion, relieving sore muscles, and the most common use, freshening one’s breath, hence the popularity of mints and mint gum.
Individual essential oils all present their own unique benefits and characteristics, but essential oils can also be used together to create a blend with it’s own unique benefits.
How do you use them?
Let’s keep running with the example of peppermint just because it’s one of our favorites, plus it’s an essential oil most people have heard of!
When you examine the benefits of peppermint, it at first seems logical that perks as varying as easing muscle soreness and freshening breath would exist because of the cooling effect peppermint brings.
However, you don’t experience muscle relief when you have a mint after dinner do you? That’s because various benefits of essential oils present themselves based on the oil’s application, the most popular methods being aromatically, topically, and orally.
Aromatherapy, or inhalation, is the most popular method of using essential oils in Western culture, but topically using essential oils in massage and moisturizing products is also common.
Oral use of essential oils can included methods such as using essential oils in tea, or some people will put a drop under the tongue, but as you might have guessed, our favorite method is oil pulling with our custom coconut oil and essential oil blends.
What are some things to pay attention to with essential oils?
Most importantly, if you go purchase a bottle of essential oil at your local health food store, or online, you want to do your research on the brand you’re buying.
Unfortunately, not all essential oils are created equal and some brands will dilute their essential oils, which would also dilute their positive benefits, but you also want to look in to the quality of the plants used to extract the essential oils.
For example, since we’re committed to using the cleanest ingredients, it was important to us that our essential oil supply be the purest and 100% organic to ensure the best results.
These are factors you simply have to do your own research for, like we did when choosing which essential oils we would use in the Masigi oil pulling blends, but with some time spent reading, you’ll find there are a variety of wonderful companies to choose from.
Well, that’s the basics, now you’re well-versed enough to know when something says it contains essential oils, that means the most powerful properties of that plant are waiting for you to discover their benefits.
If you’re curious as to which essential oils we use in our custom oil pulling blends, come take a look at our shop.