6 health benefits of essential oils
Are essential oils the real deal? The naturally concentrated liquids obtained from fruits, seeds, flowers, stems, leaves or other plant parts, claim to balance our bodies on a mental, emotional and physical level. While they may smell great, the question remains – exactly how powerful are they?
“It is true that the natural fragrances in essential oils have healing properties,” says Dr. Roy James Bardwell, a family medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.. “Essential oils can be used in a number of ways, but because the medicinal value of the oils is diminished by flame and heat, diffusing is the best method to protect and utilize its therapeutic potential.”
Some of the benefits of essential oils include:
- Promotes Better Sleep
Certain essential oils, such as lavender and sweet orange, have a calming effect on the mind and body. Specifically, the effect the limbic region of the brain. Diffusing these oils shortly before bedtime has the power to significantly improve the body’s natural sleep cycle, helping to calm racing thoughts and even insomnia.
- Boosts Resilience Against Cold and Flu
Oils like eucalyptus, oregano and cinnamon add much-needed moisture to the air, which can help relieve dry sinuses. These anti-microbial oils have the strength to take down airborne bacteria and boost the immune system by stimulating white blood cell growth.
- Supports Respiratory Health
Eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary and other conifer oils can aid in relieving congestion, reducing lung inflammation and cutting through mucus build up. These oils even have the power to soothe respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, emphysema and allergies.
- Enhances Cognitive Function
Need a concentration boost? Rosemary, basil, cardamom and lemon can improve focus and mental fogginess by keeping the receptors of the brain clear of congested chemicals.
- Supports Emotional Health
Sweet orange, lemon and black pepper essential oils have the power to lessen or elevate certain emotions. Despite your mood, they can cheer you up and introduce a positive atmosphere.
- Safe Alternative to Candles
By naturally scenting your home or workspace with an oil diffuser, you are avoiding the dangerous vapors and hazardous, artificial scents often found in candles. Unless you are using 100 percent natural candle waxes, you could be emitting harmful chemicals into the air, which can cause a number of hormonal and even behavioral health issues.
About the Author
Kelsey Sopchyk, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She earned her BA in journalism and mass communications from the University of Iowa. In her spare time, you can find Kelsey working on puzzles, trying new sushi restaurants and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.