(NaturalNews) Mankind has used essential oils for healing and health for thousands of years, including extensive use by the ancient Egyptians. Today, essential oils are widely used in topical lotions, soothing baths, aromatherapy and in a great variety of herbal remedies.
Essential oils are derived from the distillation of leaves, stems, flowers, bark, and roots of plants. They can affect the body's physiological system directly or indirectly. For example, a couple of drops of peppermint oil taken orally can ease digestion, while inhaling lavender oil will have a calming effect.
Some essential oils can be administered orally to help stimulate digestion, and many essential oils can be applied topically to ease inflammation and alleviate pain. Essential oils with antiseptic and antifungal properties are also used to disinfect and heal cuts, abrasions and other wounds and skin conditions.
One of the most popular uses of essential oils is in the field of aromatherapy. Their use in aromatherapy has been shown to be effective in treating physical, psychological, and aesthetic conditions. See for example:
The sedating as well as stimulating effects on the nervous system by some essential oils can indirectly aid in lowering or raising blood pressure as well as normalizing hormonal secretion.
Steam inhalation of essential oils is also effective in treating respiratory conditions such as a cold or flu. Oils effective for inhalation include angelica, eucalyptus, sage, myrtle, cypress, lemon, lemon grass, mountain pine, ocean pine, juniper, chamomile, tea tree, thyme, hyssop, niaouli, and cedar. Please note that steam inhalation is generally not recommended for asthmatics.
Lymphatic massage using essential oils is a classic aromatherapy treatment that triggers the body's healing process by stimulating blood flow and lymph fluid. Careful Note should be taken though that almost all essential oils should be diluted before direct application to the skin, as direct application can cause severe irritation. Dilution usually consists of 15 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil. Carrier oil is a vegetable oil that is pressed from the fatty portions of seeds, nuts or kernels. Examples are almond, hazelnut, jojoba, wheat germ, coconut, olive oil and aloe vera oil.
Oils that soothe tight muscles and increase circulation include rosemary, lemon, lemon verbena, lemon grass, lavender, juniper, cinnamon, birch, and swiss pine. Calming oils are bergamot, Roman chamomile, petitgrain, rose, mimosa, lavender, balm, geranium, neroli, cedar, sandalwood, rosewood, orange, tangerine, and honey. Body and facial oils used on a daily basis nourish the skin. Sensuous body massage oils include jasmine, rose, cinnamon, orange, sandalwood, iris, and ylang-ylang.
Essential oils dropped in a bath will induce relaxation and lift spirits. Put 5 to 10 drops of the oil of your choice in the bath water. However, for sensitive skin, the oil can be diluted in the base oil. Make sure to wipe the tub after the bath, as essential oils can mark some tubs.
There is nothing like a relaxing foot bath using essential oils. Four drops of peppermint, rosemary and thyme added to a large basin of water will bring those tired feet back to life. For an added relaxation bonus, after soaking, rub lavender on your feet.
Essential oils are also effective for treating insomnia or inducing a peaceful night's sleep. Just scent the pillow with 2 or 3 drops of the oil of choice.
Lastly, handkerchiefs are a most convenient way to use essential oils. Inhaling a scented handkerchief with your favorite oil will ease the stress that accumulates throughout the day. Just 2 or 3 drops will do the trick.
Luella May is a natural health advocate helping people to heal naturally. Luella is in the midst of editing her ebook, "The 8 Invisible Stains of Our Souls" which will be available in the next few months. She partners with Tony Isaacs, who authors of books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and "Collected Remedies" Luella contributes to The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Luella co-moderates the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and hosts her own yahoo group focusing on the natural wellbeing of pets "