(NaturalNews) The mystery surrounding essential oils and their therapeutic value in both physical and emotional healing is truly astonishing, as these 100 percent natural plant and herb extracts have been shown to be highly effective medicines when taken internally, applied topically, and of course, inhaled aromatically. But many people remain unaware of the wide range of health benefits that can be derived from essential oils, and how these earth-based remedies can provide lasting relief from all sorts of ailments.
Definitively, essential oils are aromatic liquids extracted from trees, roots, seeds, shrubs, and other plants that possess an impressive array of therapeutic compounds. These compounds work in multiple ways to relieve pain, clear out nasal and respiratory passages, calm the mind and senses, and boost energy levels, among other benefits. And one of the primary reasons why they work so well is that they contain multiple trillions of tiny molecules that easily enter the body and nourish cells.
"There are approximately 40 million trillion molecules in one drop of essential oil (that's approximately 40,000 molecules for each cell in the average human body)," explains an article on essential oils published in the International Wellness Directory. "They are so small that they enter your body through the skin and go everywhere in your body," it adds; noting that many other therapeutic compounds found in nature have much larger molecules that are not as efficient or effective at entering cells.
Physical and emotional healing with essential oil aromatherapy
What this means aromatically is that essential oils have an incredible ability to enter the body through the lungs and disperse throughout the body in a way that most other medicines are unable to achieve. The neuroscience behind how this works is somewhat complex and still under investigation, but many years' worth of trials and clinical use have shown that aromatic intake of essential oils can help improve mood, eliminate stress, increase energy levels, boost immunity, and relieve pain.
As long as you obtain certified, pure, therapeutic grade or therapeutic grade varieties -- these typically cost more than essential oils that have been cut or otherwise adulterated with cheaper oils and fillers -- essential oils can be safely used aromatically for these and many other purposes. The scent of lavender oil, for instance, is known to help relax the body and mind, while peppermint can help improve mental clarity, reduce fatigue, and increase energy levels.
Physical and emotional healing with topical essential oil therapy
Beyond aromatherapy, essential oils can also be used topically to treat all sorts of conditions ranging from acne and allergies, to headaches and indigestion. Just a few drops of essential oil applied to the hands, wrists, feet, abdomen, or lower back can provide relief for a number of ailments. Since they are lipotropic, or fat soluble, essential oils pass easily through the skin into the bloodstream and surrounding tissue. In most cases, essential oils can be applied topically on or near areas where relief is needed.
Both lavender and chamomile essential oils can be applied undiluted, and in fact work best this way, while stronger essential oils like cinnamon and oregano typically must be diluted with carrier oils like olive or hemp seed before being applied topically. A general rule of thumb is that most highly-concentrated essential oils need to be diluted to between one and five percent active oil, with the other 95 to 99 percent being the carrier oil.
Physical and emotional healing with essential oil ingestion
Though a somewhat rarer form of essential oil use, ingestion is another way to take advantage of the healing properties of essential oils. Only pure essential oils that are unadulterated and sold as dietary supplements should be used in this way, and these typically include traditionally herbal essential oils such as oregano, peppermint, lemon, caraway, and grapefruit. But others like eucalyptus and lavender have also been shown to produce positive results.
Eucalyptus oil, for instance, is a common ingredient in cough medicines, and has been shown to alleviate respiratory ailments when taken orally. A blend of peppermint, caraway, fennel, and wormwood oils has also been shown in a double-blind study to help alleviate digestive disorders far better than the gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) drug metoclopramide. And peppermint oil by itself is similarly beneficial for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
New York University's Langone Medical Center has put together a helpful document on essential oils that contains a wealth of additional information about their effective use, which you can access here: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=37427