Behind the Hype: Essential Oils

Essential Oils are enjoying their day in the sun. Even though much of their resurgence in popularity is due to multi-level marketing companies, Im still excited people are experiencing the health benefits of essential oils. Before "Young Living" pretty much became a household name, most people associated essential oils with spa treatments or patchouli wearing hippies. While essential oils aren't a quick fix cure-all, they are an extremely powerful addition to your natural remedy arsenal. Here's how they work...

Scent: Pathway to the Brain

The typical question is how can you get therapeutic healing actions from simply smelling an essential oil? The answer is that your olfactory nerves are directly connected to your brain. This is the breakdown of the pathway:

Inhalation->Nose->Olfactory nerves->Olfactory bulb->Limbic structure->Cerebral cortex (memory, learning, emotions) & Hypothalmus -> Autonomic Nervous System-> Pituitary gland->Hormones.

When essential oils are inhaled their properties are also absorbed in the lungs which leads to the blood stream, then organs and tissues.

The Power of Scent

Have you ever caught the scent of fresh cut grass and been immediately transported back to a childhood summer memory? For most of us, scents can unlock powerful memories and emotions associated with those memories. With essential oils, this effect on emotions and moods is referred to as an oil's energetics, or subtle energy. Everything is energy and vibrates at a certain frequency. Essential oils also have a vibrational frequency, this frequency or energy has the ability to affect our own energy; which is why some oils help on an emotional level. Scent is a personal experience; each person is unique and so will have unique reactions to the scent of different oils. For some the smell of lemon balm is refreshing and invigorating, for others it reminds them of cleaning solution and they feel agitated. Some oils can grow on you with time, but it's important to pick oils that you associate with positive emotions.

Due to the way our brain responds to scent, it's no wonder that essential oils also have an affect on our immune system, organs, lymphatic system and blood. 

Top Oils

There are so many amazing essential oils to choose from but there are several that I would recommend for an essential oil "medicine kit".

Lavender: one of the most popular and versatile oils, it is great for treating depression and is effective in treating insomnia. Assists the body in handling unproductive stress. Energetically, lavender has a balancing and harmonizing effect.

Tea Tree: This oil has a sharp menthol smell that some may find off putting at first but it's an amazing oil due to its antimicrobial, antiseptic, and bactericide properties. It is a powerful immune system stimulant. Tea Tree is great for many skin conditions including acne, cold sores, dandruff, rashes and wounds. Energetically, it invigorates the mind and heart, builds confidence and helps people who struggle with feeling victimized.

Peppermint: One of the most effective oils for the digestive system. It has antispasmodic properties that are beneficial for the G.I. tract and can help with cramps, gas, nausea and bloating. Peppermint helps clear the mind and relieve mental fatigue. Energetically, it is said to act on the ego, dispelling pride.

Chamomile (Roman): One of the gentlest oils. It's a soothing and calming antidepressant; also good for headaches, migraines, and PMS symptoms. Chamomile is also recommended as an emergency remedy during an asthma attack. Energetically, this oil is calm and serene and helps to promote a harmonious emotional life.

Rose: This is my personal favorite. Rose has a profound psychological effect and helps to release anger, despair and heal emotional trauma. It is also valuable for the treatment of gynecological problems and is considered a tonic for the uterus, regulates menstruation, and relieves PMS symptoms. Rose has been used for thousands of years for its softening and moisturizing effects on the skin. Energetically, rose is the epitome of the female spirit, both vivacious and alive, yet gentle and nurturing.

When using essential oils there are some important things to remember, the first being that just because it's natural doesn't mean it isn't powerful. It's recommended to dilute oils in a carrier oil (olive oil, coconut oil, apricot oil, etc.) before applying to skin. Never take essential oils internally unless you are under direct supervision of a qualified Aromatherapist who is familiar with your health history. While it might seem safe enough to add some lemon essential oil to your water, keep in mind that in some oils one drop of lemon is equivalent to a pound of lemons! If you ate a pound of lemons in one sitting do you think your system might have a negative reaction? Yeah, probably. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Some possible side effects of taking essential oils internally include irritation of the stomach lining, upset stomach, diarrhea and liver damage. 

In addition, there are those who need to take special care when using essential oils including the elderly, infants, pregnant women and those who have severe medical conditions; this doesn't mean all oils are unsafe for these people, just that it's a good idea to consult with a health professional and/or thoroughly research the oils before use. 

Don't feel shy about jumping on the essential oil bandwagon. With the many health and wellbeing benefits that essential oils offer, you can't blame people for being excited!

Interested in trying essential oils? Check out Native Nectar Aromatherapy blends here!

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