If you’ve ever opened your medicine cabinet and rummaged through the countless containers of pills, syrups, and ointments, you may have wondered if there was a simple and more natural solution to your everyday ailments. Essential oils aren’t a new alternative to modern medicine. In fact, they’ve been around for hundreds of years. Essential oils have grown in popularity since the 1980s and have now become a multimillion-dollar industry.
You’re not the only one hoping to simplify the contents of your medicine cabinet. There’s a widespread desire to make a change from solely everyday pharmaceuticals to a mix that includes more natural remedies. Consumers want real ingredients and transparency in their products. Why take a muscle relaxer when you can peacefully soak in a warm bath accompanied by some lavender oil? Why pop an ibuprofen when a bit of peppermint oil massaged onto your temples can help cure a headache? Why light a potentially harmful candle when your diffuser humidifies while spreading the scent of eucalyptus all throughout your home? Essential oils are available in everything from candles, to cleaning products, to personal care items, and even to alternative medicine, but are they really good for your health?
If you’re hesitant to jump on the essential oil train, here are a few things for you to consider before making the leap.
1. Essential Oils May Help With Focus
Have you ever been stuck at your desk with a mountain of work to do, but you just can’t focus? Essential oil companies claim that vetiver, cedar-wood, lavender, frankincense, peppermint, and citrus oils are the perfect oil choices to help increase focus when inhaled. Some companies even create blends, so you can get all of the focus you need with one purchase. Open the oil and waft it towards your face. After a few whiffs, you can begin to feel the effects. You can also utilize a diffuser or apply the oil topically after putting it in a carrier oil.
A study done by Terry S. Friedmann even found that vetiver and cedar-wood essential oils helped to reduce symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention in patients with ADHD. Those are some impressive focus properties!
2. Essential Oils Can Help Calm Anxiety
This year started with a worldwide pandemic and with the majority of the world spending their time quarantined at home, it’s safe to say that you’re no stranger to anxiety. Two studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information or NCBI, found that both lemongrass and citrus oils have anxiolytic benefits when inhaled. Pop them in a diffuser or buy an essential oil infused candle to calm your entire household and start the day off fresh. In the evening, try lavender for a more relaxing approach to anti-anxiety remedies. Draw a warm bath and drop five to ten drops of the oil into the water, then just lay back and relax.
3. Some Essential Oils Are Antimicrobial
Have you ever wondered why a lot of cleaning products are lemon scented? It’s not just because lemon smells so fresh and delicious. Lemon oil actually has disinfectant properties. Add 10-20 drops of lemon oil into equal parts water and white vinegar, and you’ve made a natural spray cleaner for your home. No more worrying about your family being exposed to harsh chemicals after a cleaning day, and no need to air out your bathroom after using bleach products. You can even defuse lemon oil to remove harmful toxins within the air. When life hands you lemons, disinfect! In addition to lemon oil, try peppermint, tea tree, and cedar wood for their antimicrobial properties.
4. Essential Oils May Ease Your Cold and Flu Symptoms
It happens every year. You wake up with a sore throat and you know what’s coming. No amount of cough drops or vitamin C can hold off the dreaded cold and flu season. Luckily, there are an array of essential oils that are believed to help shorten the length of your sickness and ease the symptoms.
If you’re having trouble breathing, a bit of peppermint oil mixed into a carrier oil and rubbed on your chest can help open up your nasal passages, reduce coughing, and calm a sore throat. Tea tree oil is best known for its ability to stop bacteria and fight infection. Did your mom ever give you chamomile tea when you were sick? Well, she was definitely on to something. Chamomile is the most popular essential oil to relieve cold and flu symptoms, and arguably the most effective.
5. Essential Oils Are Affordable
You may hear “natural” and “organic” in conversation about essential oils and make the assumption that they’re too pricey for you. Surprisingly though, essential oils are very affordable when compared to their over the counter medical equivalents.
Essential oil prices range depending on the quality of ingredients, the process by which the oil was extracted, how much oil a specific plant can yield, by brand or packaging, by amount in the bottle, and by many other factors. The more common oils like lavender, lemon, citrus, and peppermint are some of the most affordable options on the market. You can even find low-cost essential oil starter kits with some of the most common and multipurpose oils.
Oils such as frankincense, sandalwood, and rose can be a bit pricier, but with most bottles containing 15ml of product, that gives you about 250 drops! Most essential oils have a wide variety of uses, making them well worth the price. Plus, most essential oils have a shelf life of two to fifteen years. Compare that to the one to two-year shelf life of cold and flu medicines and you’ll really see the value of essential oils. Experts suggest replacing your essential oils after three years as a safety precaution.
Essential oils aren’t necessarily an alternative to pharmaceuticals, but using them in harmony with modern medicine can offer a healthier, less expensive, and more natural way of living. Beyond simply adding a few drops to a diffuser, there are many uses for essential oils. When handled properly, they’re believed to be a natural remedy for many everyday ailments, from headaches and muscle pain, to depression and anxiety, and everything in between. However, you should always consult with your physician before forgoing any medications or prescribed health plans in favor of natural alternatives.