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Essential Oils: Good or Bad?

Essential oils is a big trend now in the wellness world, joining the ranks with the ketogenic diet and CBD oil. The information below is courtesy of Consumers Advocate, a team that reviews and investigates health products in order to find out if they are all what they are labelled to be.

Essential Oils – Are They As Good As They Claim To Be?

Essential oils have become increasingly popular in the last decade and with good reason.  Many of the essential oils that we have come to love from lavender to tea tree not only smell great, but are said to have many healing qualities. 

Essential oils are used in aromatherapy practices around the world as an alternative therapy and can be either inhaled or applied to the skin topically.  But, with success comes controversy.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are really concentrated plant extracts that retain the plant’s scent and flavour.

The unique aroma of each oil give it what is known as the essence. 

  • Essential oils are usually obtained by distilling the plant with steam or water.  Once extracted, the oils are then combined with another type of carrier oil to create the final product. 

  • How the oils are made is especially important because if they are created through a chemical process, they aren’t really true essential oils.

  • Essential oils are said to have positive healing effects when absorbed.

What are the Health Benefits Associated With Essential Oils?

There are as many as 100 different essential oils and each is said to help with different health issues.  For example, some of the most popular oils include the following health claims:

·      Bergamot - Reduces stress and helps with skin conditions (such as eczema)

·      Chamomile- Improves mood and helps you to relax

·      Jasmine – Calming effect, libido, depression

·      Lavender - Known as a stress reliever

·      Peppermint -  For energy boost and to help with digestion

·      Rose- Reduce anxiety

·      Sandalwood- Calm nerves and help with focusing

·      Tea Tree- Boost immunity/fight infections

·      Ylang-Ylang – For headaches, skin conditions and nausea

Are the Health Claims Real?

The health benefits that can occur from either inhaling or using essential oils as a topical application are numerous. When applied topically some essential oils can help with inflammation and arthritis. 

Tea tree oil has been known to be an effective antibacterial for scrapes or small cuts as well as an anti-fungal. When penetrating the skin, some of these oils will interact with lymph and blood vessels, connective tissue, sebaceous glands, and hair follicles for better circulation. When inhaled, essential oils have been proven to activate the different parts of the brain that help with emotions, mood level, cognition, and behaviour.

In cancer patients, aromatherapy is used as supportive care for general well-being. Essential oils are also said to be a natural protection against airborne bacteria.  Apparently, many hospitals believe so much in their effectiveness that they are now diffusing essential oils to protect patients and workers.

The bottom line is that essential oils have interesting health applications; however, more research is needed in humans to determine their true efficacy.

How To Find the Most Pure Essential Oils

While not all essential oils will completely heal specific conditions, they are certainly an alternative method of treatment that can be tried to see how they affect you personally.

However, there is a general consensus that when buying essential oils, you should always make sure they are the following:

·      Organic

·      Not changed or altered in any way

·      Have a list of precautions (for pregnant women, interaction with medications)

·      Sourced from the native region for each plant

Some other things to consider:

Most children and pregnant women should take extra precaution when using essential oils.

When taking essential oils orally, they can cause digestive issues and the topical use of essential oils seems to be the safest approach.

Essential oils can be helpful, but what works for one person might not work for someone else.  

Taken topically, essential oils certainly aren’t dangerous but might not have the final healing effect that they claim.

 Here are the results from Consumer Advocates involving a variety of essential oil brands that they have investigated: 

Essential oil infographic.jpg

As you would know, essential oils are a big part of my self care routine and toolkit. It helps me with the occasional mosquito bites during the summer, helps to filter out the cat fur from my home environment, soothes my body in hot baths and helps me to stay calm when I sniff it. I have my clients use essential oils as part of the detoxification and final stage in my PCOS Weight Loss Program. During this stage, including removal of toxins from the environment and incorporating these oils can be powerful to help move toxic waste out of the body and when weight loss seriously starts to occur.

Tell me, do you use essential oils and if so, what brands or which types are your favourites?