The breakdown on essential oils

We hear about essential oils all the time. Maybe you have friends that swear by them, have read articles recommending them, or even heard a doctor suggest you stay away from them. Well, what are they, and what do they do? More importantly, should you be taking them? 

Read on to learn the full breakdown on essential oils.


What are they?

In short, essential oils are concentrated plant extracts (1). They are extremely concentrated, so it takes hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds of a plant to make even one pound of the essential oil. For example, it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to make one pound of rose essential oil. Some common essential oils are lavender, peppermint, lemon, chamomile, and jasmine.


What are they for?

Essential oils are often used for aromatherapy, which makes sense when you consider the nice-smelling flowers typically associated with essential oils. Aromatherapy is a type of healing treatment that is thought to help both your physical, and mental, health. By smelling the oils, or by absorbing them through the skin, you are thought to get the benefits of aromatherapy.


What benefits are they supposed to provide?

With all of the different types of essential oils, there are also quite a few different benefits to go along with them. 

  • Lavender oil - thought to help minimize stress and improve sleep 
  • Peppermint oil - thought to help digestion, memory, improve mood, and make you feel awake
  •  Chamomile oil - thought to help you relax
  • Jasmine oil - thought to help fight depression
  • Sandalwood oil - thought to help focus 


Why do some people not suggest the use of essential oils?

Essential oils are typically safe to use, but there are some instances where they can be dangerous or toxic for the user. For one, it’s important that you manage the dosage of any essential oil you use and stick to the recommended amounts. Using too much of certain types of oils can cause damage to the skin, and even the liver (2). The way you use essential oils is also very important. Some essential oils shouldn’t be inhaled, and others shouldn’t come in contact with your skin. Before using an essential oil, you should make sure to do your research on the proper usage. When checking out your bottle of essential oil, you should also be looking at the concentration, or purity. Some essential oils should be diluted for specific uses, like coming in contact with your skin. Above all, it’s important to do your research and read the labels.

Another reason that some people don’t suggest the use of essential oils is because they don’t believe they provide any real benefits. While the benefits may seem minimal at first, you may notice them moreover time. So, if you are curious about essential oils, you shouldn’t let someone else’s experience deter you.


Should I use essential oils?

If you would appreciate any of the benefits possible with essential oils, you should give them a try. They are an easy thing to incorporate into your routine, but the benefits could feel like a big change if you keep up with the oils over time. Just make sure to do your research about what oils would be best for you.

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