by Nancy Webster
Essential Oils Heal the Body and Sooth the Mind
Our doctor was mystified twice over. First because he identified the painful rash on my ten-year-old daughter’s chest and neck as shingles-something only old folks are supposed to get. And second, the usually tenacious condition was already going away! “Whatever you’ve been putting on her, keep it up,” he ordered. I’d been slathering my daughter with tea tree oilfor a week. She healed quickly and bears only the slightest scars today.
More recently, a pre-teen foster daughter we hosted for six months routinely suffered emotional meltdowns because of a traumatic childhood. When I blended lavender with other essential oils for her to inhale during an “outbreak,” her mood calmed quickly.
Head lice plagued our friends with six children. Fearing the carcinogenic properties of over-the-counter head lice medicines, they treated everyone’s hair with tea tree oil. The family was quickly, and safely, lice-free.
Testimonies like these offer just a few reasons why I’ve kept essential oils in our medicine cabinet for more than ten years. Produced by the distilling of selected plants, pure essential oils offer potent healing assistance to the body and mind. Essential oils go a step further than regular herbs because they absorb directly into the bloodstream and trigger systems in the brain for emotional well-being.
When in Aroma, Enjoy What the Aromas Do
Perhaps you’ve heard of aromatherapy. While it’s become something of a buzzword, not everything that claims to have aromatherapy qualities actually does what only essential oils can. “Aromatherapy” lotions and candles sold next to pickled eggs and caffeine pills at gas station convenience stores seriously misuse the term just to make a sale. So do many air fresheners, cleaning products, and facial tissues. Most, if not all, of these products use chemical-based, synthetic oils which do not provide health benefits-they can actually be harmful.
True aromatherapy is provided only by pure essential oils. Although your nose may not readily detect the difference, when exposed to the real thing, your brain’s limbic system gears up to help you concentrate better, relax, or perk up your mood, depending on the particular oils you use. In the 14th century, during the Black Death plague, workers in the perfume industry showed a remarkable tendency not to get sick. They were in constant contact with essential oils, the primary source for scents at the time. Essential oils still do the job today.
Here are a few easy ways to capture the healing character of essential oils:
- Rather than dosing your child with cough and cold medicines, fill a medium-size bowl with boiling water and add a couple of drops of tea tree or eucalyptus oil. Let him/her breathe the healing vapors deep into the lungs.
- Dilute the oils with a carrier like olive or sweet almond oil. Then rub a sick person’s chest, neck, and soles of their feet for an antibiotic effect against germs and viruses.
- Add a drop of peppermint oil to a glass of water, and drink it to soothe indigestion and nausea.
- A drop of oregano oil in water swished in the mouth and swallowed helps heal mouth ulcers and sore throats.
Many times, essential oils can be incorporated into things you do anyway, like bathing and washing your hair. Oils make your home smell fresh the healthy way instead of with chemicals. And you can massage sore muscles and tired backs with health-giving oils rather than cheap lotions. Or add essential oils to your natural cleaning and laundry products to give not only a nice smell, but also antibacterial and anti-fungal (mold!) protection.
Oils Take to the Air
One of the easiest and most effective ways to get the full advantage of aromatherapy is to use a diffuser. While you can always put a drop of essential oil on a tissue, cotton ball or even your pillowcase, a diffuser distributes oils through the air so the whole room is purified and every breath brings healing. Beeyoutiful now carries one of the best diffusers available. It works by nebulizing (breaking the oils into separate molecules) before dispersing them into the room. These smaller molecules are more readily absorbed by the lungs, making this the most therapeutic of the diffuser-styles.
Essential oils can be combined to create appealing and complex aromas for specific therapeutic uses. Blending with a targeted purpose is called essential oil synergy. Working together, oils heal more effectively than on their own. Tea tree and lavender oil are often paired, and there are many specific blend recipes available on the internet.
A Great Start with Oils
Since there are more than a hundred different essential oils, sorting through the nearly countless possibilities for using them can be overwhelming. To help with the selection, Beeyoutiful carries several champions of the essential oil line-up. Eucalyptus, known for opening up bronchial tubes and clearing stuffy noses, has been part of the Beeyoutiful product line almost since the company began. And this fall, four splendid, highly versatile oils have joined the team: lavender, oregano, peppermint, and tea tree oil. To help you maximize your aromatherapy experience, I’ve noted below a quick rundown of what to expect from each.
Lavender-think “fresh.” The purple, gently scented flowers grown in most herb gardens have been used throughout history as a natural antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-depressant, sedative, and de-toxifier. The name comes from the Latin word “lavare”, which means “to wash.” The fresh, clean fragrance is a reminder of lavender’s internal and emotional cleansing attributes. Lavender promotes healing and scar prevention after injury or burns. You’ll want to avoid the fake lavender fragrance now added to many baby skin care products. Use the real thing, and you’ll see your colicky, stressed-out baby relax. While you’re at it, try some on yourself after a rough day of mommy-ing. A lavender massage not only relieves sore muscles and arthritis pain but also menstrual cramps and discomfort from bladder infections. Skin problems like acne, eczema, wrinkles, and sunburn are soothed by lavender.
Oregano-the strong man. Used by folks as far back as the ancient Greeks, oregano is a potent antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic oil, a warrior against germs, Candida, and parasites which contribute to skin infections and digestive problems. Oregano strengthens the immune system. It’s safe for internal use and can zap a sore throat (including strep) in short order. Just gargle and swallow a few times a day for three days. Even the antibiotic-resistant staph. infection MRSA can be treated with oregano oil.
Peppermint-think “perky.” Besides the anti-nausea benefit noted earlier, cool, refreshing peppermint stimulates the mind, increasing mental agility and improving focus. Try peppermint aromatherapy when you’re working on taxes or some other tough project requiring concentration. If you’re feeling down and overwhelmed, a dab of this oil perks up your limbic system to keep you plugging away. Peppermint oil cools the skin, reducing redness and calming irritation and itchiness. Inside, it eases spastic colon and boosts the digestive system. Peppermint breaks up congestion pain from migraines, headaches, sinus, and chest congestion, too.
Tea tree oil-the jack-of-all-trades. This one works for most every sick bug and cleaning need you have. Just don’t swallow it. Made from a tree that grows only on the east coast of Australia, tea tree oil is antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. Use it for first-aid on cuts, scrapes, and burns-and as a wart remover. Tea tree oil helps control problems as diverse as dandruff, head lice, vaginal yeast infections, jock itch, athlete’s foot, cold sores, and ringworm. And did I mention shingles-and its cousin, chicken pox? Inhaling tea tree oil vapors helps colds and bronchial distress. What’s more, bugs hate tea tree oil, so it makes a great repellent and treatment for insect bites. It even relieves itching caused by poison ivy. Add tea tree oil to your laundry to kill dust mites and for disinfection after sickness. For a great way to avoid toxic cleaners, use tea tree oil mixed with vinegar, borax, and water to get the same cleansing results, and add it straight in your dishwasher or garbage disposal.
The bottom line? For more healing, cleansing, and mind-soothing results than you can count, these oils are essential.
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