Understanding the Applications, Health Benefits, and Potential Drawbacks of Essential Oils

For centuries, mankind has been using essential oils for health and medicinal purposes. Though modern generations have lost the wisdom of their predecessors, vis-à-vis the use of these natural solutions to curb illnesses, these age-old remedies are still very popular in some cultures.

In Canada, essential oil uses range from the manufacture of beauty and household cleaning products to aromatherapy — the process of diffusing these oils into the air so that they can be inhaled. Though the heath benefits of these oils are indisputable, overconsumption and incorrect use can adversely affect the health of an individual.

What Are Essential Oils?

These are phytochemicals extracted from various parts of a plant. They can be distilled from the flowers, leaves, roots or any other part of a plant. They are highly potent, non-water soluble compounds with a host medicinal applications.

Examples of Common Essential Products

As people continue to become more and more conscious of their health, the use of these oils continues to gain traction worldwide. Here are some of the most common oils and their uses.

  • Frankincense – Used to boost immunity and emotional wellbeing, reduce scars, heal bruises, and as an inflammatory.
  • Lavender oil – Used to help people sleep after traumatic events, reduce anxiety, and heal open wounds and rashes.
  • Eucalyptus – Good for allergies and the common cold.
  • Tea tree oil – Used as an antifungal and antibacterial due to its strong antimicrobial properties. It’s also a good remedy for skin problems.
  • Witch hazel – Strong microbes that can be used to clean the air through diffusion. It can also be used to treat skin conditions such as acne.

Using Essential Products Safely

Essential oils are incredibly potent compounds that should be used carefully and correctly to avoid health complications. Internal consumption of these oils is not recommended. In fact, many health experts advise against it. Some of the safe uses of essential oils are:

  • Aromatic Use

Aromatic use involves diffusing the oils in the air and inhaling them. This process of consuming these oils is known as aromatherapy. It’s safer and more effective as the oils are absorbed directly into the bloodstream upon inhalation.

  • Topical Use

Essential products are made up of tiny molecules that can be readily absorbed through the skin. Therefore, you can still benefit from the oils by applying it on the surface of your body. Even for topical use, it is important to follow the usage advice.