From fighting inflammation and boosting immunity to thickening your hair - it seems there is an oil for everything. Essential oils, organic compounds that are extracted from a plant's bark, roots, leaves, stems, flowers, or blossoms, can be a powerful healthcare solution for many.
But as with anything that becomes popular so quickly, it’s increasingly important to have a firm grip on how essential oils could benefit you, and how to spot the high-quality ones. First, let’s get you the rundown of some of the main benefits you can expect:
Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties that help to boost your immune system and fight infections. For example, peppermint and menthol oils are cooling and anti-inflammatory; known to help relax and ease muscular aches and pains.
Essential oils are able to lower cortisol levels, which can help to improve your mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and nervous tension. For example, lavender oil calms and relaxes emotional stress, bergamot oil soothes nerves and reduces nervous tension, anxiety, and stress, and chamomile oil promotes relaxation, sedates nerves and reduces anxiety.
Essential oils, like rosemary oil and eucalyptus oil, have neuroprotective effects and can help to improve cognitive performance like learning, memory, removing mental sluggishness, and increasing your ability to focus. Because essential oils possess powerful antioxidants that work to inhibit free radical scavenging, they help to naturally improve brain function and reduce inflammation.
Some essential oils have sedative properties, which can be helpful for people who have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night. Lavender oil, for its relaxing properties, bergamot oil, which soothes nerves and reduces nervous tension, anxiety, and stress, and chamomile oil, which promotes relaxation, sedates nerves and reduces anxiety.
Oils that can help to relieve headache pain include lavender, which calms and relaxes emotional stress, peppermint, which has a cooling effect and stimulates blood flow, eucalyptus, which relieves sinus pressure by opening the nasal airways, and rosemary, which reduces inflammation, promotes circulation and has a calming effect.
Essential oils can calm irritated skin, reduce signs of aging, like age spots, improve acne, protect your skin from sun damage. For example, Argan Oil is rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids which fights against pathogens hydrates the skin and safflower seed oil is deeply hydrating and packed with essential vitamins.
With the vast majority of essential oils on the market today being used in the food and perfume industry, quality standards for therapeutic essential oils have fallen by the wayside. To help you develop a discerning eye for who to trust, here are the top five questions to ask before you buy:
It’s absolutely crucial you select your essential oils from a company you trust, and who is committed to transparency and quality. Find one that not only understands the nuances associated with growing, harvesting, and extraction but one who tests for the highest quality in each of their products.
Because it takes a lot of plants to produce some essential oils, companies can be quick to add other chemicals or fillers to offset the cost. Not surprisingly, cutting corners with carrier oils in production alters the quality and purity of the final product.
The secret to safety is found both on the farms where the plants are cultivated and harvested as well as in the production process. Consider the behind-the-scenes information of your essential oil of choice and check if at any stage of the growing, harvesting, extraction or production process if any pesticides or chemicals are used. Also make sure the oils are food grade, non-soy, GMO-free, cruelty-free, and have zero-trans fats.
Plants grown in traditional or indigenous environments yield better results because the natural elements specific to that region promote a more therapeutic profile of the aromatic compounds produced by the plant.
Find out what kind of batch testing is done to determine if the claimed compounds are present and that all impurities and pesticides are absent. Some of the fancy names for this kind of quality testing include gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and chirality testing.
Wherever you decide to purchase the tiny little bottles of oil themselves or find them included in other healthcare products and get the best of both worlds, it’s crucial that you feel confident you’re getting the best and most natural high-quality essential oils for you and your family.
Becoming an avid label reader will not only empower you on that journey, but it will help ensure that you’re spending your money on the products that will meet your wellness goals. Try adding quality essential oils to your personal medicine cabinet, it could make a world of difference, with every drop of oil packing an almighty wellness punch.
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