Aroma essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support health and well-being.
Your sense of smell enables you to experience your surroundings powerfully. Aroma essential oils are used to stimulate the sense of smell through aromatherapy. They can also be mixed with carrier oils and used directly on the skin or hair.
Hence, this post is to explore what are aroma essential oils, how do them work, and how to use them. Through this article, you can also find the benefits of them and fall in love with them.
History Of Essential Oils
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the earliest records indicate that essential oils came from ancient India, Persia, and Egypt. However, they have been used by many cultures for various purposes over the centuries.
As early as 4500 BC, the ancient Egyptians used aroma essential oils in cosmetics and ointments, while between 3000 and 2000 BC, traditional Chinese and Indian medicine relied on aroma essential oils for treatment.
Similarly, aromatherapy, or the use of aromatic materials, including aroma essential oils, to achieve physiological and physical health, has been used for centuries.
These oils are called "essential oils" because they are believed to represent the essence of smell and taste from plant sources. to the right.
In the Western world, French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé is credited with establishing the science of aromatherapy in 1928, drawing on its ancient global roots. After witnessing the therapeutic effects of lavender oil for hand burns, he began analyzing the chemical properties of essential oils. However, aromatherapy did not become popular in the United States until the 80s of the 20th century.
Despite their long history and widespread use, scientists are still trying to understand how aroma essential oils promote health. To do this, researchers studied the effects of essential oils on stress, pain, nausea and vomiting, sleep, anxiety and depression, among other things.
An Introduction To Aroma Essential Oils
In addition to being used as a fragrance for a variety of consumer and natural products, some aroma essential oils can be used for a variety of health purposes. When aroma essential oils are used to promote health, it is called aromatherapy.
Some possible uses for aroma essential oils in aromatherapy include controlling pain, aiding digestion, and reducing stress and anxiety. While there is a lack of scientific evidence for many of these uses, research continues to learn more about the benefits of essential oils.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural aromatic oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that retain the natural aroma and properties of the plant from which they are derived. When used in aromatherapy, essential oils can be inhaled or applied to the skin, where they are believed to work by stimulating the sense of smell and interacting with the body’s limbic system – the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Two Ways To Apply Aroma Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is usually applied by inhalation or as a topical application.
The oil evaporates into the air using diffusion containers, sprays, oil droplets, or inhalation, for example, in a steam bath.
In addition to providing a pleasant smell, aroma essential oils can provide respiratory disinfection, decongestant, and psychological benefits.
Inhaling aroma essential oils stimulates the olfactory system, the part of the brain that is associated with odor, including the nose and brain.
Molecules that enter the nose or mouth pass through the lungs and from there to other parts of the body.
When these molecules reach the brain, they affect the limbic system, which is involved in mood, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress, and hormone balance. In this way, aroma essential oils can have a subtle and comprehensive effect on the body.
Massage oils, baths, and skin care products are absorbed through the skin. Massaging the area where the oil is applied can promote blood circulation and increase absorption. Some believe that areas with more sweat glands and hair follicles, such as the head or palms, may absorb oil more efficiently.
Essential oils are never applied directly to the skin. They must always be diluted with carrier oil. Typically, a few drops of essential oil are concentrated against an ounce of carrier oil. The most common carrier oils are sweet almond oil or olive oil.
Do allergy tests:
Dilute the aroma essential oil in a carrier oil at twice the concentration you plan to use
Apply the mixture to a coin-sized place on the inside of your forearm
If there is no allergic reaction within 24-48 hours, it is safe to use.
Some people report being allergic to essential oils after using them many times. In case of new allergic reactions, use should be discontinued immediately and its odor avoided.
To achieve a dilution of 0.5 - 1%, use 3 - 6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier. Dilute 5% and add 30 drops to an ounce of the vehicle.
A concentration of 5% is generally considered safe for adults.
It is not recommended to ingest or swallow essential oils. Oral administration of this oil can damage the liver or kidneys.
They can also lead to interactions with other medications, where unexpected changes can occur in the gut.
Health Benefits Of Aroma Essential Oils
Despite the widespread use of essential oils, little is known about their ability to treat certain health conditions.
Here's a look at the evidence for some of the common health problems used by essential oils and aromatherapy.
Stress And Anxiety
An estimated 43% of people with stress and anxiety use some form of alternative therapy to help relieve their symptoms (8Trusted Source).
Regarding aromatherapy, the initial results have been quite positive. Many studies have shown that the scent of some essential oils can be used alongside traditional therapies to treat anxiety and stress.
However, due to the smell of the compound, it is difficult to conduct blinded studies and rule out bias. Therefore, many reviews about the stress and anxiety-relieving effects of essential oils are inconclusive.
Interestingly, using essential oils during the massage may help relieve stress, although the effects may only last while the massage is in progress.
A recent review of more than 201 studies found that only 10 were robust enough for analysis. Studies have also concluded that aromatherapy is ineffective in treating anxiety.
Headaches And Migraines
In the '90s, two small studies found that applying a mixture of peppermint oil and ethanol to participants' foreheads and temples relieved headaches.
Recent studies have also found that applying peppermint and lavender oil to the skin can reduce headaches.
In addition, it has been suggested that a mixture of chamomile and sesame oil is applied to the temples, which can treat headaches and migraines. This is a traditional Persian headache treatment.
However, more high-quality research is needed.
Sleep And Insomnia
Smelling lavender oil has been shown to improve sleep quality in postpartum women and heart disease patients (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).
One review reviewed 15 studies on essential oils and sleep. Most studies have shown that smelling essential oils — primarily lavender oil — has a positive effect on sleep habits.
Some believe that essential oils may help fight inflammation. Some test-tube studies have shown that they have anti-inflammatory effects.
A study in mice found that ingestion of a combination of thyme and oregano essential oil helped induce remission of colitis. Two mouse studies of caraway oil and rosemary oil found similar results.
However, few human studies have examined the effects of these oils on inflammatory diseases. Therefore, their effectiveness and safety are unknown.
Antibiotics And Antibiotics
The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has revived interest in finding other compounds that can fight bacterial infections.
Test-tube studies have extensively investigated the antimicrobial effects of essential oils such as peppermint oil and tea tree oil and observed some positive results (31 sources, 32 sources, 33 sources, 34 sources, 35 sources, 36 sources, 37 sources, 38 sources, 39 sources).
However, as interesting as these test-tube findings are, they don't necessarily reflect what these oils do in your body. They did not prove that a certain essential oil could treat bacterial infections in humans.
Some Popular Aroma Essential Oils For Aromatherapy
Lavender Aroma Essential Oils
Lavender oil is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. It has a floral fragrance and is said to be effective in promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality.
Lavender belongs to the Lavender family and is a beautiful garden herb. It contains Camphor, Pinene-4-ol, Linalool, Linalool Acetate, Beta-Cinene, and 1,8-Cineole. Its ingredients are different in concentration due to different types, and the efficacy is also different. Linalool and linalool acetate have maximal and maximum absorption properties to the skin in the presence of central nervous system depression.
Linalool has a sedative effect, and linalool acetate has a significant anesthetic effect. These two effects may be its use in sleep-disordered patterns of lavender pillows in patients with anxiety, improving well-being, supporting mental alertness, and suppressing aggression and anxiety.
Lavender oil has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties against many species of bacteria, especially when antibiotics do not work, but the exact mechanism remains to be established. When it comes to its use in aromatherapy, it's well-documented in treating scrapes, burns, stress, and headaches, promoting new cell growth, skin problems, and muscle pain, and boosting the immune system. The oil is used to treat primary dysmenorrhea and has shown some promising results in a randomized, double-blind clinical trial.
Chamomile Aroma Essential Oils
Chamomile oil has a sweet herbal aroma and is often used as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress.
Roman chamomile belongs to the Compositae family. A plant that has been prized for centuries with the potential to calm, mild and strong emotions, with daisy-like blooms. The main constituents of Roman chamomile oil are esters of angelic acid, tiger acid, and 2-methyl butyric acid. The freshly distilled oil has a bluish tint because of the sesquiterpenoid chamazulene. Rich in rosinone, farnesol, pinene, bisabolol, eucalyptol, rosinol, beta-stylenene, limonene, camphene, and myrcene.
Chamomile preparations have made progress in treating human diseases such as hay fever, inflammation, muscle cramps, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids. In cosmetics and aromatherapy, it is used for its anti-anxiety properties
Peppermint Aroma Essential Oils
Peppermint oil has a fresh minty scent and is used to improve mental focus and concentration. It also helps relieve headaches and nausea.
Mint is a plant of the Lamiacea family. To date, all 600 mints come from 25 well-defined varieties. The two most important are mint and spearmint. Spearmint has an intense sweetness with a pronounced menthol aroma. Its oil components include kavacool, menthol, carvone, methyl acetate, limonene, and menthone. Its pharmacological effects are due to menthol, the main component of peppermint oil.
Peppermint oil contains at least 44% free menthol. The composition is sensitive to climate, latitude, and plant maturity. Inhaling and applying menthol on the skin can cause skin reactions. It is used in many liniments to relieve pain, cramping, and arthritis problems. Peppermint oil has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-infective, antibacterial, bactericidal, antispasmodic, astringent, digestive, deworming, bactericidal, nerve-stimulating, vasoconstrictive, decongestant, and stomachic properties.
Eucalyptus Aroma Essential Oils
Eucalyptus oil has a refreshing camphor scent and is often used to relieve pain and congestion.
Eucalyptus is a member of the myrtle family and is a long, evergreen plant that can reach a height of 250 feet. It is known for its components such as cineole (70%-85%), aralene, limonene, pinene, cymene, phenanrene and pinene. Its oil has been used to regulate and activate various systems such as nervous system neuralgia, headaches, and weakness. The immune system is strengthened against measles, flu, colds, and chickenpox.
Leucorrhea and cystitis of the genitourinary system can also be well-treated. Throat infections, catarrh, cough, bronchitis, asthma, and sinusitis related to the respiratory system have been treated by the oil of this plant. Also, skin problems such as wounds, cuts, burns, herpes, lice, repellents, and insect bites can be treated with it.
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and muscle, and joint pain is well reported from the essential oil of this plant. Eucalyptus oil has demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and antibacterial activities, and researchers have demonstrated its unquestionable efficacy in the treatment of various metabolic and infectious diseases. The results are promising for the treatment of multifactorial diseases of various origins in humans.
Lemon Aroma Essential Oils
Lemon oil has the refreshing aroma of citrus and is believed to boost energy levels and improve mood.
Lemons belong to the Rutaceae family. The lemon tree grows to 15 feet tall and produces aromatic lemon fruit all year round. Its oil composition is rich in terpenes, D-limonene, and L-limonene, which account for about 90% of the total amount of oil. Also contains non-benzene, pinene, and sesquiterpenes. The valuable part of the oil is the remaining 10%, consisting of oxygen-containing gases, mainly aldehyde citral, from which the smell of the oil mainly comes, and 3.5%-5% of the odor in the oil.
Compared to other essential oils, its ingredients have bactericidal, astringent, and detoxifying properties for blemishes associated with oily skin. Its oil brightens and restores dull skin. Lemon essential oil is mainly used to strengthen the immune system and accelerate the production of white blood cells while fighting acidity and ulcers through citric acid, which aids digestion by forming carbonates and bicarbonates of potassium and calcium.
A recent double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial study on aromatherapy showed that citrus oil was effective in relieving pain in the first stage of labor. It is effective in controlling nausea and vomiting as well as its mood-lifting properties.
How To Use Aroma Essential Oils Safely?
Be sure to:
- Use only pure, unadulterated essential oils.
- Do a patch test before using any new oil.
- Follow the recommended dosage for each oil.
- Keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets.
- Store essential oils in dark glass bottles in a cool, dark place.
Aromatherapy is a popular and effective way to improve mood, promote relaxation, and even relieve pain. With so many different types of aroma essential oils available, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Be sure to do a patch test before using any new oil, and follow the recommended dosage for each oil.