Learn to use them properly to harness their maximum effects. By Summer Lee
Derived from plants, essential oils are natural aromatic essences that have been known to have several healing properties. Their use has been widespread throughout history and cultures, with their most notable usage being for aromatherapy. There are many ways one can enjoy essential oil therapy, as it offers different healing qualities, depending on the oils used. For example, chamomile has a calming effect while eucalyptus helps with decongestion. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that aromatherapy massages also helped effectively reduce anxiety.
Although we tend to think of essential oils as room fragrances, here are just some other uses that you may not know about!
As a Cancer Fighter
A study by Ruhr University Bochum in Germany found that terpenes, the main component of essential oils may hinder the growth of cancer cells. This study was carried out by exposing the cells of a common liver tumour to terpenes of different concentrations, then monitoring the reactions. Scott Johnson, who has authored seven alternative health books – including Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to the Therapeutic and Clinical Use of Essential Oils – shares that this experiment worked by “triggering the cellular signalling process,” and that “these terpenes may be a possible therapy for liver cancer in the future.”
For Food Safety
Essential oils found in oregano, allspice and garlic may be effective at preventing food contamination, says a study published in the Journal of Food Science. Of the three, oregano oil was found to be the most effective as it managed to hinder the growth of all three types of bacteria tested, namely E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria. This suggests that the presence of essential oils can play a big role in keeping us healthy.
For a Healthy Heart
A study by the European Society of Cardiology suggests that short-term exposure to essential oils may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, on top of lowering stress and anxiety levels. 100 spa workers took part in this study, and it was found that one hour of exposure to the vapours of essential oils from an ultrasonic ioniser lowered blood pressure and heart rate. However, it was discovered that these benefits were reversed when subjects were exposed to essential oils exceeding an hour, so be sure to use essential oils in moderation.
To Purify the Air
The bout of haze this year saw many retreating indoors to escape the haze, but that may not have been the best solution. “Indoor air can be up to one hundred times more polluted than air outside,” explains Rocco Pacchioni, International Managing Director of Puressentiel. To combat this, the brand has come up with a Purifying Air Spray ($49.90–$79.90, available at Beauty By Nature, Robinsons and John Little stores) that contains 41 essential oils. This product claims to purify indoor air and improve its quality with just a few sprays. In addition, using this spray when a family member is sick also apparently reduces the risk of contagion.