What Are Essential Oils and Why is Everybody Using Them?
Over the past few years, essential oils have taken the alternative medicine market by storm. Available at pharmacies, grocery stores, yoga studios, and everything in between – these little vials of concentrated aromas have hundreds of thousands of people sniffing their way into wellness and relaxation.
But contrary to popular belief, essential oils are not a recent discovery. Humans have used distilled botanicals for a variety of purposes for thousands of years. In fact, the history of essential oils dates as far back as 5,000 years to Egypt.
Ancient Egyptians used essential oils for a variety of purposes that ranged from embalming mummies to cosmetic and healing practices. The modern term “aromatherapy” was used for the first time in the early 1900s by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French cosmetic chemist known for his essential oil research. Nowadays, we know that botanical oils can help treat skin conditions, inflammation, stress, and much more.
What Are Essential Oils
Essential oils are highly concentrated botanical extracts. To make them, the most aromatic part – which varies depending on the type of plant – is extracted through pressing or steaming mechanisms. Often, it takes several pounds of a single plant to make one essential oil bottle, which means that these liquids are incredibly potent.
People often use essential oils in one of two ways: inhaled or applied to the skin topically. Because oils release scent molecules, they travel through the nose to the brain, triggering emotional responses from the amygdala. Depending on the plant, diluted essential oils may help reduce inflammation, promote overall comfort, and help with relaxation.
What Are the Benefits of Essential Oils
Because these concentrated plant extracts are rich in chemical compounds, many essential oils can serve different purposes. Here are three proven benefits of essential oils:
When you inhale an essential oil, thousands of microscopic scent molecules dispersed around the air enter your nose and travel directly to your brain. Once in the brain, they reach the amygdala – an almond-shaped collection of neurons tucked deep inside the temporal lobe.
The amygdala is known as the emotional processing center of the body. It plays a vital role in our emotional perception, stimuli reaction, and more. Because we tie pleasant smells with positive emotions, when essential oils stimulate the amygdala, our mood tends to improve, and we experience more positive emotions.
Oils that have been observed to be particularly useful at improving mood and boosting energy include:
- Ginger root
- Wild orange
Sleep and Relaxation
Because smell is so closely related to the way that we feel, inhaling soothing scents can facilitate restful sleep. Though there are numerous sleep-inducing oils, several studies point at lavender oil as the most beneficial essential oil for sleep. For example, one study found that lavender oil lengthened REM sleep while another one showed that lavender oil could also help manage anxiety.
Other essential oils that help fall asleep and reduce stress:
- Clary sage
As cold and flu season approaches, essential oils can be a helpful immunity booster and protect against viruses. Most essential oils are antiseptic, which means that they can help protect against disease-causing microorganisms to some degree, and others are even antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. For example, garlic essential oil can fight off viruses and bacteria, and eucalyptus oil is a natural alternative for colds and congestion.
Best Essential Oils for Migraine Sufferers
Many people who have migraines or frequent headaches look for alternative, drug-free treatments to manage their symptoms to avoid side effects such as rebound headaches or stomach problems. Fortunately, nutritional supplements, yoga, mindfulness, and essential oils are fantastic drug-free alternatives.
The best way to use essential oils for migraines and headaches is by applying them to the skin, particularly around the temples, forehead or neck. When you apply essential oils to the skin, you get the benefits from both inhalation and topical relief.
A word of caution when applying essential oils to the skin: these extracts are extremely concentrated and potent, so a little goes a long way. On average, essential oils are up to 70 times stronger than dried herbs – for example, a single drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to 28 cups of peppermint tea (which is a physician-recommended natural remedy for migraines)! Applied on their own, essential oils can trigger allergic reactions or irritate the skin.
The safest options to address migraines and headaches with essential oils are either diluting oils in a base (a plant or vegetable-based oil that helps carry the substance) or purchasing a pre-made migraine stick or roll-on. Essential oil migraine roll-ons are convenient and effective because they come with a mixture of the most effective essential oils for headaches, and are already diluted in a safe, non-irritating base oil.
Peppermint has been used for thousands of years as an alternative remedy for numerous ailments, including gastrointestinal issues and headaches. Studies have shown that menthol, the main organic compound found in mint, can relieve tension and provide a temporary cooling sensation that soothes pain.
A research study that analyzed more than 140 headache attacks found that patients that applied peppermint essential oil on their foreheads and took a pain reliever reduced their pain significantly faster than those who didn’t use peppermint.
Another study showed that in comparison to a placebo, those who applied a topical solution of peppermint oil were able to stay pain-free longer, reduce their pain faster, and were more successful at relieving nausea and vomiting.
If there is a holy grail for essential oils, it has to be lavender. This versatile essential oil is derived from the plant Lavandula angustifolia, through the distillation (steaming) process. Typically, lavender oil is used for stress and anxiety, pain relief, and for sleeping.
Studies looking at the treatment of migraines with lavender essential oils have shown promising results. In a 2012 placebo-controlled clinical trial, researchers found that those who inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes reported fewer migraine attacks than those who sniffed a placebo substance.
Similarly, recent a randomized-controlled trial followed migraine sufferers for three months and divided them into two groups: one used lavender oil, and the other group was given a placebo. Their results showed that after three months, the participants who were asked to inhale lavender oil had fewer migraines than the control group.
Also part of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, spearmint is a perennial plant commonly used as a flavoring agent in candy, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Spearmint has many health benefits that range from soothing an upset stomach to killing some strains of oral bacteria.
Spearmint essential oil might help people with migraines because it can reduce stress and improve sleep – both known migraine triggers. Women who suffer hormonal-related headaches or migraines may also benefit from using spearmint essential oils. One research study revealed that just by taking two cups of spearmint tea per day, participants were able to improve their hormonal imbalances.
Rosemary is not just another herb you add to your chicken or your steak; it also is a popular natural medicine for indigestion problems like IBS and heartburn. When inhaled or applied to the skin rosemary essential oil can reduce pain, ease muscle tension, increase alertness, and support brain activity. Studies have also demonstrated that rosemary helps improve mood, reduce stress, and boost memory.
Akeso Health Sciences now offers a MIGRAINE STICK for migraine and headache sufferers containing 100% organic essential oils.
2 WAYS TO USE:
Keep your MigreLief Migraine Stick with you at all times, in your purse, briefcase, or backpack to roll on calming comfort.
SOOTHE & EASE: Use “as-needed” for immediate, on the spot neurological comfort and stress relief
INVIGORATE: Use throughout the day to feel refreshed and relaxed while inviting the pep back in your step. Great before a workout or while studying.
HOW TO USE: Shake gently. Using the roll-on applicator, apply a small amount to the temples and forehead using a circular motion, avoiding the eyes. May also be applied to the back of the neck or shoulders for extra cooling and relaxation of muscle tension. For additional aromatherapy benefits, hold roller top one inch beneath nose and breathe deeply for several minutes.
BENEFITS AT A GLANCE
Neurological comfort and ease
Overall feelings of well-being
Calm and relaxation
Refreshed & invigorated mind and body
Eases muscle tension
OTHER KEY FEATURES
USDA 100% Organic
Easy to apply roll-on stick, (temples, forehead, back of neck)
Perfect for everyday use. Keep one in your home, at work and in your car.
Convenient sized bottle, ideal for travel and ready to go
Dark amber bottle protects oils
No animal testing
More information or to purchase… MigreLief Migraine Stick