Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils are now found in everything from air fresheners to beauty products. Yet aromatherapy (using essential oils to heal the body and mind) isn’t new; it’s been around for centuries throughout Europe and Asia. Oils extracted from plants are included in products that promise to improve sleep, calm anxiety, soothe digestive distress, and promote good skin.
Proponents say breathing in essential oils from the bottle or a diffuser (a few drops of oil in water creates a fragrant vapour) elicits desirable feelings like relaxation and alertness via scent molecules that trigger brain regions related to emotion, heart rate, blood pressure, and hormones.
Research is promising. A research review by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University found that inhaling oils and using them in massage alleviated depression, and a meta-analysis in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that lavender and chamomile helped sleep.
Should you try them? Yes, but the oils are strong, so children, pregnant or nursing women, and senior citizens should avoid them. For therapy on the go, dilute a drop of essential oil in 17 drops of carrier oil (such as jojoba or coconut oil) and dab it under your nose.
Oils applied to your skin: Products with essential oils - deodorants, shampoos, masks, facial mists - claim to fight odors and acne, rejuvenate hair and skin, and relieve pain through the chemical composition of the oil’s parent plant.
Tea tree oil is antimicrobial and has long been used to treat acne, rosacea, and dandruff. Peppermint oil may help reduce pain due to its menthol content, and oils of eucalyptus and rosemary are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that may ease pain and soothe eczema. Avoid the sun if using citrus oils - they’re photosensitizing, so exposure to sunlight when using them could cause skin burns.
We've got a variety of essential oil products. Contact Gansbaai Pharmacy today!