The Power of Essential Oils

The Power of Essential Oils

The Many Uses of Essential Oils

There are many ways to use, and benefit from, essential oils. These include using oils to scent a space, as part of a health and wellness routine, or to boost mood. 

What exactly are essential oils?

Essential oils are concentrated compounds that are extracted from plants. Plant essences have been used for millennia to harness the healing power of nature and help address a variety of health and mood complaints. While aromatherapy as a form of medicine has often been controversial, there have been several promising studies on the efficacy of using plant extracts to clean and sanitize, as well as to support healthier living and general wellbeing. 

Do essential oils actually work?

Many of our most potent medicines are made from plants. Morphine, as we well know, is derived from the extracts of certain poppies. According to the Natural History Museum UK (Pavid), "around 11% of the drugs considered 'basic' and 'essential' by the World Health Organization originated in flowering plants - and there are many more from those without flowers". 

Essential oils are, as was established above, just extractions from plants that are obtained through a steam distillation process, cold pressing, or using a solvent extraction process. Different plants have been proven to effectively treat a variety of ailments and the body of research around essential oils and their many applications continues to grow.

Keep reading to learn about some of the ways essential oils are being used and the research coming out about them. 

Interesting Facts about Essential Oils.

All Essential Oils are Not Created Equal:

While it may seem like lavender oil is lavender oil and sandalwood is sandalwood, the quality and potency of essential oils will vary. Studies have found that the location and conditions under which a plant is grown will impact the chemical makeup, and by extensions, the efficacy of the oils produced (Ghavam et al, 2022). In fact multiple factors will impact the composition of the plant, including "source plant species, country of origin, part of the plants used, and method of isolation" (Strub et all, 2022). This explains why more affordable essential oils don't always turn out to be the best dupes for higher quality oils. (And this whole time we just thought we were being oil snobs!)

Some Oil Components Have Been Shown to Combat the COVID-19 Virus:

A study was completed on over 500 different essential oil mixes in an attempt to determine their effectiveness at inhibiting the growth of the SARS-CoV virus. While the method of extraction and specific profiles of the plants played a large role, the study revealed that certain essential oils DO, in fact, inhibit the Corona Virus. Most notably, there were two essential oils that combated not only one, but two, enzymes critical to the viability of the virus- turmeric oleoresin and petitgrain mandarin essential oil. (Strub et all, 2022). 

Turmeric, the orange powder ground of the rout of the Curcuma plant, is shown in a bowl. There is a spoonful of the turmeric in front of the bowl and several of the roots beside it.

Turmeric oleoresin is the extract from turmeric, the root of the Curcuma plant. In addition to helping combat the COVID-19 virus, turmeric oil ingestion has been linked to several health improvements. One study found that turmeric is effective at regulating glucose levels and preventing the accumulation of fat on the abdomen (Shinichi Honda et al, 2006). Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to boost human immunity and treat a variety of skin complaints, including the prevention of early aging (Anusha et al, 2022).

Petitgrain mandarin essential oil is derived from the leaves of Corsica mandarin trees. It has potent antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is often used to treat skin conditions and can also help to promote a balanced mood and restful sleep. Additionally, petitgrain oils can help treat spasms and have been found to reduce the continued development of fibroblasts in lung tissue (Dosoky & Setzer, 2018), which could mean it could help address breathing issues such as asthma. 

Research is Showing Essential Oils Have Many Positive Health Applications:

Citrus oils in general tend to have many potential uses for fighting human conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental health disorders. Kumquat (Citrus japonica Thunb) Essential Oil, for example, "showed antiproliferative action against human prostate cancer" (Dosoky & Setzer, 2018). This is not to say that we should all go out and douse ourselves in citrus oil, as research is still needed, but the potential of these oils to fight common human conditions is exciting. 

Tea tree oil is another essential oil that has many applications in treating human conditions. Tea tree has historically been used to treat wounds, sore throats, and other skin conditions. The uses of tea tree are so potent that Australian Aborigines even have mention of "healing lakes, which were lagoons into which M. alternifolia [tea tree] leaves had fallen and decayed over time" in their oral histories (Carson, Hammer, & Riley, 2006). I’ve used diluted tea tree oil to treat acne in the past and have found it to be effective, although potent. It is important to remember to research the proper and safe uses of essential oils before using them to treat conditions at home. 

Using essential oils to scent a space, or as aromatherapy, is likely the most common and safest way to benefit from plant extracts. Many essential oils, including lavender and sandalwood, have been found to boost mood when inhaled. Other oils, like peppermint and basil, can reduce fatigue and heighten concentration. 

How to Introduce Essential Oils Into Your Life:

When introducing essential oils, we think it's best to have fun with it. Using essential oils to treat health conditions is still a growing body of knowledge, and therefore should never replace the advice of your doctor. However, it can be extremely enjoyable to play around with essential oils by investing in a few quality blends and seeing how you respond to them. Every person will have a different reaction to scents and plant profiles, so it's great to experiment and figure out which blends make you feel good and in what way, and which you'd rather steer clear of.

An essential oil diffuser sends vapor into the air. It sits next to a spiky green plant that is in a terracotta planter with a red stripe.

Keep in mind that essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, so their purity will vary widely and ingredient lists will not always indicate the quality of the plants or added components being used. This means essential oils should not be ingested orally unless you are buying a specifically food grade product. We also recommend avoiding applying oils directly to your skin, as it can cause irritation. However, diffusing oils directly into the air, wafting the sent under your nose, or wearing essential oil jewelry is a great place to start your oil adventures! 

Our Favorite Scents and What They're Good For:

Clary Sage

Clary sage has a earthy, slightly floral, scent pattern. It is known to relax and uplift mood, as well as help with muscle cramping, including menstrual cramps. According to Healthline, Clary Sage has also been shown to be a natural antidepressant, as well as to help reduce uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes (Whelan, 2017). Overall, Clary Sage is an excellent choice for general mood enhancement. 

Pictures pf pink rose petals with water sprinkled on top of them

Rose

Rose essential oils are as powerful as they are pretty. With a rich floral scent, rose is known for reducing pain and promoting a relaxed and happy mood. Rose has also been shown to be effective at reducing sexual dysfunction in men who take SSRI's (Farnia et al, 2015). Rose can also increase sexual desire when it is inhaled and is a great scent for getting in the mood. 

Vanilla

Vanilla essential oil is sweet and soothing. It works well to freshen up the home, as it has deodorizing qualities. Vanilla is also known to calm the nervous system, as it has a mildly sedating effect that can help relieve an anxious mind state. Finally, Vanilla can be used to enhance libido and potentially lower blood pressure. 

 

Peppermint leaves on a light green background, spread out in a grid pattern

 

Peppermint 

Peppermint is always a great all around option. It is the choice oil of many to relieve headaches and help reduce fatigue. It has also been found to help IBS (irritable bowl syndrome) and to reduce the symptoms of a cold. Peppermint is another good choice for freshening up stale air in the home and can even help fight bad breath and clear up congestion. Overall, it's a great way to get a little more pep in your step. 

Ready to Dive In?

Check out Honey Dew's Essential Oil Selection Here. 

We chose Woolzies to source our Essential Oils because they are dedicated to pure and quality ingredients that are good for you and for the world. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Anusha Lakmali Jayathilake, Madhura Arunoda Jayasinghe, Janitha Walpita.
Development of ginger, turmeric oleoresins and pomegranate peel extracts incorporated pasteurized milk with pharmacologically important active compounds, Applied Food Research, Volume 2, Issue 1. 2022.
100063,ISSN 2772-5022, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.afres.2022.100063.
(https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2772502222000233)

Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 19(1), 50–62. https://doi.org/10.1128/cmr.19.1.50-62.2006

Dosoky NS, Setzer WN. Biological Activities and Safety of Citrus spp. Essential Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jul 5;19(7):1966. doi: 10.3390/ijms19071966. PMID: 29976894; PMCID: PMC6073409.

Farnia V, Shirzadifar M, Shakeri J, Rezaei M, Bajoghli H, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Brand S. Rosa damascena oil improves SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction in male patients suffering from major depressive disorders: results from a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled clinical trial. Neuropsychiatry Dis Treat. 2015 Mar 9;11:625-35. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S78696. PMID: 25834441; PMCID: PMC4358691.

Ghavam, M., Bacchetta, G., Castangia, I. et al. Evaluation of the composition and antimicrobial activities of essential oils from four species of Lamiaceae Martinov native to Iran. Sci Rep 12, 17044 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-21509-5

Pavid, K. (2021). Aspirin, morphine and chemotherapy: The essential medicines powered by plants. Aspirin, morphine and chemotherapy: essential medicines powered by plants | Natural History Museum. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/essential-medicines-powered-by-plants.

Shinichi Honda, Fumiki Aoki, Hozumi Tanak, et al. Effects of Ingested Turmeric Oleoresin on Glucose and Lipid Metabolisms in Obese Diabetic Mice:  A DNA Microarray Study. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2006 54 (24), 9055-9062. DOI: 10.1021/jf061788t

Strub, D.J., Talma, M., Strub, M. et al. Evaluation of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 properties of essential oils and aromatic extracts. Sci Rep 12, 14230 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18676-w

Whelan, C. (2017, June 21). Clary sage: Benefits and uses of this essential oil. Healthline. Retrieved October 22, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/clary-sage

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