Throughout Sri Lanka and India, Vetiver essential oil is known as “the oil of tranquility” for its nervous system-soothing and anxiety-reducing properties. In Ayurvedic medicine it has been observed to relax and calm the mind and it is traditionally used as an essential oil for alleviating stress, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, trauma and depression. In Traditional Chinese medicine, Vetiver essential oil was prized for its ability to calm the body and mind and to harmonize the emotions.
I decided that it was time to upgrade my essential oils, and signed up to sell doTERRA essential oils. I didn't really plan on selling essential oils to many people, as I was just looking to get the 25% off discount that you get for being an “Independent Product Consultant” or “IPC” as they call them. When the introductory 3-pack of essential oils (lavender, peppermint, and lemon) came in, I was really excited to smell the difference! The first one that I opened was the peppermint essential oil and I was shocked at what a candy-like smell it had. It smelled so deliciously sweet that I was blown away because all of the other peppermint essential oils that I owned smelled of the herbaceous earthy peppermint that you find in the garden; doTERRA's peppermint essential oils smelled like the finest peppermint candy I had ever smelled. I assumed, that since these essential oils are 100% pure and “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, that the higher end brands had better smelling peppermint. This excited me, I could smell a difference! I had been afraid that I wouldn't be able to smell the difference. The funny thing is, I thought that because the doTERRA essential oils smelled better AND are “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, that they were better…but I was only listening to the MARKETING.
How do you know which are the best essential oil brands? After all, this is an industry that isn’t regulated by the FDA. Oil quality can vary based on the distillation process. It also matters if the manufacturer dilutes the pure plant oil with bases or additives. But many of the most popular companies do rigorous testing to prove their oils’ purity.
These oils I mostly reach for during cold and flu season and in the winter. Anything with eucalyptus and peppermint really invigorates the senses and clears the sinuses. Each of these formulas are different from each other but they function in similar ways. Anything that offers respiratory support is something we go through like water in the colder months so finding something that is effective but inexpensive is amazing.
Resins and complex combinations of terpenes are released by some plants and trees, such as evergreens, to act as antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial agents against a wide range of organisms that may threaten the survival of the plants. Compounds such as sesquiterpene lactones found in plants such as feverfew, yarrow, and blessed thistle, have been found to play a strong antimicrobial role as well as a protective role from herbivores.
Peppermint essential oil is an all-rounder when it comes to medicinal properties. It's active ingredient and high concentration of menthol contribute it to being a natural antibacterial, analgesic (pain reliever), antiviral and anti-fungal. Its strong, invigorating minty aroma makes it excellent for boosting both mental and physical vitality. It has not only shown to positively improve exercise performance but it can also help improve concentration and fight fatigue caused by overeating and sluggish digestion.
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But, do they really work? The short answer is yes. We asked Pamela Dalton, a cognitive psychologist from the Monell Chemical Senses center, if using essential oils could help solve all our 2018 problems. “Yes, any essential oil or fragrance can act as an aromatherapy agent,” explained Dalton. “What is required is that the person finds the scent pleasant and associates it with an emotional state that they wish to be invoked, such as relaxation or invigoration.”
Ugh. This is a tough one. I think they’re extremely overpriced. For example, 1/2 oz of bergamot YLEO is $32.50 and 1/2 oz of certified organic bergamot EO at Mountain Rose Herbs is $14.50. I see that YLEOs are “kosher certified,” which really doesn’t mean much of anything (as all plants and vegetables are automatically kosher and nothing special happens or is avoided that “makes” them kosher).
ROSE and GERANIUM. These two essential oils have similar floral scents, and both have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, on their own and in combination with other essential oils. Some sleep experts recommend valerian as an essential oil for sleep aromatherapy. Valerian taken as a supplement can be highly beneficial for sleep. I wrote about valerian’s benefits for sleep and stress, here. But the smell of valerian is highly stinky! I recommend trying geranium or rose instead.
The benefits of Jasmine oil are vast, but its antidepressant, antibacterial, and aphrodisiac qualities top the list. One study, published in the Journal of Health Research, found that vaporized jasmine has the potential to affect the autonomic nervous system, increasing blood oxygen saturation and alertness. It’s great for skin too. “Jasmine oil helps to hydrate the skin and has been known to be gentle enough to help with eczema, although anyone can use it,” Dr. Milosavljevic says. “If you’re in need of a few extra z’s, this oil can be calming to those having trouble falling asleep thanks to its soothing quality and ability to relieve anxiety.
Don't stress: Relaxation is only a whiff away. While there are plenty of science-backed scents for finding calm (rose, sandalwood, lavender, frankincense, and orange among them), Avery points out that in the end, you do you: "Any aroma that speaks to you and brings about a sense of calm and relaxation can be beneficial." Our favorite trick for alleviating tension in 30 seconds flat? Massage an oil blend with calming scents into your temples, which are pressure points.
It is very important to note that not all essential oils are safe to take internally. When in doubt, do not ingest it to be on the safe side. However, those that are will give a strong medicinal effect when taken internally. With that being said there are definitely some very strict precautions you must adhere to when taking essential oils internally since they are so strong. These are very important and not to be ignored.
Plant Therapy’s labels are a bit scarce in their information. They display the proper Latin names and the USDA Organic logo, but that’s it. Instead of including the country of origin and other important notes — which can be found on the website — they have a long description of what the oils could be used for and how to use it, followed by an FDA disclaimer so they won’t get in trouble.
Originated from Spain and distilled from the leaves of the Cypress tree, this oil has many therapeutic benefits and a crisp, clean scent with a hint of wood and spice. Cypress is popular choice to help promote respiratory health throughout the year, especially during seasons where airborne illnesses are more prevalent. The calming scent of this oil bring comfort and strength during times of loss or sadness. Cypress can also help with effects of aging and calm the appearance of "spider" veins. Finally, add this oil to any recipes to help extinguish unwanted odors.
It's understandable for those new to aromatherapy to want every essential oil. But it takes time to build your own apothecary and connect with different scents. If you are looking to get started, I suggest buying three common, well-priced, and effective essential oils with few safety concerns: lavender, tea tree, and sweet orange. Buy a diffuser and use it. Diffusing is an incredibly economical use of oils that allows you to use them every day while not being overwhelmed with learning curves for safety with topical application and DIY product formulation. Additionally, aromatherapy has many uses—health, skin care, cleaning, etc. So, it's important to align the quality of oils with your needs. For instance, I use well-researched, high-quality oils on my face but am less rigid when choosing oils to include in DIY house-cleaning products. And if you're into aromatherapy for skin care, start with hydrosols. Hydrosols are the water-based by-product of the distillation process, but they are much gentler and cheaper than essential oils.
A few lines of inquiry have helped to elucidate potential mechanism(s) of action of LEO in anxiety-related conditions, which appears to be related to inhibition of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs), reduction of 5HT1A receptor activity, and increased parasympathetic tone. A purely psychologic mechanism has been refuted in the case of LEO's anxiolytic effects because anosmic mice display inhibition of marble burying after lavender oil inhalation.29 Pharmacokinetic data after topical application in healthy human volunteers also demonstrated the ability of LEO's constituents linalool and linalyl acetate to rapidly penetrate cell membranes and reach serum concentrations in excess of 100 ng/mL, corroborating pharmacodynamic action.30