From ancient times humans have used plants for food and medicine. Today about 40% of modern medicines have a link to vegetation, and scientists continue to examine plant life in search of compounds that can be isolated and made into new medicines.
Scientists are also looking at essential oils. Some essential oils can have hundreds of naturally occurring chemical compounds, and are used as safe remedies for modern maladies.
We are learning that the scent of an essential oil can be more than a pleasant air freshener. The just published book Practical Guide to Essential Oils presents research-based tips on how we can use some essential oils. Here are a few cited examples:
Weight Loss - Grapefruit
Grapefruit essential oil appears to be a powerful aid for weight loss. The scent of grapefruit oil reduced appetite and caused weight loss in rodents. (Rodents are used in obesity-research because results are expected to be similar in humans.)
Another study demonstrated that the scent of grapefruit and lemon oil increased lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and suppressed body weight in rats.
In another study, a group of post-menopausal women received a weekly one-hour whole body massage with 3% grapefruit oil, cypress oil and three other oils (diluted in carrier oil) for six weeks. The women also massaged their own abdomens twice a day, five days a week for six weeks. The results showed significant reduction of abdominal subcutaneous fat and waist circumference.
Asthma and COPD - Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus essential oil was found beneficial for use as a long-term therapy for preventing COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) "flare-ups" and for better asthma control. To make a soothing steam-treatment add 5 to 7 drops of eucalyptus oil to 2 cups boiling water. Place towel over head, close eyes and inhale steam. Do not put eucalyptus oil on or close to the face of a child under the age of 10. Anti-inflammatory properties of the monoterpene 1.8-cineole: current evidence for co-medication in inflammatory airway diseases.
Improved Memory - Rosemary
When you need your memory to be sharp, remember the words penned by Shakespeare: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance."
A 2013 study found that inhaling diffused rosemary essential oil can improve the ability to remember to do things in the future. Blood tests showed significant amounts of 1.8-cineole, a compound found in rosemary oil, in the blood of those who inhaled the essential oil. This suggests that memory was improved by absorption of compounds found in rosemary essential oil.
In another study researchers found that after inhaling rosemary oil, test subjects felt "fresher" and became more active.
Do not use rosemary essential oil if pregnant or nursing and do not use rosemary oil close to the face of babies or children.
More information on essential oils can be found in Practical Guide to Essential Oils with References and Traditional Uses. See below for more information about this booklet.
~ Richard M Barry
NEW! Essential Oils Booklet
Practical Guide to Essential Oils with References and Traditional Uses
Plants have been used for thousands of years to help heal, soothe and alter moods. We can imagine early man experimenting with stems, leaves, barks and roots, noting which reduced pain, which reduced swelling, which were calming, and which were stimulating. By trial and error remedies were discovered, and cherished traditional treatments were passed on from generation to generation.
An "essential oil" is the highly concentrated "essence" of the plant from which it was derived. Today research is beginning to explain some of the mystery behind the art and science of essential oil therapy. Clinical studies are currently underway, and many of these studies confirm the remarkable healing properties of essential oils.
Practical Guide to Essential Oils was written for those who are just beginning to experiment with the healing properties of essential oils. Designed as a primer, it gives the reader a basic understanding of what these natural wonders are, and what they can do. Each chapter is written as an introduction to one of the more commonly used essential oils, explaining how that oil has been traditionally used, how it is used today, and what research there is to confirm its effectiveness. Scientific studies and supportive articles are referenced for additional reading.
Essential Oils Reviews
The people below will receive a free copy of The Melaleuca Wellness Guide for submitting their stories.
Of course my favorite essential oil is Melaleuca T40-C3! And when I add the Frankincense oil on top of T36 or T40 it seems to add a little calmness to my inflammation. It's hard to have a favorite; all the oils have different qualities! I grew up in Orange County California so I love the smell of Melaleuca's Orange Oil! PS. I just ordered the new Practical Guide to Essential Oils book!
I love the lavender essential oil! Just the smell of it makes me feel less stressed, I feel like my blood pressure drops. I put it in my diffuser every night for bedtime. I also put it on the bottoms of my feet to help me sleep. Who doesn't need a natural good night's sleep these days?
My favorite oil blends, since spring has sprung, is the PURE oils, peppermint, lemon and lavender. I have those 3 oils diffusing throughout the house. I love that our ultrasonic diffuser/humidifier will run for 10 hours. Also, I have a bottle of the Melaleuca oil in the kitchen, medicine cabinet and on my desk at work. Melaleuca oil is awesome for toothache, sore throats, burns, bug bites, fever blisters, ulcers in mouth and so many more uses I could mention. The Melaleuca oil is my GO-TO oil.
One of my favorite essential oils is Peace. Its wonderfully aromatic blend of tangerine, orange, patchouli, tansy, elemi, and German chamomile blue is my go-to cure for overwhelming days. The first time I used Peace I was pleasantly surprised by its calming results. My daughters were studying for their first mid terms of the semester - always a stressful time when you do not know what to expect from a professor you have not had before. As tensions rose I saw that little purple bottle of Peace oil sitting on my counter and thought we could all use a little peace about now. I put two drops in water in my Melaleuca diffuser and turned it on. Within minutes things appeared calmer. I thought to myself 'Wow was that coincidence?' A few weeks later and with another stressful evening beginning to unfold I plugged in our diffuser added a few drops of Peace once again. Left the room to fold laundry and when I had returned my girls were laughing and the room was literally and fragrantly enveloped with 'Peace.' This time I knew it was the essential oil helping to soothe our tensions. Thank you Melaleuca for making such a great product that helps us to keep "Peace" during those stressful moments in life.
I love using essential oils. My two favorites that I keep in my purse are lavender and peppermint. Whenever I feel a headache coming on I put a drop on my temples and within minutes my headache is gone. In the last year I started experiencing hot flashes and I put a drop of peppermint oil on the nape of my neck and it cools me down. When I feel an asthma episode starting I diffuse peppermint and lavender and I don't have to use my inhaler.
My favorite essential oil is lavender. It relaxes me so much after a tough day. I have dabbed it right under my nose if I am feeling especially sleepless. Once I mixed it with Melaleuca oil because I felt a cold coming on. I slept like a baby and when I woke up, no cold! I think perhaps it enters our blood system through the lungs, in a very gentle way.