Practical Applications of Research on Essential Oils

Posted on Wednesday 21 April 2010

Returning to Nature

The use of aromatherapy has increased in the last few years mostly as an ingredient in air fresheners, soaps, shampoos and often with massage. Yet in many western cultures, the therapeutic and even medicinal use of these volatile oils is still in its infancy.

You have probably read at least one or two articles in magazines talking about essential oils and their heath supporting properties for such maladies as fungus, stress and in the cooler months for colds and influenza. That maybe all fine and well, but what might one do with this information? In the paragraphs below, we have selected a few applications that have been validated by the most recent science studies.

Anxiety and Aromatics

In the western world, the pace and occupational demands of modern life can be dizzying. A growing number of people are turning to pharmaceuticals for relief. Yet pharmaceuticals and their often hazardous side-effects are not the safest option. A 2010 study from Brazil found that Citrus sinensis, or sweet orange essential oil, was indeed a scientifically and medicinally sound form of reducing anxiety when tested on laboratory rats.

Rebalancing Intestinal Flora

Upset stomachs usually hinder our activities for a day or two. Yet there is a chronic condition, known as dysbiosis, that often strips individuals of their vitality. This imbalance of intestinal flora is now largely understood to be the source of many chronic and degenerative diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and even colon cancer.

Researchers from Australia published findings in 2009 on the value of using essential oils to treat disbiosis. Their study found that lavender, caraway and neroil were highly effective against the major disbiosis-causing intestinal microorganisms. What was impressive in this study was that these essential oils not only had significant impact on the pathogenic bacteria but also left the health-supporting microflora untouched.

Supporting Oral Health

We all know that brushing and flossing promote healthy teeth and gums by removing harmful bacteria. If such bacteria are not removed from such measures, they may form a biofilm – a slime covering. Working together, biofilm bacteria are known to cause plaque which leads to decay as well as gum disease.

A recent study from the University of Thailand found that the essential oil of Ocimum americanum L., or American basil, displayed antibacterial activities toward biofilm microbes.

A Brief Recap

Searching the latest research on essential oil effectiveness is promising. The studies we reviewed in the last two years indicate that essential oils are a viable choice for treating ailments such as anxiety and disbiosis and are capable of supporting oral health – a key to overall wellness. Such news makes one want to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that there are feasible choices to drug treatments.

More information on essential oils and aromatherapy carrier oils is available at the Ananda Apothecary.

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