Not Just For Smelling – The Health Benefits of Essential Oils

People have been using essential oils for thousands of years. They are used in aromatherapy, for personal beauty care, and as a natural treatment for some health problems.

Health Benefits of Essential Oils

The health benefits of essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These healing oils are rapidly gaining popularity because they act as natural medicine, but without any side effects.

The Antibacterial Benefits of Essential Oils

This antibacterial properties of essential oils have been studied very much and is very well understood. It is completely undeniable that essential oils can and will fight bacteria and eliminate them. Even as far back as the middle ages there was some awareness that essential oils would kill bacteria, as scented plants and their extracts were commonly used to fight and prevent illnesses. At the time, it was thought that the smell alone could fight bacteria, however now we know that it is the powerful bacteria destroying properties of plants which is having the effect.

But not all essential oils are created equal where antibacterial properties are concerned. The molecules of essential oils with the highest ability to destroy bacteria are carvacrol, thymol, and augenol, which are all plant phenols, or hormones. Another compound, which is not a phenol but is also powerfully antibacterial, is cinnamic aldehyde. These four key compounds are the most powerful factors in deciding an essential oil’s antibacterial qualities.

Furthermore, many essential oils contain complex alcohols and ketones, which are both very active in fighting bacteria. They are not as vital or as powerful as the four key compounds, but taken alongside them, they may add valuable antibacterial action. For this reason, it is advisable to combine your antibacterial oils with compatible complementary essential oils, to strengthen their healing capabilities.

The Antifungal Benefits of Essential Oils

However antibacterial essential oils are not just good for killing bacteria. In much the same way that many artificial antibacterial cleaners and medicines are also good for fighting molds and yeasts, almost all strongly antibacterial essential oils will also help with a yeast infection.

Essential Oils

The most common cause of yeast infections in, or on, the human body is an overgrowth of the yeast candida, although on occasion we may also suffer an invasion of a foreign yeast, especially if our immune system is compromised. Candida, however, accounts for almost all yeast infections, including repeat ulcers, vaginal and gastrointestinal yeast overgrowths, and yeast conditions which cause skin damage such as dandruff, some psoriasis, and cradle cap.

Essential oils can absolutely be used to treat such infections; however, it takes a much more intense approach. Firstly, we must apply the essential oil for a longer period of time so as to ensure its effectiveness. And secondly, we must also change our diet and lifestyle during this time so as to help the essential oils work. This is because a yeast infection, unlike a bacterial or viral infection, rarely happens on its own. Usually a yeast infection is a side effect of poor diet and hygiene practices, and for this reason we must stop these bad habits if we are to cure it permanently and prevent it returning.

The Antiviral Benefits of Essential Oils

It is a common complaint of antibiotics that they have no effect on viral illnesses, and that antibiotic abuse in cold and flu patients can lead to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, making it harder to cure infections with them. However, there is no such problem with essential oils, which have been used to treat viral infections for millennia without viruses or bacteria developing any resistance. This is because essential oils are so effective that no bacteria or viruses can survive, meaning none will develop a resistance.

The powerful compounds found in essential oils which have antiviral properties are monoterpenols and monoterpenals. The relationship between these compounds and our bodies can effectively fight off virus cells without harming our own cells. Because they can only do so much, they will not annihilate viruses. However, they can damage them enough that our own body can finish eliminating the main virus and help us recover. Most viral infections can be recovered from on their own if left long enough, as they die off naturally. However, often our bodies need a little help getting rid of them, to limit the damage to our own cells. And that is the biggest advantage of essential oils.

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