Do essential oils even work? They smell nice and all, but do they even do anything? What are essential oils? Are they safe? What’s the deal with essential oils or aromatherapy anyway?
I get these questions all the time, because I use essential oils predominantly with my clients. Instead of using herbs, supplements, or homeopathic remedies, for example, I use essential oils. Did you know essential oils are 100 times more powerful than dried herbs? That got my attention!
Let’s talk essential oil basics, so we’re on the same page. Essential oils are the highly concentrated, volatile (means easily evaporated) organic substances from medicinal plants. The oils are to plants what blood is to the human body. They are the life force of these healing plants. Medicinal plants are the original medicine of the earth. Using the essential oils from plants and trees dates back to the beginnings of humanity and are examples of the traditional medicine used by ancient cultures to prevent and heal disease. Written traditions of using essential oils dates back 7,000-10,000 years and oral traditions to the beginning. I’m going out on a limb here and thinking 10,000 + years isn’t based on something that doesn’t work!
So, they’ve been around a while, much longer than pharmaceutical drugs for instance. Yet, we easily trust taking drugs from the doctor, while we distrust ancient natural traditions. Hmm… seems a little off don’t you think? Never mind the scary side effects you hear in the ads for drugs on TV – death isn’t an uncommon side effect, sadly. Half the time is seems like the side effects are worse than the disease the drug is being recommended for. And, negative drug interactions are the second leading cause of death in the U.S.! […stepping off my soapbox now]
Do they work? Essential oils have been proven, in labs, using real-life science, to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic, for starters. That’s a lot of anti’s to cover, and that’s a lot of ground in the body to cover too. In the first phase of my program with clients I look at all these anti’s to see what might be at the root of their symptoms and I always find something that needs some attention in this category. It’s often as simple as that! If you’re body is bogged down with a mold or a parasite, then you’re definitely not going to feel 100%. A sweet smelling essential oil is just the trick to set you right again!
Yup, essential oils do smell oh so nice! Imagine being wafted away to a thick Colorado Spruce forest with the smell of Blue Spruce essential oil, all while helping your chest cold, or your thyroid, or your throat chakra (depending on how out there you want to go – I’m there with you!). Nothing sweeter in my mind. And, that nice aroma is doing a lot more than smelling good. It is literally the start of the healing process. Your olfactory system (nose and smell) goes straight into your brain. That’s why smells have such a huge impact on us and take us right back to certain memories. When those essential oil molecules go up your nose and into your brain, your brain goes to work telling your immune system healing is on the way!
There are so many essential oil myths and I don’t want to keep you all day, so I’ll do some more myth busting next time in Part 2.
Speaking of being transported to a deep spruce forest while you heal. I got to thinking how cool would it be to learn about the essential oils that come from the local Aspen native plants? Or maybe the Rocky Mountains in general? We’re all about farm to table, why not local sage to body? Why not heal ourselves using the essences from our native plants? If you’re not here in Aspen, send me a shout out and I’ll check out the plants where you’re from, just had to start with what I know.