Essential oils are concentrated plant essences that provide substantial benefits for our health and well-being and have many different functions when used in the human body (or even with animals). They have other practical uses too, such as cleaning, disinfecting, first-aid uses, and personal body and skin care. Not to mention, many have a pleasant smell, so they can be used as perfumes and to “freshen” up the air when diffusing them. The various functions of essential oils are so numerous, in fact, that in would be quite beneficial to provide a general list of what essential oils do, and then, elaborate a bit on some of the main functions.
Functions of Essential Oils- The Various Health Benefits
- Increase oxygen in the air.
- Increase negative ions in the air (which inhibits bacterial growth).
- Help to release negative emotions and past traumas.
- Helps with oxygenating tissue, including the brain.
- Stimulate positive emotions and promote feelings of joy and happiness.
- Boosts and stimulates the immune system.
- Help to increase blood circulation.
- Provides pain relief and functions as an anti-inflammatory.
- Relieve headaches and migraines.
- Raises the vibrational frequency of living things.
- Dissolve mucus & can function as an expectorant.
- Provide antimicrobial properties including antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antifungal.
- Provide calming, relaxing, and nerve soothing properties.
- Support the production and balancing of hormones.
- Can help lower blood pressure and thin blood.
- Improve memory, recall, concentration, and focus; increase creativity.
- Help fight fatigue, boost energy levels, and increase overall vitality; stimulate the adrenals.
- Reduce stress and anxiety; help to overcome depression.
- Relax muscles and relieve muscle spasms and cramps.
- Help to reduce joint swelling and joint pain.
- Relieve sore throats and earaches.
- Relieve allergy symptoms and improve sense of smell.
- Aid in healing and tissue regeneration, as well as nerve regeneration.
- Assist with digestive issues, such as nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, heartburn, and indigestion.
- Rejuvenate skin, decrease wrinkles, help to heal scars, and soothe chapped skin.
- Reduce cellulite and stretch marks.
- Beneficial for the lymphatic system and decreasing fluid retention.
- Aid in cleansing of the liver and support the kidneys.
As you can see, the above list of the functions and health benefits that essential oils provide is quite extensive. Not all essential oils do everything on the list, however, all essential oils provide several of the different health benefits listed. Essential oils all share a few common features, also; chief among those being: increasing oxygen levels in the air and increasing negative ions in the air, along with easily penetrating cell walls and increasing tissue oxygenation.
Hormone Balance- Simple & Natural Regulation
As previously mentioned, essential oils share characteristics that are similar to human blood. One of those properties is that they contain hormone-like compounds. Therefore, certain essential oils can function as a hormone which can help to bring back into balance various systems of the human body. For instance, Myrtle essential oil can assist with regulating the thyroid, aiding with both underactive and overactive thyroids.
Air Purification- Above and Beyond Your Normal “Air Freshener”
Essential oils can actually break down potentially harmful chemicals, and, therefore, render them nontoxic. This is due to their ionizing effect. When diffused, essential oils produce negative ions in the air, which, in turn, inhibit bacterial growth.
Of course, they tend to have very pleasant smells, so a single oil or a blend of essential oils, can replace air freshener. Most commercial air fresheners contain harmful chemicals and, often, only serve to cover up orders, rather than improve the air quality as essential oils do. Essential oils, also, increase the oxygen content in the air, further improving air quality.
Antimicrobial Properties- An Abundance of Protection
Plants produce essential oils to act as a chemical defense mechanism, of sorts. One well-known function of essential oils is to protect the plants from attacks by bacteria and viruses. Therefore, essential oils posses powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties. When humans inhale, ingest, and topically apply essential oils, they provide these same benefits, thus, allowing one to recover from sickness sooner, and even prevent illnesses. Additionally, essential oils can be used in homemade cleaning blends to provide disinfectant properties.
Emotional Release- An Unexpected Benefit
The olfactory (smell) membranes contain 800 million nerve endings for detecting and processing odors. The body can respond to odor in as little as 3 seconds.
The limbic system of the body contains various glands, such as the pituitary, pineal, and the amygdala which support emotion, behavior and long term memories. These scent impulses reach the amygdala which is the memory center for fear and trauma. Only stimulation from smells and fragrances are highly effective at triggering a response with this gland, leading to the release of negative emotions.
Essential Oils- Here to Stay
Essential oils provide an incredible amount of health benefits, and they can assist with virtually any health ailment or concern you can think of. From first-aid and pain relief- to body care- to cleaning, air purification, and disinfecting- to emotional support and healing, essential oils have you covered. Essential oils are quickly becoming a health staple in households nationwide.
If you have any questions regarding the use and benefits of essential oils, or would like to share your positive experiences using essential oils, please feel free to leave a comment below.