By Dr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege
Essential oils carry the physical properties of flowers and plantsin a highly concentrated form. They are, in short, the essence ofthe plant and can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts.The particles in essential oils, which come from various parts ofthe plant such as the flowers, twigs, leaves or bark, can be inhaledand absorbed through the skin and their use can be traced back forthousands of years. Essential oils were even used in ancient Egyptiantimes, and were made by soaking plants in oil and then filteringthe oil through a linen bag.
Most essential oils have antibacterial qualities and have varyingphysical and emotional effects depending on the oil, such as stimulation,relaxation, pain relief and healing. The most common ways to useessential oils include:
- Massaging them (blended with a carrier oil) into the skin
- Adding them to bathwater
- Using them in a compress
- Burning them in a diffuser
In The Maker's Diet, Dr. Jordan Rubin recommends 14 essentialoils that have unique healing properties. He suggests putting fiveto 10 drops (total) of these "top healing oils" into awarm bath for a real "healing treat." Below you will findfive beneficial essential oils along with their uses. I encourageyou to check out The Maker'sDiet to learn more about some of the more exotic, but highlyeffective, essential oils available.
I'd also like to point out that essential oils are not the samething as fragrance oils. Essential oils come from plants while fragranceoils are artificially created and often contain synthetic chemicals.While they may smell good and are typically less expensive, theywill not give you the therapeutic benefits of organic essentialoils--and you don't want to be inhaling any synthetic chemicals!So, please be sure that the essential oil you use is of the highestquality and 100 percent pure.
Caution: Essential oils can produce verystrong and significant changes in tiny amounts. They must be usedwith caution, especially during pregnancy. It is important to consultsomeone knowledgeable in aromatherapy before experimenting withthese oils.
* Although sandalwood is a beneficial oil, the treesmust be felled to collect the product and there has been much over-harvesting.Indian sandalwood is controlled by the Indian government, whichallows a limited amount of the essential oil to be traded on theworld market. However, due to its high value sandalwood may be producedillegally without replanting programs in place. There is concernthat this oil should be on the endangered list and many essentialoil producers are contemplating not selling it, so you may wantto seek an alternative oil, such as Western Australian sandalwood.