By Bryan Bradford, Chief Nutrition Officer of Sunflower Shoppe Natural Foods
March 6th, 2015
There sure is a lot of excitement about essential oils and aromatherapy recently - and for good reason! For centuries, fragrant oils have been used by ancient cultures with a belief in their power to restore the body to a state of health and wellbeing both physically and mentally.
We all have experienced the memories or feelings a certain smell can invoke, and science has shown that inhaling oils such as lavender can help reduce stress and anxiety. Also, topical application may have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Our customers who want to incorporate the use of aromatherapy in their regimen are asking how to choose and use oils to complement the efforts they are making toward good health.
3 great ways to use essential oils:
1. You can inhale them, either directly on a cotton ball or indirectly through a diffuser. Olfactory receptors in the nose may respond to the smells of essential oils by sending chemical messages along nerve pathways to the brain's limbic system, which affects moods and emotions. Imaging studies in humans actually show the positive effects of smells on the limbic system and its emotional pathways.
2. You can apply topically through a carrier oil (jojoba oil, etc.) as first aid or massage. Some of our favorite examples
- Peppermint oil is helpful for headaches and foot odor.
- Chamomile has an anti-inflammatory benefit.
- Tea Tree has antibacterial and antiviral properties
3. You can create homemade household cleaners with essential oils. Cleaning is more fun when the products you use smell good while leaving your home with a lovely aroma without the use of harsh, synthetic chemicals. If you prefer ready-to-use cleaners, several companies such as Meyer’s Clean Day and Seventh Generation have done it for you! You can find these and several other great products here at the Sunflower Shoppe.
Important precaution to keep in mind:
Never apply oils directly to skin or gum tissue without diluting in a carrier oil first. This also includes ingestion. Our most popular carrier oils include almond, coconut, olive, jojoba or your favorite lotion.
Test for skin irritations BEFORE use. Apply a small amount of diluted oil and wait 24 hours to be sure there is not a negative reaction. Discontinue if irritation occurs at any time.
Long term topical use of essential oils in not recommended.
Do not refrigerate oils, and keep away from heat.
For more information about the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, come visit us at the Sunflower Shoppe, where great health is just a way of life!
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, author Rhonda Pallas Downey
The content and opinions expressed in this “Shoppe Talk” blog are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or to provide medical advice. We are not medical doctors and we do not prescribe medication. If you have any questions about the relationship between nutrition and supplements, we recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified and licensed health practitioner. Our opinions are based on the literature and data from a variety of medical doctors, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, biochemists and other professional researchers. You are encouraged to make your health care decisions based on your own research and the advice of a qualified health care professional.