Essential oils are nothing new as they can be dated back to the Ancient Egyptians who were using them thousands of years ago as part of the mummification process. They also used aromatic oils in ancient Greece, Rome, China and India for a variety of purposes. Today, essential oils are coming back—in a big way.
Much research has been done to show the many positive effects essential oils can have on our health, and it seems as though they hold the potential to help us in some fascinating ways.
Fixing The Problem, Not The Symptom
Your immune system faces millions of germ, bacteria, viral and parasitic invasions in your lifetime. Every time you touch a door handle, rub your eyes or touch your mouth you are exposed to a ton of pathogens. Your immune system is like a protective barrier that detects and disposes of harmful pathogens every minute of every day.
If your immune system is not running at its best, you’ll find that you catch a lot of colds and develop allergies. When we’re in this state, we often look for “fixes” like pills or syrups to help curb the nasty side effects of having a cold. In reality, this is dealing with the symptoms and not the problem. The problem is a low functioning immune system, the symptom is the cold.
If we address the problem and care for our immune system adequately, it becomes the best weapon against any pathogen.
Studies have shown plant extracts from oregano, cinnamon and chili pepper essential oils help feed the immune system to keep it operating at its best.
Think of it like putting the time and energy into building a protective wall around a castle to prevent foreign invaders. When that wall is big and strong enough, it’ll naturally keep most invaders out.
When we are stressed, our body releases chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. When these chemicals are released, your body is no longer concerned about fighting off a cold or gathering proper nutrients through your digestive process. We begin to operate in fight or flight mode. When we operate in this mode over an extended period of time, we stop putting energy into fortifying our castle walls and open ourselves up to foreign invaders.
Essential oils can help to fortify our castle’s walls and keep out harmful pathogens. One example of an essential oil that assists with strengthening the immune system is eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is naturally antiseptic, anti inflammatory and it is also an expectorant which means it strengthens the body’s ability to expel mucus from the air passages. (Source)
This is positive news because it means that we can focus on the problem, correct it and naturally lead a healthier life. When we fortify our body’s own defense system, we can experience a life with less disease.
Essential Oils Versus Modern Medicine
Essential oils have been shown to correct the issue of super bugs which the use of drugs created. Super bugs are pathogens which have adapted to the antibiotic and eventually become resistant to treatment. Essential oils can help fix this problem because they’ve been shown to kill drug resistant pathogens.
For example, according to CDC.gov, “MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. In a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or nursing home, MRSA can cause severe problems such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.” There was a study done that showed certain essential oils killed E. Coli and MRSA within two minutes of contact.
In addition to supercharging the immune system and working against drug resistant pathogens, essential oils have also been shown to help people suffering from many types of ailments such as depression, cancer (source 1, 2, 3), nausea, anxiety, indigestion, migraines, acne, PMS, poor memory, insomnia and more.
Combining Nature & Medicine
There’s this misconception that natural medicines, therapies and modern medicines do not mix. But in truth, many of today’s medicines are actually derived from natural ingredients. Aspirin for example, originally came from a chemical found in willow bark. Vick’s VapoRub, a staple in many of our homes, contains eucalyptus, camphor, lemon and menthol essential oils. Morphine is derived from the poppy flower. Cromoglycate, a drug used to prevent the symptoms of asthma is derived from the mandrake plant.
Research has also found that essential oils and drugs can also work as a tag team. The Atlantic writes, “…one mechanism by which the oils work is by weakening the cell wall of resistant bacteria, thereby damaging or killing the cells while also allowing the antibiotic in.”
This is great news because it means that modern medicine and natural medicine can sometimes be used in conjunction with promising results.
Although more studies are certainly needed to give us an accurate reading on just how much essential oils benefit our health, we have enough information at present to suggest these oils are definitely worth talking about and incorporating into our lives. They also happen to be fairly inexpensive and can be found at many natural health food stores.
If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils, which ones can help you and how to use them, check out the following further reading list.
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