Instead of reaching for scented candles and other types of air fresheners (which are extremely toxic), why not infuse your home with essential oils? They can elevate your mood, purify the air you breathe, and even improve brain function.
Essential oils have been around for thousands of years, and have been used in various cultures for medicinal and health purposes. They act as antioxidants, antimicrobials, and anti-inflammatories.
As people realize the power of the world’s most proven therapeutic compounds, it is no wonder that essential oils have grown in popularity.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds found in seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and other plant parts. They are what give plants their distinctive smells, and what allow plants to be pollinated. They are often referred to as the “life force” of plants, and contain unique and varied therapeutic properties.
How Does Inhaling Essential Oils Benefit Me?
Essential oils can be inhaled through a variety of different methods. You can use a diffuser, which disperses essential oils so that their aroma fills a room, or you can simply put the essential oil on your body, or inhale from the bottle itself. In terms of inhaling essential oils, I suggest diffusing as the best and safest method. Once in the air, the essential oils can be inhaled through the nose or mouth.
When we inhale through our nose, airborne molecules, like essential oils, interact with the olfactory organs and then, almost immediately, the brain. These odour molecules affect the brain by interacting with different receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system, which is referred to as the “emotional brain.” For instance, have you ever smelled something, or someone pass by, and have a strong memory of someone or something? That’s because your brain remembers – your brain forms strong connections to different smells if any type of emotion is involved. This is why the smell of pancakes in the morning makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside – it is a direct memory of eating pancakes in the morning as a child, memories I am very fond of.
With this in mind, it helps explain why essential oils have very profound physiological and psychological effects on the body (1). If you want to diffuse essential oils, use 5-10 drops in a regular diffuser with some water (it is advised to follow the manufacturers instructions).
Benefits of Diffusing Essential Oils
Diffusing essential oils not only improves air quality, but it also offers a variety of other health benefits. Check out the following benefits explained below:
– Air Purifier: when diffused indoors, essential oils can help destroy mould microorganisms in the air, and inhibit bacterial growth. Not to mention they help fill the air with a fresh, aromatic scent.
– Immune System: essential oils can enter the bloodstream by applying them directly on your skin or by inhalation (the molecules enter your bloodstream in the lungs through the delicate airway-capillary system). There are so many different essential oils that help fight off viruses and other disease-causing bacteria. These include cinnamon leaf, bay laurel, eucalyptus globulus, frankincense, oregano and sage. If you are wanting to build up your immune system, opt for sandalwood, pine needle, lemon, lavender, bergamot, myrrh, tea tree, vetiver or thyme.
– Lower Your Stress: aromatherapy has a huge effect on your anxiety and stress levels. Some of the best essential oils to battle stress are wild orange, lemon, lime, rose and lavender.
– Improve Sleep: lavender essential oil has one of the best effects at improving ones sleep. It helps lower blood pressure, as well as the production of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the body.
– Reduce Congestion: if you’re sick, you might want to diffuse a little eucalyptus, tea tree, or peppermint oil (or combine them all at once). These helps reduce inflammation and congestion in clogged airways, and will help you breathe easier.
– Prevent Food Cravings: inhaling peppermint oil can actually reduce your want to delve into your bad food cravings. It affects your brain’s satiety centre, the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus. Make sure you take a deep sniff in each nostril three times, because if you do it with only half the effort, you may have the opposite effect – more hunger!
Essential Oil Brands
With so many different essential oil brands out there, you want to make sure you invest in ones that are legit, and not just some knock-off brand. One of my favourite essential oil brands are those created by Aroma Foundry. They are 100% pure and all-natural, with no synthetic additives. They’re committed to sourcing native oils, where the crop is deeply rooted in the environment and culture (opposed to other competitors who source their oils as cheaply as possible). They pledge transparency about country of origin, such as orange oil from California, and sage oil from Spain.
What I like most about Aroma Foundry is that their oils are potent. You only need a drop or two to smell amazing, or to make your home smell amazing. I also like that they are bottled in the USA, and that they personally test their oils by hand, inspecting each bottle before it is boxed for retail. It doesn’t get much better than that.
These are some of the best aromatic essential oils I have used to date, and have been diffusing them non-stop since I received them. The rosemary essential oil I also use to put on my shoulder, as it is injured and rosemary essential oil is highly anti-inflammatory and helps with reducing pain.
Disclaimer: All views and opinions are my own. This particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer. However, the manufacturer did give me the product for testing and review purposes.