Healthy Living

How Do Essential Oils Work?

Essential oils may be used in a lot of ways. These can be applied directly to the skin, inhaled or ingested. Other methods include applying a blend that contains ginger essential oil to help lessen the pain from arthritis and improve flexibility. There are also many people who opt for Matricaria Recutita, a German chamomile essential oil blend that is famous for treating eczema.

Essential oils work because of the active chemicals which are absorbed by the body. However, different factors may affect the absorption of essential oils through one’s skin. If a person massages the area first, it will increase circulation to that part of the body; thus, causing an increase in absorption of the essential oils at work.

Studies that have been conducted in the past state that essential oils may be more voluntarily absorbed from skin locations that have higher concentrations of hair follicles and sweat glands like genitals, soles, head, palms and armpits.

Aside from the common skin application, essential oils may be inhaled through the nose and or mouth. A few examples include inhaling eucalyptus for when one has a cough or inhaling a peppermint blend to lessen fatigue or nausea. Molecules that are inhaled through the nose or mouth are also transferred to the lungs and intermingle with the respiratory system. Therefore, inhaled essential oils can affect one’s body through numerous systems and pathways.

Moreover, during the inhalation of these, odor molecules course through the nose and trigger a variety of receptor sites in the brain like the limbic system, which is also called the emotional brain. This is one of the reasons as to why essential oils can have deeply physiological and psychological effects; the scents these bring can stir one’s emotions to a certain degree.

The third and final way that essential oils enter the body is by swallowing. Even if this practice is accepted in several parts of the world, oral ingestion of essential oils is still not recommended for the general public because of the life-threatening effects, such as damaging the liver or kidneys when ingested.

Lavender essential oil These six essential oils, from lavender to frankincense, can help alleviate anxiety. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain