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What are Essential Oils? How Can We Use Them?

What exactly are essential oils? These active botanical compounds come from steaming and pressing parts of a plant, flower, leaves, and even fruit. Practices such as aromatherapy have been used for centuries and diluting oils with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, can make for a relaxing massage. In fact, botanical experts say that using essential oils such as tea tree oil can help combat athletes' foot and peppermint oil has been shown to help those with irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, they can help with headaches, insomnia, and even sore throats. The health benefits behind essential oils have been controversial, unfortunately there just isn't enough research to determine their effectiveness on our health. What we do know is that smell is connected to our limbic system which deals with our emotions and mood.

If you’ve been feeling anxious, use oils such as lavender, chamomile or rose water to help you relax. Oils such as Tea-tree can help combat fungus behind athletes' feet and even pesky pimples. Studies have shown that Peppermint oil can help patients with irritable bowel syndrome. If you have a cough or a respiratory tract infection. Use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser or inhale the steam by applying a few drops in hot water.

Never put undiluted oils on your skin and always make sure to check the quality of oils, as they may have ingredients that can lead to allergic reactions. Before rubbing it on your skin, test a small area and see how your skin responds. If you notice small bumps or itchy skin, gently wash your skin with water. Remember, essential oils should never be substituted for over-the-counter medication.

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