Unless you've been living in a cave for the last few months, you've probably heard about essential oils being used to treat a variety of issues. What are essential oils, and do they really work? Read on to learn about three common ailments that may be helped by the use of certain essential oils.
What are essential oils?
If you've ever smelled a rose, or noticed how an orange becomes much more fragrant once peeled, you're already familiar with essential oils. These are the oils that give many flowers, plants, and fruits their scents. These oils can be distilled and concentrated into their most pure form, which is then sold under the name "essential oil." To use essential oils for medicinal purposes, you don't necessarily ingest them -- but you can put them on certain pressure points of your body, heat them in a diffuser, or even use them in a bath.
What conditions can essential oils treat?
Various essential oils have been shown to help or even cure a number of conditions.
Millions of Americans are plagued with occasional insomnia, and there are more home remedies (as well as over-the-counter medications) to treat insomnia than almost any other ailment. However, there are several different types of essential oils that can be diffused into your bedroom and quickly help you fall asleep. Lavender has been shown to improve your sleep by up to 20 percent, while certain wood-based oils, like sandalwood and cedarwood, can also help you relax and fall asleep.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Vetiver, one of the essential oils commonly used for insomnia, can also be used to help you focus on a task when your thoughts are scattered. Essential oils are very concentrated, and may have more of an effect when applied directly to a child's skin versus that of an adult. If your child suffers from ADHD you may want to place a few drops of vetiver oil on a handkerchief or your child's sleeve so that he or she can sniff it when he or she begins to become distracted.
The use of oil to treat acne seems counter-intuitive -- but when mixed in a scrub, certain oils can reduce the inflammation of the skin that often leads to pimples. Lavender, geranium, and tea tree oil can be mixed with coarse kosher salt and applied to the face, then gently washed off. You may also want to mix these oils with a "carrier" oil (such as coconut oil) and apply a very thin layer of this mixture to your face. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before applying these mixtures to your face.
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