Essential oils are compounds that can be extracted from the leaves, bark, stems, roots, seeds, and flowers of a plant, and in the case of citrus oils, from the rind of the fruit. Essential oils give plants and fruits their unique and potent aroma, and they also play a protective role within the plant. As well as this, the active compounds in the oils provide us with many therapeutic benefits too. Oils have been shown to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, antioxidant, antidepressant, disinfectant, stimulant, sedative, and aphrodisiac properties.
- 1 Essential Oils and Plants
- 2 How Can You Use Essential Oils?
- 3 How Do the Different Methods of Using Essential Oils?
- 4 Inhalation
- 5 Topical Application
- 6 Internal Use
- 7 How Safe Are Essential Oils?
- 8 Always Dilute Essential Oils
- 9 Always Use Them with Caution If You’re Pregnant
- 10 Using Oils with Babies and Children
- 11 Internal Use
- 12 Sensitivity to the Sun
- 13 Oils That Cause Irritation and Sensitivity
- 14 Oils That Tend to Be Avoided in Hypnotherapy
- 15 Oils Are Flammable
- 16 Ocotea Essential Oil
- 17 History of Ocotea Oil
- 18 Benefits and Uses of Ocotea Oil
- 19 The Benefits of Ocotea Oil
- 20 It Can Treat Diabetes
- 21 It Can Help You to Lose Weight
- 22 It Can Treat Yeast Infections
- 23 It Treats Skin Inflammation
- 24 It Can Treat Fungal Infection
- 25 It Promotes Healthy Digestion
- 26 It Gets Rid of Toxins
- 27 It Can Get Rid of Cravings
- 28 It Protects the Body from Injury
- 29 It Can Really Relax You
- 30 It Promotes a Healthy Heart
- 31 It’s Great for the Skin
- 32 It’s Great for Healthy Hair
- 33 It Reduces Anxiety
- 34 It Reduces High Blood Pressure
Essential Oils and Plants
Essential oils are very beneficial to plants. Plants have survived for millions of years in often very harsh climates, and the essential oils are just one of the substances that have made this possible. The oils give plants their scent, which attracts pollinating insects like bees. On the other hand, essential oils defend plants against some predators and pests that would destroy them. The chemical compounds in the oils are toxic to some animals and it makes them sick, which is enough of a deterrent.
Essential oils collect on the leaves on some plants, and this can help to protect from water loss which can help a plant survive in an arid climate.
They also have antimicrobial properties, which helps plants to protect themselves from funguses and other diseases.
Their compounds can also be toxic to competing plants, and they can even inhibit them from growing in the first place and competing with them for sunlight and nutrients.
How Can You Use Essential Oils?
Essential oils can be inhaled, applied topically, or in some cases, ingested, though this tends not to be recommended as many oils are toxic. Here are some effective and therapeutic ways that you can use essential oils:
In the bath: For a relaxing aromatherapy experience, adding oils to your bath is a great way to experience their benefits.
Just add 5 to 10 drops of your chosen essential oil to your bath.
Make sure you mix the oil and water well, or the oil will just sit on top of the water and could cause skin irritation. If you use bath salts along with the oil, it will help the oil to disperse better. Always rinse your bathtub well as the oil can make it slippery.
Room spray: You don’t have to use air fresheners that are laden with chemicals, just mix your chosen essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spritz around the room to cleanse the air and freshen your home. You can also use it to freshen up linen, or even mix oils with water in a bucket to make a very effective household cleanser.
If you have potpourri that has seen better days, try adding a few drops of oil to it to boost its fragrance.
In a foot soak: Add oils to a bowl or foot spa to soothe tired and aching feet. This can also be useful if you have a fungal infection like athlete’s foot if you use tea tree oil.
In a body scrub: keep your skin baby soft with added skin-loving benefits by adding essential oils to your favourite body scrub.
Use them to clean your home: Many essential oils have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties, so they make excellent household cleaners. Use them to clean your toilet, shower, worktops, or add them to your laundry, dishwasher, bin, or vacuum bag.
As a moisturiser: Add essential oils to your favourite moisturiser to add some skin-loving benefits, and add a few drops of essential oil to a light moisturiser to make a moisturising body spray.
As a cleanser: Adding essential oils to our cleanser can bring benefits for your skin type, and oils can add astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties to keep your skin nourished and healthy. It’s like having your own customised skin care.
As an insect repellent: Some essential oils are natural insect repellents, especially oils like citronella, and if you apply the oil to a tissue or cotton wool ball, and leave them outside of the entrances to your home, they’ll deter pests all summer long.
As a massage oil: Dilute your chosen oil with a carrier oil like sweet almond or grapeseed oil, then apply to the skin. It’s a good idea to do a patch test of the oil on your upper arm to check for sensitivity. Massage boosts the circulation which helps to carry the oil droplets where they are needed.
Use it to boost oral health: Use essential oil as a gargle to freshen breath and get rid of bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease.
How Do the Different Methods of Using Essential Oils?
The main methods of using essential oils are inhalation, topical application, and ingestion, and they are all effective, though some methods are more effective than others depending on what you are using the oil for. Oils can be used alone or as a blend to enhance their effects.
Scents can evoke powerful memories and emotions, and there’s a reason why. When you inhale an oil, it triggers scent receptors in the nose that carry the droplets to the brain where it acts on the limbic system. The limbic system governs emotion, mood, and memory, and this is why essential oils can be used to lift your mood or relax you. To get the benefits from inhaling oils, try adding them to a diffuser, or inhale them from your hand, the bottle, or a handkerchief. Mix oils with water to create a room spray, household cleaner, or laundry and linen freshener.
Topical application is a very effective method for getting the benefits of essential oils. Because essential oils are made up of tiny molecules, they penetrate the skin easily. If they are used in massage, the act of massage increases the absorption even more, and the oils can disperse where they will be most useful in the body. Using a carrier oil will increase absorption even more, and it will also reduce the likelihood of skin irritation. Start off using a small amount of oil then build up your usage.
Don’t use essential oils on broken or irritated skin, or near the eyes and ears. As well as massage, try adding oils to your bath, apply oils to a hot or cold compress for painful joints and headaches, or add oils to your skin care.
Some oils have been used for thousands of years in cuisine, to add flavour and aroma to foods. They are also available as supplements, but ingestion can be risky, so it is recommended that you should only ingest oils if you are doing so under supervision. When you ingest an oil, it enters the bloodstream through the digestive tract then it’s carried to the organs. Oils can be toxic, so they can damage the liver, or be turned into toxic substances once the liver has broken them down. No matter how you are using oils, the correct dosage should always be used. The main methods of ingesting oils are as a substitute for fresh or dried herbs in cooking or added to water, smoothies, milk, tea, or soup.
How Safe Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are fairly safe when they are used correctly. They are very potent, however, so they should be used with consideration for these safety guidelines.
Always Dilute Essential Oils
Don’t apply oils to the skin unless it’s in cases of very acute infection, otherwise, they should always be diluted with a suitable carrier oil. Keep oils away from children and pets, as they can be very toxic if ingested, and be careful using oils near polished or painted surfaces because oils can mark them.
Always Use Them with Caution If You’re Pregnant
If you are pregnant you should always speak to your doctor before using oils. If your doctor approves you to use them, this is likely to be after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and you’ll be told to use them at half of their usual strength.
Some oils are contraindicated during pregnancy, as they can increase the risk of miscarriage, these are:
- Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Savin oil (Juniperus sabina)
Using Oils with Babies and Children
You should never use oils on a child under 3 years old, and even when they are old enough, they need to be heavily diluted, as young bodies are not developed enough to be able to process them. Oil dosages should be calculated according to the body weight of the child as follows:
- 1 to 2 stones in weight – Use 1 drop of essential oil
- 2 to 4 stones in weight – Use 2 or 3 drops of essential oil
- 4 to 6 stones in weight -Use 4 or 5 drops of essential oil
Only use oils internally under the guidance of a professional. Oils can be very toxic if not administered correctly, so if you haven’t had the right advice, don’t take the risk.
Sensitivity to the Sun
Some oils can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, and they should be avoided if you intend to spend time in the sun or use a sunbed. The citrus oils are the main culprits, and they can cause burning, redness, and irritation. Here are the main oils that cause this effect:
- Angelica root oil (Angelica archangelica)
- Bergamot oil (Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia)
- Bitter Orange oil (Citrus aurantium)
- Cumin oil (Cuminum cyminum)
- Lemon oil cold pressed (Citrus Limonum)
- Lime oil expressed (Citrus aurantifolia)
Oils That Cause Irritation and Sensitivity
Some oils can irritate the skin if they aren’t diluted enough, or if they are used for long periods of time. The oils that are most likely to irritate the skin are:
- Bay Leaf oil (Pimenta racemosa)
- Cinnamon bark oil (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
- Clove oils (Syzygium aromaticum
- Litsea Cubeba aka May Chang oil (Litsea cubeba)
- Origanum oil (Origanum vulgar)
Don’t use more than 3-4 drops of citrus oil in the bath, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Oils That Tend to Be Avoided in Hypnotherapy
Some oils can cause toxicity, severe irritation, or other health problems, so they should generally not be used for therapeutic purposes. These are:
- Parsley herb oil (Petroselinum crispum)
- Pennyroyal oil (Mentha pulegium)
- Savin oil (Juniperus sabina)
- Tansy oil (Tanacetum vulgare)
- Wintergreen oil (Gaultheria procumbens)
- Wormwood oil (Artemisia absinthium)
Oils Are Flammable
Most essential oils are flammable, so keep them away from naked flames or sources of ignition.
Ocotea Essential Oil
Ocotea essential oil is a powerful, but gentle essential oil which is extracted from the stems and leaves of the ocotea tree, native to Ecuador. It’s related to the cinnamon species of tree, but its aroma is very different.
Ocotea has very high levels of a compound called alpha-humulene, which can help the body to fight irritation and inflammation. No other essential oil has such high levels of this compound. It also contains a compound called Eucalyptol which is beneficial for the sinuses and lungs.
History of Ocotea Oil
The oil has been used for at least 500 years, and back then, it was mainly used to flavour cakes and confectionery.
- It contains the highest levels of the compound alpha-humulene of any of the essential oils, which helps the body to fight against irritation and inflammation
- It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and it reduces inflammation from injury and disease
- It has been historically used to promote healthy digestion
- Its’ excellent for treating skin complaints without causing sensitivity
- It balances blood sugar levels
The Benefits of Ocotea Oil
It Can Treat Diabetes
Using ocotea essential oil has been found to control blood glucose levels in the body. Applying 2-4 drops of this oil under the tongue can keep the blood sugar levels steady without side effects. Note: Only use this oil in this way under proper supervision.
It Can Help You to Lose Weight
The scent reduces cravings, and the oil is stimulating, so it can have a boosting effect on the metabolism. Put a few drops of oil in a glass of water and drink it once per day to boost your weight loss efforts.
It Can Treat Yeast Infections
This oil can treat itching and inflammation caused by candida if it’s applied topically to the affected areas.
It Treats Skin Inflammation
Topical application of this oil is excellent for treating skin inflammation, sensitivity, rashes, and itching.
It Can Treat Fungal Infection
This oil can be used topically to get rid of fungal infections like athlete’s foot. These are quite hard to treat, but a regular topical application of the oil can help to reduce symptoms and treat the infection.
People suffering from fungal attacks on the skin can use Ocotea essential oil topically to massage these fungal infections. Infections in the feet are quite common and the application of this oil helps in improving the condition.
It Promotes Healthy Digestion
Using this oil in abdominal massage can really help to improve digestion, and treat digestive disorders, especially diarrhea and constipation.
It Gets Rid of Toxins
Ocotea essential oil is an excellent detoxifier and it boosts the action of the liver, so it can function better to cleanse the body. Use the oil in a massage to boost this effect.
It Can Get Rid of Cravings
Inhaling the oil can help you to feel full, and it gets rid of cravings. This is especially helpful if you are trying to lose weight. Inhale the oil from the bottle or from a handkerchief when needed to kill cravings for junk food.
It Protects the Body from Injury
Ocotea essential oil contains a compound called alpha humulene, which protects the body against injury, inflammation, and irritation.
It Can Really Relax You
This oil is often used in aromatherapy as it is effective for relaxing the mind and reducing stress. It can be inhaled or applied to the forehead to relieve tension and stress.
It Promotes a Healthy Heart
Ocotea essential oil can encourage the smooth flow of blood in the arteries, as it relaxes them, which means the heart stays healthier because it doesn’t have to work too hard.
It’s Great for the Skin
If you use this oil on your skin, it will improve the skin’s texture and overall health. It can help to keep the skin smooth, supple, and nourished, and it helps to clear up rashes and irritation.
It’s Great for Healthy Hair
This oil can be mixed with other oils such as olive oil and massaged into the scalp to treat hair problems like dandruff, hair loss, and dry scalp. It also promotes the growth of strong, healthy hair.
It Reduces Anxiety
If you inhale this oil in a diffuser or massage it onto your forehead, it can really reduce anxiety. Apply it to a handkerchief too for a calming effect on the go.
It Reduces High Blood Pressure
The oil dilates the blood vessels, and this improves blood flow, which lowers blood pressure. This reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.