For thousands of years, many cultures have extracted essential oils from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots and fruit to manage and heal certain ailments.
This makes essential oils a “must-have” in home medicine cabinets and a booming product industry for New Age spas. This form of treatment is known as aromatherapy.
Dr Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine, said: “We know essential oils are some of the most powerful forms of plant-based medicines in the world and whether you’re struggling with hypothyroidism, chronic bronchitis, a cold or flu, adrenalin fatigue or other health conditions, essential oils can be used to help heal the body.”
Five of the most common essential oils listed by experts are:
Eucalyptus: Belonging to the family of Myrtaceae, the oil from this evergreen plant has been used to regulate and activate the nervous system for neuralgia and to counter headache and debility.
This oil is said to boost immunity against measles, flu, cold and chickenpox.
Throat infections, coughs, bronchitis, asthma and sinusitis may be countered by the oil. It also acts as an insect repellent and is used to treat wounds and herpes.
* Lavender: Arguably the best-known oil, mostly for its relaxation properties, a few drops are used in a bath or on pillows to aid sleep. It is also used to support mental alertness, and suppresses aggression and anxiety.
* Clary sage: The literature on clary sage essential oil suggests its various therapeutic properties: “Its tonic is used for problems associated with the womb and uterus, and it also regulates menstrual periods, eases tension and muscle cramps.” It helps control the production of sebum and can be used for dry and oily skin, and for acne, wrinkles and for controlling cellulite.
* Rosemary: Its oil relieves the symptoms of indigestion, constipation and colitis. It works as a liver and gallbladder tonic, and acts on the cardiovascular system. It regulates blood pressure and retards the hardening of arteries.
* Tea Tree: Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune stimulant properties. Aromatherapy uses a mixture of lemon, blue gum, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and ginger oils for the treatment of different ailments. The oil is used for herpes, abscesses, blisters, acne, cold sores, burns, insect bites and dandruff. It is also used in the treatment of respiratory problems such as tuberculosis, cough, bronchitis, asthma, catarrh and whooping cough.