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15 July, 2021

The good oil on essential oils

YOU would have to be living on Mars, not to have heard of essential oils. We are confronted by them constantly, in our cosmetics, in our baths, massage oils, or even more commonly in an oil burner.

By Peter McCullagh

For many, essential oils are far more than an aromatic addition to our lives. Essential oils can make a difference to our moods and can assist us with our health and wellbeing.

Essential oils are concentrated, highly potent compounds extracted from plants. The oil could be from the stem, roots or even the flowers and fruit of the plant.

Various methods are used to extract the oils, steam distillation is the most common, although water distillation or cold pressing are also used.

The three most common essential oils are lavender, chamomile and eucalyptus oils.

Lavender essential oil is by far the most common and popular of all the oils. Used extensively in aromatherapy and massage the oil is extracted from the lavender flowers.

This essential oil is believed to assist with relaxation and may assist with the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, nausea and eczema.

There are some studies that show lavender essential oil may help promote sleep and assist you to overcome insomnia.

A degree of caution should be undertaken as lavender essential oil if applied to the skin may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some people.

Lavender oil is for external application only as it can have toxic effects.

Lavender oil many times is combined with base oil, such as jojoba or sweet almond to produce a calming massage oil.

Chamomile essential oil is derived from the chamomile plant, a plant closely related to the daisy. The oil is extracted from the flowers of the plant. It is believed that chamomile essential oil can assist with digestion, if applied externally to the stomach or abdomen.

Chamomile essential oils can be used in massage oils, bath oils, in cosmetics and a lotion as well as a compress.

Like lavender oil, chamomile oil can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction from some users.

There have been reports of chamomile essential oils interacting adversely with cyclosporine or warfarin. You may be best served consulting with your GP before using camomile essential oils should you be on medication.

One essential oil well known to most Australians is eucalyptus oil. For many years eucalyptus oils has been used in chest rubs, cough and throat lozenges, as well as inhalants.

The oil is high in antioxidants, the dried leaves have been used to make a flavoursome tea. Choose a pre-packaged eucalyptus tea and do not add the essential oil direct to your tea.

Other possible benefits of eucalyptus oil include, keeping a cold at bay, clearing your breathing, improved relaxation as well as treating dried skin.

Essential oils do have a place in our home. They may deliver a health benefit, but really you should consult with a qualified medical practitioner before you use essential oils.

Essential oils may interact with prescribed medication or interact with women lactating, therefore seek appropriate advice to ensure you do derive the maximum benefit of these natural oils.

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