Essential oils have become more and more popular over the years for their amazing benefits to
the body; but what are essential oils? An essential oil is a natural oil obtained by distillation and
having the fragrance of the source it was derived from. In other words, they are oils extracted
from plants with unique aromatic mixes that give the oil its essence. Each essence has a different
positive effect on the body, making each singular oil beneficial in its own way.


Now that we know what exactly an essential oil is, how do they work? Essential oils are typically
used in aromatherapy, the inhaling of essential oils, or topically. When applied topically, the
body absorbs the plant oils. Inhaling and absorbing the oils can reduce inflammation, boost
immunity, aid in digestion, and stimulate “areas of your limbic system, which is a part of your
brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors…and long-term memory.” 1 There are many
essential oils, but here are a few you should know.


Cypress
This essential oil is commonly used as an antiseptic, aiding in healing wounds and infections.
Because of its antispasmodic properties (relieving muscle spasms), cypress oil is often used to
treat cramps and muscle pulls. It is also a diuretic, making quick use of flushing out any toxins
the body is holding.


Marjoram
This woodsy oil attacks many types of pain and works to reduce pain, inflammation, headaches,
fevers, and colds. Similar to cypress oil, it can work as an antiseptic, but it amazingly is also
antiviral. Marjoram is also antibacterial and aggressively kills bacteria, so keep a bottle in the
medicine cabinet!


Frankincense
Not only does Frankincense produce a strong and spicy smell, but it works as an anti-
inflammatory, which can decrease muscle and joint swelling. Frankincense contains boswellic
acids, obtained from the Boswellia tree, which “may be as effective as non-steroidal anti-
inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — with fewer negative side effects.” 2 Traditional medicine has
also used Frankincense for centuries with help treating asthma.


Lemongrass
This light scent packs a punch with properties of analgesics, or pain relievers. Lemongrass works
as anti-inflammatory, but also inhibits “bad” bacteria growth in and on the body. This oil can
boost your mood, giving you confidence, hope, and mental strength. It also has properties of an
astringent, which drastically stops blood flow by constricting blood vessels. Keep lemongrass
around for any scrapes!

Peppermint
This essential oil is a favorite of those with conditions causing nausea. Peppermint oil acts fast to
relieve nausea and vomiting. It also helps reduce IBS symptoms, calming down bloating, gas,
cramping, and stomach pain. It can also aid in cognitive performance. Has anyone ever told you
they focus better when chewing gum? Thanks to peppermint, it increases arousal and attention,
helping you focus on your task.

1 Rajmohan, J., Mohandas, E. “The Limbic System.” Retrieved from:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917081/
2 Basch, E. and co. “Boswellia: an evidence based systematic review.” Retrieved from:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15829470

Written and sourced by Amber Mercer, 2020

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