01 Aug The Power of Essential Oils
Posted at 14:54h in Botanical Medicine
The Power of Essential Oils
Essential oils are very powerful medicine. They can be potent, effective, and fast-acting. They should be used with some caution (particularly internally). In this month’s newsletter, we’ll explore three such oils and some new research pointing to benefits which could be helpful to many of us.
Also, I’ll include a recipe using XXX essential oil.
A note about purity and safety:
Not all essential oils are created equally. You want to look out for a few things:
1) 100% essential oil (no fillers)
2) Expeller extracted or steam distilled (not extracted using toxic solvents)
3) Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade
4) Use one to two drops internally at a maximum
Relax with Lavender:
Lavender has been used for centuries to calm the nerves and induce relaxation. It is also useful for indigestion especially when it’s associated with nervousness.
It has been compared with benzodiazepine medications (such as Valium and Xanax) and found to be as effective in inducing sleep in people with insomnia.
Lavender essential oil can be placed on pulse points (temples and wrists), added to bath water, or diffused in an oil diffuser.
One fantastic preparation is Lavela WS by Integrative Therapeutics. This highly bioavailable extraction out of Germany has been shown in the research to enhance the quality and duration of sleep and calm nervousness (even in patients with generalized anxiety disorder). It is safe, well-tolerated, and non-habit forming. There are no known drug interactions.
Rosemary is more than just for salad dressings:
Rosemary oil has anti-microbial activity: it has been found to be effective against candida (at least in some studies) and aspergillus, can repel aflatoxin (a carcinogenic fungal toxin found predominantly on peanuts) and multiple strains of bacteria.
It also has antioxidant properties making it a particularly effective food preservative to repel growth of food-borne pathogens and keep the food fresh.
Rosemary oil has insecticidal activity: it kills off some agricultural pests and repels mosquitos (possibly more effectively than citronella) and even Lyme-carrying ticks.
And here’s another benefit: rosemary is a mild pain-reliever and is effective when used topically and internally. It is also safe in combination with other analgesic medications and may enhance their effectiveness.
Rosemary has been found to have anti-cancer activity (particularly against liver cancer but also against colon, breast, stomach, melanoma and leukemia cells) and has been found to have liver-protecting effects.
But this is my favorite potential benefit of Rosemary essential oil and the reason I was inspired to write this newsletter: amazingly, rosemary essentialy oil may induce hair-regrowth in patients with male-pattern baldness as effectively as a common treatment (2% minoxidil)! Two caveats: both the Minoxidil and the rosemary oil required 6 months to show significant benefit and both the Minoxidil and rosemary oil caused scalp itching, but the rosemary did so to a lesser extent.
Tea tree for your skin: from acne to toenail fungus:
Tea tree is a powerful anti-microbial agent. It has known, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. It also shows activity against lice. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits and it enhances wound healing.
For your spots: Recent research has found that use of tea tree oil on the skin at as little as 0.25-1.0% concentration inhibits the acne causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes). The average number of acne spots decreased progressively over 12 weeks. In addition, facial oiliness was also significantly improved. The treatment is well tolerated in men and women with mild to moderate acne.