Essential oils – the concentrated power of medicinal plants
Aromatic treasures of nature, extremely effective drugs, accompanying people for thousands of years. Essential oils are substances produced by plants, extremely valuable to us, because they have many health-promoting properties. If essential oils are associated only with a nice smell and aromatherapy, learn how to use them every day for the benefit of health and beauty.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts containing mainly fragrances produced by entire plants or their specific parts, e.g. flowers, fruits or leaves. Oils are liquid, volatile substances with an extremely intense odor, colorless, yellowish, less frequently green. Essential oils do not dissolve in water, alcohol is a good solvent for oils. Plants usually produce from a few to a dozen or so essential oils that make up the characteristic smell of a plant. Essential oils are therefore 100% natural plant extracts, free from artificial additives, aromas or preservatives.
Currently, about two thousand plants are known that produce essential oils, occur in all climate zones. The most essential oils are found in plants during their flowering, during fruit ripening, if the oils are collected in the root, the largest amount can be found in spring and autumn.
Why do plants produce essential oils?
Once it was thought that essential oils are an unnecessary product of plant metabolism. Today we know that they have many functions. Plants produce oils, for example to attract pollinating insects, they also produce them to deter herbivores. Many essential oils also have strong fungicidal and bactericidal properties, thus the plants are protected against dangerous microorganisms. It is also believed that some plants produce essential oils to contact them with other representatives of their species.
Properties of essential oils
Most essential oils have strong bactericidal and fungicidal properties, some also kill viruses, hence the oils are very effective substances for the treatment of various types of infection, both internal and cutaneous. Many oils have a positive effect on digestive processes and have a diastolic effect on the smooth muscle of both the gastrointestinal tract and the smooth muscle of the respiratory system. Oils therefore expand the bronchi, so they are used by asthmatics to relieve seizures. A lot of oils also have a calming effect, help you fall asleep and relieve stress. Many oils also have an analgesic and warming effect, so they are recommended for relieving rheumatic pains or headaches.
Lavender oil is an excellent sedative, relieves stress, makes falling asleep easier, greatly improves mood. Sniffing lavender oil removes fatigue and has a beneficial effect on the brain, so it can be used during work and study.
Pine oil has a disinfecting and expectorant effect, is very effective in the treatment of all respiratory infections, facilitates the removal of lachrymate remaining in the bronchi. It also greatly influences immunity.
Thyme oil is also an effective medicine used in respiratory infections. Relieves cough, runny nose and other cold symptoms. Thyme oil also raises some blood pressure.
Peppermint oil has a beneficial effect on the digestive system, improves digestion, acts as a relaxant, effectively reduces fever. It relieves symptoms of food poisoning and infection. In addition, it strengthens the body and gently stimulates.
Mandarin oil has a calming and relaxing effect. Its fragrance will help the body in stressful situations. Mandarin oil improves the functioning of the digestive system, it is also a popular way to get rid of stretch marks.
Eucalyptus oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It soothes the symptoms of colds, flu and other respiratory infections. It improves mood, relieves depression.
Melissa oil has a calming effect, makes falling asleep easier, improves mood and well-being. The oil also has a strong antiviral effect.
How to use essential oils?
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years, over the centuries used both in typical aromatherapy, applied to the skin and also used in very small amounts as medicines for various ailments. Essential oils can therefore be used in various ways. Most often, the essential oils are flavored rooms, usually with a fireplace with a heater. You can also use the oils by adding a few drops to the bath. Also, often oils are used for massage and are applied directly to the skin in various skin diseases. Essential oils can also be used for inhalation.
Oral use of essential oils is controversial, because one must remember that they are concentrated plant extracts with very strong action. If you decide to take the oil you must be sure that the oil is 100% natural, without any additives. Also be cautious, because many oils can cause allergies, the oils are taken in very small amounts, maximum 2-3 drops. An overdose may be associated with unpleasant symptoms. On the other hand, it must be remembered that essential oils are also used as food additives, so it often happens that we take them without realizing it, we will also find them in many pharmaceutical preparations that are allowed for oral use. Although officially essential oils are not recommended for internal use, in therapeutic doses are valuable and effective ways to many ailments. You can take them with honey, oil or linseed oil. Sometimes essential oils are used as spices.
Nature is full of unusual smells, the main source is plants. Most of them are substances with many pro-health properties. It is worth learning to use them in everyday life and use as natural medicines, cosmetics or spices.
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Leki roślinne stosowane w chorobach układu oddechowego; Sumny, E. Szypuła, M. Szydłowski, E. Chlebda, M. Skrzypiec-Spring, A. Syumny, Dent. Med. Probl. 2007, 44, 4, 507–515
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