Want to take your favorite juices to the next level? Tired of the same old recipes? If so, it’s time to give essential oils a try! These healthful concoctions have been used since ancient times for their healing properties. There are hundreds of essential oils available, and each has unique benefits. Some promote healing and boost immune function. Others relieve pain and increase your energy levels.
Even though most people use essential oils topically, these concoctions can be ingested too. It all comes down to the ingredients used. Certain oils can be added to juices and smoothies to maximize their healing power. Let’s see how they work and how to use them safely!
Brief History of Essential Oils
Aromatic oils, or essential oils, have been used for centuries as a natural remedy. They were also an integral part of religious ceremonies, beauty rituals, and food preparation. Many of them are the root of today’s medications and skin care products.
The earliest evidence of essential oils dates back to 3,000-2,300 BC. It is believed that Egyptians were the first to use these herbal extracts for cooking, beauty care, and embalming. Essential oils were also popular in ancient China and India. Ayurvedic medicine, for instance, has long been using essential oils for healing purposes.
These concoctions have been mentioned in the Bible too. Both the Old and New Testament include references to myrtle, myrrh, cinnamon, and frankincense essential oils.
Historians believe that Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, brought these herbal extracts to Europe during the Middle Ages. Later, they have been used by monks. Their popularity flourished around the 1800s where stores from all over Europe started to sell essential oils for a variety of ailments.
Today, these products are used in aromatherapy and complementary medicine. Their health benefits are backed up by science. Thousands of studies indicate that essential oils contain volatile compounds, antioxidants, and flavonols that heal the mind and body.
However, before you start using them, it’s crucial to understand how they work. Beware that not all essential oils are safe for internal use. Additionally, they may cause adverse reactions if used in large doses. More isn’t necessarily better. These plants extracts are highly concentrated, so you must only use them in small amounts.
Essential Oils at a Glance
Essential oils are extracted from the seeds, barks, roots, stems, and flowers of plants. Basally, they’re a concentrated form of volatile oils and contain various phytonutrients. Centuries ago, Egyptians made these concoctions by soaking the plants in oil and then filtering it through a linen cloth or bag. Today, essential oils are produced through steam distillation, expression, or solvent extraction.
Some plants, such as garlic, onion, and bitter almond, are macerated in warm water to release the oil. Others are produced through cold pressing or resin tapping. The oils are either sold in their raw form, or used in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and household cleaners.
It takes over 2,000 pounds of cypress to produce one pound of essential oil, and three pounds of lavender flowers to extract 15 milliliters of oil. One pound of rose essential oil requires more than 10,000 pounds of rose petals. For this reason, aromatic oils are highly concentrated and should only be used in small amounts. Some must be distilled with water.
Health experts recommend choosing organic essential oils that have been tested by third parties. This ensures their purity and healing properties. It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to use unethical methods to cut costs, such as:
- Use plants that contain herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides
- Re-distill or re-extract the plant material
- Add solvents to dilute the oil
- Short cut the distillation process
Always look for trusted suppliers and read customers reviews. Choose a company that uses steam distillation and grows or purchases organic plants to produce the oil. Ideally, select brands that are certified by the AFNOR and other established organizations. This information is usually available on the label.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Internal Use?
Despite their proven health benefits, not all essential oils are safe to ingest and not all brands are safe either. First of all, these concoctions are a concentrated mix of over 3,000 chemical compounds. If used improperly, they can do more harm than good.
Peppermint, lavender, ginger, tangerine, lemon, and grapefruit essential oils are considered safe for internal use. They contain volatile compounds http://authorscott.com/ingesting-essential-oils-safe-harmful/ that our body is regularly exposed to. These include, but are not limited to:
- Methyl salicylate
Eugenol, for instance, is found not just in essential oils but also in peaches, mung beans, bananas, and coffee. Lavender, rosewood, and coriander essential oils contain linalool, a natural compound found in papaya, apricots, and cranberries. Limonene occurs naturally in carrots and citrus fruits.
Considering these facts, it makes sense to say that the human body is able to process small amounts of essential oil compounds. Just make sure you stick to the recommended dosage.
Beware that, contrary to popular belief, aromatic oils should not be diluted with water. First of all, oil and water don’t mix. The best way to dilute essential oils is to combine them with brown sugar or honey and warm water, olive oil, coconut oil, or simple syrup.
In general, citrus oils are safe to ingest. These concoctions are pressed right from the peel, which makers suitable for culinary use. They’re a healthy addition to juices, smoothies, and homemade desserts.
As you see, essential oils benefit both your mind and body. They may work just as well as many drugs and supplements, but have little or no side effects. It all comes down to how you use them. To stay safe, start with a few drops and see how your body reacts. Only increase the dosage if necessary.
PLEASE READ BEFORE USING ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils are not safe to ingest unless they’re marked “food grade.” Always check the labels to make sure the oil can be used internally, and please see a doctor or someone trained in Essential oil for health advice.
Do not add essential oils to plastic cups or containers. The plastic can leach into the water and cause toxicity. Store and drink