Learning About Common Natural Ingredients in Beauty Products
Essential oils are often extracted from plants and herbs to create a therapeutic experience. Their use in alternative medicine is gaining popularity and is believed to provide benefits such as pain relief, mood enhancement, and increased cognitive function.
There are more than 90 different essential oils out there, and we see them everywhere we turn nowadays–but what is so special about these oils, and what do we really know about them? We’ve laid out a list of the most popular essential oils and some of their corresponding benefits below.
*Note: 'fragrance oils' contain synthetic chemicals and should not be mistaken for 'essential oils'
Lemongrass oil is extremely popular in spas throughout Asia. Distilled from tropical grass native to Asia, it has a powerful aroma, and it is often used in many different cooking traditions all over the world. It is often used in insect repellents, room sprays, soaps, and detergents. Many cultures steep lemongrass in hot water to make a tea that is then used as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diuretic, or a sedative.
Aromatherapy benefits: vitalizing, cleansing
Eucalyptus oil comes from the Eucalyptus tree, which is native to Australia. Eucalyptus has many uses as a topical treatment for cuts, scrapes, and burns. It has a strong, pungent scent that is often used in cough drops and other products designed to clear out congestion. It can also be a natural bug repellent option, as it has been shown to repel ticks, mites, mosquitos, and other bugs. It also has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
Aromatherapy benefits: purifying, invigorating
Bergamot, which comes from the Citrus Bergamia tree, is a citrus-scented essential oil. The plant is native to Southeast Asia, but nowadays it grows mostly in Italy and along the Ivory Coast. Preliminary studies have shown that Bergamot may reduce cardiovascular disease, reduce anxiety and stress, improve cognitive function, and improve sleep quality. Bergamot has also been shown to have positive effects on inflammation, dry skin, and hair growth.
Aromatherapy benefits: uplifting, inspiring, confidence-building
Cedarwood is a woody-scented essential oil that comes from the Juniperus Virginiana tree, which has been around for thousands of years. Cultures the world over have used this extract for countless medicinal properties, and with good reason. Extracts and compounds from the Juniperus Virginiana tree exhibit antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant properties. The plant has also been shown to provide pain relief.
Aromatherapy benefits: emotional stress, anxiety relief
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis, as it is called scientifically, is an aromatic plant from the Lamiaceae family that originates from the Mediterranean. It is a mental stimulant also known as the herb of remembrance. Rosemary extracts have even been shown to have therapeutic potential for Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States, it is most commonly used as an antioxidant. Studies show that rosemary also has positive effects on mood, learning, memory, pain, anxiety, and sleep.
Aromatherapy benefits: clarifying, invigorating
Lavender is a beautiful, perennial aromatic plant with a heavenly scent that produces the most popular essential oils. It has a sweet, balsamic, floral aroma. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but it is also heavily used for its medicinal properties in traditional Chinese medicine. Lavender possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It has even been shown to help calm patients with dementia in some cases.
Aromatherapy benefits: calming, balancing, centering, relaxing, healing, soothing
Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular and effective essential oils for aromatherapy use. The aroma of the oil is warm, spicy, medicinal, and volatile. Prized for its spice, It is often used to scent colognes and aftershaves. In addition to having antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, it has been shown to be an effective herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide. Tea tree oil is often used to treat minor cuts and scrapes due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aromatherapy benefits: cleansing, purifying, uplifting
Rose is one of the best known of all the essential oils. It brings with it connotations of romance and love. It is also more expensive than other essential oils in the market because of the number of flowers necessary to create the oil. Extracts from the rosa canina species have been shown to have positive effects on all kinds of diseases, from cancer, to diabetes, diseases of the liver and kidneys, arthritis, osteoporosis, to Alzheimer’s. Rosa canina also has antimicrobial properties and is used in many cultures around the world to mitigate cold and flu symptoms.
Aromatherapy benefits: romantic, supportive, gently uplifting
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