In the past few years, at home use of essential oils in the United States has taken off. It seems like every store now carries oils and oil diffusers. We have also seen an increase in the medical use of essential oils. The use of essential oils for everyday ailments and more serious medical issues might seem new, but the use of essential oils actually dates back to a time long before Instagram made the practice popular. However, even though this practice is age-old, producers and governing bodies are still debating how essential oils should be regulated and labeled for public sale. This article dives into the history, current status, and optimal use of essential oils.
While it might feel like the popularity of essential oils is very recent, the use of plants and oils for medicinal and everyday purposes dates back to prehistoric times – over 20,000 years ago. The Egyptian, Greek and Persian people along with many other civilizations all had elaborate essential oil techniques. Moving into the middle ages, the Catholic Church declared essential oils to be inappropriate and anyone caught using them were accused of witchcraft and severely punished. By the 1600s, use of essential oils was beginning to be accepted again and by the 1800s they were prescribed by doctors for various ailments. Today, oils are used in many homes and hospitals around the country for everyday issues and more serious illnesses. While the United States is a few steps behind other countries around the world in the medical application of essential oils, common use and knowledge of their benefits continue to increase.
Unfortunately, the sale of essential oils is not heavily regulated. The Food and Drug Administration, FDA, has the responsibility for regulating items such as foods, cosmetics, and medications which means they are in charge of regulating essential oils. The FDA qualifies essential oils as either drugs or cosmetics. The decision on how the FDA qualifies the oils into one of the aforementioned categories is based on the intended use of the product. Since drugs and cosmetics are regulated very differently, and many oils are considered cosmetic, essential oils typically do not require the same preparation and packaging standards as drugs. Because of this, it is important to make informed purchases, looking for essential oils from a trusted source that provides quality, pure essential oils instead of ones that have been mixed with other oils or have been packaged or stored incorrectly.
Benefits and How to Use
With over 90 types of essential oils that each have their own supposed health benefits, there are many options to choose from. While no specific health benefits are proven for essential oils there are many people and medical practices that believe in the healing and enhancing powers of applying the oil to the skin or inhaling it through air diffusion. Here are some popular oils and some of their believed health benefits:
- Lavender– Calming, reduces anxiety and promotes burn healing
- Lemongrass– Cleansing, antiviral and insect repellent
- Tea Tree– Immune system support, anti-fungal and antibacterial
Essential oils such as these can be used in many ways such as applying to the wrists, feet, or forehead, in a recipe for a natural home cleaner, diffused into the air or even mixed into homemade soap. However you decide to use essential oils be sure to purchase quality, pure oils such as the ones located in our store.