Complementary or Alternative?

There are over 90 different essential oils, and more and more are being discovered. Through new studies being done along with a documented history of beneficial uses of essential oils, this topic is clearly ongoing. There are different approaches to using essential oils for health-related issues. Some choose to use them along with conventional medicines and others choose to use them instead of conventional medicines. The essential oils used with the conventional medicines is called complementary and the essential oils used without is referred to an alternative.

More Uses?

There are credible science backing benefits of essential oils. Oil infused lotions can be applied to the skin to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Essential oils can be diffused into the air to be inhaled and can stimulate the central nervous system.

With scientists recent controlled humane studies essential oils are being used along with conventional medicines in hospitals and clinics. Some of these uses are stress relief, pain relief, nausea relief, and bedsores. The patients that were given a mixture of ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and cardamom had less nausea after being breathed in after a surgical procedure.

The levels of the stress hormone cortisol were shown to be lowered with lavender oil and inhaling lemongrass before the expectation of a stressful situation can prevent anxiety.

Dermatology alone has 90 essential oils that are recommended for dermatology with 1,500 combinations made from the essential oils.three essential oils

There have been other studies that have shown that tea tree oil and oregano oils fight microbes ( fungi, bacteria, viruses ). Because of these oils being helpful in fighting microbes, it makes them useful in fighting dandruff, some fungi and to be used as an anti-inflammatory.

I have used essential oils personally for many reasons. Others in my family have also used them for various reasons. I have problems sleeping at night due to body aches and pains, so I have found that when I put the essential oil lavender in my essential oil diffuser at night, it helps me sleep. I also use clove essential oil by putting it in my diffuser because it helps with my asthma, allergy and respiratory issues. I use several other essential oils for other reasons with good effect, it all depends on what I feel I need at the time.

Cures Everything?

There are essential oil companies that have claimed their oils cure everything. They do not have studies to back their claims. This misinformation has lead to misuse from home users of essential oils. Essential oils can be safe and effective if used properly. Some essential oils are safer than others. It is worth the effort looking for pure quality oils.

Essential oils generally should not be swallowed Your body absorbed more when the essential oils are ingested. You risk an interaction when taking with medications and a possible allergic or toxic reaction.

Is It OK For Children?

Children and teens are recommended not to use essential oils. A compound found in eucalyptus called phenol can irritate the respiratory tract if inhaled, especially by babies. There is also a hormone-like property found in eucalyptus that could harm children and pregnant women. Essential oils used on your skin can absorb into your body and affect an unborn child. Essential oils can also cause contact reactions like blister and rashes, and others can react with the sun. Some other concerns are if there might be the possibility of unlisted or hidden ingredients or some type of contamination from manufacturing the essential oil. This is why I suggest using caution and trial of any essential oil you choose to use, even if you have already used another brand without any issues.

What’s A Patch Test?

One way to test an essential oil is to do a patch test. So what is a patch test you ask?

First, you need to prepare yourself for the patch test. What you do is apply 1-2 drops essential oil in a half teaspoon of carrier oil. The importance of this step is critical due to the fact that you never apply a pure essential oil directly to the skin, it must always be put in a carrier oil as you could potentially have a severe reaction. Remember, you can use any carrier oil you want, but examples of a good carrier oil could be olive oil, coconut oil, or even grape-seed oil (these are my favorite ones to use but there are many more.)patch test

Then after you have mixed the essential oil well with the carrier oil, apply a few drops of the diluted oil to a cloth then apply to the inside of your arm. After 24-48hours, check to see if you get an irritation. If you get an irritation, discontinue use and avoid using that oil directly on your skin. If you see no sensitivity at all, you can use that essential oil. But keep in mind, if you continually use the same oil on your skin there is a possibility you could develop a skin irritation later even if you didn’t have an irritation when you did the patch test. If you see any signs of irritation at any point, stop the use of that oil immediately.

My Opinion

Despite the potential drawbacks, essential oils are valuable and their value often understated within certain communities. Because of this, it is worth finding out which essential oils would benefit you. To me, and to many others out there in the community and via studies done on essential oils, the pros outweigh the cons hands down. For those starting out, I would recommend a kit of several different essential oils to get an idea on what you might prefer before you buy larger amounts, like this one here. That way if you do have a reaction you will know which to avoid and not have wasted nor paid a lot of money on larger amounts.

Just check them out first. Choose wisely. Do not use incorrectly. Be careful not to overuse. Check the risks and benefits. Always do a patch test. Check the fine print and remember just because it says natural does not mean you are immune to a reaction.

If you have any questions about these things, please feel free to comment below, or you could drop me an email. Or, if there is anything specific you would like me to discuss in a future post, let me know.

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  1. anthony fontenot says:

    Wow, I had no idea there were so many essential oils nor did I know that there were so many uses for them. This article really opened my eyes to the world of these oils. I have always been interested in alternative remedies. I don’t like taking medicine to address a symptom of a problem. It also seems that most medicine has so many side effects I feel that it is definitely worth looking into natural remedies. Thank you for taking the time share this information. I will surely be looking deeper into this….

    1. Melody says:

      Thank you Anthony,

      I am glad my article helped you in understanding there is more to essential oils than meets the eye. Enjoy your journey into the natural 🙂

  2. Garen says:

    Actually, there are over 200 essential oils.  

    The industry isn’t regulated very well, though.  Meaning anyone can print anything they want on a bottle.  However, there are a lot of companies that sell adulterated essential oils.

    I have heard some companies do encourage ingesting them, though.  However, you have to make sure they are pure.

    Are there any brands of essential oils that you recommend, though?

    1. Melody says:

      There are companies that do  have pure essential oils and some that do not. 

      To test put a single drop on a piece of white computer paper. after it drys there should not be an oil ring if there is it is not pure. 

      Other ways to look for pure essential oils is make sure its stored in dark glass bottles.

       Look for the actual Latin name of the oil label  your wanting. 

      a cheap or high price is not always a indicator but keep in mind it takes a lot of pounds of the product to produce the oils . 

      Look for” wild crafted “on label , wild crafted is an indication chemicals were not used.

       label should state 100% pure.And if the smell is constant from bottle to bottle from the same distributor it is an indicator that company is adding chemicals  because crops from one batch to the next will always smell different because of conditions variances.

       only use glass droppers , plastic or rubber can break down and release impurities into your oil. 

  3. Jerry says:

    I had never heard about essential oils before, so I found out in your previous article. I take it from your post that they are safe on the condition that you follow your suggestions as to testing them out with a kit before real use. Your warning about children better not using is appreciated. Do I need doctor’s advice as well?

    I also read that essential oils may be used in aromatherapy, can one have allergic reactions to that?

    1. Melody says:

       I’m not a doctor I can not tell you what is safe or not for your  particular situation. I do know that certain essential oils have been safe for children  but it is best to contact their doctor to see what is best for them . 

      Yes, some people can have allergic reactions to aroma therapy. 

       A small group of people have experienced  allergic reactions  to essential oils  from contact or ingestion and aroma therapy . Aroma therapy through  cross- sensitivity can also cause allergic reactions  ( ie chamomile essential oils because of being allergic to regweed) 

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