The major properties of essential oils

Essential oils have great benefits for our health, well-being and the environment. The majority of essential oils hold multiple properties in varying degrees of intensity and are generally used for their one or two primary properties (i.e. those that are the most intense in the oil).

These properties exist in essential oils due to different molecules that they contain. These molecules give the essential oil its properties in addition to... its aroma. For over 100 years, many scientific studies have demonstrated the presence of these molecules and their effects. These molecules, originally present in plants and their essential oils are the “ancestors” of many products. As matter of fact, many of these molecules are now reproduced (man-made) in the labs of large pharmaceutical companies (synthetic molecules). They are used as ingredients in over the counter or prescription drugs.

The best example of this is Methyl salicylate, a molecule naturally found in large concentrations in wintergreen (gaultheria). The analysis of this molecule has enabled scientists to create in their labs, over 125 years ago, a compound name acetylsalicylic acid, also known as ASA. It is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory, painkiller, to treat fever and headaches among others. ASA is well known and commercially available under the name of Aspirin!

Here is a list of properties which can be found in essential oils (this list isn’t exhaustive as there are more properties, however these are among the most sought after):

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Calming
  • Cardiocirculatory
  • Carminative
  • Circulatory
  • Disinfectant
  • Digestive
  • Hypo and hypertensive
  • Sedative
  • Toning
  • Insect repellent
  • Lipolytic

and many more!

Of course, every single oil does not hold all of the above properties but generally each oil possesses more than one property.

Lets go back to our example with Wintergreen essential oil; this oil is known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulation and antispasmodic properties. Given this, you can understand why it is commonly used for treating muscles and joints inflammatory issues (bursitis, tendonitis, lumbago, cramps, etc.). Its aroma is easily recognizable in products (creams, lotions, gels, etc.) use in sports medecin. This oil also holds other properties such as cough suppressing and stimulating for the liver.

In other articles, Marie, our aromatherapist, will teach you how to use essential oils for a wide variety of applications in your daily life. Here is one to get you started! Peppermint essential oil holds digestive properties among others. Marie recommends using this oil if you have digestive issues, nausea or bad breath.

For adults and children more than 12 years of age: dilute 1 drop of peppermint essential oil in 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil and swallow. You’ll rapidly notice its rapid and effective action! This is in part due to its digestive and liver stimulating properties.

This tip is especially relevant to those who tend to overeat during holidays or vacations and find themselves heavy and sleepy after meals! If you think of it, it's no wonder this oil is the main ingredient in pink peppermints, the ones our grandmothers used to offer after meals!

In addition, peppermint also acts as a toner in general. For these specific examples, as there are many types of mints, make sure you use essential oil from the peppermint variety (latin name: mentha piperita) and is organic. Do not use peppermint essential oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have epilepsy. Oral use of peppermint essential oil is for children 6 years + , using half of adult dose. Half a drop, always diluted in vegetable oil, can be used topically for children 3 years +.

That’s it for now! Take a look at our other blog posts for more tips from Marie.

Advices mentioned in this article do not replace medical advice. Furthermore, if you take medication, please mention to your doctor or pharmacist that you wish to use essential oils.

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