Essential Oils: Now a Necessity

by Caroline Huey
Shield Staff

Essential Oils

Throughout the years, people have become more and more concerned with their physical health, and they have searched tirelessly for healthy alternatives to store-bought medications.

As a result of this search, many people are adopting essential oils as a trend. They strive to live healthier lifestyles, and these natural oils have attracted their attention. Essential oils are obtained from plants, such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil and eucalyptus.

Making Essential Oils

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, essential oils can be extracted from plants through either distillation or expression. In the distillation process, the plant material is placed in a still with water and the steam “slowly breaks through the plant material to remove its volatile constituents.” Water and essential oils do not mix, so the oil can be siphoned off the surface of the water (in some cases the oil is heavy, and is then siphoned from below the water).

Expression is “a method of extraction specific to citrus essential oils.” In this process, the rind of a fruit is placed in a spiked container and the peel is repeatedly pierced while the device turns; this releases the oil from the fruit and the oil is then drips into an area below the container.

Alternative Medicine

Many people use essential oils because they are tired of using processed medications; while others simply enjoy the healthy feeling the oils give them. Whatever your reason for using essential oils, you will not be disappointed.

Annika Huey, a freshman theatre student at RC, speaks about the first time she tried essential oils. “I was at the Oakland County Fair with some friends,” she says. After going on too many rides, she felt sick. Luckily for her, her friend’s mom had some essential oils in her purse, and Annika received some peppermint oil to relieve her stomach.

These oils can be taken in multiple ways: adding a few drops to water and drinking it, applying some drops carefully to your temples, or by releasing drops onto your tongue. Annika’s friend suggested that she try this last option, but warned her that she should only take one drop, as someone new to essential oils, less she be overwhelmed.

Not feeling the first drop fall on her tongue, Annika accidently took two drops of peppermint oil. As she was warned, this extra drop of oil overwhelmed her, and her mouth burned.

“It took a long time for the new discomfort to go away,” she recalled, “but once it did, I felt better and continued to go on the rides.” Even though the reaction was not quite what she expected, Annika still felt much better as a result of essential oils.

Another freshman theatre student, Lainie Stull, has been using essential oils longer than Annika, and greatly appreciates them. She said she uses essential oils because they really work for her.

“I use them to ease anxiety and panic attacks,” she explained; frankincense works best for her in those situations. She also uses essential oils to help ease headaches and stomachaches. Lainie finds peppermint to be a miracle worker for stomach and head related symptoms. “And I like to diffuse citrus oils,” she continued, “to help make me focused and happy and energized.”

People are, understandably, exceedingly concerned with their health. They do not want to fill their body with harmful antibiotics, and essential oils are an excellent substitute.

Certified aromatherapist, Lea Harris, says just one drop of essential oils is powerful enough to “stop a cold in its tracks.” One must be very careful when using essential oils, Harris cautions, because “essential oils have the potential to cause minor reactions, such as skin irritation, or more serious consequences like respiratory failure and cancer, when not used appropriately.” Harris says interested people need to do their research before taking essential oils, and her website, learningabouteos.com, can help with that.

Breanna Mihalovich, a junior RC ministry student, is also a user of essential oils. “I like to use essential oils (mostly peppermint and eucalyptus) to help with headaches and when I have a cold,” she says. When she feels sickness coming on, she does not have to worry about overmedicating herself with prescription drugs, she can just reach into her essential oil supply.

“I built up a tolerance to ibuprofen and using the oils in tandem with the medicine helped me to lessen my intake of the medicine,” Breanna said. She has not completely eliminated medications from her routine, but by using essential oils she has been able to greatly reduce them.

Worth the Investment

Essential oils are not cheap; they can range anywhere from $10 to $150 if you buy single bottles. You can also buy these oils in sets. Through the Young Living website you can buy a “Freedom Sleep™ and Release™ Collections Bundle” for $300. This collection comes with four blends of oils that “re-establish a positive energy flow throughout the body, helping relax and calm one’s thoughts and feelings prior to bedtime.” These oils can help you get a better night of sleep, but they are not cheap.

But for many, the effects of these oils are worth the steep price. People who only use a couple of drops at a time can make these bottles last, thereby making sure that they get their money’s worth from every bottle.

The shelf life of these oils vary based on their chemical composition, and storing each oil in its own particular way can increase its life expectancy. Those wanting to live a healthier lifestyle are more than happy to pay for these oils because of how well they work. Essential oils are extremely effective and are also nourishing to your body.

To learn more about essential oils, go to youngliving.com where you can browse the essential oil collection and read more about the benefits of each.