How Plants Can Make You Healthier: The Unexpected Effects Of Essential Oils

The first law of nature is self-preservation. From amoebas to homo sapiens, we are all led by an inherent desire to survive. In nature, we can also observe that plants, in particular, enable their survival as a zoological entity by continuing to benefit others in the ecosystem. Whether by nutrition, shade, or healing properties, plants consistently submit to serving all forms of life. This relationship is not always easy and requires the sacrifice of leaves, branches, blossoms, berries, fruits, or even roots to withdraw the remedy. For humans, thankfully, our bodies are able to efficiently utilize these health advantages, especially when the essential oils of specific plants are separated. Though not truly an oil, per se, essential oils are the most vital elements of the flora pressed and distilled into a liquid form.

Essential Foreign Body Cleaning

Essential oils have long been used as antimicrobial agents, even as far back as the New Testament (frankincense). However, there is yet much research to be done to determine the exact means by which essential oils exert their antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. Still, current inquiries suggest that these functions may work through organic compounds, called terpenes, which disrupt the cell membranes of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, preventing them from replicating. This is the case with 4-terpineol eyelid cleansers which contain one of the terpenes from the indispensable tea tree oil of the melaleuca tree. This composition helps to treat blepharitis, an inflammatory condition of the upper eye skin. Learn more about 4-terpineol and its qualities for personal healthcare.

Essential Immune System Support

In the way we bipedal humanoids leverage our immune system against internal health attacks, so too do plants activate their own essential oils for self-support. Through its own inner agency, foliage has the ability to circulate its own essence to heal wounds, control infections, or thwart predators. Luckily for us, our body systems have a similar reaction to certain plants during our respective self-healing process. For the respiratory system, especially, the benefits of peppermint cannot be understated. On the farm, the scent of planted mint is used to draw bunnies away from lettuce groves because the jumpers cannot appreciate the spiciness. When harvested, dried, and extracted, a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball to inhale against or a topical application to the chest can improve respiratory function and clear congestion. The menthol of the mint has the capability of breaking up mucus in the lungs and sinuses when it is diluted and laid on the skin. Coconut oil is an example of a carrier oil to dilute the very concentrated plant extract.

Essential Skin Health Care

One of the positive effects of distilling plant essence is that the oil retains the original smell and flavor features. This is the case for lavender oil, which has a divine flowery scent that exemplifies beauty and induces calm. When the oil is expressed, lavender administers this calming effect to heat rash and acne flare-ups, reducing redness. It takes approximately 220 pounds of lavender to make one pound of fragrant oil, which should indicate its remarkable concentration. To abate the relaxing oil’s potentially caustic effects, be sure to add only a few drops to a creme or carrier oil. Grapeseed or castor oils can make quality substitutes for those with coconut allergens. Finally, know that not all oils are adequate for internal use as this can have a toxic effect. Only use essential oils as directed on their labels.

Essential Chronic Stress Alleviation

You may have seen therapists add droplets of aromatic oil to a diffuser to help purify the air and keep germs at bay during their sessions. In this way, the gentler effects of the plant extractions can be shown. For instance, the fragrance of lemon is known to have an energizing effect on people. The terpenes responsible for the bright and zingy taste of lemons are also responsible for this mood enhancement, almost like applying seasoning to the brain. Even without a diffuser, during menstruation, a small amount of cedarwood spread on the bottoms of the feet (where the pores are larger) or directly to the stomach can ease cramping and bloat. Meaning one less thing to stress over during one’s monthly menstrual cycle.

Plants make for beautiful additions to any home or yard. The way they compel us to repeatedly use them as a resource will, hopefully, enable their viability on earth. Without these carbon dioxide creators, we would have fewer aesthetics to appreciate and less access to healthcare alternatives that are not unduly expensive. Let us all do our part to protect the healthcare providers that are the plants of Earth.