The benefits of using essential oils

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette Dr. Kemmy Taylor holds a bottle of an essential oil. Taylor promotes the use of essential oils for health.

CHASSELL — Humans have been using extracts from various kinds of vegetation to treat various maladies, and Dr. Kemmy Taylor thinks essential oils are still important for health.

Taylor, who is a practicing chiropractor with an office on U.S. 41 north of Chassell, said the quality of essential oils has a lot to do with how effective they are. Oils that use synthetic chemicals as a carrier for the essential oils may not be as effective as those which use natural carriers.

“Essential oils are volatile organic compounds,” she said. “They are the lifeblood of the plant. They are anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-fungal.”

Taylor said research at various facilities around the country is finding that there is some validity to the claims of the effectiveness of essential oils in attacking harmful bacteria, for example, particularly in hospital settings where bacteria have become very strong.

“They are anti-biotic resistant,” she said.

However, Taylor said research at Johns-Hopkins University is showing that some essential oils can kill those antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Essential oils are extracted from stems, leaves, bark, and flowers of plants.

“Basically, they’re the immune system of the plant.”

Essential oils are used by placing them on diffusers, which spread the aroma of the oil into a room, under the tongue, or topically on the skin.

Although the use of essential oils has been recorded back thousands of years, Taylor said back then the process to get the oils wasn’t as efficient as it is now, so modern essential oils are more effective.

“The technology (for distillation) has come so far,” she said.

Taylor said 80 percent of essential oils on the market are adulterated with chemicals, which can affect how they smell, as well as their effectiveness.

Essential oils don’t cure anything. What they do is support the body’s natural functions, including fighting illness.

Taylor said she either knows personally or knows of medical doctors who are using essential oils in their practices.

On the National Institutes of Health website, it’s stated that research is showing that essential oils do have an anti-viral and anti-fungal effectiveness. Other research shows essential oils to have either a calming or energizing effect.

“One study showed that after essential oils were inhaled, markers of the fragrance compounds were found in the bloodstream, suggesting that aromatherapy affects the body directly like a drug, in addition to indirectly through the central nervous system,” the website stated.

Also according to the NIH website, aromatherapy using essential oils can be effective as a anti-nausea and anti-vomiting treatment for people going through chemotherapy for cancer. Other “quality of life” improvements for cancer patients include lower blood pressure, and lower pulse and respiratory rates.

The NIH website said there have been no studies of aromatherapy as a treatment for cancer itself, however.

If essential oils are used properly as directed, the NIH website states there are few side effects or risks when using essential oils. One possible side effect may be an allergic reaction for some people when the essential oils are in contact with the skin for extended periods of time.

According to WebMD, research into essential oils is still fairly scarce, but what is being done shows effectiveness for many problems.

There is a tendency, however, for some manufacturers of essential oils to overstate their effectiveness. People who don’t get proper information about the use of the products may be harmed by them through misuse, according to WebMD.

When people ask her about using essential oils, Taylor recommends they develop a protocol for their use.

“I recommend an essential oils regimen,” she said.

Various oils are effective for various issues, such as sleeplessness or mental focus, Taylor said.

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