Essential oils are concentrated liquids that do not dissolve in water that are extracted from plants. Essential oils are typically name from the plant from which they are distilled. The oil contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived. They are generally extracted by distillation – a process that typically involves steam. Essential oils are used in perfumes, cosmetics, food, household products, aromatherapy, and for other remedies/medicinal purposes, including for antibiotic effects. There are individuals who undertake courses of study to learn all about essential oils and make careers around help people to use them.
Essential Oils and Medicine Throughout the Ages
Essential oils, also known as aromatic oils, have been used for millions of years. Reports date back to the Ancient Egyptians using the oils for fighting infections and improving health problems. Preparations of oil would be used directly on the skin, added to water to breathe in the fumes, or added to food to eat. China and India also have stories about essential oils dating back the many years. Oils like sandalwood and myrrh were used regularly for treating patients’ complaints.
Essential Oils Can Be Used Aromatically, Topically, and Internally
Another option is to breathe in the vapors from the oils. Some people will add a couple of drops to an oil burner with a small tea light underneath. The oils burn into the air, very much like incense. It is also possible to add 20 drops or so to bath water to relax in. The oils rise up in the bathwater steam, allowing people to breathe in the effects. This is what is known as aromatherapy and it has been utilized for thousands of years to help support the body. When you inhale essential oils, your brain experiences a chemical reaction that can have a positive effect on your entire nervous system.
When you apply essential oils to your skin, they can have an immediate positive effect on your nervous system. You can apply oils topically with a carrier oil. Great base carrier oils are almond oil avocado oil, grape seed oil, and evening primrose oil. The best place to apply your oils is any area of your body where the skin is thinnest such as the wrist, the nape of your neck, under your armpits, under your breastbone, behind your ears and the bottom of your feet.
It’s possible to add drops to creams and balms, so you can apply the antibacterial properties directly to an infected area. Essential oils are often included in salves to ease eczema and psoriasis.
Oral treatments are also beneficial. One such application is for dental hygiene. Combinations of oils with antibacterial properties are applied directly to the gumline to discourage plaque. They are also used in mouthwashes for the same reason. Oils of tea tree (melaleuca), clove oil, and thyme oil are often used in preparations for gums.
This is where the quality of the essential oil you are using matters most. The purpose of essential oils is to provide safe, non-toxic support for our health. We won’t achieve that if we ingest toxic or poor quality oils. Ensure that your oils are pure, ideally fresh, organic, and non-GMO.
Essential oils can be used in cooking, or added to a smoothie, green juice, or any delicious recipe you desire. You can also add to water (lemon oil is great for this), or you can take them in a capsule. However it is essential to remember that essential oils are very potent. Most are too strong to be used directly or in quantities greater than a few drops. Make certain they are diluted and that you understand which ones can and cannot be taken internally,
Essential Oils With Antimicrobial Properties
Here is summary of some of the essential oils that have been used against bacterial, yeast, and/or fungi.
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano doesn’t just have antibacterial benefits. There are antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties within the oil. Not only are infections cured, but fungi in the body is killed and you’re less likely to deal with free radicals affecting the cells and DNA structure.
A major benefit to oregano is through the breathing in of the oils. The vapours will get into the lungs and bronchi to clear the mucus build-up. This can help to open the passages of those suffering with breathing difficulties, whether due to asthma or an infection. Oil of oregano is a very potent antimicrobial when taken internally. This oil contains two powerful compounds – carvacrol and thymol – that have powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Called by Dr. Josh Axe “the ultimate natural antibiotic”, it has been used in to treatment a variety of infections, including yeast overgrowth.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary essential oil works as a disinfectant, through its method of killing the bacteria. It is one of those oils that can be taken orally, offering various benefits in the mouth. It is often used in “oil pulling” – an Ayurvedic practice of oral detoxification which involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (typically coconut, olive, or sesame oil) in your mouth for 10-20 minutes.to kill off bacteria in the mouth and reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. More about oil pulling can be found here.
The oil is also full of antioxidant benefits. When added to cooking, the many antioxidants will fight off the free radicals to improve the immune system. Rather than have to fight off grown infections, the immune system can prevent infections taking effect.
Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme is an essential oil to use topically, especially on open wounds. It holds antiseptic properties, helping to avoid bacterial infections taking place. It can be used on its own or added to creams for easier spreading. The antibacterial properties in thyme essential oil don’t just help to fight infections that are already there. The properties will get to the organs to protect them from damage.
Thyme essential oil contains a large amount of thymol, the compound associated with the antibiotic properties. Thyme oil is used in mouthwashes and toothpastes to discourage plaque and decay. Thymol also kills fungi and is commercially added to hand sanitizers and antifungal creams. I used it very successfully to eradicate a toenail fungus infection that had plagued me for years!
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Also known as melaleuca, this oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils in the world, because it is so easy and affordable to get. Tea tree oil has been used for thousands of years by indigenous people in Australia. Fortunately, its benefits are now being recognized by western medicine. Tea tree essential oil is full of antibacterial benefits, whether used topically, orally, or through burning. It fights off many common and uncommon bacteria, fungi, and viruses, since it has gotten used to growing in the tropics. Toenail fungus can be completely eliminated with a nightly applications of tea tree oil for a few months. If you want to try this treatment and don’t want to make your own, a great product for this which is very affordable is Fungus Stop – which promises to kill 99.9% of fungus.
Tea tree oil is also a great remedy for acne, making a wash by using a few drops in a carrier (some even use it in honey)! It has great effects on flaky scalps, eczema, and psoriasis.
You’ll find tea tree oil in cleansing products as well. A dilute solution of tea tree oil can be used to kill mold on a many surfaces. However it should be noted that tea tree oil is NOT for human consumption. It can be poisonous if swallowed.
Sage Essential Oil
When it comes to fighting fungal infections, sage essential oil can be quite helpful. It can be used topically, helping to cure skin diseases, Athlete’s foot, and even dysentery. In addition to fighting microbial infections, sage oil has been reported to slow down signs of aging such as wrinkles and sagging skin. Other note a stimulatory effect of sage oil on the brain, nervous system, liver and circulatory and excretory systems.
Sage oil is also used to help relieve digestive problems, and to help treat respiratory problems and to regulate hormones. However, sage oil should not be taken internally.
Blends of antimicrobial essential oils are used in sprays against odor that is caused by bacterial. Some preparations of dilute oils are used as deodorants. As noted above, foot fungus responds very well to treatment with oils. Here is one to get rid of stinky feet once and for all!
Taken from the Clary sage plant, this essential oil holds antidepressant properties. It helps to improve the mental health by adding it to an oil burner or to steaming liquid. This method can also help to release stress during the day. There are also antispasmodic properties, meaning that those who suffer muscle cramps or twitches could find some release through the inhalation of the oil.
Clary sage is also reported to regulate the menstrual cycle by naturally balancing hormones and stimulating the opening of an obstructed system. It has been used effectively for PMS, including bloating, cramps, mood swings and food cravings. As an antispasmodic, clary sage acts to relax nerve impulses
It’s antibiotic properties help to fight off current infections and prevent new infections from taking hold. It can be used topically to help protect wounds from developing some type of infection.
NOTE: Sage essential oil comes from distillation of herb sage (Salvia officinalis) and clary sage for a different kind of plant (Salvia sclarea). While they both come from the same evergreen shrub family, they are very different from each other.
Clove Essential Oil
The final one to add to your list of herbal remedies is clove essential oil. This oil has anti-inflammatory properties as a result of one of its ingredients – eugenol. Because of it’s strength, clove oil should be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or other gentle oils for most topical applications and only used for short periods of up to two weeks internally.
It can be applied directly onto cuts, wounds, and scabs due to the antiseptic and antibacterial properties. The clove oil will help to prevent bacteria from growing, so infections can’t take hold.
There have also been studies that show some benefits for oral health. Clove oil is often applied to gum, sockets, and toothaches. It serves both as an broad-spectrum antimicrobial as well as a pain reliever. This essential oil can be used in oil pulling to remove bacteria and fight off gum disease and tooth decay.
Add Essential Oils to Your Herbal Remedies
When using essential oils, it is important to read the label and follow any guidelines found there. Some oils are safe only when used in specific ways, so be sure to pay attention and heed the recommendations. Essential oils have been proven safe when used as instructed. It is important to remember that the quality of the oil determines how safe it actually is.
Particularly when used for your body, choose pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils that do not contain any fillers. Oftentimes the oils found at your local health food store are not therapeutic grade. While they may smell nice, they will not help to restore balance and health to the body.
Which essential oil will you add to your remedies first?
DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN COOK ESSENTIAL OILS?
NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.