This is not medical advice and you should ask your health care provider before using or trying any essential oil product.*
Essential oils are a homeopathic alternative that has been coveted for centuries. They have been used for medicinal purposes, food preservation, cooking, and much more¾even as a natural pesticide!
Although essential oils have been around for quite some time, we now better understand what different oils can be used for, why they work, and how they work.
As a provider of CBD and essential oil products, we thought it was imperative to discuss the basics of what essential oils are, the common uses of these oils, and how it relates to CBD.
What are Essential Oils?
As compounds extracted from a plant, essential oils are the essence of that plant. These oils are highly concentrated and retain the scent and/or flavor of the plant they originate from and have a variety of uses.
According to Healthline, “essential oils are obtained through distillation…or mechanical methods such as cold pressing…and are then combined with a carrier oil to create a product that’s ready for use.”
Steam distillation involves harvesting the plant and using steam to pull oils from the plant. The steam rises, cools, and condenses back into the water. The oil is created once it separates from that water and is collected and bottled.
Cold pressing is another method of extracting oils from plants, which is typically used for oils that derive from fruits. There are also other manufactured oil processes that use C02, maceration, and enfleurage.
The way consumers use essential oils is much simpler than how they are made. Essential oils are generally used by inhalation (aromatherapy) or applied to the skin and alleviate pain or other ailments.
However, it is important to note that not all oils are the same and they can have vastly different uses. The properties of each oil depends on what plant it was extracted from. Some popular oils include lavender, rose, spruce, fir, lemongrass, sandalwood, and peppermint. For example, people may ingest peppermint oil to boost energy or aid digestion, but you would never ingest fir.
Companies that offer essential oils typically label them into three categories: aromatic, topical, or internal (can be safely digested). There are over ninety types of essential oils, each with its unique scent, use, and health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Essential Oils
In our first blog post, What is CBD?, we reviewed the top three reasons people use CBD products: physical pain, anxiety, and stress. The use of essential oils is not much different.
Below is a brief look at some of the most common ailments that essential oils are known to treat.
Stress and Anxiety
Aromatherapy is a universal way of consuming essential oils and lavender is the most universal oil. Lavender has a calm aroma that is said to soothe senses which is beneficial for those suffering from stress or anxiety.
Using essential oils during a massage or relaxing activity such as meditation can help alleviate stress.
A list curated by Healthline recommends the best essential oils for relieving stress that includes lavender for relaxing, chamomile for sleeping, orange for meditation, sandalwood for calming anxiety, clary sage for destressing, lemon as a mood lifter, jasmine to aid depression, as well as bergamot, rose, and ylang ylang oils.
Headaches and Migraines
- Lavender: helps relieve headaches caused by stress
- Rosemary: research suggests it may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties
- Chamomile: typically used in tea, it can soothe discomfort, pain, congestion, and inflammation which can alleviate certain headaches
- Eucalyptus: inhaling this oil may benefit those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory illnesses
Sleep and Insomnia
Essential oils are often used to aid sleep and fight off insomnia. Again, lavender oil is said to calm the nervous system which can allow for a higher quality of sleep. People with insomnia, especially women, report improved sleep after inhaling steam filled with lavender oil.
Bergamot experienced through aromatherapy may lower blood pressure and improve mental health, which can lead to improved sleep. Some suggest an aromatic mixture of bergamot, lavender, and ylang-ylang.
For those who like to drink tea, chamomile tea is popular for aiding sleep. Although you can also use chamomile through aromatherapy. Celestial Seasonings, a popular tea brand, has Sleepytime Tea, which is a healthy blend of chamomile, cool spearmint and fresh lemongrass.
As we mentioned a couple times already, many oils may help fight inflammatory conditions. Lavender, chamomile, ginger, and rosemary are oils people tend to use when aiming to reduce inflammation.
A 2010 study, suggests that thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel, and bergamot all have anti-inflammatory properties, with thyme having the most effect.
Diffusion, massage, or ingestion are all various forms of using essential oils for inflammation. Before application, do a skin patch test to ensure your body does not react poorly. Additionally, conduct research before you ingest any oil as some you should never take by mouth.
Combining Essential Oils with CBD Oil
As there are studies on the benefits of both essential oils and CBD oil, it comes as no surprise that people are experimenting with the combination of essential oils and CBD.
Despite the potential benefits, not all combinations and mixtures work and some can be harmful. It is important to research the side effects of individual oils and specific oil combinations before using them.
Here are a few combinations others have found success with:
- Bergamot and CBD: improves mood and relieves symptoms of anxiety
- Chamomile and CBD: aids digestion and has antidepressant qualities
- Lavender and CBD: used for calming, stress-relieving benefits, as well as a sleep aid
- Peppermint and CBD: aids digestion and provides potential relief from gastrointestinal inflammation
Whether you use essential oils, CBD oils, or a combination of the two, remember to always consult your doctor before self-diagnosing and self-prescribing alternative medications.