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Yours in Health: Essentials oils 101

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Dr. Andrea Wick calls essential oils "medicine of the earth." PHOTO COURTESY OF PEXELS.COM


Essential oils and aromatherapy are popular, main-stream remedies in many households. They can be used as fast solutions for upset stomach, emotional distress, bug bites, bumps and bruises, and even for natural cleaning options.

Essential oils are medicine from the earth and have been around for a long time. John Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola, initially used orange, lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and neroli in the original recipe. Native Americans have used essential oils for centuries, specifically sage and cedar, for sweat lodge practices. Frankincense and myrrh resin have ceremonially been burned in churches for hundreds of years.

Some basic knowledge about aromatherapy includes buying therapeutic-grade oils. Therapeutic grade means the oil is free of pesticides and synthetic additives. They are considered the cleanest form of an oil. It is advised that most oils need to be applied topically with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil as to not irritate the skin. Some oils can be ingested, but must be done with care and must be therapeutic grade. Popular oils that are safe to ingest include peppermint, lemon, lime, cilantro, cinnamon bark, ginger, fennel, turmeric and grapefruit.

Lavender is a powerful oil that helps with inflammatory skin conditions such as allergies, acne and bug bites. It is proven to help with insomnia and nervousness. It can also help reduce tension headaches. Apply the oil topically to the feet and temples before bedtime or to pillow cases and bedding to help aid in a restful night’s sleep. Lavender is helpful for skin imperfections and can be applied to blemish areas and bug bites.

Peppermint oil is helpful for bug bites, indigestion and headaches. Peppermint oil can be ingested orally to help with indigestion and massaged directly on the stomach. Because of the oil’s cooling effect, it can be a great aid for bug bites or heat-related skin irritation such as sunburn.

Melaleuca or tea tree is an antimicrobial and is helpful for all sorts of skin irritation and preventing infection. Tea tree oil may help prevent MRSA—or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—bacterial infections according  to the “British Journal of Community Nursing.” Studies since 2015 have been inconclusive, however the application of melaleuca to possible infection sites may be helpful.

Lemon is one of the most multipurpose oils. It is great for cleansing the liver; adding a few drops to your water daily helps to alkalize the body and give yourself a daily detox. Lemon oil can be used for cleaning surfaces, specifically wood. Five drops of orange, lemon and lime oil can be added to ¾ cup of vinegar diluted with 3 cups of water. Three percent hydrogen peroxide can be added for more antibacterial properties and can be used to clean surfaces.

And last but not least, clove oil is a powerful antioxidant, it can be added to toothpaste for tooth sensitivity and bad breath. A drop of clove oil can be added to 8 ounces of water and gargled to help with sore throat symptoms.

I hope this information on essential oils can greatly benefit you and your household.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices at Healing Hands Chiropractic in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors.

Joseph T. O'Connor is the previous Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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