Essential oils and aromatherapy
If we think carefully, already since the time of the Ancient Egyptians, oils were widely used not only for the care of the person and to maintain his beautiful appearance, but also during funeral practices. Over time, the information related to the use of oils in different civilizations makes us understand that the positive properties of plants were already widely known even before the study of human anatomy and physiology. Clearly with the advent of new research techniques, the combination of beneficial properties of plants and in-depth knowledge of the needs and functioning of our organism, has favored the massive use of aromatherapy in the most varied circumstances.
The term was coined by a French chemist named Renй Maurice Gattefossй who exploited the properties of lavender to heal some wounds of the soldiers who fought during the First World War. Lavender, which is part of the Labiate family, has in fact excellent healing properties and can be used on wounds, sores, cuts, as well as rashes due, for example, to contact with jellyfish or similar organisms. But, besides this, it also has calming powers against abdominal spasms, colic, menstrual pain. Do not forget the diuretic and disinfectant properties of the genitourinary system. The first treatise on aromatherapy entitled "Aromathйrapie" was written in 1964 by a French doctor named Jean Valnet.
But what is aromatherapy?
It is a practice that involves the use of essential oils for the treatment of pathological states or situations of physical and mental stress. In reality, from a scientific point of view, it has not yet been approved as a real treatment method, but some use it as if it were. Despite this, several pharmaceutical industries are carrying out in-depth studies on the beneficial properties of the essential oils of certain plants in order to be able to include them in their products.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are often spirits from various portions of a plant. Those most used are flowers, roots, bark and wood, as well as seeds. Each of these parts has a different essential oil, with as many properties that can be used for different purposes.
What are the uses that are made of this practice
Essential oils are used in a different and specific way according to the problem to be treated. In this regard, we can distinguish 5 types of administration:
- Olfactory -> through the perception of smells and fragrances;
- Oral -> through the ingestion of essential oils;
- Inhalation -> through the inhalation of essential oils also in the form of an aerosol;
- Dermal -> through practices such as masks, mud, massages and analogues;
- Permucotic -> with the intention of reaching the mucous membranes such as the nasal or pharyngeal ones.
What are the therapeutic uses instead?
Based on what is said by those who support aromatherapy as a substitute or adjuvant to modern medicine, essential oils have therapeutic properties with the following effects:
- Antibiotics and antivirals such as benzoin essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, eucalyptus and lemon essential oil.
- Antispasmdics such as the essential oil of bitter orange, basil, cypress, rosemary and salvia officinalis.
- Balsamic-expectorants such as the essential oil of Scots pine, myrrh, sandalwood, white thyme.
- Carminatives like the essential oil of patchouly, of red thyme.
- On the central and peripheral nervous system such as the essential oil of sweet orange, bergamot, chamomile, jasmine.
For which disorders can they be used?
There is an essential oil or even more than one for each known ailment. Obviously it cannot be ensured that the ailment disappears completely, also because it depends on what was caused, but the use of essential oils can be useful in alleviating the symptoms.
The ailments for which essential oils can be used as a remedy are:
- Spasms of the gastrointestinal smooth muscle;
- Rheumatic and arthritic disorders;
- Infections of the gastrointestinal tract;
- skin infections;
- Upper respiratory tract infections;
- Abdominal bloating;
- Disorders related to secretions;
- mood disorders.