One whiff and your senses are sent astir—in a good way. Essential oils might just be the next best thing in modern medicine. Extracted from plants, their use in treating ailments from headaches to insomnia dates back to the earliest civilizations. While there is limited scientific research on essential oils, these aromatic liquids have recently surged in popularity.
The New Advil?
Paige Ciluffo, a University of Miami class of 2020 alumna and avid essential oils user, said that they have changed her life for the better. “I carry a bunch of them everywhere I go,” Ciluffo said. “There’s literally an essential oil for everything. People think it’s just aromatherapy, but there’s so much more to it.”
What do they do?
Essential oils can be used to improve physical health and prevent various illnesses. Simply sniffing an essential oil can help clear nasal passages and prevent the flu, according to one nutrition expert in a Healthline article. They can be used by rubbing directly on skin, putting them into an oil diffuser or by direct ingestion. Jennifer Pansa, a blue diamond leader at essential oils company doTERRA, often uses essential oils as a natural pain remedy. “About four years ago, I got my wisdom teeth removed and I was in excruciating pain,” Pansa said. “My instinct told me that I probably had something natural in the house. I applied clove oil, and within 20 minutes, my pain was gone. My dentist even told me it was a good idea.” Pansa said she has also used peppermint oil to recover from concussions and lavender oil to aid with sleep. According to Pansa, one way to understand essential oils is to view them as superpowers. “To choose the right one you must evaluate which superpower you need. The oil from the plant matter. It’s the ninja superpower of the flower,” Pansa said. “Some oils have 10 superpowers.”
Choosing the right oil
Ciluffo recommends that first-time users take their time in choosing the right oil. “Do your research,” she said. “Don’t just go for the cheapest or most accessible one you can find, because there could be chemicals or artificial ingredients. A lot of this stuff is made internationally, and you don’t want to order where the workers are not in humane conditions.” Pansa says she works with doTERRA because of their ethical outsourcing. The company works with natives in Brazil, Haiti and other countries to extract the oils and create a product that is all-natural.
Top Oils to Try
- Lavender: A popular choice, lavender oil is ideal for college students who need to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s also good for fungal infections, allergies, depression, insomnia, eczema, nausea and menstrual cramps.
- Peppermint: This oil is best for those with nausea and digestive problems. Peppermint oil was often used in ancient Egyptian civilizations. It has been shown to relieve headaches, itching and muscle pain.
- Tea Tree: Tea tree oil treats skin issues from acne to psoriasis. It’s found in skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory properties that are proven to lessen the appearance of acne and red spots.
- Jasmine: Jasmine oil has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression in certain patients. Its antibacterial agents have been scientifically proven to help infections.
- Ylang Ylang: This is one of the less popular oils on this list, but don’t count it out. The mental health benefits are extensive, and sure could be helpful for finals week. Ylang ylang oil has been clinically shown to boost mood, reduce depression, decrease heart rate, reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem.
words_jabria roscoe. photo_ally gaddy. design_giovanni aprigliano.
This article was published in Distraction’s fall 2020 print issue.