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Essential oils have been used for centuries by many cultures around the world. Their uses varied from Ancient Egypt to the Indian Ayurvedic medicinal system to the modern day massage table, for medicinal and health purposes. Modern day scientific studies into essential oils indeed seem to back up their historical claims and healing powers.
That shouldn’t come as a suprise though. When we inhale the fragrance of an essential oil it goes via the smell receptors in our nose straight into the limbic system of our brain. This area of the brain controls heart rate, blood pressure, memory (now you know why scents can bring back memories and situations), breathing, stress levels and sexual arousal. So it’s not a coincidence that essential oils can have positive physiological and psychological effects. They may be very helpful in reducing stress and alleviating symptoms from adrenal fatigue.
Of course, there are hundreds of different essential oils, with each having unique benefits for your health and wellbeing. The below listed 7 herbal essential oils are famous for their calming effects on the user and they are a wonderful choice for anyone that is suffering from adrenal fatigue or chronic stress.
Lavender is one of the best-known essential oils and has been used for hundreds of years for stress and anxiety relief, short-term memory enhancement and relaxation. It has a beautiful calming scent and is often described as a “universal oil” due to its healing properties and popularity throughout the world. Aside from being great for relaxation and stress relief, some studies have also found that lavender can positively impact on appetite, pain and even hair loss! In addition, it is commonly used as an antiseptic. To use it, apply a small amount to the palm of your hand and inhale the aroma – or rub a few drops into your temples.
With its comforting milky aroma that often evokes childhood memories of home and the delicious waft of home baked cookies, vanilla is one of the most commonly used scents for fragrances, bath products and candles. Vanilla is known to reduce anxiety, with one study by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1991 finding that patients who breathed in the vanilla-like aroma heliotropin reported 63 percent less anxiety than those who weren’t exposed to the fragrance. Vanilla is the perfect essential oil to enjoy while having a long soak in the bath (just add a few drops to the water), or blend it with a vegetable oil and then apply it to your skin.
Rose is another familiar aroma that instantly reminds you of nature and evokes feelings of calmness and relaxation. Although it can be expensive, this natural essential oil is popular throughout the world and is a great choice for anyone suffering from adrenal exhaustion. Several studies have found that rose promotes feelings of calm and relaxation, while it can also help to decrease blood pressure, slow down breathing and reduce anxiety. There are many different ways to use rose – many people like to put it in bath water, or you can mix it with vegetable oil and apply it to your skin. Did you know that it takes about 60,000 roses (or 2,160,000 rose petals) to create only 1 ounce of essential rose oil? No wonder it is expensive!
This essential oil has a multitude of different qualities that have made it one of the most popular oils in the world. Rosemary is commonly used for everything, from easing digestion problems and stimulating blood circulation, to treating pain and stress relief. Crucially, studies have shown that rosemary may help to reduce cortisol levels in saliva. Cortisol is an important stress hormone that is released during the “fight or flight” response, with high cortisol levels often leading to decreased brain functioning, weight gain, raised blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Inhaling rosemary oil for even just a few minutes may help to decrease the dangers associated with chronic stress.
Lemon balm, also known as Melissa Essential Oil, is one of the rarest and most expensive essential oils. The production costs are very high because yields are low (it takes about 1.5 tonnes of the plant to get a pound of true lemon balm essential oil). Lemon balm is praised for reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety, with one study by Berkem Extraction finding that using lemon balm for 15 days could reduce the symptoms of anxiety by as much as 72%. This essential oil is more often used in Europe than the US for stress relief and anxiety. But is now gaining in popularity throughout the world for its anxiety reducing properties and antiseptic qualities. Lemon balm is most commonly used in conjunction with vegetable oil; simply mix the two together, rub into your hands and then breathe in the scent.
We’ve all heard of chamomile tea, but did you know that there are actually two different types of chamomile? Roman chamomile has a pleasant apple scent and is commonly used to relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety, while German chamomile is used for treating skin ailments. To use it, simply breathe in the aroma or put a small amount into bathwater for a relaxing long soak… Just perfect for easing away those stresses and strains!
With its comforting aroma, frankincense is a great choice for anyone looking to ease the symptoms of stress. It has been used for thousands of years and can help with everything from skin problems through to calming respiratory illnesses, as well as relief from stress and anxiety. As with many other essential oils, frankincense can be breathed in or applied to the skin. Frankincense is even mentioned in the Holy Bible and is also known for enhancing introspection and bringing insight.
Essential oils can be used in a number of different ways. Warm the oil in a fragrance diffuser, then sit back and enjoy breathing in the aroma, or why not add a few drops to bathwater and enjoy a long, relaxing soak? Essential oils are also great for applying to the skin, but just be sure to never apply them on their own since this can cause skin irritation. Instead blend them with a carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil. In addition, many people like to add a few drops of essential oils to their pillow or handkerchief – or you can use them in a warm compress.
Before using any essential oil, it is important to research it carefully and, if necessary, consult with a healthcare professional for additional advice. You shouldn’t use essential oils if you are pregnant, and they should also not be used if you are taking certain medications.
Whichever essential oil you are using, one thing to keep in mind is that it should initially be used in small amounts. Some people are allergic to certain herbs, so it’s definitely a good idea to “test the water” first by using a minimal amount the first time and see what effects it has on your body.
Finally, it is important to ensure you are using only 100% pure essential oil. Some oils are labelled as “100% pure,” when in actual fact they also contain ingredients like alcohol and other additives. All this actually means is that the product contains some pure essential oil, it’s a labelling loophole. So research and buy carefully!
Essential oils can really help to relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you suffer from adrenal exhaustion, they can go a long way towards helping reduce stress and enabling you to live a happier life. Just be sure to research them carefully, pick the right essential oils and use them with care.
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