What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils simply put, are compounds which are extracted from plant or, concentrated plant extracts. These compounds, happen to have the very scent andflavor of the plants hence, they are referred to as the essence of the plant. Different unique aromatic compounds are what give each of the different essential oils their characteristic and unique essence. Essential oils are mainly gotten by means of distillation – either through steam or water – or cold press mechanical methods. The method used in extracting essential oils are quite important as essential oils which are extracted via chemical processes are not counted to be real essential oils. After the extraction of the aromatic compounds, these chemicals are then combined with a carrier oil in order to give you a product that is ready to be used.
How work Essential Oils?
The use of essential oils is most common in the practice of aromatherapy. In this way are used either by inhalation or diluted and then rubbed onto the skin. It should be noted however that essential oils are not meant to be swallowed.
There are different ways that the body can interact with essential oils. For instance, when it is rubbed on the skin: when essential oils are applied on the skin, the chemicals are absorbed into the skin and, there are some methods of application that are thought to be of help in improving the rate of absorption. These methods may involve applying with the use of heat or applying on certain parts of the body
Inhalation of the aromas from essential oils can also act as stimulants for areas of the limbic system. The limbic system just happens to be a part of the brain which plays avital role when it comes to our emotions, our behaviors, our sense of smell and our long-term memory. The limbic system is also a major part of the formation of memories and, this can explain in part the reason why some familiar scents can trigger certain memories or emotions. The limbic system also has a vital role to play in the control of certain unconscious physiological bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. This could also explain in part the claim that essential oils can have certain physical effects on the body this way; the studies to back this claim however, has not yet been proven.
Health Benefits of Essential Oils
There are over 90 different types of essential oils; each having its own distinct scent and each associated with their own unique health benefits. Despite this given fact,and the vast and wide use of essential oils, very little is actually known about its effectiveness in treating certain health conditions. Certain health issues have been treated using essential oils and aromatherapy and some of them include insomnia, stress, anxiety, migraines, depression, sore throat, headaches and Inflammation.
A sore throat is a rather common bacterial or viral infection that can literally, spring forth from nowhere. They are very uncomfortable and are rather contagious. The symptoms of a sore throat would be hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, scratchiness and pain that gets worse when you swallow. As soon as you notice any of these signs, it is best to treat it before it gets any worse.
Essential oils which contain anti-bacterial and anti-virus components, have been known to prevent sore throats from fully manifesting if detected early, however, if you do not detect it early enough, essential oils are still very effective for reducing the span of a sore throat, alleviating the pain and inflammation, and helping the body to combat the infection by destroying the causative bacteria or virus and all the while, still boosting your immunity.
In order to know the kind of essential oil to use in combating your sore throat, you first need to know what kind of sore throat it is; whether viral or bacterial. A bacterial caused sore throat (strep throat) is usually identified by signature white spots on the tonsils, a vivid redness in the back of the throat and a fever. A viral caused sore throat (regular sore throat) however, would generally be accompanied by cold and flu symptoms which strep does not cause. If it is still difficult to distinguish between the two types of sore throats, it may be best to simply get a test done. Although, typically, 90% of sore throat infections are viral and not bacterial.
How to Use Essential Oils in Treating Sore Throat
There are a variety of ways in which essential oils can be used in the treatment of sore throats. Here are some of the most effective ways to use essential oils for sore throat treatment and although not all essential oils can be used in all these ways, the most effective methods for each type of essential oil has been noted under it. Some of these essential oils can be highly potent and can be known to cause skin irritations therefore, the stated methods for each of the oils are the best and safest ways of using them.
Gargling with sea salt and warm water often is an age-old method of soothing and treating sore throat. However, adding just about one drop of essential oil to about one to two teaspoons of sea salt and gargling it with warm water is, in fact, an extra boost to this simple home remedy. Shaking this mixture in a closed container usually helps with the even dispersion of the essential oil. This mixture can be used as often as necessary for both pain relief and infection control.
Coconut Oil Gargle
This sound pretty weird, true but, do not hate it till you have tried it. Coconut oil just happens to be antibacterial and is very helpful in soothing inflamed tissues. Also, carrier oils generally give a sort of protective coating when it is applied topically which is not easily removed and as such, makes them perfect as a means of applying essential oil to a particular infected area. To do this, simply add one drop of essential oil to one teaspoon of coconut oil and use it as a gargle. This way, the coconut oil would coat the inflamed throat tissues. Using coconut oil is also a fantastic way to keep the essential oil stuck to the tissues in the throat while its active antibacterial component goes to work. The trick here is to mix the essential oil with the coconut oil and allow it to melt in your mouth. Once it is melted, you can then gargle it and then spit it out into the trash can.
This is easy, to make a throat spray, simply add six drops of essential oil to one ounce of water in a spray bottle. This throat spray can be used three to five times a day for controlling both pain, inflammation and controlling infection. Just ensure that you shake the bottle well before use to ensure even distribution of the essential oil. Also, be sure to coat the back of your throat properly with this mixture and allow it to sit for a while before swallowing.
This method is recommended for use with an oral treatment for sore throat. This way, you can effectively treat the infection from both inside and out. To carry out this method, simply add about one to three drops of essential oil to one tablespoon of carrier oil and rub liberally on the neck, jawline and throat. This would help to reduce the inflammation, reduce the pain and stimulate the lymphatic drainage.
The steaming method is very effective in treating sore throats that come with dryness. It is simply breathing in steam. This method is rather sensitive as the steam reaches the face and eyes and some essential oils can cause irritation to the eyes, therefore, it is vital to note which oils are best for this method.
To carry out this method, you would simply need to add six drops of essential oil into a steaming bowl of water and then proceed to breathe in the rising steam with a towel over your head for about fifteen to twenty minutes once or twice daily.
The Five Best Essential Oils for Treating Sore Throat
Clove Essential Oil for Sore Throat
Clove essential oil is an anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral and antiseptic oil. Need I say more? I do not think so. This oil is by far the best oil for treating sore throat symptoms and combating infections. In fact, clove is so potent that dentists have been known to use it as an analgesic when working on patients. Clove essential oil is perfect to be used for gargling, topical application and throat spray but not for steaming as it can cause irritation to the eyes.
Cypress Essential Oil for Sore Throat
Not very popular, yes, but, this essential oil is highly effective for the stimulation of lymphatic drainage and circulation. This form of relief is important in sore throat treatment because the tonsils just happen to be lymph nodes. This oil is perfect to be used in the topical method.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil for Sore Throat
This particular essential oil contains cineole which is highly effective in the combating of infections and inflammation. Also, it has cooling properties which are very helpful in soothing the irritated throat tissues. Along with being an antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic oil, it can help to stop the growth of the virus and bacteria that cause a sore throat. This oil is great to be used for gargles, throat sprays, steams and topical application. However, it should not be used for children under the age of ten years.
Hyssop Essential Oil for Sore Throat
This oil is best used in throat sprays, gargles and steams. It is a great antibacterial and antiviral oil which has been known to be used in the treatment of lung infections.
Juniper Berry Essential Oil for Sore Throat
This essential oil is a lot like the cypress essential oil being that it is a circulatory stimulant. It helps to purify and detox the body. This oil is best applied topically to stimulate the removal of toxin and fluid retention that happen to be trapped in the tonsils.
Apart from these five essential oils, there are other essential oils which work perfectly well for the treatment of sore throat. They include:
Lemon Essential Oil: Used for gargling, throat spray, steam, and topical although, beware of using it when having direct contact with sunlight.
Myrrh Essential Oil: Used for gargling and throat spray
Oregano Essential Oil: Used in coconut oil gargle
Peppermint Essential Oil: Used for gargling, throat spray, topically. Not to be used for children under ten years of age.
Sage Essential Oil: Used for gargling and throat spray
Thyme essential oil: Used in coconut oil gargle
Winter Green Essential Oil: It is extremely potent and is recommended to be used with a blend of other essential oils; for example peppermint oil at the ratio of one to ten drops. Perfect for gargling and throats spray.
Choosing the Right Essential Oil for Sore Throat
Essential oils have a number of vast undiscovered health benefits and use, and the treatment of sore throat just happen to be one of them. Despite knowing the uses of essential oils, it is important to also know how to choose the right essential oil with the best quality. To do this, there are three major things to look out for:
Purity: When searching for pure essential oils, be sure to look out for oils that contain the actual botanical names of the plants among their ingredients; these are more likely to be purer.
Quality: Essential oils of the highest quality are those that have undergone the least changes during extraction. These are chemical free essential oils usually extracted by distillation or cold press mechanical method.
Reputation: When looking out for good essential oils, try to choose those which come from a highly reputable and trustworthy brand.
Whether it is for the treatment of sore throats or simply for prevention, pure and good quality essential oils are great to have handy.