There is a lot of talk going on lately about a “new” member of the alternative medicine team. Essential Oils. In fact, they are not new. They have been used throughout history and are currently used as compound elements in our current medications. But what are they and what are they used for?

An essential oil is simply the “oil of” the particular plant from which it is extracted. The extraction process is generally done by steaming the plant but some citrus oils can be pressed to extract the oil. Also important in the process is choosing the correct plant and making sure it is harvested at the correct time for maximum potency.

Essential oils can be combined to create a remedy for specific ailments such as cuts and scrapes, migraines, muscle tension, ear aches, congestions, etc. Individual oils can also be layered on for treatment.

Depending on the specific issue being treated, there are certain spots on the body that the oil is applied to.  For example, to treat a migraine headache, the oil is applied on the back of the neck and across the forehead. To treat digestive disorders, the oil is applied directly to the belly.

Many of the over-the-counter remedies available today, contain essential oils. But consumers who want to know exactly what they are using on their body and who want to avoid “extras”, are turning to essential oils for remedies. By keeping a collection of essential oils in your medicine cupboard, you can mix them together on the spur of the moment to help start the healing process.

Though essential oils can provide much needed relief, they are not a substitute for professional care. There are many health issues that cannot be solved without the use of professional care. Judge wisely.