Essential oils have been around for thousands of years. Using them for therapeutic or medicinal reasons is called aromatherapy. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Essential Oils?
They’re the scented parts of a plant, usually the bark, leaves, or peel. You smell them when the plant is crushed. Special steaming processes also bring out the fragrance.
Essential oils have a strong scent. But that’s not what helps you feel better. The plant’s chemicals affect your brain and body. They get into your bloodstream when you put the oil on your skin or breathe it in.
Do They Really Work?
Aromatherapy may also lower your stress levels and how you sense pain. More research is needed to know how helpful essential oils really are.
How to Use Essential Oils
Don’t put essential oil directly on your body. It may sting or irritate your skin. Here are some tips:
Massage. Put 10-15 drops of an essential oil in 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of a carrier oil. Those are oils like coconut, almond, olive, avocado, or jojoba. That’ll help protect your skin and make it easier to absorb. Rub into your skin, wherever you feel joint pain. You can also massage some onto your feet, arms, wrists, neck, or behind your ears.
Inhaling. You can put a few drops on a cloth or sniff the air as you slowly wave an open bottle of essential oil in front of you. You can also buy a waterless or water-based diffuser. That’s a device that sprays essential oil mist into the air. Follow the instructions on how much to use.
Always test a small part of your skin first. Be on the lookout for an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:
can frankincense healing from cancer? Known to some as the “king of oils,” frankincense is derived from sap found in trees of the Boswellia genus. It’s most often found in the Boswellia sacra tree. These trees are commonly found in Middle Eastern countries, such as Oman and Yemen, and African countries, such as Somalia and Ethiopia.
This sap is thought to have a number of medicinal properties, making it a staple in many herbal and alternative therapies. Some research has suggested that frankincense oil may be a natural way to treat certain kinds of cancer. More research is necessary to determine whether this is a viable treatment option, as well as whether there are short- and long-term effects associated with its use.
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Its active component, boswellic acid, is an anti-inflammatory.
When diffused into the air, the oil is said to encourage feelings of peace and relaxation.
People throughout history have used frankincense it to improve personal satisfaction and combat various ailments. The oil’s aromatic properties are said to promote feelings of relaxation, peace, and overall wellness.
It’s also thought that frankincense can help support cellular function, so it’s often used to soothe skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Researchers have found boswellic acid, the active component found in frankincense, to have anti-inflammatory propertiesTrusted Source.
In recent years, researchers have looked at the possible effects of frankincense or its extract, boswellia, on certain cancers.
Frankincense oil has been linked to treatments for ovarian, breast, and skin cancers. Studies are generally done in vitro, or on cells in a laboratory. No studies have been conducted on people living with cancer.
The findings of one 2015 study suggest that breast cancer cells may stop growing and die off when exposed to frankincense oil. The researchers concluded that their approach is cost-effective and less time consuming than other methods.
Researchers in a 2009 studyTrusted Source looked exclusively at frankincense oil derived from the Boswellia carteri species and assessed its anti-tumor activity on bladder cancer. Researchers concluded that, when administered, the oil appears to differentiate between healthy and cancerous cells. The oil can also suppress cancer cell viability.
Similar results were found in a 2011 studyTrusted Source assessing the effects of oil from B. sacra on breast cancer cells.
More research is necessary to determine whether the oil or its extract can be consistently and effectively used to treat people who have these cancers.
If you’re interested in adding frankincense to your treatment, consult your doctor. They can help determine whether this is the best option for you and advise you on potential next steps.
Although some may recommend ingesting a small amount of frankincense with food, this isn’t a medically sound approach. You shouldn’t ingest any essential oil.
Instead, dilute one to two drops of frankincense oil with 1 to 2 drops of a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil. Carrier oils help reduce the potency of essential oils to prevent your skin from having an adverse reaction.
You can also diffuse to the oil into the air to get potential aromatic benefits. If you have a diffuser, add 3 to 4 drops and allow it to disperse. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can add 3 to 4 drops to a pot of boiling water. The steam will allow the scent to disperse into the air.