Aromatherapy: The Essentials of Essential Oils
Aromatherapy, or the use of essential oils to promote health and well-being, dates back thousands of years, according to some. But up until fairly recently, sound evidence-based research regarding the use of essential oils proved difficult to come by. Finally, western medical research is starting to come around, and the medical and nursing communities are beginning to discover the potential that essential oils may have in patient care delivery.
Essential oils, defined in this study as “aromatic plant essences, are volatile and fragrant substances with an oily consistency typically produced by plants,” show promising results in a variety of clinical situations. Many oils are shown to have antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties. This study showed the potential of certain essential oils as adjunctive therapy in the treatment of antibiotic resistant organisms. Others have shown efficacy in reducing stress and anxiety, as well as having antidepressant-like qualities. Most think of essential oils as something to inhale, but some oils are also safe to use topically, and in specific cases, through ingestion.
Essential Oils and Their Promising Uses
Citrus (Bitter Orange)
- Antimicrobial properties
- Anti-fungal properties (shown to have strong anti-fungal activity compared to traditional antibiotic Nystatin)
Interested in Learning More?
Visit the American Holistic Nurses Association to find comprehensive programs that the organization endorses. You can also check out books such as “Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Practice, 2nd Edition” and “Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 4e.”
YOUR TURN: Do you have any experience with essential oils?
What’s your favorite oil?