Have a headache? Use peppermint oil to help alleviate the pain.
Having trouble sleeping? Cilantro essential oil can help induce sleep.
Need to clear up your skin? Juniper berry essential oil can fix that.
Recently, more and more people have been turning to essential oils to provide a natural remedy to many common and uncommon ailments. Essential oils are strong concentrates that have derived from plants and other natural sources, and have been used as a healing agents for centuries.
While essential oils have been around for years, they’re quickly gaining popularity in the Lincoln area, according to Denette Russell, a Lincoln native and sales representative for doTERRA, an essential oils company based out of Utah. Russell has been selling essential oils and teaching classes on the use of oils since July 2014. She originally turned to essential oils as a way to keep her family members healthy in a safe, natural and inexpensive way.
Russell has used essential oils to treat flu-like symptoms for both of her daughters, and both times she said the oils cleared up the symptoms in less than a day. She has also used essential oils to treat a variety different illnesses her husband has picked up while traveling.
“You can use essential oils for anything,” Russell said. “I have a giant book with any illness you can ever think of and the essential oils that you can benefit from.”
Essential oils can be used three ways: diffusion, topical treatments or direct ingestion. The diffusion method uses a small device that sprays the oils into the air, which can then be inhaled in a method similar to aromatherapy. Through the topical method, one or two drops of the oils are applied directly onto the skin, usually on the bottom of the feet or hands. Users can also directly ingest essential oils by mixing them into food or water.
“You kind of have to be careful (when using essential oils on the skin) because some of them are pretty strong,” said Bailey Williams, a sophomore journalism and advertising and public relations double major. “You have to mix it or dilute it with olive oil or coconut oil to make sure it doesn’t burn you.”
Williams first started using essential oils after she heard about them from her mom, when they gained popularity in her hometown of Holdrege, Nebraska. She now has several of the tiny glass bottles on top of her desk like her own mini pharmacy. Williams uses essential oils to treat everything from anxiety to allergies.
Both Russell and Williams prefer using essential oils because they believe oils are safer and more natural than over-the-counter medications. According to a Jan. 16 Atlantic article, many medical drugs are derived from natural ingredients that essential oils have. Among the examples given in the article include aspirin, which is derived from willow bark, and the cancer-fighting drug paclitaxel, which was initially derived from fever-tree bark.
“Essential oils tend to work faster; they are cheaper and safer,” Russell said. “There are no side effects. A majority of the drugs we have now actually originated from essential oils. Pharmaceutical companies have found that compound, and they have tried to mass produce it by adding fillers and synthetic properties in there. So, [using essential oils] is going back to where medicine originated from.”