If you want to make something instantly better – just add a herb or two. And it can apply to so many different things. Want a way to make your kids eat that nutritious and healthy broccoli soup? Adding a pinch of dried basil or rosemary tricked mine into eating all sorts of dishes that they wouldn’t even hear of. Have a bad stomach ache? I found that peppermint tea can offer instant relief. And these are just a couple of examples.
Simply put, herbs are powerful gifts of nature that can add texture and taste to otherwise bland food, be an abundant source of vitamins and antioxidants, improve our health in miraculous ways, and even alter our mood. It’s important not to confuse herbs with spices though.
Herbs are the leaves of herbaceous or non-woody plants, while spices are obtained from the flowers, roots, fruits, seeds or bark. Besides dried leaves and tea, herbs also come in a different, far more concentrated form – herbal essential oils.
Herbal essential oils have powerful healing properties as they contain the very essence of herbs. They can be applied topically by rubbing a few drops on the skin, or taken internally by inhalation or oral use. Each type of oil has its own unique chemical structure that defines its smell and how it affects the body when taken.
Depending on how the oil is taken, it can have different effects. Take bergamot for instance. When applied to the skin, it helps regenerate it and is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis or cold sores. But when it’s inhaled, bergamot has calming properties that can help balance out the hormones, reducing anxiety, stress or anger.
Herbal essential oils are commonly used for their relaxation benefits whether in aromatherapy or as massage oils. Aromatherapy is the process of diffusing herbal oils in the air and is commonly used as a safe way to provide the benefits of these oils as they are inhaled. When inhaled, these oils are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream which enables them to have a profound healing effect on the body and its internal organs. Research has also shown that aromatic use of essential oils is in fact much more effective and safer than oral use.
Finally, whichever way you decide to harness the power of natural herbal oils, take in mind that they are very powerful chemical compounds that should be used carefully. Always make sure you purchase your oils from a trusted source, and check the instructions before you apply them on your skin or by inhalation. Because they are very concentrated, make sure to check with a health professional if you plan to take herbal oils orally.