Essential oils have been used throughout the centuries dating back to ancient times.  The purpose of essential oils has seen a wide variety of usage including incense, a flavoring in foods, a defense to ward away evil spirits, and as an application to multiple medical conditions.  Early physicians, such as Avicenna used essential oils including mint to treat conditions of gastrointestinal ailments and rose essential oil used for cardiovascular ailments.  One of the most famous applications of essential oil in ancient times was the Egyptian use of aromatic essential oils in mummification.

In recent years, essential oils have seen a resurgence in the field of aromatherapy particularly in massage, acupuncture and in home décor with room diffusers.   Essential oils can be found in perfumes, soaps, hand lotions, shampoos, cosmetics, cleaning products, and candles. Natural pest control products ranging from ant control to mosquito repellent may also contain these oils.

Medical application for essential oils range from skin treatments, upper respiratory infections, migraines, nausea and vomiting to name a few. It may also improve digestive conditions, ear infections and menstrual disorders such as premenstrual syndrome and menopause, plus many more conditions including chronic illnesses. Specifically, one of the most effective ways to treat lice is to use essential oils. Research shows that essential oils contain antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Some of the most common essential oils are lavender, cinnamon, mint, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, frankincense, myrrh and thyme.

Lavender oil has been used for a variety of different conditions including anxiety, depression, irritability, stress, panic attacks, insomnia and fatigue.

Cinnamon has been used for regulating blood sugar in hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia; in addition, it has been used for cardiovascular health including high cholesterol.

Mint can be used for nausea, vomiting, stomach ailments and fatigue.

Eucalyptus is a common essential oil used in the winter to treat a variety of upper respiratory problems including sinusitis, cold, flu and cough.

Tea tree oil contains antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.  The most common application of tea tree oil is for anti-fungal conditions such as foot fungus.

Frankincense is an old essential oil valued for many conditions including headache, allergies, immune system enhancer, depression, upper respiratory conditions and mental fatigue.

Myrrh is used for sinus congestion, cough, and sore throat as well as for the treatment of certain skin conditions.

Thyme boosts the immune system, may help with pest control and can aid in upper respiratory ailments.

Essential oils have proven their use in medical history and have stood the test of time in the treatment of many conditions.  As we see a renewed interest in essential oils, we will no doubt see many new clinical studies examine their relevance and efficiency with new uses for an old therapy.