Mar 13, 2017

Are Essential Oils essential for healthy living?

Short answer: No.

Long Answer: Can be useful depending on how you absorb them, dosages, which part of the herb etc etc. But they don't always need to taken from small bottles costing $36-$83 per tiny bottle. that is just a rip off most of the time! I will update this post by March 15 (2017) with a list of fair priced and legit suppliers, in the meantime, please don't get sucked into some MLM scheme.

Another question:
Can Herbs and Spices be therapeutic? BIG YES.

One "popular" fad is the use of "essential oils" to get the benefits of herbs, spices and flowers. I personally do not like the term 'essential oil' which makes it sound like they are "essential for life". that's a little bit of a stretch and probably smart marketing. They are actually 'essence oils' i.e. the essence of the leaf or flower obtained as an oil by steam distillation or some other form of extraction.

Rose-geranium essential oil (Source: publicdomainpictures.net)


In many cases, small amounts of the essence are enough for the human body, either diluted in carrier oils and absorbed via skin. What I do more often is to take through whole leaves and shade dried leaves - ingested with food as part of flavoring. We are talking only about digestible herbs like basil, coriander, oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc. not the more bitter ones like chamomile, eucalyptus etc.
Mint in a pot
Some of the ancient wisdom from various parts of the world, that has been passed on through the kitchens of grandmothers, has recently been confirmed via scientific studies at molecular level. I will list couple of them here.

Since I am pressed for time, the focus of this post is on THYME (pun intended).

Fresh thyme (Image source courtesy: flickr user alicehenneman link)

One short communication (note that it is not a peer reviewed full journal article though) has this to say:
"Thyme and winter savory oils exhibited the greatest inhibition against the growth of all the tested organisms possibly due to the high content of thymol and carvacrol respectively. The Roman chamomile oil exhibited the highest antioxidant activity."

Another study in the journal Molecules has this to say:

The thyme essential oil exhibited the strongest cytotoxicity towards three human cancer cells. Its inhibition concentration 50% (IC(50)) values on PC-3, A549 and MCF-7 tumor cell lines were 0.010% (v/v), 0.011% (v/v) and 0.030% (v/v), respectively.

Source https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20657472 (Anti cancer at cell level studies)

Full journal article at: http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/5/3200

On ACNE (from the Molecules article)
"Thyme, cinnamon and rose essential oils exhibited the best antibacterial activities towards P. acnes,"

Now, my grandma told me this and her grandma told her, so I was fine with trying these things [examples below] even before some of these studies came out, but I am glad to see anecdotal and traditional ideas being confirmed via modern techniques.
  • Oregano oil sprays (for sinus issues, congested colds) even before these articles came out :)
  • Adding turmeric and black pepper to foods, basil leaves in season etc for general good digestive health.
  • Eating fermented foods made out of ginger etc for good gut health. 
  • Something I have learnt new is how to use thyme in cooking.

    For more on 
    How to use Thyme in Cooking visit:




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