In­gest them

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Life Made Easy Health -

Ap­ply them top­i­cally

Es­sen­tial oils may be used in skin­care prod­ucts or ap­plied di­rectly to the skin. For ex­am­ple, Ana uses Young Liv­ing’s Thieves blend (con­tain­ing cin­na­mon, clove, rose­mary, le­mon and eu­ca­lyp­tus ra­di­ata) to build im­mu­nity. She rec­om­mends that those new to the oil­ing life­style start by ap­ply­ing one drop of the blend to the base of the feet.

She also rubs a drop of lemon­grass es­sen­tial oil on the tummy to aid in­di­ges­tion, and ap­plies lavender es­sen­tial oil on open wounds, cuts, blis­ters and burns.

Ch­eryl Gan, di­rec­tor of Mt. Sap­ola Sin­ga­pore, who is also a cer­ti­fied her­bal­ist, ad­vises: “If you’re blend­ing your own skin­care, the es­sen­tial oil should not ex­ceed more than 5 per cent of the blend.” She warns that bac­te­ria can be in­tro­duced into the for­mula if you’re blend­ing it at home. There is also the risk of get­ting an un­sta­ble blend, with­out the mea­sures taken in com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion, so it is al­ways ad­vis­able to do a skin patch test be­fore us­ing DIY lo­tions or blends.

Be care­ful about the kind of oil you’re us­ing, says Dr Salleh. “Many com­mer­cial es­sen­tial oils de­signed for aro­mather­apy should not be ap­plied to the skin be­cause they are so con­cen­trated that they may cause se­vere skin ir­ri­ta­tion, pro­voke an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion, and may cause liver dam­age,” he warns.

Dr Salleh adds that lavender oil, when ap­plied to the skin, can be oe­stro­genic and anti-an­dro­genic (it blocks the ac­tion of male hor­mones), and hence, may be harm­ful to preg­nant women and pre­pubescent boys. A study pub­lished in The New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine states that lavender and tea tree oils have been linked to breast en­large­ment in boys who have not reached pu­berty. Ana finds that in­gest­ing some of the oils is the quick­est way to ben­e­fit from them. “Vet­er­ans like my­self swal­low a drop di­rectly from the bot­tle,” she says of the Thieves blend. She also uses one drop of lavender un­der the tongue as an an­ti­his­tamine.

Es­sen­tial oils have also found their way into her kitchen. “I make lavender lemon­ade with le­mons, wa­ter and a drop of lavender oil, and salad dress­ing with olive oil and a bit of basil, thyme, oregano or mar­jo­ram oil.”

Med­i­cal ex­perts say one should ex­er­cise cau­tion and seek pro­fes­sional ad­vice about in­gest­ing es­sen­tial oils in gen­eral, be­cause of the na­ture of the prod­ucts. “Un­less the la­bel states specif­i­cally that an es­sen­tial oil can be in­gested, it should not be used that way,” says Dr Salleh.

If there are any un­de­sir­able ef­fects, Dr Salleh’s ad­vice is to stop us­ing them and to con­sult a doc­tor. “Con­versely, if an es­sen­tial oil has been used cor­rectly and the in­di­vid­ual sees its ben­e­fits with­out any side ef­fects, then it will likely be ben­e­fi­cial and safe to con­tinue us­ing the prod­uct,” he adds.

Ana also cau­tions: “If you are new to this life­style, you should hydrate thor­oughly as es­sen­tial oils have a detox­ing ef­fect, and the tox­ins will be flushed out through your waste. But when you don’t hydrate prop­erly, the body will purge the tox­ins through your pores – this is where red­ness or rash might oc­cur.”

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