a vase of flowers on a table

© Photo courtesy of susan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ever since the dawn of time, people have always turned to plants for healing and health purposes. And it’s all for good reason because the power of plants have been proven time and again, with many of our modern medicine rooted in herbology and different plant properties.

There is, however, one folk medicine that while still shrouded in some amount of controversy, is more popular than ever: essential oils.

Healing Potential Of Essential Oils

Take a quick look at the many health experts (at least, the ones on the internet) and we guarantee that you won’t last 10 minutes without hearing about essential oils. Supposedly very effective in improving our physical and psychological well-being, these essential oils are all the rage and have the numbers to back them up. For example, one poll even found that at least a third of Americans believe in their supposed healing properties.

And with around 90 types available nowadays (usually packed in little vials), there is supposedly a “cure” for everything. Stressed? Try lavender and sandalwood. Need a little libido boost? Give jasmine and ylang-ylang a try. If you’re feeling anything funny, then chances are, there’s an essential oil for it.

But are they actually effective?

It’s tough to say since science still hasn’t actually caught up with it. Furthermore, that’s also why science can’t recommend it.

This is because while these oils are essentially made from natural materials like plant seeds, flowers, stems or roots, they still didn’t go through the rigorous FDA testing and approval processes the way over-the-counter drugs available at your neighborhood pharmacy have to go through in order to prove their promised results and effects, as well as guarantee that they’re safe for us. So while they do promise nothing but good results, what they really do is, at best, murky.

“Essential oils are neither medicines nor drugs because the effects have not been fully assessed yet in terms of science,” said Hideki Kashiwadani, a physiology researcher at Kagoshima University in Japan.

Despite this, the oils are doing nothing but grow in popularity. Whether science will stand for this, however, remains to be seen.

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