Scent-sational oils gain popularity

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People today still have an incomplete understanding of essential oils, and scientific studies have yet to confirm all the effects they have on the human body. But even still, many students at SPA chose to use essential oils as a natural body remedy, perfume and diffuser scent over other unnatural products. Essential oils are a concentrated liquid with aroma compounds from plants. They can be produced by steaming a plant to make water vapors, which carry the essence of the oil. Once the vapor cools down into a liquid, the oil is collected with a condenser. The name “essential oil” comes from the belief that the oils carry the essence of the plants. Records show that essential oils have been used since at least 5,000 years ago.

Essential Oils are most commonly used to benefit physical and mental health. Photo: Katherine Bragg

Sophomore Saffy Rindelaub is one of the many students at SPA who use essential oils.

Rindelaub said, “I put them into my vapor thingy [diffuser] to make my room smell better, and it gives me a good vibe. My favorite scents are cinnamon, lemon, and mint.”

In the cold, dry long winters of Minnesota, essential oils can be useful for moisturization. 9th grader Nina Starchook is also one of the many students who use essential oils at SPA.

Starchook said, “In the winter since I don’t want dry, flaky skin, I use tea tree oil on my face. It’s really good for moisturizing. Also, if you have rashes or scars on your face, they help get rid of them.”

Essential oils are most commonly used for physical and mental health benefits. The aromas from the oil when inhaled into the body through the nose has a direct path to the brain. Once inhaled, it can stimulate your limbic system which controls functions like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, etc. When applied to the skin, the oil is absorbed across the skin cells and quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The oils help prevent water from evaporating the skin, which prevents skin from becoming dry. In addition, essential oils can also be used as natural medicines to reduce discomfort and illness. They can also help you sleep and heal skin conditions or muscle pains. Starchook uses lavender essential oil in her diffuser. A diffuser creates water vapor to moisturize the air while spreading the essence of the essential oils around the room. The aroma coming from the oils helps her calm down and sleep following a stressful day. Sometimes after physically draining dance practices, Starchook drops some essential oils into her bath to help relieve sores and pains.

Starchook said, “I really enjoy the smell of them, but I mainly use them for the health benefits. I would really recommend them.”

9th grader Max Endorf also uses essential oils in his diffuser.

Endorf said, “I have a diffuser in my room and that kind of helps with everyday things, sometimes sleep. It has a citrusy smell.”

Another very minor use of essential oils is in perfume. Though perfumes often contain minimal amounts of essential oils in them, it is not as common or popular to us just pure essential oils as perfume.

9th grader Emily Gisser said,” Sometimes when I run out of perfume at home, I use this vanilla bean oil and rub it on, and it smells just as good.”

I really enjoy the smell of them, but I mainly use them for the health benefits. I would really recommend them.”

— Nina Starchook

With the limited research people have of essential oils today, humans know that most essential oils are safe to be inhaled, applied to the human body, and are a natural way to help with health benefits and physical disease. But using essentials oils may also come with some repercussions. So far, scientists know that if essential oils are overused, they may cause dangerous side effects and cause skin irritation or worsen antecedent conditions. Also, according to MedShadow.org, essential oils are not FDA regulated, which leaves the risk out there that some sellers may not be selling safe substances for customers to use.

Because little scientific research on essential oils has been carried out, scientists still believe that more studies have to be done on them to confirm their safety and efficiency. For some people, they may work magic, while for others they may not be effective. The future of essential oils is yet to become better and better as more and more research is done on it.

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