07/21/2015 07:59AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier
Gallery: Essential Oils [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Claire Salinas / Submitted Photos
There is a good chance you’ve recently noticed tiny brown bottles filled with dense amber liquid. Your curiosity may have been piqued as you watched friends, family or coworkers twist the tops off of these diminutive decanters and dab drops of the mysterious serum on their wrists and temples. The centuries-old practice of using essential oils for medicinal purposes is experiencing a revival.
An essential oil is a concentrated liquid that contains various aroma compounds from plants. The oil is generally extracted from the desired plant through distillation. Oils are used to treat the symptoms of ailments ranging from anxiety to the common cold. Charles Kountz, owner of Aromatic Infusions The Essential Oil Company in Youngsville, likes to point out that while the recent popularity of essential oils may make it seem like a trend, the practice actually has a much more extensive history. “Back in the 1800s, people would go to apothecaries and get essential oils,” Kountz explains. “Almost every medicine or pharmaceutical is derived, in some sense, from an essential oil. Even Coco-Cola has several different essential oils in it.”
While essential oils are recommended for a plethora of health issues, Kountz stresses the importance of being knowledgeable about all medical treatments. “I have a chemistry background and my wife comes from a health background. I work with organic herbs and distill them in chemistry glassware,” he explains. “In Europe, they have strict guidelines on essential oils. In America, we don’t have those guidelines. If you use essential oils, you need guidance. They are a wonderful tool and amazingly natural, but in a lot of instances, we’re lacking the education aspect of it.”
Kountz recommends that his customers use a carrier oil to dilute the oil’s potency and help them absorb better. A carrier oil is a vegetable oil such as coconut or grapeseed oil. “You have to be very careful if you’re consuming the oils, especially if you’re putting them on children or elderly people. If you’re taking them by mouth, you need to consult a certified clinical aroma therapist or a doctor,” Kountz advises.
Nicole Seckinger manages Aromatic Infusion The Essential Oil Company, and for her the oils have been life changing. Previously, Seckinger took medication to alleviate what she refers to as “debilitating anxiety.” For her, the medication caused negative side effects. In February of this year, she learned about the anxiety blend of essential oils and decided to attempt to wean herself off of her medication. Any change to prescribed medication should be done under the care of a physician.
“It took me about a month to adjust,” Seckinger confesses. “For the first week, I was applying the anxiety blend to my pulse points three times a day; I quickly started to see a difference in my energy level. The following week, I was only taking half a pill of my anxiety medication. The third week, I cut my medication in threes and the fourth week, I was off of it completely.”
Brittany Hebert, Aromatic Infusion The Essential Oil Company employee, is a 23-year-old mother who has experience great success using essential oils on her toddler. Every morning, Hebert applies an ADHD blend behind her son’s ears, down his spine and on his Achilles tendons. “The ADHD blend has been so amazing for my three-year-old son,” Hebert states. “He’s very hyper and has a lot of energy. Since I’ve started using the blend, He’s gotten in less trouble at school. He’ll even sit still and let me read books to him at home.”
Kountz explains that those seeking immediate relief of symptoms associated with issues like anxiety or migraines have a variety of application options. “There’s an inhaler that has a cotton swab in it; you pour about 12 drops of essential oil on the cotton swab. Whenever you feel a migraine coning on, you take three deep breaths from the inhaler and swab your nostril,” he explains. “I’d say about 70 percent of people who have used our migraine blend have experienced relief.”
Oil diffusers are also an increasingly popular means of experiencing essential oils. Diffusers combine the desired oil with water and disperse the mist combination into the air. Oils can also be diffused using fans, heat or nebulizers.
Chris Simon, owner of Immune Lymphatic Therapy and Essential Oils in Lafayette, uses essential oils as a supplement to his practice. “The lymphatic system is the highway for the immune system. So if the lymphatic system is cleared out, your immune system can be healthy. We have found essential oils are really beneficial to use in addition to lymphatic therapy.”
Simon explains that he recommends essential oils to his patients based on their consistency. “A lot of people look at essential oils like, ‘I have this oil so, let me use it,’ but essential oils have frequencies just like our bodies. Let’s say the gallbladder runs at a certain frequency then we need to find an oil that runs at the same frequency.”
Jamie Frederick, owner of The Garden of Life in New Iberia, has found a way to incorporate the oils into her family life. “Essential Oils have become a really easy way to get supplementation into our diet. For my family it was much easier to do that with our kids, and it became a very fun thing to do together. We had a bedtime routine where I would rub their feet down with oils, and it was very relaxing. We’ve always got something diffusing in the house. When kids are just tired and have had a long day, I just put a certain oil on and it changes the entire atmosphere.”