Essential Oils: Mankind's First Medicine

Mankind's first medicine, essential oils can be used or applied in a variety of ways for health and wellness benefits.

Shown in Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, we know that priests and physicians have been using essential oils for thousands of years. Essential oils are extracted from plant leaves, flowers, stems, roots or bark and carry the essence of the plants in such a potent form that a single drop of essential oil can equal multiple teaspoons of the dried herb. One drop of peppermint oil, for instance, equals more than 25 cups of peppermint tea.

Essential oils can be used or applied in a variety of ways and combinations to bring powerful results. Lavender, for example, can be used for issues such as burns, insect bites, headaches, PMS, insomnia and stress. Oils can be applied directly on the skin or within compresses, by inhalation, in baths or through cooking. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties.

As essential oils become more mainstream, more choices flood the store shelves. Keep in mind that the purest therapeutic-grade essential oils are the most effective and worth the cost. Anything less than pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil may not produce the desired result and can in some cases be extremely toxic. It is also a good idea to consult your primary care provider before beginning use of essential oils, especially if you're pregnant.

Stefanie Hernet, MS, CNM uses essential oils for expecting mothers. For example, in addition to utilizing lavender to ease anxiety and headache, induce sleep, soothe skin irritation, breast tenderness and muscle aches, ginger is used to ease nausea, heartburn, muscle pain, improve appetite and fight colds. Many women feel their bodies and babies are healthier as a result of using essential oils during their pregnancy.

About Deanna Schmidt, CNM

Deanna Schmidt, CNMDeanna Schmidt, CNM, provides comprehensive gynecologic and obstetric health care to women of all ages, including complete prenatal, delivery and post-natal obstetrical care. She earned a Master of Science in nurse-midwifery from Marquette University and received a Bachelor of Science in nursing at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Schmidt has a massage therapy diploma and prenatal massage certification from the Blue Sky Educational Foundation in Grafton, Wis.