What are essential oils, and why are plants so powerful?
Pure essential oils are chemical components that derive from formations by secondary metabolites of plants studied to provide healing properties to mammals and other organisms, known for thousands of years to people. The compounds, such as linalool and thymol affect the neurons and other receptor cells that send specific messages directly to the brain. They are nonselective components, meaning they do not target specific cells, and in turn they are effective in a wide range of ways, such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antidepressant, and many other therapeutic properties. Essential oils are mostly safe and nontoxic for humans to use due to coexisting evolutions of plants and people. People have built tolerance for most of plants’ toxic compounds, and those compounds in turn can be used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes when we fall ill, mentally or physically.
Some of the chemical components in essential oils that are beneficial to humans are:
- β-caryophyllene, a terpene found in many oils, such as rosemary and lavender, is often known to be effective against anxiety, may reduce obsessive-compulsive symptoms, reduce stress, reduce neuroinflammation, and many more.
- D-Limonine, a terpene found in all citrus oils, is highly effective in stress relief, mood elevation, inflammation reduction, encourages weight loss, etc.
- Citral, a terpene found in many oils, such as melissa and lemongrass, is effective in anxiety relief, pain relief, red blood cell level boost, cholesterol reduction, etc.
...and so many more.
*Image from "Plant Secondary Metabolites and Their General Function in Plants" Angelika Böttger, et al. 2018 https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-99546-5_1
What is a traditional Thai inhaler?
Called ya dom, literally “medicine inhaler,” Thai inhalers are a cultural phenomenon and can be found all over Thailand. Often used by drivers and party goers, the inhalers are infused with menthol and other stimulating compounds of herbs and spices that provide heightened energy, mask outside odor, and clear nasal passages. Some come as sticks, and others come with gauze-wrapped natural herbs and spices. The concept has been around for thousands of years in Thailand, and it has its roots in Ancient Chinese Medicine.