With the increasing surge in people adopting a ‘‘clean living’’ lifestyle these days, more and more people are turning to less harmful, alternative methods of healing, and switching their chemical-based products with products containing more natural and ‘‘eco-friendly’’ ingredients. As you know, we are HUGE fans of healing the body by natural means, so this really is music to our ears!
With this growing interest in plant-based products, it’s no wonder that essential oils are becoming some of the trendiest wellness must-have’s today.
As any aromatherapist will tell you, the safe and proper use of essential oils can bring some wonderful health benefits. From lifting a low mood to relieving pain and inflammation, essential oils are right up there when it comes to improving your emotional and physical well-being.
However, the growing popularity of these highly concentrated plant substances also come with the danger of not fully understanding how to use them safely and correctly. So it’s important that we learn the facts before delving into the world of self-healing with essential oils. Let’s scope it out…
What are essential oils?
Essential oils have been around for centuries and were first used by the ancient Egyptians to treat and heal a number of different ailments.
The oils are derived from a single plant species and extracted or distilled from their roots, stems, bark, leaves, flowers or fruits. Oils serve as the defense mechanism in plants and carry vital nutrients and minerals to every cell in the plant. They contain each of the plant’s essential nutrients such as vitamins, amino acids, hormones and trace minerals and give the plant the ability to fight off infection and regenerate themselves. The essential oil is literally the life force of the plant!
“Essential oils have the same function in the plant as blood has to the human. When you cut yourself, blood comes out of the cut. The blood cleanses the wound and kills bacteria so that regeneration of the tissue can begin. Similarly, when you cut a plant, resin, or the oil of the plant, is released.”
Jane D. Goldberg – Psychoanalyst and Holistic Health Practitioner.
Because essential oils carry such high oxygen concentration, they literally push unwanted chemicals out of the body and therefore help to detoxify the body.
How are essential oils extracted?
Steam distillation is the most popular method used to extract essential oils from plants. In the steam distillation process, steam vaporizes the plant material’s volatile compounds and gets passed through a cooling system where the steam condenses into a liquid containing the essential oil and water. The essential oil, being lighter than water, floats to the top and is collected.
If you’ve ever peeled or grated a citrus fruit, you will know its sweet, potent and refreshing aroma! This is because volatile oils are released from sacs found in the peel as it is broken open, causing that wonderfully juicy scent to release into the air. Expression is very much like this and is the “cold pressed” method of extraction since no heat is required to extract the oil. In this process, the oil is forced from the plant material by using high mechanical pressure. This is why the smell of citrus oils are very similar to the fruit from which they originated from.
CO2 extraction is a fairly new process and natural method used to extract the essence of a plant. This method of extraction produces great quality oils but is very expensive.
Under pressure, CO2 (carbon dioxide) can be used as a very safe ‘liquid solvent’. CO2 is the gas that not only we, as humans, exhale out of our lungs, but it is also the gas that plants thrive on. It’s an excellent solvent to use when extracting essential oils as it does not chemically alter the oils through the extraction process, therefore producing higher quality oils.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing essential oils is to make sure they are from a reputable supplier and that the method of extraction is listed on the packaging. Always go for organic oils and watch out for words such as “fragrance oil,” “nature identical oil,” or “perfume oil.” This means they are not pure.
Are essential oils safe to use in the mouth?
There’s been quite a lot of discussion recently about whether or not essential oils are safe to use in the mouth. And we can understand why!
As we already know, if our oral microbiome becomes unbalanced, the health of our whole body can be compromised.
Plant essences are pretty strong. If they are not sufficiently diluted, they can cause damage to your sensitive gum tissues.
Saying that, provided that the essential oils are from a reputable supplier and they are safe to ingest, if properly diluted, essential oils can have a really positive effect on your oral health.
While essential oils should not replace your normal dental care products, they can be a great addition to your oral routine, due to their many beneficial and non-toxic properties.
So which essential oils are good for oral health?
Peppermint has been used for centuries to relieve the pain of toothache and swollen gums due to its high menthol content.
Peppermint is believed to inhibit the growth of some strains of bad bacteria and viruses and is rich in many vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A and trace elements such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and copper.
It also has the amazing ability to be absorbed by the skin and mucous membranes, giving immediate relief from any pain in the mouth.
And, of course, let’s not forget the minty, fresh flavor peppermint is so famous for! Tooth brushing just isn’t the same without it!
Myrrh is widely considered by herbalists and practitioners of Chinese medicine to be one of the most effective substances for sore gums! It has powerful astringent and antiseptic properties, which makes it an effective remedy for soothing sore gums and relieving toothaches.
Myrrh stimulates mucous membrane tissues, which makes it great for skin tissue rejuvenation and wound treatment. Myrrh also helps to reduce the production of inflammatory chemicals that can lead to pain and inflammation.
Cinnamon’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, and slightly anesthetic properties make it extremely beneficial for sore tissues.
Cinnamon has been used to numb teeth and gums for thousands of years, including the gums of teething toddlers.
Cinnamon is also super rich in calcium, which helps to strengthen the teeth and jaw and contains extracts that fight the bad bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath.
Please note: When using essential oils for oral health, it is very important that they are properly diluted and are safe to ingest, otherwise they can cause damage to the sensitive gum tissues. For some people, cinnamon may be too strong and cause irritation and inflammation, so please check with your health provider first.
Do your research first! Each essential oil will have different specifications.
Guess what guys? We use all three of these plant materials in our all-natural tooth and gum and powder!
BUT we do things a bit differently, and here’s how…
What’s different about Good-Gums?
The myrrh, cinnamon, and peppermint used in Good-Gums powder are not made from the essential oils, but are instead made from the source plant material from which the producers of essential oils derive their essential oils.
The peppermint in Good-Gums is the dried and pulverized leaf of the peppermint plant, the myrrh is the dried and pulverized gum (sap) of the myrrh bush and the cinnamon is the inner bark of the cinnamon plant. All of these plants contain naturally-occurring oil, but in a far lower concentration than is achieved by producing essential oils.
When the plant material is dried, the water in the plants’ cells evaporate relatively quickly, and the oils remain behind considerably longer.
The plants themselves have been used by humans and revered as medicinal plants since long before written history began. Methods of isolating the essential oils from plants were invented approximately 800 years ago, becoming more efficient as technology improved.
While we do not disagree that these traditional and modern methods of isolating essential oils from plants are a wonderful way to receive medicinal benefits from plants, we find that using the source plant material is a more subtle, gentler way of bringing healing to your sensitive gum tissues.
To try our all-natural, herbal tooth and gum formula, click here.