Using Essential Oils to Improve Health and Vision
Last updated: April 2023
Essential oils are specific and concentrated compounds that are extracted directly from plants. Once these compounds are extracted from the plants, they are added to a ‘carrier oil’ so they can then be used for healing.
Specific essential oils are believed to heal specific ailments. This article will focus on the essential oils that are said to help heal or lessen symptoms of macular degeneration, anxiety, sleep, digestion.
A quick history
The use of essential oils for medicinal purposes has an ancient history. Early Egyptian, Chinese and Roman societies practiced healing with essential oils for centuries.
Neat fact: The Hippocratic Oath (the ethical pledge taken by physicians upon graduating from medical school) is named after the Greek physician, Hippocrates, who studied the effects of essential oils. He was an advocate for the healing and health-promoting properties of essential plant oils.
How do essential oils work?
Our sense of smell is wired directly to the part of our brain that focuses on emotion and memory. Smells can trigger unconscious physiological functions in our bodies such as changing breathing patterns, heart rate, and blood pressure through our limbic system. The use of essential oils can stimulate certain healing processes in our bodies through inhaling aromas or by way of absorption through our skin.
This inhalation of essential oils is called aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the modern term for the ancient practice of inhaling the scent of essential oils with the purpose of improving well-being.
Think of it this way
The smell of pumpkin pie baking in the oven doesn’t just make you feel hungrier (which is a stimulation of our limbic system through smell), but it can also trigger memories from Thanksgivings past or family gatherings because of the memorization of that specific smell being linked to your memories and feelings.
Though pumpkin pie isn’t an essential oil, with this example you can get a better idea of how this all works.
Where can I find them?
You can order essential oils online or in the same part of certain stores that you would purchase vitamins. Be aware that some essential oils have a higher concentration of their plant compounds and are therefore higher quality. When buying online, be sure to not only check for price, but also for the quantity and quality of the essential oil.
How to use essential oils:
- Diffusion: Essential oils are often diffused by way of diffusers in order to disperse their fragrance and healing compounds directly into the air. In this way, the essential oils are breathed into the body.
- Reflexology: They can be rubbed (or rolled by a perfume-type roller ball) directly onto the skin to be absorbed into the body. Specific essential oils are best when rubbed onto certain spots on the body. This is called reflexology (more on this later).
- Jewelry: Some people choose to wear jewelry, such as beaded necklaces and bracelets, specifically made for essential oils to be dropped onto for absorption. This allows their healing properties to be breathed into the body and absorbed through contact with skin.
Use caution: Essential oils are highly concentrated and are not meant to be swallowed. They are also not for use in or near the eye. To be clear, do not drop or rub essential oils into your eyes.
- Frankincense oil is used to improve eyesight
- Helichrysum oil is also said to help improve vision while supporting nerve tissue
- Cypress oil triggers circulation and blood flow
This is all-important for eye health specifically related to macular degeneration.
Quick tip: I use frankincense oil (though one of the more expensive oils, one of the most widely healing - specifically for macular degeneration) by rubbing it behind my ears and on my feet. Reflexology suggests using the pinky toe and its neighboring toe on both feet for direct access and absorption to the eyes.
Common essential oils used to help with anxiety are:
- Chamomile (also found in certain teas and can be ingested directly into the body by drinking)
Those of us battling anxiety know how much it affects our whole body and overall health, including the health of our eyes. Aromatherapy tends to have a calming effect and when used consistently can help our brains form patterns and memorization of smell.
For example, practicing aromatherapy when meditating each day (diffusing calming fragrances from essential oils into the air) will automatically train our brains to recognize that particular smell and will have a calming effect on us each time we smell it. Aromatherapy facilitates slow, deep breathing which also has a calming effect.
Common essential oils used to aid in sleep are:
Are you noticing that some of these essential oils are used in various ways? Lavender, for example, helps alleviate anxiety and promotes better sleep while frankincense helps heal macular degeneration and calm anxieties. Win, win!
Sleep is so important to our overall health and therefore to the health of our precious eyes. A great time of day to practice aromatherapy is at bedtime since this is a natural time of relaxation and rest in an environment that facilitates deep breathing and a calm state of being.
These essential oils are used to aid in digestion:
Those of us living with macular degeneration know the importance of our diet and how nutrients are absorbed into our bodies. One process that is important to nutrient absorption is digestion.
Some people can be pretty skeptical of the healing properties of essential oils. I was at first too, but as I've learned more about them and use them, I'm finding that they really help me in a lot of ways.
I use essential oils as one more thing in my pocket to give me control over my macular degeneration. I’m not yet sure if using essential oils has improved (or prevented the progression of) my MD. However, I do know that it has helped to calm me when feeling anxious and has helped me sleep better (which I desperately need help with). This can only improve my overall well-being and eye health if you ask me!
Breathe, relax, and heal,
Do you have eye healthy recipes you like to make for the holidays?