Essential oils have been used for millennia around the world. Its service is confused in domestic, culinary and/or medicinal use, even egyptian peoples 4500 years BC already knew the benefits of OEs in the manufacture of dermocosmetics, perfumery and medicines. To learn more, read now the main effects of essential oils on human health.
Definition and extraction of essential oils
First, essential oils are chemicals extracted from plants, their chemical composition is basically alcohols, esters, aliphatic aldehydes and hydrocarbons. The final composition of the OEs is dependent on the extraction method that was employed, can be done by: distillation, microextraction in solid phase and direct thermal, desorption, solvent extraction, hydrodistillation, among several other methods. That is, understanding the way the oil has been extracted is fundamental to know about its quality.
Additionally, some of the compounds that actively act in the body are sesquiterpenoids, phenylpropanoids, benzenes, in addition to monoterpenes, according to a review article that analyzed the effects of Mediterranean OEs on human health. The composition of essential oils also undergoes modifications from the site of their plantation, the part of the plant that was used, as well as the transport and storage of the raw material. In this sense, when using an essential oil it is important to know its origin.
OEs have antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects. Its mechanism of action can be individual or combined, and in some cases, the association of bioactive compounds potentiates the effect. For example, synergism between carvacrol, terpinene and p-cymene (present in rosemary-pepper) increases its antifungal effect by crossing the plasma membrane of the pathogen more easily inducing cell lysis.
What is the applicability of essential oils?
Perhaps lavender is the plant that has the greatest popularity, it belongs to the
. The L. officinalis is a potent natural anti-inflammatory agent and has already shown benefits in the treatment of vaginal candidiasis, migraine and muscle pain, acts strengthening the immune system, in addition to the classic sedative effect. Lavender is also used in massages, as compounds such as linalool and linalil acetate are very well absorbed into the skin, giving a relaxing effect.
This essential oil in addition to the anti-inflammatory and fungicide effects, also fights bacterial infections when steam inhalation is done. Added to this, the Peppermint extract is a natural antiseptic and is used in people with digestive difficulties.
Citrus limon L it is a culinary ingredient with diverse uses and gives characteristic flavor to the food. Its essential oil features Astringent, antiseptic, detoxifying properties and acts on strengthening the immune system as well as digestive processes. Data indicate that lemon OE prevents the growth and spread of Escherichia coli
Flavonoids found in chamomile have well-known anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. These act in reducing inflammation, easily penetrating the skin. Tree oil acts on monocytic differentiation In vitro
accelerated tissue recovery process and contributing to the healing of chronic wounds. Chamomile presents other promising applications such as natural antispastic and antimutagenic agent.
In addition to the oils presented above, others like thyme oil that inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus Rosenbac
h, and rosemary oil that inhibits S. aureus
can be used as complementary therapy. Formulation concentrations can be made of 20 to 400 μg/mL from the need for each case, higher doses can be administered.
The pharmacological effects and mechanisms of action of essential oils are diverse and still require further investigation. However, they present undeniable curative benefits that are not sometimes associated with the use of medicines. Thus essential oils are shown as a effective and natural alternative to many health problems requiring the health professional to be attentive and up-to-date on their use.
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Biological effects of some essential oils
ELSHAFIE, Hazem S.; CAMELE, Ippolito. An Overview of the Biological Effects of Some Mediterranean Essential Oils on Human Health. Biomed International Research, [S .L.]v. 2017, p. 1-14, 2017. Hindawi Limited. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2017/9268468.