Essential oils from plants have been found to provide relief and healing for a wide variety of human conditions.
What is essential oil?
“The term ‘essential oil’ is a contraction of the original ‘quintessential oil.’ This stems from the Aristotelian idea that matter is composed of four elements, namely, fire, air, earth, and water.
The fifth element, or quintessence, was then considered to be spirit or life force. Distillation and evaporation were thought to be processes of removing the spirit from the plant and this is also reflected in our language since the term “spirits” is used to describe distilled alcoholic beverages such as brandy, whiskey, and eau de vie.
The last of these again shows reference to the concept of removing the life force from the plant. Nowadays, of course, we know that, far from being spirit, essential oils are physical in nature and composed of complex mixtures of chemicals.” (2)
Through distillation, the essence of the plant is extracted; this includes the plant’s smell, taste, and phytochemicals—like boiling something down to its most fundamental components and structure. (3)
Plants produce these oils to protect themselves, attract insect pollinators, and ward off predators. Because of the nature of the concentrated extract, little of it is needed to reap its rewards. Therapeutic-grade essential oils are high-quality distillations and recommended when used for a specific health goal rather than only for their fragrances.
One use for select essential oils is the promotion of eye health.
Before we say anything more, don’t EVER put an essential oil directly in or on the eye. If contact occurs, place a small drop of carrier oil (olive or coconut) in the corner of the eye and blink. Don’t use water, which will spread the oil around the eye. The essential oil will join with the carrier to lift it out of the eye.
There are three effective methods for applying essential oils to treat the eyes; the first time, attempt treatment around one eye to check for sensitivity. You may mix the essential oil with a carrier (jojoba, olive, avocado, or coconut) to dilute:
Rub 1 drop of the oil between your hands and apply sparingly above the eyebrows and at the top of the cheekbones. The essence will be released and penetrate the eyes.
Apply 2-3 drops of essential oil to a warm cotton cloth and place over closed eyes for 10-15 minutes twice a day.
Rub 1 drop of oil between your hands and hold them cupped over—not on—open eyes for 3 minutes, then over the nose and inhale 6-8 times each day.
Essential Oils for Eye Health
- Frankincense – a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, this herb has implications for reversing cell degradation. (4) Because essential oils are plants in their most basic form, they permeate cells readily.
- Rosemary – reduces oxidative stress in eye cells, preventing degradation. (5)
- Helichrysum – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supports nerve function, improving vision.
- Lavender – reduces dry eyes, improves circulation, moisturizes, and assists in cell re-growth. (6)
- Peppermint – promotes oxygenation of eye cells and is vitamin-rich, including A and C—known for promoting eye health.
General Eye Health
- Clary Sage – known in the Middle Ages as “clear eyes” for its ability to support vision; reduces eye strain and fatigue with antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
- Cypress – strengthens capillaries and improves blood circulation.
- Lemongrass – maintains and improves tissue health; dilates blood vessels, promoting oxygenation and blood flow.
- Sandalwood – promotes circulation and healing, hydrating surrounding tissues.