3 wise men
In the last two years the essential oils market has exploded. While many have been quietly using them for years, and scientists have been studying their many uses, people seem to have only begun to understand their remarkable benefits, both for themselves and their families.

Whether you're religious or have no religion at all; essential oils deserve a second look. These oils have been used for two thousand years and their benefits are well documented.

essential herbs
Sandalwood: Extracted through the steam distillation of pieces of wood from mature (40-80 years old) Sandalwood trees. For centuries, sandalwood has reserved a place of dignity and respect in many civilizations and religions of the world. It is Antiseptic, Anti-infammatory, Antispasmodic, Astringent, Cicatrisant, Carminative and so much more.

Cassia: This evergreen tree is native to China and Burma. The essential oil is derived by steam distillation of its leaves and twigs, although bark is also sometimes used. The chief constituents of the essential oil of Cassia are benzaldehyde, chavicol, cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and linalool. It is anti-diarrheal, antidepressant, anti-emetic, anti-galactogogue (nursing mothers should not use this oil), anti-rheumatic/arthritic, antimicrobial, and an astringent...and that's just the "A's"! Check out more info here.

Cedarwood: Extracted through the process of steam distillation from the wood of the tree, this plant is native to cold climates and normally found at high altitudes. The chief components of Cedarwood are Alpha Cedrene, Beta Cedrene, Cedrol, Widdrol, Thujopsene and a group of Sesquiterpenes, which contribute a great deal to its medicinal value and health benefits. For more info on Sesquiterpenes, check out this article on PubMed. This oil is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, a diuretic, an expectorant- even a sedative! Pregnant women should stay clear of this oil and as always, with any questions, ask your health care professional. Mine loves essential oils!

Cypress: The cypress family includes some of the largest trees in the world (giant sequoias and coastal redwoods) and some of the oldest trees on the planet. Although not commonly thought of as an herb or a spice, the plant material from this beneficial tree- the cones and needles- hold many medicinal benefits. Cypress is most helpful with fungal infections, and respiratory issues but can also be used to treat the skin, reduce inflammation and eliminate varicose veins.

Frankincense: Extracted from the gum or resin of the Frankincense tree, this oil has been used for thousands of years and has many incredible benefits. It is effective as an immune booster, helps combat aging skin, is calming for those with anxiety and soothes coughs and eliminates phlegm. It is one of the most beneficial and useful essential oils and we are never without it in our home. For additional information, check out this article written by Dr. Mercola or this one by Dr. Axe.

Galbanum: According to organicfacts.net, Galbanum was, "Known since the time of ancient Roman and Greek civilizations, where it was burnt in incense sticks, mixed in bath water, used in skin balms, and as a perfume, this essential oil has a fresh, earthy and woody aroma which brings pleasure to both the mind and soul." It's a decongestant, detoxifier and insecticide- what a great way to keep mosquitos away without terrifying chemicals!

Hyssop: This essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the leaves and flowers from the Hyssop shrub. Growing mainly in the Mediterranean region, its been known as a holy or sacred herb and mentioned in the Old Testament as a purifying substance. This oil facilitates digestion, can help with spasmodic coughs, as well as diseases associated with poor circulation- like rheumatism, arthritis, and gout. It is also said to be very effective against viral infections such as coughs, colds, flu, mumps, tonsillitis, and sore throat, as well as on bronchitis, asthma, eczema, dermatitis and inflammation. Use caution if you are pregnant or have epilepsy as this oil contains a compound called Pinocamphone, which can stimulate the nerves. For more info, click here.

Myrrh: Extracted from the resin, Myrrh is native to Egypt, and was used for healing wounds in ancient Greece. The main components of this essential oil are Alpha Pinene, Cadinene, Limonene, Cuminaldehyde, Eugenol, Cresol, Heerabolene, Acetic Acid, Formic Acid and Sesquiterpenes. It is antimicrobial and antiviral, as well as an expectorant and an antifungal. It has also been studied for its ability to fight against cancer - as have many essential oils, including others on this list. It can have toxic effects if used in excess and should be avoided by pregnant women since it stimulates the uterus and could result in miscarriage. Make sure if you have any questions to check with your doctor or aromatherapy specialist.

Myrtle: Myrtle is a small evergreen shrub that grows wild around the Mediterranean area, but is also cultivated in many cultures. Myrtle leaves and fruit contain an amazing combination of organic compounds and nutrients: various antioxidants and flavonoid compounds, including myricetin, as well as quercetin, catechin, citric and malic acids, linalool, pinene, tannins, and other sugars. It is very popular in aromatherapy and commonly used to alleviate respiratory conditions, like bronchitis and asthma. It has also been found to effectively clear up acne and other skin infections, as well as balance hormones, boost the immune system and help with kidney health.
healing herbs
Benzoin oil, or Onycha, has been used for thousands of years, in fact instances of its use have been found in some of the oldest civilizations of the world, particularly for religious ceremonies and as medicines. This is mainly due to its, "antidepressant, disinfectant and aromatic properties." The oil is golden-colored, aromatic, thick, and obtained from the Benzoin tree. Benzoin's components are Benzyl Benzoate, Benzoic Acid, Benzaldehyde, Coniferyl Benzoate, Cinnamic Acid and Vanillin, the last giving it a vanilla-like aroma. For information on its use as an antidepressant and sedative, plus many more amazing uses, including information on its potential toxicity- use this link.

mortar pestal
Cistus: Better known as "Rose of Sharon", originates in France and Spain. Steam distilled from the leaves and stalk of the plant, it is known to be antiviral, antibacterial, anti-hemorrhagic, anti-inflammatory, as well as a support for the sympathetic nervous system and immune system. Use it for bronchitis, respiratory infections, coughs, rhinitis, urinary tract infections, wounds and wrinkles. See PubMed for information on its published studies, here, here, and here - also here and here. Can you see how AMAZING this oil is? Nature is so helpful and restorative, why aren't we taking better care of it?

Spikenard: This plant, native to Nepal, has been widely used, historically, in herbal medicines. Particularly in India, many medicinal preparations, based on this plant, can be found in markets. Extracted by steam distillation of the resin, the plant contains aristolene, calarene, clalarenol, coumarin, dihydroazulenes, jatamanshinic acid, nardol, nardostachone, valerianol, valeranal and valeranone which is what makes it antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. In aromatherapy, this oil is used for inducing mental peace, harmony, and truthfulness. Visit this site for more info.

As I hope you were able to see, these good gifts - these amazing plants- are restorative and helpful, they are life giving and protective. I would highly recommend that everyone look more into what uses these oils can be for your emotional, mental and physical health. Oh, and speaking of emotional health...we didn't even scratch the surface! These oils have been used aromatically for thousands of years. But that is another story for another day.