Therapeutic Properties of Essential Oils

Essential oils have many therapeutic properties including analgesic, anticarcinogenic, antihypotensive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitussive and antispasmodic, among others.
I have chosen to focus on analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial as those are the properties that are sought by the population within the nursing home where I work.

Many oils have analgesic properties that help relieve pain, such oils include: Anise Pimpinella anisum, Basil (Sweet) (Ocimum basilica ct. linalol), Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata), Coriander (Cariandrum sativum), Frankincese (Boswellia carterii), Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Peppermint (Pogostemon cablin), Rose (Rosa damascena), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) to name just a few. In a study published in Molecules on the analgesic potential of essential oils, they studied the antinociceptive activity of essential oils from 31 plant species and concluded “ this review show the potential of essential oils like low cost analgesic drugs for new treatments for pain” (Saramento-Neto, et al., 2015. p. 19).

Not only are many essential oils anti-inflammatory, but they also have several other therapeutic properties as well. Some common oils that have anti-inflammatory properties are Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Basil (Sweet) (Ocimum basilica ct. linalol), Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Coriander (Cariandrum sativum), Frankincese (Boswellia carterii), Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Melissa (Melissa officinalis), Orange (Sweet) (Citrus sinensis), Rose (Rosa damascena), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata). In Antiinflammatory effects of essential oil from the leaves of Cinnamomum cassia and cinnamaldehyde on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated J774A.1 cells, showed that “Cinnalmaldehyde exhibited antiinflammatory activity by decreasing inflammatory enzymes and mediators and by increasing antiinflammatory mediators” (Pannee, et al., 2014. p. 170).

In one study, “essential oils of Laportea aestuans in that a methyl ester of SA, methyl salicylate, as the main compound, showed inhibitory potential especially at 200 mg/mL, against various microorganisms, including E. coli and S. aureus” (Monte, et al., 2014. p. 475). Other oils that have antimicrobial properties are Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum), and Lemongrass (Cymbopogon). In the study, Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro, ten essential oils were tested against 22 different bacteria. They found “Lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint and orange oils were effective against all the bacterial strains” (Pattnaik, et al., 1996. p. 237). Those bacteria included “Gram-positive cocci and rods and Gram-negative rods, and twelve fungi (3 yeast-like and 9 filamentous)” (Pattnaik, et al., 1996. p. 237).

It is clear that essential oils are an important tool for those suffering from either acute or chronic pain when administered properly. The therapeutic properties of several essential oils can be an cost-effective and healthy alternative for many people.

Monte, J., Abreu, A.C., Borges, A., Simões, L.C. and Simões, M. (2014) Antimicrobial Activity of Selected Phytochemicals against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and Their Biofilms. Pathogens, 3, 473–498.
Pannee, C., Chandhanee, I., & Wacharee, L. (2014). Antiinflammatory effects of essential oil from the leaves of Cinnamomum cassia and cinnamaldehyde on lipopolysaccharide- stimulated J774A.1 cells. Journal Of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 5(4), 164-170. doi:10.4103/2231-4040.143034
Pattnaik S., Subramanyam V. R., & Kole C. R. (1996). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro. Microbios, 86(349). pp. 237–246.
Sarmento-Neto, J. F., do Nascimento, L. G., Felipe, C. F. B., & de Sousa, D. P. (2015). Analgesic potential of essential oils. Molecules, 21(1), 20.

Essential Oils for Pain

We all have times where we go through aches and pains, sometimes it is acute and as we age, chronic. Most of the time we are quite content with taking an ibuprofen or Tylenol to help ease these pains. However, there is another way to take the edge off. Essential oils are an excellent option.
For instance, did you know that clove bud oil can numb tooth pain instantly. Not only that but clove bud oil is an anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. Additionally, it helps fight mouth and throat infections.

If you add a couple of drops of clove bud oil to a steam diffuser to aid in relieving mucous and loosen phlegm. Add a drop of diluted clove bud oil to a cotton ball and apply to tooth or gum area for instant relief.

Clove bud oil has many other uses as well, rub warmed clove oil that has been added to a carrier oil onto sore muscles and aches for pain relief; when added to a tea, it can aid in halting digestive problems, like nausea and vomiting.

It is a great idea to keep this oil in your medicine cabinet for multiple uses.

Let Me Clarify Something

You know when you have someone that just has to say something because you are “too political” or “going to hurt your career” because you do exactly what your profession entails you to do… well, I do. Apparently, people who have never studied social work, have any knowledge what the field does, what it is involved or even care to learn about what I do have an opinion about what I should and shouldn’t be doing, all in the guise of “being concerned for me.”

Please allow me to lay down some truth for those types of people. As a member of the NASW, I follow a specific Code of Ethics and anyone who is a social worker knows that these ethics are what guide us in the field. I was recently given some “advice” second-hand through another person that I should post advocacy things on LinkedIn because professionals would be less likely to want to hire me later on. Never mind the fact that I shared an article that was already on LinkedIn and that it was nothing like anything I post on my own personal Facebook (which is completely private to the public).

So, I felt that the definition of what I do and why I do it needed to be done.

The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living (NASW, 1996.)

Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. “Clients” is used inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems (NASW, 1996).

The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers calls upon social workers to “…facilitate informed participation by the public in shaping policies and institutions.” (NASW, 1999). Additionally, Section 6.04 (a) of the Code, states that, “social workers should engage in social and political action that seeks to ensure that all people have equal access to the resources, employment, services, and opportunities they require to meet their basic human needs and promote social justice” (NASW, 1999).

This is part of my job. I advocate socially and politically. It is my profession. If you don’t like that I advocate as part of my job or are some how offended, don’t become a social worker. Or better yet, let’s all make sure that people don’t have to make a career out of helping people meet their basic human needs, equality or what is guaranteed to them by our constitution regardless of age, sex, color, disability or sexual orientation. K? Thanks. End of story.

Melodi Hickey, MSW



New Beginnings

For the people that follow Meditation and Moxie, you probably have noticed something. I have deleted all of my previous blog posts. There is a method to the madness. I deleted them because they no longer serve a purpose. They are no longer needed and do not point to the direction that my life is going.

Med and Moxie is now going to be the home for all things in my life, including holistic, homeopathic and nutritional content. The more I learn this, the more I want to share it. And as I have learned, you put out into the universe that which you want to come back to you. I want to share what I learn and help people see that there is more out there that help us control out health than pharmaceuticals. With healthcare being the dismal mess that it is with this administration, we will need to be able to help ourselves with what the earth has already provided for us. So, please subscribe to the blog and comment with questions. Let’s engage in helping one another.

Melodi Hickey, MSW