Edible Aromatherapy Does More than Just Smell Good
Turbulent times and hectic, sometimes overwhelming schedules take a real toll on our bodies and minds. Prolonged elevated stress levels can adversely affect organ and brain performance, depress mood and significantly reduce sleep – all of which can have devastating effects on a person’s general health over time. Traditionally, the essential oils, or essences in aromatherapy have been a true respite for many who are wary of today’s often over-prescribed antidepressants and anxiety medications.
Aromatherapy at its basis, like the word implies,
works by stimulating nerves inside the nose to produce responses in the brain, primarily in the limbic system. Creating a calming effect in the limbic system is crucial because that area of the brain regulates emotion, motivation, and the release of chemicals and hormones. It also plays a large part in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Scientists are not sure exactly how essential oils work to improve health, but they do say that aromatherapy ingredients are complementary modalities that likely trigger responses inside the body and brain to help the body heal itself.
Many essential oils have actual direct pharmacological effects when ingested or used as a part of a healthy meal plan.
A bit of caution is required when ingesting or cooking with essential oils however. Some oils can be toxic when ingested or applied to the skin in large doses, and some are not safe for ingestion at all. Check labels and/or seek advice from a certified clinical aromatherapist, pharmacist or physician, or consult the many essential oil low calorie recipe books available.
Another organic compound is now being widely used with essential oils to create naturally sweet recipes that have tremendous health benefits, in addition to being great tasting is Organic Xylitol. Xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol, is mass produced from corn or birch trees and the result is a sweetener with 40% less calories than sugar and a host of health benefits. Oral health issues including cavities and weak enamel, bacterial infections, and bone health can all be improved with the ingestion of xylitol. And diabetics can use xylitol because of its low glycemic index and the fact that it does not cause an insulin release.
Foods incorporating xylitol and aromatherapy ingredients are beginning to take hold. There are numerous recipes incorporating essential oils, and ready-made products are starting to spring up in health food and specialty food stores. Syrups that can be put on breads and pancakes or added to recipes make featuring essential oils in your diet easy. These same syrups can also be used as flavored liquid sweeteners in hot or cold beverages, to make sodas with and to use in a myriad of other ways. Cancer patients and survivors can especially benefit from the syrups because xylitol does not feed cancer cells like regular sugar and does not promote fungal (yeast) or bacterial growth.