Supercharging Your Food With Essential Oils
When we think of cooking with herbs and spices, we usually reach for the fresh or dry versions of those ingredients to add flavor and depth to our culinary dishes.
Now imagine enjoying those herbs and spices in a concentrated medicinal form that not only provides an intense spectrum of flavor, but is packed with different compounds, some of which cross the blood-brain barrier because of their small molecular size.
These medicinal properties will take your food to new healing heights.
That’s what essential oils can do, and they can be used medicinally externally (via diffusers, massages, and baths) as well as internally (via food and drink).
A History of Medicinal Use
Ingesting essential oils dates back to 3000 B.C.–2500 B.C. and is believed to have been first used in food preparation and preservation by the ancient Egyptians, although there are references that it was used in China and India around the same time, if not earlier.
According to Dr. Eric Zielinski, an expert on the use of essential oils, these substances can combat harmful microorganisms known as pathogens. They are also a source of antioxidants needed to prevent and cure disease. Essential oils “have been shown to contain advanced healing properties in addition to cancer cell cytotoxicity,” said Zielinski.
Naturopathic Dr. David Jockers points out that “since essential oils boost and uplift the mood, they can actively alleviate binge eating and unhealthy cravings.”
It is interesting to note that doctors in Europe, particularly England, France, and Germany, offer their patients a choice of either pharmaceutical drugs or natural essential oils when prescribing remedies for many health conditions. Essential oils are readily available throughout apothecaries across Europe.
In the United States, our food industry uses essential oils in many products, ranging from sweets to drinks to chocolate, to add intense flavor and strong aroma.
Because of the oils’ internal usage, the FDA has compiled a GRAS (generally recommended as safe) list for essential oils, whereby the following oils are listed and are considered safe for ingestion, among others: lemon, orange, nutmeg, black pepper, peppermint, ginger, mandarin, sage, tangerine, lemongrass, grapefruit, fennel, spearmint, cinnamon bark, oregano, lime, dill, rosemary, clove, basil, geranium, rose, rosewood, cumin, cardamom, lemon myrtle, tarragon, and mountain savory.
Approach With Caution
However, please be mindful that not all essential oils are meant to be consumed internally, and you must always double check the oil name, bottle description, and label recommendation before ingesting.
Also, not all oils are created equally. Many companies use fillers, pesticides, and methods that do not make the oils safe for consumption. Make sure any oils you intend on using internally are 100 percent pure, organic, and unadulterated. If you are uncertain about specific brands and oil recommendations, consult with a holistic health practitioner just to be safe.
Around this time of year, many people wish to keep their immune systems strong; their respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular systems functioning optimally; and germs, viruses, and bacteria at bay. Below is my favorite original recipe, an immune-boosting peppermint essential oil tea I like to drink once a week during this time of year. It is a relaxing, uplifting, immune-boosting, weight-loss supporting, and stress relieving treat for mind and body.
Peppermint Lemon Tea From the Alma Holistic Health Kitchen
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of distilled water, boiled
- 2 to 3 teaspoons of raw unfiltered wildflower honey
- 2 drops of food grade, 100 percent pure peppermint essential oil
- 1/4 frozen lemon, grated
- 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring distilled water to a boil. In a ceramic mug, add honey, essential oil, grated frozen lemon, and lemon juice. Pour the hot water over the ingredients and stir. Cover with a small plate for 3 to 5 minutes. Before sipping, inhale the aroma and reap its benefits first via your nose. Then slowly start to drink the tea, cover your body with a warm blanket, and relax on a couch or bed. Feel the warmth and light tingle envelope your throat, sinuses, chest, lungs, and body. Take a nap afterward, if you are able to.
Lidija Millonig Atlas is a doctor of naturopathy who has studied natural cure, homeopathy, flower essences, phytotherapy, aromatherapy, nutrition, and many other modalities for over 19 years. This article was originally published on OrganicLifestyleMagazine.com
By Lidija Millonig Atlas