5 Essential Oils with Powerful Antioxidant Activity
We’ve all heard that antioxidants are an important element in maintaining good health. Found in many fruits and vegetables, antioxidants help to prevent cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are produced by the body as a by-product of normal functions, as well as from exposure to sunlight, excessive stress, and consumption of certain foods. Sometimes referred to as “free radical scavengers”, antioxidants have been touted for their role in slowing cell damage and fending off disease.
Essential oils, which are liquid compounds derived from plants and herbs, have recently been examined as a source of antioxidants. In a recent study, forty-five commonly used essential oils were screened for their possible antioxidant activity, and many exhibited notable antioxidant activities.
This is good news for the consumer, as well as for the food and drug industry, which has been eager to find natural alternatives to synthetic antioxidant preservatives, such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and phenolic
Here’s a glance at some essential oils that showed promising antioxidant activity:
1. Cinnamon leaf : Steam-distilled from the leaves of cinnamon, this oil is yellowish in color. Cinnamon leaf has a wide variety of health benefits and cleanses the air of airborne bacteria.
2. Tea tree oil: This oil is extracted from the Tea Tree Plant, native to Australia, where it has long been used topically as a medicinal cure-all. It exhibits healing and disinfectant properties, skin benefits, and immunity benefits.
3. Clove buds: Clove has been a part of Chinese medicine for over 2000 years, common in dental procedures because of its numbing effect on oral tissue. The essential oil distilled from the clove bud has antibacterial benefits, stimulating/warming qualities, and aids in digestive issues.
4. Peppermint: This very concentrated essential oil soothes nausea and other stomach ailments, perks the senses, and cools overworked muscles. It also has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Lavender: Lavender essential oil helps to eliminate nervous tension, promote sleep, relieve pain, disinfect the scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems. Lavender oil is steam distilled from the flowers of the lavender plant.
Note: Many essential oils are intended for topical use. Always check with your practitioner for instructions. Essential oils have been in use for hundreds of years with proven beneficial qualities. Newly recognized as antioxidants, there is even more reason to incorporate essential oils into your lifestyle.
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Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2010