Essential oils are volatile compounds produced by plants that have a strong odour. Essential oils can be extracted from plants, a process that has been understood for centuries. Essential oils are interesting from a nutritional perspective, because many appear to have biological effects in animals and humans. For example, traditional medicine has known for along time that essential oils are useful antifungal antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic agents. In addition, plant essential oils may possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and this makes them useful in the treatment of diseases, including mood disorders. Essential oils appear to be useful nutritional, but can also be used in aromatherapy, whereby their volatile compounds can enter the body through the lungs or skin. Studies have shown that essential oils can be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, sleep disorder and depression when used in aromatherapy. The low cost and safety of essential oils therefore makes them a very useful treatment of various mood disorders.
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