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Physical Effects of Fragrances
Scott: I've seen you talk about fragrances and how they can actually have a physical effect on the body. How is that the case?
Mindy Green: Essential oils do have a physiological benefit to the body. They are breathed in through the lungs, there's an exchange in the lungs. They do actually get into the bloodstream through the lungs. This isn't often acknowledged, especially by companies who are using them for cosmetics, because you can't make that kind of claim that they have a physiological effect on the body other than they might help you relax and reduce stress and, in turn, have health benefits. But we do know that many essential oils have numerous health benefits. There's a lot of research on essential oils as anti-fungal agents, as anti-bacterial agents, even as anti-viral agents.
Scott: On the flip side, can there be negative effects to some of those things that we inhale?
Mindy Green: Yes. Well, not by inhalation so much.
Mindy Green: There might be allergic responses. Most people are more allergic to synthetic fragrances than they are to natural, but certainly counterindications for people who have things like asthma and lung problems. On the other hand, they can help a lot of bronchial conditions. There are many essential oils, like there are herbs, that are mucolitics, that help bring up phlegm and detoxify the body and things like that. Certainly, they are concentrated substances that need to be used with knowledge and respect, not to be feared so much but to be used with knowledge. You have to know what you're doing. We say that self-medication requires a lot of self-education.
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