Essential oils – what they are
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for medicinal and to promote good health. They are organic compounds extracted from plants. Essential oils have tremendous healing properties. Using essential oils for healing purposes is often called aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is a form of healing attributed to the aromatic compounds in essential oils and other plant extracts. It is a holistic treatment approach seeking to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Aromatherapy can be useful in enhancing relaxation, especially when applied with massage. It is important to note that use of essential oils may cause harm in some people including allergic reactions and skin irritation.
Aromatherapy is one area that has been remiss in my quest for health living.
Uses of essential oils
Essential oils are extracted directly from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant. Just one drop can have powerful health benefits. Besides aromatherapy, there are various other uses of essential oils including; household cleaning products, personal beauty care and natural medicine treatments to mention a few. The following are some of the amazing uses of essential oils:
- Muscle pain relief – Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. It is especially helpful in soothing aching back, sore muscles, and melting away a tension headache.
- Sinus care – Inhaling diffused peppermint oil can, in most times, immediately unclog your sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and may provide relief for colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.
- Joint therapy – When your joints get achy, applying some pure peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil can cool muscles like an ice bath, but help you to stay warm and dry.
- Allergy relief – Peppermint oil is highly effective at relaxing muscles in your nasal passages and can help clear out the muck and pollen during allergy season. Diffusing peppermint along with clove oil and eucalyptus oil can also reduce allergy symptoms.
- Fever reducer – Because of peppermint oil’s cooling effects, it is an excellent alternative treatment to bring down a fever especially in children. Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil and rub it on a child’s neck and on the bottom of their feet to help stabilize a fever instead of aspirin or other drugs.
Benefits of essential oils
We benefit from essential oils due to their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Essential oils are rapidly growing in popularity as alternative healing aids because they act as natural medicine without any side effects. Aromatherapy is a great non-invasive way to treat a variety of medical conditions and can be used safely in combination with many other therapies.
My Favorite Essential Oils
- Peppermint – Is used on feet for nausea or fever, in homemade cleaners and soaps, and in the diffuser. For congestion, I add a few drops of Peppermint and other oils to a pot of steaming water and breathe in the steam to help open the sinuses.
- Lavender – Skin care recipes use lavender as a calming oil when needed. It is naturally antibacterial which is often added to homemade cleaners. Lavender can also be added to bath water to help one relax at night.
- Lemon, Lime, and Orange – These citrus essential oils are astringent and antiseptic and are thought to stimulate the immune system. They are uplifting and considered cleansing. Avoid leaving these in the sun since they can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.
- Frankincense – Is applied to the affected spot for example on a thyroid in order to shrink the nodules that are forming (along with dietary changes).
- Rosemary – Add a drop to shampoo to increase hair growth and improve scalp health.
- Tea Tree – Add this to natural cleaning products as it is naturally antibacterial and smells great when mixed with a citrus oil or lavender.
- Marjoram – Has a woody, spicy aroma that has a warm, calming effect. Use it as a relaxing massaging oil after physical activity.
My best carrier oils for aromatherapy
Essential oils are extremely small such that they can pass through the skin and into the body quickly. But if you want to keep the oils on your skin and dilute them to create more gentleness on the skin you can combine them with carrier oils. These larger oils that come from the oily part of the plant can increase the length of time the essential oils stay on your skin and hence prolong the aromatherapy effects. Common carrier oils include:
- Argan – Is used to treat skin infections, bug bites, and skin rashes. Argan is also widely used as an all-natural moisturizer for skin and hair.
- Coconut – Has a softening and soothing effect on the skin. Because it is colorless and odorless, it is perfect for blending with essential oils as it preserves and maintains their original fragrance and benefits.
- Jojoba – Because it mimics the natural oils found in skin and hair, jojoba oil delivers essential hydration. It’s the ideal foundation for all beauty regimens.
* Do you use any of these essential oils for medicinal or good health purposes? Feel free to brag about your success or experience in the comments!