Essential oils are aromatic liquids obtained from parts of plants, like leaves, seeds, bark, roots, and rinds.
For years, they have been used in medications, cosmetics, and perfumes, and can be inhaled, diffused, rubbed on your skin, or simply put in your bath.
They’re utilized mainly for their therapeutic, antimicrobial, and antioxidant effects. Studies have shown that essential oils may help to boost your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and relieve headaches and nausea.
What type of experience you are wanting is dependent on which essential oil you choose.
1. Lavender: One of the most popular and versatile essential oils used in aromatherapy. Distilled from the plant Lavandula angustifolia, the oil promotes relaxation and is believed to treat anxiety, fungal infections, allergies, depression, insomnia, eczema, nausea, and menstrual cramps. Best use is right before going to bed.
2. Lemongrass: A tropical, grassy plant extracted from the leaves and stalks of the Lemongrass plant, its oil is often found in soaps and other personal care products. Historically, it has been used by healthcare providers to treat digestive problems and high blood pressure. Lemongrass essential oil is a popular tool in aromatherapy to help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
3. Peppermint: Coming straight from the leaves of the peppermint plant, it's no wonder businesses use small amounts to add flavor and a refreshing quality to their products. Available in several different forms, Peppermint is commonly used to reduce IBS, relieve indigestion, and ease nausea.
4. Tea Tree: Used as a traditional medicine for centuries, native Australians crushed Tea Tree leaves to extract the oil and inhale it to fight coughs and colds. Containing a number of compounds that have been shown to kill certain bacteria makes Tea Tree oil a valued natural remedy for treating bacterial and fungal skin conditions, preventing infection, and promoting healing.
5. Eucalyptus: Extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, it was originally used as a remedy for fevers, infections, aches and colds. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic which reduces any redness, muscle swelling, and pain. Additionally being an incredibly effective bug repellent and a home disinfectant makes this essential oil an all-around solid investment.
6. Rosemary: An evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves and a woody aroma. Although it is best known as a seasoning, it is one of the most popular aromatic and medicinal plants worldwide. In fact, using Rosemary oil can help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine (a brain chemical important for thinking, concentration and memory), is utilized as a mild pain reliever, and has been known to stimulate and thicken hair growth.
7. Cedarwood: Steam-distilled from the wood chips of the Cedar tree. Studies have shown Cedarwood to have a plethora of vital uses, like being a natural pesticide, treating acne, relieving pain, stress, and anxiety, and promoting better sleep. Cedarwood helps to lower blood pressure and breathing rates for an easy drift into sleep, but also being a natural sedative aids in deepening and lengthening your resting experience.
Because some essential oils are extremely strong, be mindful about why, how, and how much you’re using them:
1. Diffuse - diffusing essential oils is a type of aromatherapy, stimulating your central nervous system, and triggering a positive emotional response. Start with two to three drops of your favorite essential oils in a diffuser, mixed with water, and turn it on. It is recommended that you follow your diffuser’s directions for the correct oil-to-water ratio.
2. Steam Inhalation - this method is great for clearing your nasal pathways when you have a cough or cold. Start by putting a few drops of essential oils into a bowl of hot water. Put your head over the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and breathe in the steam, slowly, and deeply. Repeat as many times as necessary.
3. Regular Inhalation - this refers to inhaling the essential oil right from the bottle. Take two or three deep breaths through each nostril that is congested or is needing some type of relief. You may also want to add a drop of oil to a cotton ball or handkerchief and breathe in deeply
4. Rollers - you can reap the benefits of essential oils by applying it directly onto your skin. However, it is recommended that most essential oils be diluted prior to choosing this method of use. The oils should be diluted in coconut or jojoba oil in order to avoid skin irritation.
5. Bath - add three to four drops of your favorite essential oils to a warm bath. Some oils may work better than others to promote healing and relaxation, while reducing fungal infections and eczema. Refer to the Types of Essential Oils tab for more information on which essential oils are right for you.