Essential oils! They seem to be a branch off of alternative medicine or a new-age healing and relaxation tool – but how effective are they? Why use them, and how do you use them? We will answer all your essential oil questions below.
What Exactly are Essential Oils?
They come from plants and are all-natural for one thing. While you may think that they are gentle (given their purpose), they are potent and more powerful than some herbs.
You don’t need to overdo it – just a few drops will do, and it’s even a good idea to dilute the product before using directly on your skin. Being derived from plants gives people a false sense of security into thinking that these extracts are safe.
While they are (if you use them correctly, that is), some people argue that without a doctor’s prescription or the guidance of an expert, everyday people shouldn’t be allowed to use them.
What Are They For?
You might think that they’re beginning to sound like some pretty intense stuff, so what can they be used for? For one thing, essential oils are often linked to aromatherapy. It’s said that the different scents have different effects on the human psyche and body.
They also have soothing properties and can be used for muscle relaxation and even to treat skin issues. You can also find them in cleaning products (perhaps for that added natural fragrance), other care products, and emotional well-being.
How to Use Essential Oils
As we mentioned, essential oils are potent stuff, and they may need to be diluted if you purchase them in their purest form. They are so powerful that they can trigger other skin problems if not used properly.
Adding essential oils to water and other extracts such as avocado and coconut oil can allow your body to absorb it quicker and better. Remember not to overdo it; look at one drop of essential oil to five or more drops of carrier oils. This will lessen the potent effects but still preserve the benefits.
Which Oil Do I Use?
Now begs the million-dollar question of exactly which essential oil you should choose. We’ll give you some suggestions for the best ones to combat common issues.
If your body is constantly inflamed, this could be caused by spicy foods, etc. Essential oils can really come in handy in this case. The Chinese use herbs often to alter the body’s state, and plants can do that too. Many plants can offer natural cures for inflammation, such as aloe vera, so when you extract their natural oil form, it’s safe to say that they have the same, if not a more concentrated, effect.
Peppermint oil is great for this. It has a natural minty effect that’s cooling and puts sore muscles and inflammation to rest. Eucalyptus, chamomile, and wintergreen are also go-to essential oils that have similar effects on bodily inflammation.
For all the ladies out there, tea tree oil may be something you are familiar with in terms of acne medication and even some face masks. Tea tree oil and lavender oil are among the safest to be applied directly to the skin. Tea tree oil is a godsend for combating acne, as well as sunburn, rosacea, or other irritating skin issues. Rosewater and aloe vera are also great.
Vitality and Energy
If work has got you down and you have been busier than ever, sleepless nights could creep up on you. There are some options out there that can revitalize you and replenish your energy. It’s amazing to think that something we can inhale can have this many effects on our body and mind.
Sure, coffee is a great remedy for a tired body and mind, but there are only so many cups you can take before experiencing the jitters and heart palpitations. That can’t be good for you in the long run. Why not try essential oils instead?
Pregnant women have also claimed that certain smells can help with morning sickness and boost their energy levels, so why can’t the same work for everyday folk?
Citrus scents have been found to lift your spirits and energy levels, and they also boost your mood. We’re looking at scents such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, but other scents that help with energy and vitality include jasmine, ginger, eucalyptus, peppermint and more!
Other scents are known not only to boost your energy levels but actually increase your brain function as well! It might come to the end of a workday, and you’ve already hit your max, but you have just one more task to do. In this case, a quick sniff of basil, peppermint, rosemary, pine, and other evergreen scents can enhance your memory and brain functions.
You will notice that peppermint has a spot in almost all categories so far on our list. Since this particular scent is so multi-functional, we definitely suggest adding it to your essential oils arsenal.
Destress and Lowering Anxiety
Are you feeling a little nervous or anxious? Don’t worry yourself, having a whiff of certain fragrances can quickly put your mind at ease again. Lavender is one that most of us know has calming and relaxing qualities. Scents that have similar effects include sandalwood and even rose, among others.
Other scents that have shown up in other categories can also distress. This includes some of the citrus scents, such as orange and lemon, as well as chamomile. As rose is one of our favorite scents, it’s great to know that it lowers anxiety.
We’ve come up with a ton of options to keep your energy boosted and ensure you’re raring to go! Now we’re going to go in the other direction and find scents that put you to sleep and relax.
Many of us suffer from insomnia due to our busy lifestyles and heightened stress levels. If you find yourself falling victim to constant tossing and turning at night, there are essential oils to help you get some much-needed shut-eye and feel fully rested the next day.
Chamomile and lavender are two great fragrances for this purpose. You may even have tried chamomile or lavender tea and found it soothing. This isn’t due to the drink itself but more because of the scent.
Patchouli, sandalwood, frankincense, and the beautiful tropical flower ylang-ylang also do a number on inducing sleep.
Tips for Essential Oils
They are safe to use on the skin’s surface in non-sensitive areas such as arms, legs, and chest. But don’t put them in your orifices or other parts of your body that may be sensitive.
Since they are all-natural, essential oils sound great, but it’s also very important where you buy them from. Only purchase products from trusted sellers. Those that are lesser-known or produced in certain countries may be prone to having artificial additives, which can affect your skin.
Learn to distinguish between relevant labels and buzzwords. “Pure” doesn’t really mean anything, and just because something is labeled as natural, it doesn’t always mean they aren’t harmful.
Learn to let go when products have expired. We know it’s hard to toss something, especially if you spend a lot of money on it. But similarly to makeup and cosmetics products, there’s a shelf life to essential oils. We’re looking at a max of three years before they need to meet the garbage can.
If you’re thinking about using essential oils in tandem with other prescriptions and creams from your doctor, it’s always a good idea to ask them if it’s okay. You don’t want any ill effects that come from mixing medicines to arise.
Just as a reminder, always remember to dilute them. Even peppermint and lavender should be diluted a bit. However, no matter how much you dilute them, don’t use essential oils on damaged skin. If you start to notice irritation or an unpleasant reaction to the essential oil, you should stop applying them immediately.
Dilute the solution even more if you plan on using it on children, toddlers, babies, and the elderly. Their weaker immune systems could make the effects of the essential oils more potent.
Speaking of children, it’s also a good idea to keep the essential oils properly stored away and not where anyone can just grab them.
With all the great effects, it’s still important to remember not to overdo things. You don’t need to use them too much or too often to feel the effects.
Essential oils can be antiviral, antibacterial, and even antifungal if used correctly. There is a myriad of benefits that include alleviating pain, enhancing the mind, elevating the body, and of course, kicking stress and anxiety to the curb. With so many advantages, we really suggest keeping a few essential oils handy in your cabinet.