My essential guide to 8 essential oils
There is a growing amount of evidence around the effectiveness of essential oils. Although they have been used in medicine for 1,000’s of years they are recently making a comeback into our lives. These are a favorite in my household and used for just about everything.
So let me tell you what you need to know.
Essential oils are organic compounds extracted directly from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant or tree. Each oil contains compounds with unique healing and therapeutic benefit with claims of improving physical, mental and emotional health. They can be used in three main ways.
Aromatically: Essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled. The large amount of blood vessels in the lungs absorb the oils and then circulate them throughout the body. Using a diffuser can help you experience the benefits of essential oils, but If I am short on time I tend to inhale.
Ingestion: Oils like Lemon, Peppermint and Frankincense can be very powerful when ingested. A good measure is 1-3 drops of water with plenty of water. Oregano oil is an anti-microbial and can kill fungus (these should not be used for more than one week. Always read the label carefully).
Topically: Applied to your skin or care products. There are a few things you should know. If you want to keep the oils on your skin, dilute them or combine with a carrier oil. Carrier oils come from the fatty part of the plant can increase the length of time the essential oils stay on your skin. They can also prolong the aromatherapy effects. Don’t worry using a carrier oil will not reduce the effectiveness of the oil. Dilution for example increases the surface area of absorption.
It was hard to pick eight as I find myself reaching for different oils at different times but here goes…
My first and favorite. I can’t enough of Lavender. It helps with relaxation, improves mood and less known it can be used to soothe burns and cuts. This is a must in my household. Most of my personal care products, skin creams (and yes my yoga eye mask) contain lavender in some form. I love to diffuse when I am feeling particularly stressful or just need a good night sleep. It is not surprise that the flower in voyage for health logo is a Lavender!
Fantastic for reducing skin inflammation and great for creating glowing skin. I always try and add a few drops to my skin creams. I also use Rose as a carrier base when I need one. Weleda Organic Wild Rose Oil is one of my favorites. It is also a great aphrodisiac (no need to explain. I don’t normally associate these properties with rose as it is so fragrant but it has said to antiseptic (when applied topically) and astringent.
Lemon is uplifting and cleansing. Ideal for vaporization it improves lymph drainage and cleanses the body. I always keep this in my bag for when I need a little boost, before and after a workout and if I have had a particularly bad day food wise. I tend to use this first thing in the morning as it can have a real kick! This is also great to use in homemade cleaning products.
I could talk about this all day. Clary Sage has numerous benefits but to name a few; antibacterial, antiseptic, carminative (reduce gas and bloating), astringent, emmenagogue (can help with painful menses), it is also a nervine which means it is good for your nervous system. It blends well with citrus fruits such as Lemon, Lime and Orange . A word of caution this can enhance the effects of alcohol (and other drugs) so avoid these items after use.
It is no wonder that this was a gift from the three wise men. This is an amazing little oil which can help builds immunity, reduce inflammation, heals age spot and support the brain. There has been a lot in the press recently about Frankincense and the use as a support in cancer treatment but I don’t have any research on this but worth mentioning if you have the time.
Myrrh is a great natural anti-septic, anti-microbial, astringent and anti-fungal. It has been used to prevent or reduce infections. It promotes healthy skin therefore you may see this promoted for use in reducing stretch marks. The best for me is its diaphoretic properties – it means its induces perspiration, helping the body to sweat. And yes sweating can be a great way for the body to restore health in a large number of different conditions. Opening the pores of your skin allows the body’s to remove impurities. Blends well with rose, frankincense and marjoram.
Ginger is great in any form. As an oil it works to reduces inflammation, supports joints, improves digestion and the very well-known to relieve nausea.
Ginger oil contains gingerol which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and increases thermogenesis which boosts metabolism (how we use food for energy). We are probably most familiar with its anti-emetic (relieve nausea) properties and immune boosting but like Myrrh it is also has diaphoretic properties. I add to a bath when I have a fever to help with the sweating process.
It was difficult to choose my last oil so I decided to make a list of what I am using most and grapefruit is one of them. This is more of a necessity than a luxury. Grapefruit is a great disinfectant and anti-septic. If you are making homemade cleaning products, then this is the oil to add. I have seen recently more natural grapefruit cleaning products on the shelves in supermarkets as it is growing in popularity. Taken internally (a few drops with water) it can supports metabolism (again always read the label and be careful when taking). Applied topically it can help reduce cellulite. Try mixing with coconut oil and rub on areas of cellulite.
Note from me: I am not an herbalist so I am not qualified to administer herbs. However, the above are all in oil form and can be purchased over the counter. If ingestion, please do so with caution and speak to the supplement advisor at the time of purchase. Never exceed the recommended dose. Essential oils can be a powerful tool.