If you had asked me a few years ago about Essential Oils I would have looked at you quizzically and asked what are they and why would I use them, but not today! They used to be referred to as “quintessential oils”, but have most recently just been called “essential oils”.
So, let’s start where I did a couple of years ago doing some research when every time I looked at something there was a mention of essential oils. Well, that got me started at looking into these amazing oils with a different set of eyes, a different nose and a different mentality about them as I learned more and more interesting information.
What are essential oils anyway?
Essential oils are made from plants and are most usually 100% pure oil derived from a plant such as lavender, bergamot flowers, geranium flowers, lemons, oranges, oregano, basil, cinnamon, and a lot more. Frankincense and Myrrh are also essential oils that were used in biblical times, are still used today with very important uses.
The “oil” is distilled from the plant to create a liquid that can be used for many purposes. It takes a LOT of plants to create the oil, consequently you may think they are expensive. They are in a “sense” (no pun intended), but are not, because they are so concentrated you only use a drop or two in most applications.
How do you use essential oils?
There are many uses for essential oils – for your health, skin care, hair care, pain relief, or mood enhancement among others, and can be used in three ways – applied to the skin, inhaled, or ingested. Applying to the skin, you may need what is called a carrier oil – such as olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, or almond oil to name just a few. Blending the oil with the carrier oil will help avoid skin reactions to the very concentrated essential oil. If you inhale essential oil, it is usually done by placing a few drops on your pillow case, or a handkerchief, placing some in steaming water, or by using an essential oil diffuser (Amazon Canada). If using a diffuser with filtered or distilled water and a few drops of one or more oils to create an aroma that you can help improve breathing, help with sleep issues, or with mood if you are depressed or need an energy boost. A diffuser is like a mini cold air humidifier. You can also ingest some essential oils, but they must be the type that are safe to ingest. Please use caution here as not all oils are created equal and you must check to ensure that the oil you use is made to be taken internally. Caution must be exercised especially when dealing with essential oils being used around children.
What oils are used and for what purpose?
As you know, if you have been following my blog posts, I am a big Dr. Axe fan. He has an extensive page on what essential oils are used for what purpose and I am linking it here for you to look at. Bookmark this page as you will find it very useful for all your essential oil needs. I have a number of books both hard cover and e-books, that I rely on as well to help me determine what oils I would like to use for different needs. I quite regularly use a combination of lavender, lemon, and frankincense in my diffuser when I am working around the house – this one helps me breath easier (lemon and frankincense), also helps to calm me (lavender). A great mood enhancer is peppermint essential oil (this is not the one you would use to bake with). Peppermint essential oil is VERY strong, so a drop will do you in most cases.
When I make my own face cream I use tea tree oil, orange blossom, and frankincense essential oils. I make homemade toothpaste which uses peppermint essential oil. I make a chest rub (vapor rub) that is quite effective when I need to use it and contains eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, and peppermint essential oils. Another thing I make is homemade deodorant which contains lavender, lemon, and sage essential oils. I also make an anti-aging face oil that includes coffee and rosehip essential oils and use it every morning. And this doesn’t even touch on some very important uses.
As you can see, there are so many things you can use essential oils for that I simply couldn’t tell you all about in this post. I will post recipes for all the recipes I used on a regular basis though so you can try them if you choose. Also, if you go to Dr. Axe’s web site, you will find recipes there for different uses for all kinds of essential oils that have very practical applications.
There are a number of companies out there that offer essential oils in “kits”. I haven’t purchased a “kit”, but have bought my essential oils either in a wellness store, or on-line with Amazon.ca and buy only what I need or intend to use. However, saying that, you can save a bit when you buy a kit – I just didn’t find one that fit what I needed at the time. A couple of brands I tend to look for are Eden’s Garden and Now Essential Oils. They both provide 100% Pure Essential Oils, which is very important, as some companies tend to blend their oils with a carrier, so you will have to be careful when purchasing.
Another web site that might be of assistance in helping you determine what essential oils you could try is the University of Minnesota Taking Care of Your Health and Well-being – all about essential oils. An update: I have, since this post in August 2016, taken an essential oils on-line course and now depend a lot on Dr. Z (Dr. Eric Zielinski) and Mama Z, using their recipes for just about anything related to essential oil. You can look here to find out more and perhaps take the Essential Oils Masterclass like I did. It was very interesting and I learned a lot more than I thought I knew about essential oils. I have also received an email from another blogger, who thought you might be interested in some of their ideas on essential oils. Their site is here and if you like you can take a look at what they have to say.
Here are 12 essential oils to think about using and what they are used for:
Lavender: calms nerves, relieves pain, helps blood circulation, relieves burns and cuts
Frankincense: relieves stress, anxiety, inflammation, boosts immunity, cancer fighting
Myrrh: antimicrobial, astringent, expectorant, anti-fungal, stimulant, antiseptic, immune booster, circulatory, tonic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic
Peppermint: calming affect on body, anti-microbial, helps with digestion
Clove: ease respiratory problems, such as cough, colds, sinusitis, asthma, and tuberculosis
Eucalyptus: anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, deodorant, antiseptic, antibacterial
Ginger: treats upset stomach and supports digestion, heals infections, aids respiratory problems, reduces inflammation, strengthens heart health, high levels of antioxidants, natural aphrodisiac, relieves anxiety
Lemon: antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
Rosemary: stimulates hair growth, can prevent baldness, slows graying, and can be used to treat dandruff and dry scalp
Oregano: antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive, emmenagogue (stimulates blood flow in pelvic area), and anti-allergenic substance
Tea tree oil (melaleuca alternifloria): powerful antiseptic properties and ability to treat wounds
Basil: helps fatigued or sore muscles and joints, can promote clear breathing, can help fight fatigue
I have pretty much stopped buying anything that has a scent in it as they are artificial/chemical and can do more harm than good. I make my own room deodorizers now and use room reed diffusers to dispense the scent. Saves time, money, and I get to choose what scents I want in different rooms. I’m starting to make my own cleaning solutions that are quite efficient and contain only a couple of ingredients – vinegar, water and an essential oil. I’ll soon start making dish soap and laundry soap as well to help minimize the chemical impact on our household.
So if you are thinking of looking into using essential oils, this is just a short primer! There are lots of resources out there to help you make a decision to implement them in your life, if you so choose.
Have a blessed day.