Aromas can affect our sense of well-being. For example, if we have difficulty coming to terms with a new situation, are unable to let go of the past, feel tense, or are unable to experience joy, a new fragrance may help create a fresh mood or impulse. It may help change your attitude or find a more positive reaction to a given situation.
Essential oils can also help you relax or sleep, or improve your skin or digestion — their benefits go well beyond a pleasant smell.
Technically, essential oils aren’t oils at all, as they lack fatty acids. Rather, they’re highly concentrated plant components. It can take a huge amount of a plant to get out even a small portion of essential oil — 4,000 pounds of Bulgarian roses are needed to get just one pound of oil, for example. This is why some essential oils are particularly expensive.
There are some general tips for using essential oils that apply regardless of the type. You should always look for signs of a high-quality therapeutic-grade oil: pure, medicinal, and steam distilled. Never apply most oils directly to your skin, as their high concentration can cause a reaction or irritation. Instead, essential oils should be diluted with water or a carrier oil like jojoba or almond. And with a few exceptions, as noted below, do not ingest essential oils. And always talk to your doctor about health concerns, especially if they represent sudden changes in your well-being.
You can add the following essential oils to your medicine cabinet or first aid kit.
Tea Tree – Distilled from the Australian plant Melaleuca alternifloria, tea tree is one of the oils that can be used topically — good news, because it’s great for treating skin problems like fungus and blemishes. You can dab it on acne blemishes with a cotton swab to help clear your skin, or apply it to skin fungal infections like athlete’s foot. It’s also found in many skin care products.
Lavender is one of the most versatile oils. It is more commonly known for its relaxing effects but works on bruises, cuts, and skin irritation too. Lavender helps calm the nervous system in tense or anxious moments– Dr. Oz says that the scent reduces the levels of stress hormones in your blood. That’s a good reason to put a few drops in your bath in order to help you relax at night. Also, insect bites and stings are quickly relieved by the soothing application of lavender.
It has been recommended that you putting a couple of drops of the oil on your hands, rub them together and inhale, then sprinkle a few more on your pillow before you hop in bed to help you relax.
Bright-orange Calendula flowers are also known as marigold. Calendula can be used in a variety of forms, include as an essential oil. It’s particularly good for sensitive skin and can be used to reduce the appearance of acne scars. You can also put a drop in your bath water to soothe psoriasis.
You’re probably familiar with Chamomile used as a tea, but the essential oil has similar properties. It’s particularly well known for its relaxing effects, which is why the tea is popular to drink before bed. Add to the effect with a few drops of the oil on your pillowcase.
Peppermint purifies and stimulates the mind. It can also increase mental alertness. Peppermint oil is also one of just a handful of oils that can be taken internally, which is fortunate because it’s a great recipe to help indigestion — just mix a few drops in water and drink. Peppermint is frequently used to relieve the symptoms of upset stomach, indigestion and nausea. Peppermint clears the sinuses too.
Oregano oil has been considered a flu fighter. This strong-tasting oil has naturally antibacterial qualities, which is why many think it can help to fight colds and other sicknesses. It is taken topically, often by putting a few drops on the tongue — the taste isn’t pleasant but many people swear by it during flu season.
Lemon oil can be used not only to detox the body but it can also help with acne. If you want a healthy boost in alertness, a bit of lemon oil mixed 50:50 with a carrier is a great way to give your head a lift. Because of its uplifiting properties, lemon essential oil is also good for increasing focus and concentration. As a bonus, it can help keep fleas away when used on your pets.
Another citrus oil, Grapefruit essential oil has properties similar to lemon oil. It’s a great choice for people experiencing fatigue and it can help you deal with the effects of jet lag. It’s also a natural antiseptic so you can add it to your homemade household cleansers to keep your home safe and clean.
From dry feet to a flaky forehead, Coconut oil is a great way to nourish your skin without the heaviness of moisturizing lotions. Just a dab will do it.
Sandalwood helps you to feel more centered and strong during challenging times. Sandalwood is an ideal oil to use when meditating, as it helps you to reach deep within yourself.
Lemongrass will diminish anxiety, specially when your muscles feel tight and uncomfortable from nervous tension.
Geranium helps balance emotional highs and lows, specially when it feels as if you’re on a roller-coaster ride in life.
Rosemary stimulates the circulation and relieves muscular aches and pains, specially after a long day when there is still that dinner party to attend. Take a soak in a hot rosemary bath to pick up your energy.
Essential Oils have other uses too, take a look at some of these:
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