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Ever wondered what the term “essential oil” is? You’ve probably heard about it and its diverse uses. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what essential oils entails.
Essential Oils 101
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated liquids containing aroma compounds from plants. They are known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, aetherolea, or simply oils of the plant from which they’re extracted. They are termed essential because of the various particles present in the oil.
These particles come from distilling and extracting different parts of the plants: leaves, seeds, flowers, bark, roots, etc. They are responsible for specific medicinal and health benefits of these oils; anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Most common essential oils are lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, cinnamon oil, lemon oil. There are other essential oils available for various uses and benefits.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils are used in varying ways depending on its application. They alter mental, physical, and emotional health by triggering and strengthening the natural processes of the body. They are constituted of tiny particles which have healing properties.
These oils are administered to the body either through inhalation or skin application. How do they work through these methods of use?
- Inhalation: When these oils are inhaled, tiny nerves send quick signals to the brain and work on the systems that moderate our minds and bodies. Inhalation can be the most direct application method of the essential particles in these oils because the nasal cavity had direct communication with the brain. Read 57 Essential Oil Diffuser Blends from Mind Body and Soul.
- Skin application: Upon application to the skin, the particles which have healing properties are absorbed into the bloodstream through skin pores and hair follicles. They are dispersed to work on specific organs and systems in the body by the blood. Skin application supports quick absorption and quickens efficacy. The wrists, temples, and back of the neck are recommended regions for the application.
Essential Oils for Beginners:
Let’s look at specific types of essential oils for starters:
- Lavender Oil: Extracted from lavender flowers. Lavender oil improves sleep quality, helps people who have insomnia, promotes concentration, treats hair loss, and slows the general activity of the nervous system. It also fights anxiety and depression.
- Eucalyptus Oil: This oil is gotten from the leaves of a Eucalyptus tree. It is a potent biocide; it’s anti-bacterial, anti- nematicidal, and insecticidal is incredible for respiratory health and alleviates cough and congestions; the aroma is an expectorant that relieves one of the nasal congestions.
- Peppermint oil: It’s a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint. It helps to relieve nausea, upset stomach, indigestion, and anxiety. It facilitates digestive operations and soothes irritable bowel discomforts.
- Tea tree oil: It is extracted from a paperbark tree, also known as tea tree. It is another good anti-bacterial oil; it has anti-microbial properties. It is also anti-fungal, antiviral, and antiprotozoal. It inhibits the growth of yeast and fungus.
- Rose oil: This is a floral-scented oil extracted from the petals of several species of the rose flower. It promotes calm moods, reduces anxiety, and fights harmful organisms. It makes your skin more permeable and supple.
- Lemon Balm oil: This oil helps with symptoms of menopause, especially irregular sleep patterns or insomnia. It sharpens memory and enhances problem-solving abilities.
- Frankincense oil: Extracted from Boswellia tree sap is mainly used for many therapeutic uses. Most significantly, frankincense oil promotes healthy cell growth.
- Lemongrass oil: extracted by distillation of dried lemongrass. It is used to reduce depression and anxiety. It is also used as a deodorant because of its aroma. It’s fungicidal, antiseptic, insecticidal, and sedative.
- Chamomile oil: Derived from the German chamomile plant. It has been used over the years to remedy ailments from skin infections and injuries to fever and insomnia. It has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a mild treatment for anxiety.
Uses & Benefits of Essential Oils
Let’s see how essential oils are beneficial to us. What ways can they be used, and how are they helpful?
- Cleaning Agents: There are certain aromatic essential oils with excellent aromatic properties, and because of their fragrance, they can be used as cleaning agents and supplements in the synthesis of cleaning products. Lemon oil and tea tree oils can be dropped in water and used to clean and disinfect countertops.
- Mosquito Repellant: Lemongrass oil, eucalyptus oil, can be combined with coconut oil to make natural bug spray. They serve as a repellant to mosquitoes, bugs, and other pests. They can also be applied to the exposed skin as a repellant too. Orange oil and clove oil also kill pests on contact.
- Reduces Anxiety: Lavender oil could be opened and allowed to diffuse around your homes or offices. It reduces tension, anxiety, and stress. These particles have antioxidant properties which aid in decreased depression; rose oil. You could also drop lavender oil on your palm and rub together, cup your nose then inhale. Read Top 5 Essential Oils to Decrease Anxiety to find what oils help decrease anxiety.
- Face wash and mouthwash: In the occurrence of acne breakout, you can make a homemade face wash by mixing tea tree oil with raw honey, rub on face, leave for some minutes and wash off. Mixing drops of lavender and frankincense oils can reduce wrinkles and age spots when applied to the face. Avoid eye contact. A drop of peppermint in a glass of water is a natural way used to freshen breath.
- Shampoos and hair product: A mix of Lavender oil, rosemary oil, aloe vera gel, and coconut milk can be used like regular shampoo; the Presence of rosemary oil naturally thickens hair, increases volume and treats dandruff. It would probably last for 2 -4 weeks. You can also add cedarwood oil and lavender oil to your shampoos to reduce itching on scalps. Rosewood oil, in combination with sandalwood oil, can be heated and used for deep hair conditioning.
- Pain relief and inflammations: Lavender oils are used to treat inflammation on skin, i.e. eczema, dry skin, rashes, and psoriasis. Just mix lavender oil with shea butter and apply. Frankincense oil is dropped in how water and used as a hot compress to treat bruises and other injuries. Their anti-inflammatory abilities reliefs people suffer from arthritis of the pain. Wintergreen, cypress, and lemongrass oils are mixed into a lotion and massaged on the affected area.
These are otherwise known as base oils. They are used to dilute essential oils and absolutes before applying to skin. Most times, some essential oils are very concentrated and can be very harsh to the skin or nose if used directly in such a state. That is why base oils are used to dilute these oil and make them less harsh.
They are sometimes used to mix other essential oils for improved absorption and efficiency. They are less volatile than essential oils, which make them excellent for dilution. These carrier oils can go bad and have a limited shelf life. That’s why they should be stored well.
Examples of carrier oils are:
- Grapeseed oil
- Jojoba oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Cocoa butter
How to Store Essential Oils
You have to keep essential oils away from sunlight so they’ll remain efficient and usable. These are a few ways to store your essential oils:
- Use amber or dark-colored cased glasses: They prevent penetration of incident sun rays, which affects the oils.
- Keep the caps tightly locked: Oxygen is an enemy when it comes to storage. So make sure the bottles are tightly corked except during usage.
- Shelves and boxes: Keep the oil out of sunlight and in a cool, dry place. Keeping them on shelves and boxes prevents sunlight and heat. Although some oil may harden or thicken upon cooling, some can be heated up when about to be used.
If you do this right, you’ll prolong the shelf life of the oil and also extend its efficiency.
While essential oils are vastly used today, and for various purposes, it should be kept from infants and pregnant women. They could cause miscarriages as some of these oils are uterine stimulants and may cause seizures in children; this may be because of its concentration and how sensitive pregnant women are during pregnancy. You should always check with your doctor before beginning any essential oil regimen.
Now that you know the importance and uses of essential oils, you can now get to use them to enjoy certain benefits they offer. You can get any essential oil of your choice on the market or make them yourself.
Results may vary. Information and statements made are for general purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Her Own Health does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Her Own Health are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.