Essential oils have become a favourite part of my daily routine. In fact I now even mix my favourite oils to create my own unique scent instead of using perfume. Not only do essential oils have countless benefits for our health and bodies, but they can have a positive effect on our emotions and mental well being too.
What are essential oils?
So what are essential oils? For those new to essential oils (and I’m sure most of you will have heard of them by now), they are simply the natural oil found in the seed, bark, root, stem, flowers, and other parts of plants extracted using the process of distillation (using steam and water) to create a highly concentrated and aromatic form of each plants natural oil, as well as retaining the plants healing properties.
I find it fascinating that essential oils have been used by so many cultures throughout history, and just how many different things they are able to remedy. The power of plants is a wonderful thing!
There are literally hundreds of different oils all with their own unique healing and therapeutic effects, with more being found all the time, but to start off I’d just like to share the 5 oils I use most often (aka daily..) and what they can be used for.
(If anyone would like more specific information for a symptom or about an oil, you are more than welcome to drop me an email)
My Top 5 essential oils
These are the oils that I use every single day..
Lavender is a wonderfully calming oil. Put a few drops on your pillow at night before bed, or add to a diffuser or oil burner to help you relax and sleep. It can also be used to help you relax during the day if you are feeling stressed or anxious, just add a few drops to the collar of your top or to a sleeve.
Lavender oil has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties, mix with a carrier oil such as coconut oil (also an antibacterial natural oil) and apply to sunburn, skin irritations, eczema or cuts to aid healing and calm the skin, or dab a couple of drops directly to spots before bed (ensuring your skin in clean first) and leave overnight to aid in healing and clearing your skin if impurities.
Lavender can also be used to help respiratory problems such as asthma, or when you are congested and full of cold. As well as other throat, sinus, and chest ailments. You can do this in one of two ways, either by adding to a diffuser as suggested before, to allow the oil vapour directly into the air around you, or by applying directly to your chest, neck, and back area (mixed with a base oil) to ease the breath, reduce inflammation in the airways and fight any bacteria and germs present.
Eucalyptus oil is a very fresh, menthol smelling oil. Again great for respiratory problems such as asthma, and for clearing your nose and sinuses when suffering from a cold or other ailments that prevent you from being able to breath properly. If you want to add a few drops of this oil to your pillow before bed, makes sure they are away from where you lay your head and face as this oil can sting if it gets on your skin!
Eucalyptus is antibacterial and a great oil for treating insect bites, stings, burns, and other wounds. It is cooling and refreshing to give relief to your skin, and can be used mixed with a base oil so you can rub on your pulse points (such as wrists or temples) to reduce stress, relieve mental exhaustion and sickness, and acts as a stimulant to improve mental activity. A great oil to keep at your desk as well as at home!
Grapefruit oil is one of my favourite scents. It is fresh and fruity and immediately conjures images of Mediterranean summers, fresh fruit, and sunshine! Citrus oils are naturally uplifting and stimulating scents, apply grapefruit oil to your wrists and other pulse points to increase energy levels, improve your mood, reduce stress, and even to boost metabolism and as an aid to reduce sugar cravings.
Grapefruit oil is a great antioxidant, as is grapefruit itself. Mix a few drops with a glass of water and drink on a morning to wake your system up, reduce fluid retention, and cleanse the liver and body of toxins.
Grapefruit oil is also known as a natural remedy for arthritis. Rub the oil around the affected ares to help relieve pain and inflammation, or add to a diffuser to help relieve pain while you sleep.
Peppermint oil, as its name suggests, is a very minty fresh oil. Mix a few drops with a bit of coconut oil on a morning and rub on your ear lobes for a zingy and refreshing wake up call! Peppermint oil is a stimulant so it increases blood flow and cognitive function. Also great to rub on your ears before you go into an exam or interview.
Peppermint oil has relaxing, soothing, and anti inflammatory properties. It is a well known oil for helping ease migraines, headaches and tension in the head. Rub on your temples or across your forehead to help relieve head pain (again avoiding the delicate eye area and your eyes). You can also inhale the oil, add a few drops to a glass or water, or take in capsule form to help relieve nausea.
This same method of taking peppermint oil orally (or even drinking peppermint tea) can also be used to help relieve indigestion, heartburn, upset stomach, IBS, and travel or motion sickness. As peppermint is also a relaxant and can help relieve pain.
Lemon oil is another of my favourite citrus scents. It is fresh and a little sweet, and has calming and uplifting properties. Apply to pulse points to relieve mental fatigue, anxiety, and aid in concentration and a positive mindset.
Lemon oil and other citrus fruits also act as insect repellents. Great for taking on holiday to keep the mosquitoes and midges at bay, you can also mix with peppermint and eucalyptus to repel ants and other insects.
Lemon oil is also high in vitamin C and is a great for boosting the immune system as it stimulates white blood cells and improves blood circulation which aids the body in fighting disease.
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Once you have picked the essential oil you want to use make sure it is mixed with a base or carrier oil before applying to your skin. Mixing your essential oil with a carrier oil not only enhances their properties, but also ensures you are reducing the risk of your skin having any adverse reactions. I would suggest almond oil, coconut oil or rose hip seed oil as these work the best with your skin and have the most neutral scent.
And lastly, enjoy!