What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils have been around for thousands of years for medicinal and health purposes and have been recently gaining in popularity as a natural and safe therapy for a number of health concerns. Some of which are depression, aches and pains, boosting energy, promoting sleep, anxiety, memory problems, and digestive issues. The essential oils and benefits they provide have been gaining in popularity for health concerns because they are cost effective, natural, and safe.
So what are essential oils? Essential oils come from distilling or extracting the different parts of plants (flowers, leaves, bark, roots, etc.) which separates the oil and water-based compounds of a plant. The oils capture the plant’s scent and flavor, which is also called its “essence.”
Essential oils are most commonly used in the practice of aromatherapy. They are either inhaled or diluted then rubbed on the skin. Essential oils can also be taken internally, but this can be dangerous as the essential oil is very potent, so you need to be very cautious when doing this.
How to choose the right one.
Every oil requires a large amount of plant matter to produce a small amount of oil. This means that good quality essential oils will never be cheap; but they will be cost effective in the long run since little is required for most applications because of the higher, more pure concentrations of the oil.
Oils can also be 100 % pure, but may not have been processed correctly. So then it’s only benefit would be a mild, pleasant fragrance. The way an oil is processed affects how the chemical balance of the oil is maintained from the time the plant is harvested to when it arrives at your doorstep. Another thing that can affect an essential oil’s effectiveness is the climate where they are grown from year to year.
Retailers who specialize in the sale of essential oils are more likely to sell pure essential oils since it is their primary source of business. So they would be more involved in knowing where they came from and how they were processed.
Look for oils that are organic. Any pollutants or pesticides on the plants can be more concentrated in the essential oil. Also, look for oils that are wildcrafted, which means plants gathered from their natural habitats in the wild. These plants are harvested in a sustainable manner without the use of chemicals.
Also, it is important that the essential oil show the common name and the botanical name. For instance, there are several types of Chamomile, but not all of them share the same therapeutic properties or benefits. To eliminate the confusion, each plant has a Latin name, and no two plants share the same Latin name.
What are the best essential oils to start with?
The most common essential oils that everyone should have in their personal medicine cabinet include the following:
- Lavender: relieves insect bites, cuts, dermatitis, heals burns, anxiety and promotes restful sleep.
- Peppermint: relieves muscle and joint pain, sinus care, allergy relief, increased energy, alleviate headaches, improve IBS symptoms, freshen breath.
- Frankincense: reduces stress reactions and negative emotions, boosts immune system function, antiseptic and disinfectant, may help fight cancer, heals skin and prevents signs of aging.
- Tea tree: has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, insect repellent, natural deodorant, disinfect minor cuts, boost wound healing, fight acne, get rid of nail fungus, control dandruff.
How to use aromatically.
We use aromatherapy for psychological, spiritual and physical well-being, to clean and freshen home, car, office, whatever you can think of. The aroma of essential oils stimulate the brain to trigger a reaction. And when inhaled into the lungs, the naturally occurring chemicals can supply therapeutic benefit. For example, to help ease congestion.
A common way to use essential oil to freshen a home is by using a diffuser. You can also simmer a pot of water with a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Add drops of your favorite essential oils to a cotton ball and place it in areas where you want a scent upgrade.
You can add a few drops with vinegar and water to a spray bottle and make your own cleaner. There are a number of things you can make: insect repellent, refrigerator cleaner, laundry cleaner, produce washer.
The easiest way to get the aromatic benefits of essential oils is by taking a few drops in the palm of your hands and cupping your hands around your mouth and nose and inhaling.
How to use topically.
When used topically, essential oils can help with skincare and muscular concerns. They should always be applied with a carrier oil when used topically because of how concentrated and powerful they are. To apply to the skin essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or grape seed oil.
The bottom line.
There is no wonder with the high cost of health care and the side effects of conventional medications, introducing essential oils into your medicine cabinet can be very beneficial. This is especially true because of the vast varieties of oils and range of uses that they provide from aromatherapy, skin care, cleaning products, medicinal uses, and the list goes on.