Many of us are aware of essential oils because they are present in quite a lot of branded skin and face care products and also, in some health treatments.
It can still be a bit of a quantum leap however to consider buying the pure oil yourself and using it au naturel. We are all so used to the convenience of pre-packaged goods, we don’t have to think about what goes in them, they are quick and easy to buy and that’s where the essence of the problem actually lies.
Many proprietary and branded products may contain little of the actual oils and you can be sure that are lots of other nasties in there too that you won’t have heard of, probably can’t even pronounce. Why not go back to basics?
Essential oils are nature’s bounty whether you put them in the larder, the bathroom cabinet or the first aid box. Once you start using an essential oil, you will be amazed at how many different roles one single oil can have. Branch out into other oils and you will have a whole army at your disposal, fresh, fragrant, natural and with nothing added to it that you don’t include yourself.
Essential oils can be applied to the skin to care and nourish it or used just as a perfume. They also can treat skin conditions and other ailments. But they don’t just feel nice, they smell nice too. Inhaling essential oils stimulates the part of the brain connected to smell called the olfactory system. Essential oils also influence the limbic system which is linked to our emotional function, heart rate, blood pressure, memory and stress levels.
That is why one single oil can calm your mood, reduce your stress levels, lower blood pressure and stimulate happy memories.
What can essential oils bring to your life?
- Beautify and care for your body – essential oils are natural cosmetics which can be used to clean, purify and nourish your skin. Blend them into facial washes, refreshing skin toners and rich moisturizers for the face and body or use for massage treatments
- Nature’s First Aid Box – many oils are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so they can be used as infusions or distillations to treat myriad health conditions ranging from itchy scalp to skin lesions, from mouth sores to acne, sunburn and Athlete’s Foot
- Mental wellbeing – because of the importance of the olfactory system, basically our sense of smell and the impact this has on the brain, essential oils can be used to influence mood and attitude and improve wellbeing. Now you know why that spa massage with a blend of oils made you feel so good. Oils are good for your skin but also nourishment for the mind and emotions
- Perfume – it’s easy to overlook the simple pleasure of wearing a natural fragrance with a completely ethical provenance. Why not learn to make your own scents?
What are the most commonly used essential oils?
Here are some of the most popular and commonly used essential oils and how you might start to incorporate them into your daily life:-
- Peppermint oil – sharp and tangy, pop a drop or two into water after you have cleaned your teeth to make a refreshing and cleansing mouthwash. Peppermint oil can help repel disease and infection and keep your mouth a healthier place. Peppermint oil in a carrier oil also makes a lovely foot rub for tired aching feet. Just blend a few drops with a base oil like Coconut. The oil has a cooling and tingling effect on the skin which reinvigorates but is also soothing
- Lavender – always associated with old ladies but they do know a thing or two. A lavender oil infusion is wonderfully relaxing in a warm bath and you can add other oils to this to make your own very personal and scented blend – try bergamot and rose geranium. It is also lovely dropped onto the pillow before you sleep to aid a restful night particularly if you are overtired or have not been sleeping well. Lavender is a calming and peaceful oil. Blend it with other floral oils to create a lovely scent in a room infuser, particularly in the winter months when we are short of sunshine and daylight, it will really uplift your mood
- Tea tree oil – tea tree oil is nature’s warrior and has long been a popular choice to treat minor health conditions and ailments. It is anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and has myriad uses to help support a healthy body or to deal with acute or chronic problems. Use for toothache, particularly sore and inflamed gums, to combat spots and acne, as a natural deodorant, a hand sanitizer and as an antiseptic treatment for minor cuts, scrapes and grazes
- Ylang Ylang – this is so popular in many modern perfumes but can works hard as a topical anti-inflammatory too. It is also an insect repellent – probably the nicest scented repellent you have worn and with no toxic chemicals – and is known to reduce the scarring of stretch marks as well as wounds and surgical incisions. If the scent seems familiar then it probably is. Ylang Ylang has a sweet, rich floral bouquet with hints of jasmine and neroli. It is used in well-known perfumes such as Joy by Dior and Channel No. 5. Why not blend your own signature fragrance, completely natural and at a fraction of the cost, perfect to wear yourself or as an aromatic room spray?
Three Top Tips with essential oils
- Natural does not necessarily mean mild. Many essential oils are very strong and they should always be diluted in a base or a carrier oil like coconut
- Essential oils are not recommended for use with infants and children under 12 years old, this is because they are strong influencers
- Less is generally more with essential oils. When you begin using them, start with a smaller rather than a greater amount – a few drops can go