Plant medicine has been around since the beginning of time, and the popularity of essential oils and natural ingredients today is a sign many of us find comfort in getting back to basics. But what are essential oils? What can they do for you?
Essential Oils Overview
Essential oils are potent plant extracts derived from trees, herbs, flowers, and shrubs. The liquid is highly concentrated; in high-quality essential oils, a single dose is only one or two drops.
While making specific medical claims about any natural product without conducting research and clinical trials is inappropriate, individuals can experiment with essential oils to discover their benefits.
The Power of Scent
Aromas play a huge role in our mood or the way we feel. Our sense of smell is linked to the part of our brain that regulates emotions and memory. Aromas can trigger memories – for example, the smell of cookies baking in the oven could bring back fond memories of a parent or grandparent, or the scent of copal or frankincense might remind you of being in church.
Because of the emotional connection to our sense of smell, aromas can have a powerful effect on our feelings of well-being. How we react to the smell of something is personal to each of us. Experiment to learn which essential oil aromas are attractive to you. Here is some scent guidance:
- Citrus scents, such as tangerine, lime, and other citrus oils, can be emotionally uplifting. They can also help your living space seem fresh and clean.
- Florals scents, such as lavender, rose, and geranium, inspires romance and harmony.
- Conifer scents, such as spruce, pine, and rosemary, inspire a relaxing feeling of being in nature.
How to Use Essential Oils
Mix a few drops of the essential oil with water in a cold-air diffuser.
Hold the bottle of essential oil a few inches from your nose and breathe in the aroma.
Add 10 drops of essential oil to a cup of unscented Epsom salt for a relaxing bath.
Put a drop of essential oil on your wrist instead of perfume or apply a couple of drops on the bottom of your feet.
How I Like to Use Essential Oils
- I always keep a bottle of peppermint nearby. Smelling the fresh mint aroma helps to clear my head when things get hectic.
- Two drops of lemon oil on the bottom of my feet smooth out any rough spots, especially those on my heels.
- Brushing a drop of floral oil like lavender or ylang-ylang on my pillowcase puts me in the mood for rest.
- Applying rosemary over arms and legs helps help repel annoying bugs and flying pests when I am outdoors.
Once you learn more about essential oils and add them to your routine, you’ll discover different ways to use them. I am always looking for the essential oil alternative for everything, from soothing scrapes to easing nerves.
Choose Your Oil Brand Wisely
Because essential oils are so concentrated, make sure you buy from a reputable source. Quality levels vary from brand to brand. When plants are sprayed with pesticides or grown in soil with chemical fertilizers, these unwanted ingredients get distilled into the essential oil.
Many brands dilute their product with chemical solvents or synthetic fillers — just the stuff you’re trying to avoid in natural products!
Some essential oils, such as oregano, eucalyptus, and wintergreen, are known as “hot” oils and may burn when applied to the skin. To use these oils safely, blend them with a small amount of carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or unscented massage oil. At first, it is best to use essential oils on less-sensitive parts of your body, like the bottoms of your feet.
I hope these basics provide insight as you start exploring the world of essential oils!