As residents of earth, we should be aware of our dependence on plants. Plants are used to make clothing, construct buildings, for food, and to just breathe. We literally cannot survive without them. Essential oils are taken from a wide variety of plants and there are tons of benefits we can enjoy from them. Just a few of the benefits reaped from using plant-based essential oils include:
- Support for the respiratory, digestive, and other body systems
- Nurturing cell function
- Encouraging hormonal balance
- Relieving stress
- Balancing emotions
- Replacing chemical cleaners with natural more effective cleansers
Where do essential oils come from?
Essential oils are aromatic, natural compounds extracted from plants. Different parts of plants are used to extract an oil. Some come from the leaves, some from the flowers, roots, stems, or bark of a plant. Some of the oils are extracted using steam, others are cold pressed. The extracted oil is potent and concentrated. One drop of an essential oil can be equal to several teaspoons of a dried herb. One example is peppermint essential oil. One drop of this powerful oil equals more than 25 cups of peppermint tea. Oils can be as much as 70% more potent than dried herbs.
How are essential oils used?
Essential oils are used in a variety of ways. They may be used aromatically or topically. Oils can be added to shampoos or lotions. Essential oil soaps can have a powerful effect on the skin and they are free of harmful chemicals. You can make your own muscle rubs, massage oils, or lotions using essential oils. They are also a great alternative to use instead of chemical-laden commercial cleaners. A little bit of research and you can learn how to make a variety of cleansers, lotions, soaps, and many other products yourself. Many oils have antiseptic, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-bacterial properties that make them great for household cleaning. If you have a diffuser, essential oils can cleanse the air in a room, boost your mood, calm anxiety, or even boost productivity. As you can see, they are versatile and offer a wide variety of benefits around your house.
Five Most Popular Essential Oils and What They Do
Whether you are new to the world of essential oils or have been around awhile, you have probably noticed that certain oils seem to come up a lot more than others. There are some little-known oils that can provide powerful effects, but there are also a few that seem to come up on every list. Are they really that good at everything? Yes. Pretty much! A few of the essential oils provide such a wide variety of benefits you’ll see them over and over. Here are the top five oils you probably keep running into.
Lavender essential oilis often an introduction into the world of EOs. It’s good for almost anything and has a broad range of benefits. Its most popular function is probably its calming effect. It’s used to promote sleep and relieve stress. It finds its way into diffusers every day due to its ability to calm and promote sleep. It’s also commonly used to stop the itching and burning of insect bites. Lavender can reduce swelling and stop the itching and pain of mosquito bites or bee stings. Lavender essential oil is useful for relieving pain from a burn including sunburns. For the most effective pain relief of sunburns, add it to your Aloe Vera gel and apply it after sun exposure.
Peppermint essential oilis another one you’ll find on many lists. This EO contains menthol which provides a wonderful, cooling effect. After it is diluted with a carrier oil, it can be applied topically. This can help relieve pain from aching joints and muscles. Its aroma helps wake up the nervous system which means it can be diffused to help keep you awake and alert. It’s been used to alleviate anxiety.
Lemon essential oilhas a nice scent. This along with its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties make it a great option for making your own cleaning solution. Diffuse this oil to help boost your mood and make you more alert.
Eucalyptus essential oilcontains menthol which makes it a popular choice for diffusing to clear the sinuses and relieve chest congestion. When added to a carrier oil and applied topically it has an analgesic effect which can help reduce pain. Putting a few drops of eucalyptus oilin a bowl of steamy hot water and breathing in the vapor can help relieve sinus congestion, chest colds, and asthma symptoms. It’s a real “eye-opener” when diffused as it is a vasodilator. This means it opens up blood vessels to improve circulation which can be beneficial for the cardiovascular system.
Frankincense essential oilis one you’re likely to see on lists for a variety of uses and purposes. Frankincense EO helps to calm and center the mind, promote spiritual awareness, and brings a sense of inner peace. Diffuse it while you are meditating or inhale it just before you start. It has compounds that directly impact the limbic system of the brain, the emotions, and the memory center. This oil has a calming, grounding, and centering effect. There is more to this oil than emotional and mental benefits, it also offers strong respiratory support. It is beneficial for a variety of conditions. Use it in a cool mist or a diffuser for relief from symptoms caused by asthma, COPD, bronchitis, or pneumonia. It can also soothe allergy symptoms and help calm nightmares.Frankincense EOis often used for all types of skin complaints from dry skin, to mature skin, and skin with blemishes. It reduces lines and wrinkles and encourages blemishes to heal. It can also help regenerate cells to help with speed healing of skin ulcers and wounds. Many people use it as a nighttime moisturizer too. Make sure it’s diluted before applying it directly to the skin. If you want to boost immunity, sniff its vapors directly from the bottle or diffuse frankincense essential oil.
Diluting Essential Oils Before Use
Some of the essential oils can be applied topically without dilution. However, to protect your skin, it’s best to dilute the oils with a carrier oil before applying directly to your skin. Typically, one or two drops of an oil is added to a teaspoon of carrier oil. You can use any of the carrier oils you prefer including jojoba oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil or avocado oil.