Essential oils have recently been the source of much excitement and curiosity over the past couple of years. The truth however is that essential oils have been used throughout history to cure illness, relieve ailments, and anoint religious figures. Allow this essential oils guide to act as your stepping stone to a healthier you, a healthier household and a healthier family.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oil is a liquid that has been distilled down to its “essentials” or essence. This process of extracting the oil from the plants is usually accomplished through the use of steam. The bark, leaves, stems, flowers or roots of the plant are steamed and the vapor that rises out of this mixture is then collected. The result of this vapor is the true essence of the plant and a potent elixir for healing and well being.
History of Essential Oils
Although it is difficult to trace the use of essential oils back to its origins, we believe it was the Egyptians who were first able to harness the power of plant oils. They used these oils in many ways not only medicinally and cosmetically but religiously as part of their embalming process. China and India were known early on to have used oils many of which went on to become staples of the Ayurveda medicinal practices.
Essential oils have been used for centuries to promote health and well being
The Greeks absorbed the medicinal ways of the Egyptians and in turn was absorbed by the Romans. We saw a disappearance of use during the dark ages where herbalist healers were thought to be witches of magic by the church.
Nevertheless, these powerful oils have resurfaced in modern times; In the 1900’s a French chemist by the name of Rene Maurice Gattefosse burnt his hand badly and having only lavender oil at hand was able to soothe the pain, induce the healing process and minimize scarring. Aromatherapy as we know it today was created by Marguerite Maury who found extraordinary results using oils in combination with massage.
What Can Essential Oils Be Used For?
It would be easier to make a list of things they cannot be used for! The uses of essential oils range from healing burns and other physical discomforts to promoting peace of mind and wellness. Many essential oils are anti fungal and anti bacterial so you can even use them to clean your home too! For some, essential oils are seen as spiritual elixirs and are used to practice their spirituality and connect with a deeper power higher than themselves. To give you an idea though, here is a list of common oils and the many ways they can be used.
Clove: Clove is not only antibacterial but is a powerful antioxidant as well
Cypress: This essential oil is great for varicose veins due to its ability to improve blood circulation in the body.
Eucalyptus: Great for respiratory problems such as bronchitis and a must for those suffering from allergies.
Frankincense: Increases the strength of your immune system, fights signs of aging and can reduce inflammation within the body.
Ginger: An amazing oil to improve digestion and strengthen your joints.
Grapefruit: Used to treat cellulite and contains powerful antioxidants that nourish your skin.
Lavender: Probably the most effective essential oil for relaxing, relieving stress and healing damage to the skin from cuts, burns, or bruises. A staple in many medicine cabinets.
Lemon: Lemon is a natural cleanser not only for your body but around the house too!
Myrrh: Helps with healing and protects skin.
Oregano: A powerful oil packed with antioxidants that reduce the length of certain illnesses.
Peppermint: An effective oil to stimulate energy for both mind and body. Also helps when your head has any discomfort.
Rose: Known for its romantic fragrances to stimulate sexual appetite, this oil is also extremely beneficial for your skin.
Rosemary: Add to any shampoo or homemade shampoo to create the perfect hair product.
Tea tree oil (Melaleuca): Aids the immune system and reduces foul odors both in the body and around the house.
Sandalwood: Invigorates sex drive and libido.
How To Use Essential Oils
Before using any amount of essential oil on your skin it is important to do a skin check first. Since these oils are in their most potent form, you could have a negative reaction resulting in a rash. Apply a small amount of oil on your elbow to check for skin irritation. If your skin becomes irritated you can dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil such as olive or coconut oil. You will need to experiment to get the ratio down. Remember, it only takes a small amount to be therapeutically effective. Be especially careful using essential oils on those with sensitive skin such as babies and the elderly.
Using essential oils aromatically is not only a great way to make your house smell natural and clean but using the oil this way also has therapeutic value. To use the oil this way a diffuser is used to break the oil down to its micro molecules where they are then dispersed into the room by the diffuser. This spray contains hundreds of chemical constituents that can have a robust and powerful effect on your mind and body. The aromatics can lift your mood, alleviate stress, stimulate and energize, boost the immune system and aid in weight management among a host of other benefits.
How Do You Use The Oils?
This was a basic guide to get you started. Once you familiarize yourself with these essential oils, you will form your own personal guide based on your personal needs. The possibilities are endless! Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works for you.