For centuries, essential oils have been used for their healing properties. Dating as far back as 5,000 years ago, the Egyptians incorporated oils into their beauty regimens, medical practices, food preparation, and religious ceremonies. The Greeks used them for aromatherapy and therapeutic massage, while the Romans relied on oils for health and personal hygiene.
Today, essential oils are being used to promote healthy living and as an alternative to chemically based medicine. Their simplicity and convenience makes them a household staple.
This natural wonder can be applied three ways: Topically, aromatically, or internally. When ingesting, it’s important to use only pure therapeutic-grade oils, since alternatives can be diluted and processed using harmful chemicals.
Topically: Applying directly to reflex points on the feet is extremely effective, since they are the second most absorbent area of the body. Other areas that absorb quickly are the wrists, and behind the ears.
Aromatic: Direct inhalation is the easiest way for essential oils to impact mood and emotions. Rub one or two drops into your palms, cup your hands over your mouth/nose and take a few deep breaths. Additionally, using oils in a diffuser can reduce the amount of airborne chemicals.
Internal: A small amount can be added to a glass of water (or ingested via capsules for oils with a less than desirable taste.)
To begin your exploration of essential oils, start with three comprehensive types: Lemon, lavender, and peppermint. With these items in your medicine cabinet, your health and well-being are sure to improve.
Primary Uses: Detoxification, relaxation, bad breath, allergies, disinfectant, cold sores, acne treatment, anti-bacterial, bug repellent, heart burn, antioxidant, stress/anxiety, arthritis, sore throat, blood pressure, eczema.
Properties: Anticancer, antidepressant, antiseptic, antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, astringent, invigorating, refreshing, and tonic.
Daily Use: For a natural household disinfectant, add ten drops of lemon oil to a spray bottle filled with equal parts water and vinegar. Additionally, lemon oil is great in drinking water to support metabolism and digestion.
Primary Uses: Relaxation, improved mood, pain control, wound care, anti-fungal, skin irritation, migraines, anxiety, depression, indigestion, insomnia, emotional stress, irritability, burns, dandruff.
Properties: Analgesic, anticoagulant, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, anti fungal, antihistamine, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-mutagenic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic.
Daily Use: For a soothing linen spray, add a few drops to a small spray bottle of water. Lavender mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond, is also great for use as a simple, natural facial moisturizer. Since this oil is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, you can also try massaging a few drops on your temples or the back of your neck.
Primary Uses: Energizing, muscle pain, decongestant, allergies, bug repellant, fever, acne, headache, digestion, sunburn, fresh breath, nausea, motion sickness, hormone balance, concentration.
Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, and invigorating.
Daily Use: Peppermint is well-known for increasing a sense of alertness, so try inhaling its invigorating scent for a fresh start to your morning. It’s also great as a headache and stomach ache reliever. Added to that, a few drops on your tongue followed by a glass of water is an instant breath freshener.
Photos by Anna Vining
Written by Anna Vining