I have been posting for some time now about the benefits of essential oils and why I use them in my products in lieu of fragrance oils and other additives. Just this past weekend, someone stopped to ask me how to get started using oils in their home. I realized that many of our readers may have the same questions, so here is a brief guide to starting with essential oils.
Before I get into the skinny of Essential Oils ( EOs) I want to put a disclaimer out there.
1. EOs are NOT for everyone
Because essential oils can act as a powerful form of natural medicine, there are a few instances where they are not recommended for usage.
Pregnancy – Basil, cinnamon, clary sage, clove, cypress, fennel, jasmine, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, rose, rosemary, sage and thyme.
In most cases, these oils are completely healthy but because they can effect hormones they are not recommended at this stage.
Heart medications (blood thinners) – Clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, rosemary, sage and thyme.
2. Careful what you INGEST. Not all EOs are consumable. Please do your research or consult with a professional before ingesting EOs.
Overall, aromatherapy is a great and inexpensive way to help promote healing, relaxation, and well-being without adverse side effects.
What are Essential Oils
Essential Oils are NOT oils, but plant extracts that contain tremendous healing properties. These extracts come from bark, flowers, seeds, roots, leaves or fruits of the plant. They are typically created through the process of distillation which separates the oil and water based compounds of a plant by steaming.
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils that have a strong aroma. By concentrating the oils of these plants you are literally separating the most powerful healing compounds of a plant into a single oil. Essential oils vary in price due to the plant. Some plants can be grown anywhere or can produce more "oils". Others are rare and it can take more of them to product the extract. For instance, it takes 4,000 rose petals to produce 16 oz of Rose Oil. Rose Oil is amazing for the skin, but is extremely expensive.
There are several essential oils that are very affordable, and by adding just a few to your medicine cabinet, you can naturally:
- Fight cold and flu symptoms
- Relax your body and soothe sore muscles
- Heal skin conditions
- Alleviate pain
- Balance hormones
- Improve digestion
- Reduce cellulite and wrinkles
- Clean your home
- Used in homemade personal care products
Aromatherapy has a variety of health benefits and can be used in various settings. It is a great non-invasive way to treat a variety of medical conditions and can be used safely in combination with many other therapies.
In 1928, French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé used lavender oil to heal a burn on his hand. He then decided to further analyze the properties of lavender oil and how it could be used to treat other types of skin infections, wounds, or burns.
With this the science of aromatherapy was born. Gattefossé’s main goal was to help injured soldiers during World War I. The use of these oils began to spread especially with practitioners of alternative medicine, such as massage therapists and beauticians throughout Europe.
Aromatherapy did not become popular in the United States until the 1980s, when essential oils began to be added to various lotions, candles, or other fragrances.
15 Must Have Essential Oils
Each and every essential oil contains compounds with unique healing and therapeutic benefits. Here are some of the most popular essential oils and how to use them.
- Clove: Anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and antioxidant protection.
- Cypress: Improves circulation, reduces varicose veins, lifts confidence and can help heal broken bones.
- Eucalyptus: Improves respiratory issues like bronchitis, sinusitis and allergies. Also invigorating and purifies the body.
- Frankincense: Builds immunity, reduces inflammation, heals age spots, supports brain and fights cancer.
- Ginger: Reduces inflammation, supports joints, improves digestion and relieves nausea.
- Grapefruit: Supports metabolism and cellulite reduction. Mix with coconut oil and rub on areas of cellulite or take a few drops internally with water.
- Lavender: Helps with relaxation, improves mood and heals burns and cuts.
- Lemon: Great to use in homemade cleaning products, improves lymph drainage and cleanses the body.
- Myrrh: Natural anti-septic and can prevent or reduce infections. Also, supports beautiful skin, reducing stretch marks and hormone balance.
- Oregano: Powerful anti-microbial properties, can kill fungus and help you kick a cold fast.
- Peppermint: Supports digestion, improves focus, boosts energy, fever reducer, headache and muscle pain relief.
- Rose: Incredible for reducing skin inflammation and great for creating glowing skin. Add a few drops to your facial moisturizer. ( $$$$$)
- Rosemary: Can naturally thicken hair so it is great to add to homemade shampoos. Also, it improves brain function and memory so it’s great to used when working, reading or studying.
- Tea tree oil (melaleuca): natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, reduces bad odors and can help stimulate the immune system.
- Sandalwood: Natural aphrodisiac that improves libido and can also improve energy.
How to Use Essential Oils
Topically : essential oils are able to penetrate the skin and pass into the blood stream and into different areas of the body for internal therapeutic benefits.
Aromatherapy: absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled, the large amount of blood vessels in the lungs absorb the oils and then circulate them throughout the body.
Ingestion: Essential oils can be used as a powerful form of medicine but it should be remembered that again, essential oils are powerful. Most essential oils are safe for internal use but a little bit goes a long way. Usually 1 drop is plenty mixed with water. *** Not all essential oils can be ingested**** Please use only therapeutic grade and from a reputable source. Ingestion should ONLY be done thru a certified aromatherapist or physician. ***
Personal Care: This is an excellent away to take advantage of essential oils to improve your beauty, home and long term health.
Some of the best DIY recipes to use essential oils with include: shampoo, body butter, toothpaste, bug spray, lip balm and household cleaner.
What is a Carrier Oil?
Some oils are too potent to be applied directly to the skin, while others need a boost to help absorption. Carrier oils are common oils used to dilute the EO and widen the surface area so the oils can be more readily absorbed. This will NOT reduce the effectiveness of the oil. The most common dilution ration is 10%. This is 5 drops of EO to 1/2 tsp. of carrier oil.
Common carrier oils include:
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Olive oil
- Pomegranate seed oil
Fun and Easy Recipes
Are you ready to try your DIY skills at home? If so, they these beginner recipes and get crunchy !!
Essential oils for hair loss can make a significant difference at stopping it in it’s tracks. Oils of rosemary, lavender and sage can all help naturally thicken hair by stimulating the hair follicles.
Put 10 drops of rosemary oil and 5 drops of lavender oil different areas of your scalp
Gently massage into scalp for 2 minutes
Put a hot towel around your head and sit for 20 minutes
Wash hair with shampoo (for better results use a natural shampoo)
Many people turn to chemicals sprays like DEET that are highly toxic to the body instead of using all-natural mosquito repellent and essential oil bug sprays.
1/2 cup witch hazel
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
40 drops essential oils (eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella, tea tree, or rosemary)
Glass spray bottle
Mix all ingredients in 8oz spray bottle
Spray over all portions of the body but avoid repellent in eyes and mouth
Rosemary Mint Shampoo
Conventional shampoo can be expensive and contain harmful chemicals that strip your hair of its natural oils. Instead, try this homemade rosemary mint shampoo recipe!
6 oz Aloe Vera Gel
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
10 Tbsp Baking Soda
20 drops Rosemary Oil
10 drops Peppermint Oil
Mix all ingredients together
Store in an 8oz glass or plastic bottle
Thanks for reading this weeks edition of The Crunchy Corner. As always, please do yor own research when it comes to your health and well being.
Until Next Time, Stay Crunchy !!