Essential oils have been gaining popularity lately for helping with headaches to sleep to cold. They are plant extracts, made through the process of steaming or pressing various parts of a plant, such as bark, leaves, flowers or fruit, in order to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefits and has been used for many years.
When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils impact the emotional centre of the brain, but they can be absorbed by the skin as well. Essential aromatherapy oils can make a positive impact on your health and well-being if you use them in a safe way. You can choose pure essential oils or blends, essential oil rollerballs or regular essential oil. Also, there is a range of scents, whether you prefer floral, woody, herbal, citrus or fruity.
Different Essential Oils and Their Benefits
There is a number of essential oils, all with different fragrancies and depending on the symptoms you’re experiencing, you can find the ones that work well for your condition. Here are some of the most popular essential aromatherapy oils to choose from and how they work.
Probably the most popular essential oil, with a subtly floral scent. Many people find it relaxing and it’s commonly used to help relieve stress and anxiety, and promote good sleep. But also, the use of lavender oil topically may help reduce the itching and swelling from bug bites.
If applied topically, peppermint oil may relieve tension headaches. It provides a cooling effect, and may also help with muscle pain, sunburn, itchy skin conditions and more. There has been some evidence that peppermint essential oils may help relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.
Basil is known for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, and it can work as a cold and flu remedy, as well as a muscle relaxer. Additionally, basil essential oil may help relieve stress and treat acne.
Also referred to as melaleuca, this essential oil may help treat acne, athlete’s foot and insect bites. It was used by Australia’s aboriginal people for wound healing. Today, it’s used as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral treatment, and for treating hypersensitivity.
The citrusy scent of a lemon essential oil known as a mood booster, but many people use it in their homemade cleaning products as well. It contains antioxidants and can reduce inflammation and relieve nausea.
With a mix of a light floral and herbal aroma, this essential oil is most commonly used for calming the mind. However, it can be useful for treating some skin conditions, too, such as eczema and inflammation.
It’s most known for its wonderful benefits for respiratory applications, helping to ease congestion and pressure, flu, fever and more. Eucalyptus essential oil can be used in massage or other topical blends to relieve muscular pain and arthritis.
Ginger essential oils can be used to improve circulation, commonly added to blends for massage, arthritis and muscle aches and pain. When used in a diffuser, it can help to ease nausea and motion sickness.
Rose features sweet, floral scent and may help reduce anxiety. It contains antioxidants and can be used for treating acne and keep your skin look younger.
With its flowery scent, this essential oil can help relax all the senses, and build self-esteem. Sometimes, it can be used as a repellent toward bugs and insects. Very often, it’s used in cosmetic products for the treatment of combination skin.
Known for its digestive, antiseptic and disinfectant properties, frankincense is a very popular essential oil these days. It can be used to prevent certain oral issues (bad breath, cavities, mouth sores, and more), but also it can be helpful in improving overall skin health.
Cedarwood can be found in many topical beauty treatments for fighting acne, eczema, even dandruff. It offers earthy and natural woody scent and can help to relieve coughing and reduce arthritis in some cases.
With its bitter and fresh scent, grapefruit essential oil is very often used in diffusers. It’s known for its antifungal properties that can help reduce any harmful bacteria.
Orange essential oil is rich in vitamin C and it’s quite helpful in skincare treatments. It can be found in various beauty products, used for improving skin conditions and making the skin appear brighter and smoother.
The antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal benefits of oregano essential oil may help treat athlete’s foot, bacterial infections, psoriasis and more. This spiced essential oil has antioxidant properties and can be used in treating fever and respiratory symptoms.
Do Aromatherapy Oils Really Work?
Not all essential oils are created equally. Quality essential oils are aromatic, concentrated from plant extracts harvested from farms or wild grown plants, flowers or trees. Pure essential oils don’t contain synthetic ingredients and they’re obtained through steam distillation, cold pressing and resin tapping. They can be inhaled directly, or through a room diffuser, or they can be applied on the skin in a form of oil, lotion or bath products. When it comes to taking essential oils internally, research on the safety efficacy of this method has been limited and requires a consultation with an integrative medicine expert.
So, how do they work? When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils go from the olfactory nerves to the brain and impact the emotional centre of our brain and create a synergy between our body and mind. Also, they can relax tight muscles during a massage or can be added to various beauty products. According to some researches, essential oils may provide relief from many ailments, however, they’re not a proven cure for diseases or illnesses. They can be used as an alternative to conventional medicine for numerous conditions. If you’re thinking of how to incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle, the best way is to find the right ones for your needs.
How to Choose Your Essential Oil(s) and Tips for Usage
The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re looking to buy aromatherapy oils is product quality. Unfortunately, there are many products you can find online or in stores that aren’t harvested properly or may contain an ingredient that’s not listed on the label. The following are some tips that can help you choose pure essential oils.
Check the Ingredients – It should include the Latin name of the plant and information on the purity or other ingredient added.
Purchase from Reputable Company – Buy your essential oils from a well-known and reputable company that has the needed certificates and has good customer feedback.
Choose Dark-Coloured Glass Containers Always – Pure essential oils are highly concentrated and need to be kept in brown or blue glass bottles to protect the quality. If kept in plastic bottles, they can dissolve the plastic after some time.
Dilute Before Usage – Before applying and essential oil, dilute it with a carrier oil, so you can avoid overexposure.
Test Your Skin First – You can test a small area of your skin for signs of sensitivity or allergic reaction before applying your essential oil.