7 Essential Oils for Your Home
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years to alleviate a wide variety of ailments, long before the advent of pharmaceuticals. These natural, highly concentrated oils that are extracted from sources like plants, seeds, flowers and tree bark, each have their own unique properties – and, with about 100 different kinds of essential oils, it can be quite a challenge to figure out which to use. After all, most of us don’t have an unlimited amount of cash to spend, not to mention the time it would take to use them all!
Narrowing down the very best essentials to support overall good health, makes it much easier for the average person to get started on taking advantage of their astounding range of benefits. Here are seven of the most important essential oils that will give you the most bang for your buck…
1. Mentha Essential Oil
Mentha essential oil is a no-brainer and a must for your collection. Just about everyone is familiar with mentha. Its fabulous aroma is so powerful that one whiff can help boost your energy level and make you feel more mentally alert. There’s a reason that a visit to Celestial Seasoning Tea Company’s Mint Room is the most popular part of its tour. One of the top food and beverage tours in the country, visitors to the Boulder, Colorado facility rave about the experience of being surrounded by the aroma of mint.
And, there is evidence as to why people love it so much. One study, conducted out of the University of Cincinnati, found that inhaling this fragrant oil can improve mental accuracy by as much as 28 percent. Another study out of the University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil’s Physical Education, and Sports Sciences Department, found that it offered immediate positive effects on exercise performance.
Mentha is also well-known to help take the edge off of nausea, making it a great remedy for morning or motion sickness, in addition to helping to relieve headaches, vertigo, sinusitis, and fatigue.
2. Lemon Essential Oil
The bright yellow hue of a lemon is often associated with cheerfulness – and, as it turns out, there is a reason behind that. Lemon essential oil is also lauded for its ability to uplift and improve the mood. Just inhaling a small amount can help make you feel more alert and focused as well as boost concentration.
A 2004 study published in Experimental Biology and Medicine showed that inhaling the scent of lemon essential oil improved neurological activity that promotes the breakdown of body fat.
Ayurvedic medicine has utilized lemons and lemon essential oil to treat a wide array of health issues for at least 1,000 years – and, the health benefits of lemon essential oil have been well-established scientifically.
Just a few of its proven uses include:
Cleanse and purify
Improve oral health and eliminate bad breath
Support healthier digestion
Relieve abdominal colic pain
Nourish the skin
Promote weight loss
3. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense has an earthy, spicy, slightly fruity smell that provides a wide range of health benefits. Its benefits come from absorbing it through the skin or by inhaling it. Typically, it’s mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba oil, and it can also be blended into an unscented lotion. It’s believed that the oil actually transmits a message to the limbic system of the brain which influences the nervous system. Its effects are many, including:
Relieving chronic stress, anxiety and panic attacks
Reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks
Add a few drops to your bath for an ideal concoction that promotes relaxation and calm. When spending time outdoors, bring some along to help insect bites or small cuts heal more quickly too.
4. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils, thanks to its appealing sweet, floral aroma and versatility. It’s well-known for its ability to soothe and relax. By putting some in a diffuser in your bedroom, or sprinkling a few drops on your pillow at night, it helps to create a more relaxing environment and inducing better rest.
As the oil is considered naturally antiviral and antiseptic, it’s great for rubbing onto a sting, cut, bite or skin irritation – and, unlike many other types of essential oils, it doesn’t generally have to be diluted with a carrier oil before use.
A few of its other uses include helping to alleviate:
High blood pressure
This is another great oil to carry when outdoors as the smell can help repel bugs like midges and mosquitos. Just apply few drops of lavender oil to your exposed skin, and you can prevent those annoying, and potentially dangerous, bites. If you are bitten, as the oil offers anti-inflammatory qualities, applying it to the affected area can help reduce the pain and irritation.
5. Chamomile Essential Oil
Chamomile essential oil is another very powerful oil that offers both physical and mental benefits. There are two different types of chamomile, Roman chamomile and German chamomile.
German chamomile is known to be more effective for adults in reducing inflammation, particularly in the urinary or digestive system. It also is very good at lowering blood pressure and curbing the swelling of blood vessels.
Roman chamomile tends to be calming, and also offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, though not as potent as its German counterpart.
Both types of chamomile are considered to serve as antibiotic, antiseptic, analgesic and as a sedative.
They can be used to:
Treat skin conditions like blemishes, rosacea, eczema, rashes and irritations
Ease arthritis pain
Fight anxiety and depression
Speed wound healing
While chamomile leaves can be taken as a tea, the essential oil shouldn’t be taken internally. Instead, sprinkle a few drops on your pillow for a better night’s sleep or use it in vapor therapy to relieve stress and lift your mood. You can add it to homemade toothpaste to help fight a toothache as well as any accompanying inflammation. If you look at ingredient lists on beauty products like lotions, soaps, and toothpaste, you’ll often see chamomile extract included.
6. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is a must to have around when cold and flu season sets in – and, it’s also very beneficial if you suffer from allergies. It works as an expectorant and aids in cleansing your body of toxins and harmful microorganisms that can make you feel ill. One of the most effective ways to utilize it for colds or allergy congestion is to add a few drops of the oil into a diffuser before going to bed so that you can inhale its benefits all night long. You can also try adding several drops to steaming water and inhaling during the day.
Eucalyptus offers very wide ranging benefits, with properties that include antibacterial, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, as well as the ability to serve as a deodorant and decongestant.
Eucalyptus oil can help relieve:
Sinus pain and inflammation
Used topically as an antiseptic, it can repel insects and treat wounds or burns.
If you suffer from allergies, try applying a drop of the oil on a cotton ball and sniff it several times a day.
Eucalyptus essential oil also blends well with many other types of essential oil, like lavender, frankincense, and rosemary, which is one of the reasons it’s growing increasingly popular for use in aromatherapy.
7. Rosemary Essential Oil
How often do you feel stressed? If your answer is “a lot,” than rosemary is certainly a must as its scent can offer relief, as well as to help eliminate stress-related headaches. A 2007 study out of Meikai University, School of Dentistry in Japan found that just five minutes of rosemary and lavender aromatherapy significantly reduced cortisol levels, which protects the body from chronic disease due to oxidative stress.
Simply add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to a diffuser and you’re likely to enjoy instant stress-busting effects.
Other great uses for rosemary essential oil include:
Improving focus and concentration
Increasing circulation to ease muscle cramps or soreness
Mixing it into a shampoo to improve scalp circulation and eliminate dandruff
If you suffer from joint and muscle pain, you should know that the German Commission E, which is the scientific advisory board of the German version of the FDA – has approved rosemary essential oil to treat both muscle pain and arthritis. All you need to do is rub some of the oil to your aching joints or muscles – wait a few minutes and let the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of the oil kick in.
While there are times that pharmaceuticals are called for, there is really no reason to turn to over-the-counter meds or stronger medications that often have dangerous and unknown side effects at the first sign of an illness.
By turning to natural solutions like essential oils, not only are you likely to save your hard earned money, but you might just save your own good health.