From Miranda Kerr’s lavender oil sleep secret to Kourtney Kardashian’s love of manuka, essentials oils have long been the source of celebrity health secrets—but the world of essentials oils goes far beyond the celebrity era. We unearth the benefits of essentials oils to your self-care
Essential oils are highly concentrated solutions, which are extracted from different sections of a plant such as the flower, leaves or roots. The extraction methods used to form the solution are cold pressing, whereby the plant is mechanically pressed to obtain their essential oil and steam distillation, where plants are passed through dry steam and the emerging vapor is condensed.
Essential things to remember
Before you start slathering bottles of essential oils onto your skin, you should know there are three ways you can incorporate essential oils to your routine: topically, orally or aromatherapy.
If you choose the topical route, make sure you dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil, for example olive oil or jojoba oil. A carrier oil can improve the absorption of an essential oil via the skin and prevent any irritation. For sufferers of sensitive skin, coconut oil can be an excellent carrier oil—a useful rule to follow when diluting oils: 12 drops of essential oil to every 1oz of carrier oil.
For internal use, an individual essential oil can be adopted to target a specific concern, though it’s imperative you keep to dosage instructions on supplements. Finally, you can use essential oils as part of aromatherapy, by adding them to an essential oil diffuser or an empty spray bottle with water to use as a mist.
Mix and match
In addition to using an essential oil on its own, you can mix and match by creating your own blend of oils. One popular oil blend is lemon and lavender oil, due to their anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and the rejuvenating aromas they give off.
The essential oil you decide to use all depends on your reasons for needing them. For example, if you’re stressed, you could benefit from rosemary oil. If your concerns are about banishing an illness, cinnamon oil in aromatherapy can assist with alleviating symptoms.
Other essential oils with anti-inflammatory effects to both support and boost your physical and mental wellbeing include turmeric essential oil, eucalyptus, ginger, hemp and lemongrass.
Another trend in the world of essential oils is to use a diffuser to release the molecules into the air. Inhalation, in fact, is the most common way to reap the benefits of an essential oil When you breathe in the scene, receptors in your brain identify the scent and send trigger sensory stimulation messages, causing your body to react to the essential oil triggering different reactions.
Essential oil diffusers have a whole host of benefits depending on which oil you’re diffusing. If you want to purify your home, try adding a few drops of basil or tea tree essential oil. If you want to improve sleep and help you relax at the end of a long day, choose lavender, chamomile, rose or vanilla. The scents of these oils affect the limbic system, which is responsible for controlling emotions, including symptoms of stress.
Essential oils can also relieve pain. Diffusing a peppermint essential oil can sooth nausea and migraines, as well as improve digestion and reduce allergic reactions. Oregano essential oil can relieve heartburn and menstrual pain, and sandalwood oil can ease a sore throat.
Have you ever burned a citronella candle to ward off bugs? Diffusing essential oils can have the same effect. Try using a lemon oil to get rid of mosquitos or a peppermint oil to keep away spiders.
Before jumping in
As with all wellness-related practices, Internet pseudo-science abounds, and research should be done to make sure you’re using essential oils in a way that’s right for you before jumping into the practice.
Essential oils are a pharmaceutical grade natural remedy. One drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to 26-28 cups of peppermint tea. If you wouldn’t drink over two dozen cups of herbal tea in one sitting, you should probably consider that before consuming the equivalent amount of an essential oil.
When you start using essential oils, begin by using a small amount and diluting your product. This is especially important if you’re planning to use the oil topically. Start by doing a patch test to make sure you won’t have a strong reaction.
But even though they’re strong, when used correctly, essential oils are a wonderful resource that can solve a variety of problems.
A quick way of assessing if an essential oil is pure and has not been diluted by vegetable oils, is by placing a small amount of the oil on a piece of paper or fabric and allowing it to dry. Pure essential oils should not stain. So, if a stain appears, you know the essential oil has been diluted.