People all over the world are becoming increasingly aware of how the chemicals and products we use in everyday life can affect their health.
And while the debate rages on whether or not one should get vaccinated, no one disputes that adding essential oils to one's life is beneficial.
Popular for many decades now, many have seen essential oils as a great, truly natural supplement to healthy living.
The truth is, there is an essential oil for almost any need you can imagine.
And in this article, we’re going to explore the very core basics of essential oils: what they are, how they’re made, how to use them, and how they benefit you.
Essential Oils 101
So, what is essential oil anyway?
Essential oils derive their name from the fact that they are essentially the essence—or scent and flavour—of the plants from which they are extracted.
In terms of history, essential oils have been around for ages. Civilisations across the world have used essential oils in their personal care regimens, natural beauty treatments, and even in their food preparation.
How to make essential oils?
As for how to make them, the natural methods are the best.
In fact, many argue that extracting essential oils through chemical processes ruins them—and we have to agree. It’s because you want your essential oils to retain as much of their natural essence as possible.
For centuries, the natural extraction method has involved steaming or pressing various plant parts. And the compounds that result from this are the fragrant essential oils that everyone enjoys.
Are essential oils effective?
Essential oils have been used as natural remedies for years, and there are some studies that demonstrate the clear benefits of essential oils.
A study, for example, by researchers at Johns Hopkins University has proven that essential oils drawn from garlic and other common herbs—like myrrh, cinnamon, berries, and others- are more effective against Lyme disease bacteria than antibiotics.
In the meantime, another study by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry finds that balm from lemon oil reduces agitation in patients with dementia.
Even in more common, day-to-day situations, essential oils have numerous proven benefits. Tea tree oil, for example, can be used to treat acne naturally.
While you can also treat hair loss or alopecia areata with thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood oils.
You see, essential oil use provides a plethora of benefits.
However, it's crucial to exercise caution, especially if you're using essential oils on your family.
And here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Use only verifiably pure essential oils. You lose a lot of the benefits when you go for knock-offs.
- Always do a patch test on a small area of skin before applying to a larger area to check for potential allergies. Do this, especially if you want to use essential oils on your little ones.
- Avoid ingesting essential oils unless they’re specifically labelled for consumption.
How to determine the authenticity of essential oils
There are a few ways to tell if the essential oils you’re getting are pure and authentic.
First, they’re stored in dark-coloured glass bottles. This protects the essential oils from ultraviolet rays that might degrade the oils over time.
So, if your essential oils come in plastic containers, you should be more cautious—pure essential oils degrade plastics fairly quickly.
When “pure” essential oils leave a residue on a piece of white paper, that’s because they have impurities in them.
If you don’t have access to these, simply drop a single drop of essential oil onto the paper’s surface. If a visible ring remains after it has dried, you know that your oil has been diluted.
Finally, pure essential oil is surprisingly neither greasy nor oily. You can rub a drop of essential oil between your fingers to test.
If it feels greasy to your touch, then a carrier oil is likely added to the mix. Carrier oils stabilise essential oils. But, it does dilute their purity.
Most Popular Types of Essential Oils and What They Treat
There are so many different essential oils on the market today and they have countless uses. Here is a selection of common ailments and conditions, followed by an examination of which essential oils are effective for their treatment.
Headaches and Migraines
Given the state of the world, these two conditions are quite common these days. Fortunately, there are numerous natural essential oil remedies on which you can rely on.
Firstly you could use peppermint and lavender oil, which have been shown in studies to be effective against headaches and migraines when applied to the skin.
An equally effective treatment is the application of a mix of chamomile and sesame oil to your temples.
Sleep and Insomnia
If you’re having difficulty sleeping after a long and stressful day, then the essential oils that you should go for are the aromatic ones—particularly lavender.
Tests have shown it to be effective in improving quality of sleep of women after childbirth. Further research has discovered that smelling lavender oil is equally effective in assisting you in developing good sleeping habits.
This, too, promotes high-quality sleep, which is so important for your mental and physical health.
Antibiotic and Antimicrobial
If you're worried about germs and microbes invading your body's systems and making you sick, essential oils can help.
Peppermint and tea tree oil have been studied for their antimicrobial properties, with promising results.
And in a world dominated by pharmaceutical solutions, these are very interesting findings. But more research is needed to confirm that the positive antimicrobial and antibiotic effects are long-lasting.
Why You Should Go for Essential Oils
They’re safe for the whole family
One of the main reasons people choose essential oils is that they are safe to use for the entire family, including pets. Of course, it is still important to understand the proper usage of each essential oil depending on who is using it.
But the point is, there is a product available that will benefit your entire household, which is not something you can confidently say about many other products on the market.
Their uses are endless
Essential oils are best known for their use in aromatherapy, which conjures up images of diffusers, but that is only one application. They can be found in nail polish and cuticle products, home cleaning products, bathing essentials, perfumes, body sprays, and a variety of other products. You can bet that there is an essential oil product available for every practical home product you can think of.
While many products on the market offer remedies and practical benefits, far too many of them are unnatural. They may be filled with toxic chemicals that can have harmful effects on your health and that of your family or pets.
With essential oils—at least those that are conscientiously made—what you see is what you get. This is especially true when you purchase essential oils from companies that genuinely care about the environment and their customers.
They’re more accessible
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of essential oils is that they’re affordable alternatives to often quite expensive pharmacological solutions. This means that they’re accessible to more people, especially those with tighter budgets.
Essential oils can help alleviate most of the conditions that may bother or afflict you for much less—freeing up your budget for other essentials in life like your family’s food, house’s bills, and other necessities.
If you've never used essential oils before, they're worth a try for all of the reasons listed above. They are far more affordable and accessible and naturally made with no artificial additives.
Just make sure you're purchasing pure and authentic essential oils to experience their true results.
Do you love essential oils? Which essential oils are your favourite?
Let me know in the comments!