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Although they have been around for centuries, there has been an increase in the popularity of essential oils. In recent times, those who develop an interest in essential oils belong in one of two categories. They either get into it for business purposes, or they get into it to take advantage of the many benefits that oils can give. Several companies that sell essential oils door-to-door style via multi-level marketing have attracted a host of new essential oil aficionados, who recognize the benefits of oils more than how much they can rake in financially. On the other hand, the other interested category of people gets into essential oils purely for health purposes. Both groups of people, despite their differences in motive, soon realize that incorporating essential oils into everyday living can have an immensely profound and positive impact. Even the most basic oils can bring you the best possible results.
What are Essential Oils?
If you’re just developing an interest in essential oils, you should know some “essential” information. First off, all essential oils are simply hydrophobic liquids in various concentrations (depending on the brand you buy). They’re also known as volatile oils, not because they’re unstable or explosive but because they tend to vaporize quickly. They are also more commonly referred to as aromatherapy essential oils. These oils are derived from plants, and they’re called “essential” because they contain the “essence” of various plants. In this case, the essence is the aromatic property given off by compounds specific to each type of plant from which the oils were derived. Unlike fatty oils, essential oils evaporate quickly and leave no trace or stain where they once were.
Oils are extracted from various plants and bottled for topical use. While there are many different types of oils sold in the market, we will be talking about pure plant-based essential oils for our purpose here.
History of Essential Oils
Humanity has been using essential oils since the ancient times, and evidence of their use has been seen as early as the time during 3000 – 2500 B.C. Their uses vary culturally. Some cultures have used essential oils during ceremonies or religious events. Other cultures have focused more on using aromatic oils for beauty or physical care. Still, other cultures have been using essential oils for medicinal purposes and remedies.
Some have credited the Egyptians as the first culture to ever use essential oils for various household uses. More particularly, the Egyptians have been using oils for beauty, spirituality, and medicine. This makes sense because the Egyptians were impassioned about beauty and the afterlife back then.
Other cultures that have been known to use essential oils from previous eras include the ancient Chinese, ancient Greeks, ancient Romans, the Indians, Arabs, and other European cultures such as the English, French, and Germans. Each one of these cultures has a distinct version of essential oil history.
Uses of Essential Oils
In modern culture, essential oils can be used in many different ways. The most popular way to use oils today is to diffuse them in the surrounding air using a diffuser. Not only does this process improve the smell of a room, it also allows you to safely ingest the oils by ingesting smaller, diffused particles mixed with water. They can also be used this way through aromatic spritzers and inhalers.
Essential oils can also be applied topically to certain parts of the body. Since these oils are pure and potent, only a little bit of oil is needed for them to work. Some oils can be applied directly to a body part that’s aching to alleviate pain. They can also be added on to creams or lotions for massaging.
In addition, oils can also be used to enhance bath water or steamers. They can also be used in hot or cold compresses and facial masks.
While most essentials oils are safe, there are a few precautions that you should take in order to guarantee full safety. Remember that essential oils are extremely potent and should never be applied directly to your skin. You need to use carrier oils such as coconut oil, argan oil, or sweet almond oil among many others in order to dilute the essential oil. If you are planning to apply topically, make sure you test on a small area of skin first to ensure safety. If you’re using any type of citrus oils, avoid direct sunlight at all costs, since citrus will make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Never swallow essential oils and talk to your doctor before you incorporate them regularly into your life. And as with everything else, you should use them in moderation. The most common side effects of essential oil use include rashes, skin irritation, allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, and even nausea.
How to Buy Essential Oils
Nowadays, you can buy essential oils from virtually anywhere. They’re sold in major retailers such as Walmart and Target. You can also find them in grocery stores and health stores. Essential oils are also sold online and through door-to-door sales.
The most important thing you’ll have to remember is to buy essential oils from a reputable company. There are hundreds of essential oil companies out there, and not all of the market or sell pure products. You want your oil to be as pure as possible to get the best results. Do your research before you buy, especially since essential oils are not cheap.
The 6 Most Popular Essential Oils and Their Benefits
Here are some of the most commonly used essential oils sold today. It doesn’t matter what method you use for these oils; they’re all quite effective and extremely useful.
It’s the same peppermint you might get in your toothpaste, so you know exactly how refreshing it can be. You might have even had peppermint tea to ease your stomach pains, cramps, and even nausea. Peppermint oil is one of the strongest essential oils out there, and a whiff of it alone can induce relaxation straight away.
When diluted with a bit of carrier oil, you can use peppermint oil on the chest as a way to calm down excessive coughing. You can also make a soak for your tired feet using some lukewarm water and a couple of drops of peppermint oil. This oil will relax and soothe you like no other.
Derived from the lavender plant, this essential oil is probably the most indispensable out of them all. If you were to have only one essential oil in your home, lavender is the way to go. The flexibility and versatility of lavender make it one of the most useful oil there is. Lavender can help alleviate skin issues such as rashes, bites, minor burns, and even acne. You can also use them as an effective disinfectant and even as a deodorant. Add a couple of drops onto a paste made out of water and baking soda, and you’ll find yourself smelling fresh all day.
To avail of its sleep-inducing properties, you can add lavender oil to your night bath or rub the oil on your temples (with a carrier oil). Lavender is also a great way to get rid of unwanted odors. You can add a few drops to your washer’s rinse cycle to give your clothes that fresh scent.
3. Tea Tree
You can dilute essential tea tree oil to treat plenty of common ailments. It’s a great oil to always have at hand. Tea tree can treat athlete’s foot, eczema, acne, cold sores, and warts. You can also use it to help ease insect bites. If you add a few drops of tea tree oil onto a generic and unscented shampoo (or homemade shampoo if you like), you can also get rid of dandruff effectively and even treat psoriasis.
Because of how strong tea tree oil is, adding a few drops of it onto a spray bottle filled with water will give you a powerful disinfectant you can use around your home. Use this mixture to disinfect tables, countertops, or any other spots around your home that needs a quick cleaning.
You’ll definitely enjoy the smell of lemon oil, but you’ll benefit from it in more ways than just that. Lemon is a popular ingredient in most household cleaners because of its properties. You can add a few drops of lemon oil onto olive oil to make a quick furniture polish. You can also add lemon oil to various other homemade products such as detergents, soaps, and other spray cleaners to give them antibacterial properties.
Lemon oil also has plenty of therapeutic uses. You can use lemon oil to get rid of bad breath by diluting it with water to create a quick mouth rinse. You can add a few drops to your bath to get rid of anxiety and completely calm your nerves. Just make sure that you wait at least 12 hours after a lemon bath before you expose yourself to sunlight again. Lemon will make your skin a little extra sensitive, so be extra careful.
Everyone knows that chamomile is very gentle and soothing. After all, a cup of chamomile tea can singlehandedly put you to sleep. Chamomile oil can give you more than just rest and relaxation. When put in a diffuser, chamomile can also relieve your stress, anxiety, and even irritability. It’s a great way to induce calm among children who might need a little bit of rest and down time as well.
You can apply chamomile topically to treat some skin issues as well. Chamomile oil can gently alleviate eczema and dermatitis. You can also use it to treat acne or moisturize dry skin. When it comes to cuts or bee stings, the application of chamomile oil can help ease the pain and speed up healing.
One interesting thing about chamomile oil is that you can use it undiluted and full strength on your skin. Just be aware that those who have ragweed allergies might react adversely to chamomile.
It may be odd to hear that oregano can be used as a form of essential oil. However, oregano oil has many properties that make it a useful household item. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and also antiseptic. If you can think of something to treat, oregano oil can probably do the job. Just as a quick list, oregano oil can treat fungal infections, athlete’s foot, cysts, and warts. It can also alleviate pain that may be due to sprains, bruises, arthritis, tendonitis, and even fibromyalgia.
Oregano can also be a terrific anti-bacterial spray for spaces around your house. You can use it to disinfect countertops and other kitchen appliances. Just remember to protect your hands when using undiluted oregano oil, as it can cause severe skin irritation.
Mixing Essential Oils
One of the best things about essential oils is the fact that you can mix them up as you wish. You can combine the properties of different oils to make one that’s to your liking or need. Some of the most common combinations include lemon and chamomile or peppermint and lavender. They smell incredible and work wonders at the same time. You can be as creative as you wish with your combinations, and experiment with whatever works for you.