Recently we wrote on the basic information one should know about essential oils. Essential oils have numerous health benefits. They can be used in personal beauty care and in the household. Essential oils can also help you relax, sleep, can improve digestion, and a myriad of other benefits.
There are hundreds of essential oils, each with their own unique medicinal properties. It is important that you know which oil can be used for what. Just like using too much of a beauty product can be harmful or dangerous, essential oils should be used moderately. It is also necessary that you do enough research before you use them.
Just to get you started I compiled a list of 10 essential oils, their various properties and their uses.
1. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has been long valued for its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties and is hailed as the ‘jack of all trades’ of essential oils. Tea tree oil is usually added to soaps, shampoos, lotions and other beauty products.
Tea tree oil is used for a number of skin conditions such as dandruff, acne, athlete’s foot as well as cuts and burns.
-Mix 2 drops of tea tree essential oil with 2 drops of unscented oil (e.g.jojoba oil) and apply to a blistered area up to 5x a day to help with the healing.
-Adding a few drops of tea tree oil during the wash cycle will make your load smell fresher and will also kill any organisms that may be hiding in your washing machine.
2. Ginger oil
Ginger can be eaten fresh or dried, drank in tea or grated into vegetable smoothies. It has been used medicinally for years and is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is no surprise that its essential oil has lots of benefits. Ginger oil can help relieve aches and pains, as well as promote proper digestion.
-Mix 2-3 drops in a carrier oil and use as massage oil to relieve backache, arthritis and muscle pain.
-Add a drop of ginger oil to a cotton ball and inhale to alleviate nausea and morning sickness.
3. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus oil is used for pain and inflammation in the respiratory system and is usually found in cough drops, lozenges, soothing salves, mouthwashes and toothpastes. It is an extremely handy product to have in your house during the cold season, especially if you or anyone in your family is susceptible to coughs, colds and allergies.
-Using a spray bottle, add 4 drops of eucalyptus oil and 4 drops of tea tree oil to 500ml of water and spray onto your shower curtain to get rid of mold.
-Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a basin of steaming hot water, cover your head with a towel and inhale deeply to help clear your nasal passage.
4. Sandalwood oil
Sandalwood is popularly used in perfumery, cosmetics and in salves and is most commonly used in aromatherapy. Sandalwood oil has a woody exotic smell which has a calming and relaxing effect on the mind. It can be used to alleviate daily stresses and anxiety and by people with depression.
-Adding a few drops of sandalwood oil to your body lotion can help improve skin hydration.
-If you suffer from insomnia, rub 1 drop over your forehead and breathe in the aroma slowly. You will fall asleep very easily.
5. Lavender oil
Lavender flowers are small, pretty and have a pleasant smell. They are normally used in potpourri and home decor and it is from the flowers that the oil is obtained from. Lavender oil is known for its relaxing and therapeutic effects. It also has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Lavender oil is used in several skin and hair care products as well as in household cleaners.
Lavender oil can be used to reduce insomnia, depression, stress and anxiety. It has also been known to treat various skin conditions such as acne, eczema and wrinkles as well as soothe insect bites and itchy skin.
-Combine a drop of lavender oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the skin with a cotton ball to soothes sunburn.
-Add a few drops to your pillow for a good night’s sleep.
6. Rosemary oil
Rosemary leaves are a common feature in many kitchens and gardens. Rosemary oil has been extensively used in medicine since ancient times. It is used in indigestion, relieving flatulence, stomach cramps and bloating. It is also used in stress and pain relief.
-Rosemary oil is regularly added to shampoos and hair conditioners, which after regular use will stimulate your scalp and follicles, aiding hair growth.
– Diffusing rosemary oil throughout the room can help boost memory, calm your nerves and add clarity before exams or important meetings.
7. Peppermint oil
Peppermint has a minty fragrance. The essential oil is used as a home remedy for stomach problems, muscle pain and headaches. It is also used in aromatherapy and for a number of health reasons.
-Combine sea salt, baking soda, coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint essential oil to make homemade toothpaste. You can read more on the benefits of making your own toothpaste here.
-Combine a few drops of lavender oil and peppermint oil and apply to your temples to help with headaches and migraines.
8. Geranium oil
Geraniums are pretty pink flowers that are also known as ‘the poor man’s rose’. Geranium essential oil is often compared to rose essential oil because they share similar therapeutic traits. Geranium oil is often preferred to the more expensive rose oil and is use to treat acne, sore throat, anxiety and insomnia. It can also reduce pain and inflammation. It also has antiseptic properties which makes it a perfect solution for skin problems such as burns, fungal infections, eczema and athlete’s foot.
-Mix geranium essential oil with a carrier oil and massage it onto your skin to minimise the appearance of cellulite.
-For athletes foot, add 5 drops of the oil to a footbath made of warm water and sea salt. Soak your feet in this morning and night.
9. Patchouli oil
Patchouli oil is usually found in air fresheners and laundry detergents. It is also used in incense and perfumes because of its strong earthy aroma. Patchouli oil has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties and can be used as a deodorant, insecticide and as a sedative. It is used to treat skin and hair problems such as dry skin,dandruff and oily scalp. Some studies claim that patchouli oil stimulates the sex hormones and boost your sex drive.
– Rub a few drops to your sheets to keep bedbugs, mosquitoes and other pests away.
– Mix a few drops into your shampoo to treat dandruff and oily hair.
10. Lemon oil
Lemon is known for its ability to cleanse toxins from the body. Lemon has been used throughout history to fight serious diseases. Lemon essential oil works with the digestive, immune and respiratory systems. It can be used as a teeth whitener, household cleaner, cellulite cream and in facial scrubs.
– A lemon oil soaked cloth will brighten tarnished silver and jewelry.
– Dilute 1 drop of lemon essential oil with 5-10 drops of coconut oil and massage in a gentle clockwise direction over the abdomen to help with constipation.
There are several other essential oils that are extremely useful such as myrrh, rose, cedarwood, bay leaf, basil, ylang-ylang and others. Remember to do enough research before use, and remember to take extra care when using essential oils on minors and during pregnancy.
Essential oils can be found at your nearest health and beauty store e.g. Healthy U, Super Cosmetics etc or on online stores.
What is your essential oil experience? Let us know.