The Benefits of Essential Oils
02.21.12 The Benefits of Essential Oils
Known to work wonders, essential oils contain the true essence of the plant from which they were derived. Contrary to what you'd think, they are not oily to touch, but rather a pure liquid extracted from the plant. The oils are distilled by using either water or steam and are highly concentrated. Because of this, essential oils are packaged in small bottles as only a few drops are needed at a time. The uses vary from aromatherapy to household cleaning to insect repellent to natural remedies for physical discomfort and well being. Essential oils are often used by diluting them with a carrier oil (sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil) and then applying this blend to the skin for absorption.
We've recently added a line of essential oils to the MightyNest site because of the many health benefits that are associated with their uses in skin care, natural remedies and with non-toxic cleaning. Our current selection of essential oils are as follows:
LAVENDER: Try a few drops of this oil (with Epsom salts) in your bath for aching muscles and in a foot bath, your porous soles will absorb lavender quickly into the bloodstream. Massage a few drops into your forehead or nape of neck for relief from a headache. If you can't get to sleep, soak a washcloth in a sink filled with warm water and lavender oil and place wrung out washcloth on your face and breathe in the calming scent. Or, place a few drops on your pillow to drift into sleep.
Not only is it one of the few oils that is gentle enough to use undiluted, it's often claimed a “virtual first aid kit in a bottle". The antibacterial properties allow it to fight germs (which is why it’s also such an important ingredient in many all natural cleaning products for home and body), and, like peppermint, it’s often credited with aiding digestion and helping fight headaches.
- Soothes nervous tension, headaches, anxiety and depression.
- Helps to induce sleep: recommended for insomnia.
- Relieves pain from soreness in the joints.
- Disinfects scalp and skin: effective on lice removal.
- Enhances blood circulation: also lowers blood pressure.
- Treats respiratory problems: used in a vaporizer or directly on neck, chest and back.
- Digestion- increases the mobility of the intestine.
TEA TREE: Powerful antiseptic, antifungal and anti-viral. Good for acne, cold sores, warts, and burns. Use for vaporising to kill germs. Useful cleansing agent for skin including foot odor. Tea tree essential oil can help to control germs, bacteria, and fungi.
- Anti-fungal-use on athlete's foot, eczema.
- Antiseptic-use on cuts and burns.
- Anti-viral(inhibits the growth of a virus)-use a few drops in the bath.
- Vaporizer to loosen chest congestion.
- Combat lice and sooth dry/dandruff scalp.
- Treats sinus infections, colds and persistent coughs.
EUCALYPTUS: Try adding a few drops of eucalyptus to a tissue or cotton rag and place over the steam vent of a humidifier for optimal sinus clearing benefits and to keep room germ free. Powerful antiseptic and works well when used in baths and massages during the cold season. Blend in oil for natural chest rubs.
- Helps with respiratory problems-effective relief from colds and coughs.
- Antiseptic-good for cleaning wounds and soothing burns and stings.
- Relieves muscle pain: analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Apply in circular motion.
- Stimulating-good for relief of mental exhaustion.
- Dental and skin care: effective against cavities, plaque, gingivitis and infections.
- Fever reducer: reduces body temperature. Also called fever oil.
SWEET ORANGE: This oil is obtained from the peels of orange by cold compression. Sweet orange is used to lift the spirits yet it's calming to the nerves. Add to massage oil for an aid to the digestive system. Believed to brighten dull complexions and also encourages sleep. Try placing a few drops in the kitchen trashcan for a deodorizer.
- Anti-inflammatory, Anti-depressant, Anti-spasmotic (prevents/eases spasms or convulsions).
- Mild Aphrodisiac.
- Carminative- removes gases from intestines.
- Diuretic: promotes urination to flush out toxins.
- Sedative: relief from anxiety, anger, inflammation and depression.
ROSEMARY: Rosemary is an energizing oil with a strong herbaceous aroma. It helps to relieve muscle aches and combats mental fatigue. Use it in the daytime as its energizing effect may keep you awake at night. Helps combat water retention and cellulite.
- Indigestion: helps with stomach cramps and indigestion.
- Hair care: stimulates follicles making hair stronger. Nourishes dry scalps.
- Pain relief: used for headaches, muscle pains, rheumatism and even arthritis.
- Skin and mouth care: disinfectant for mouth and toner for dry skin.
- Boost of mental activity: increases concentration.
- Respiratory: relievs throat congestion, treats respiratory allergies and asthma.
PEPPERMINT: Peppermint is one of the oldest and most widely used herbs for digestion. It is also used to soothe nausea, cools overworked muscles (thanks to the menthol) and helps relieve itchy skin. Add drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of hot water and breathe in the steam to fight congestion, or rub diluted oil into sore muscles. And that’s not all: Peppermint is a key ingredient in oil mixtures that fight PMS, soothe congested chests, cool sore throats, and quiet headaches — and it’s often credited with increasing concentration, so ideal for a mid-afternoon alternative to the conventional coffee pick-me-up. Peppermint is also used to send a message to the brain which triggers a sense of fullness after meals.
- Add a drop into herbal tea to aid digestion.
- To relieve indigestion or flatulence, rub several drops around navel.
- To relieve a headache, rub a few drops on temples, on nape of neck or on bottoms of feet.
- Massage several drops onto unopened injury to relieve pain and inflammation.
- For mental alertness, inhale peppermint oil to boost mood or reduce fatigue.
- To deter rodents and bugs, soak a cotton ball and place near entry point.
LEMON: Lemon has many effective uses both for your body and in the home. This is a terrific essential oil to use as an astringent, an antiseptic and a disinfectant. Lemon essential oil has antibacterial and tonic properties, making it useful for relief of cold symptoms. Widely used in beauty care as it cleanses, refreshes, cools and stimulates. Use it to condition nails and cuticles. The fresh citrus scent is revitalizing and uplifting.
- Anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic, immuno-stimulant.
- Useful for the relief of cold symptoms.
- Clarifying: aids in the decision making process. Often called "rational oil".
- Uplifting, cleansing and dispels mental fatigue.
- Astringent: especially useful for oily and blemished skin.
OREGANO: Oregano is extremely effective at ridding the body of food poisoning and stomach bugs. It is highly antiseptic--the most powerful plant derived antiseptic known. Add several drops to liquid hand soap to expedite the healing of cuts and scrapes. Put a drop under each nostril for relief from sinus problems. Or put a few drops on a cotton cloth and wipe down kitchen counters to kill bacteria.
- Anti-Viral:boosts immune system and kills off viruses when sick.
- Digestive: Oregano Oil promotes digestion by increasing secretion of digestive juices.
- Anti-Oxidant: This property turns out to be very beneficial in the long run. This protects you from the damages done to the body by the free radicals or oxidants, neutralizes the free radicals and repairs the damages already done.
- Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Oxidant properties as well!
CLOVE: Clove oil has got analgesic properties and is a popular choice for dental issues including tooth and gum pain. It also has antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties and diluted versions help in the treatment of bites, scrapes and cuts.
- In food and condiments, clove oil triggers the body to secrete antioxidant enzymes which prevents the body from oxidative damage.
- Reduces the excess fat and lipid from the body.
- Antiviral and antibacterial properties and used in traditional medicine as a bactericide, fungicide, can prevent the body from infections.
- Use in a diffuser to kill airborne bacteria.
Where to apply essential oils? Essential oils can be applied almost anywhere on the body (avoid the eyes, of course). However, the fastest absorption occurs on sensitive areas like the soles of the feet, armpits, and palms of the hand. Always make sure that oils are properly diluted before applying to the skin--20:80 essential oil to carrier oil is a safe bet.
Green Cleaning: Essential oils have potent antimicrobial effects along with their clean, pleasant aromas. Especially good for cleaning are: lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree. Use in combination with baking soda and vinegar for natural, chemical free cleaning.
- Always read and follow all label warnings and cautions Keep oils tightly closed and out of the reach of children.
- Don't use undiluted oils on your skin (Dilute with carrier oils such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil).
- Skin test oils before using. Dilute a small amount and apply to the skin on your inner arm. Do not use if redness or irritation occurs.
- Keep oils away from eyes and mucous membranes.
- If redness, burning, itching or irritation occur, stop using oils immediately.
And for some terrific DIY recipes using essential oils, try the following simple remedies for great results: