Unless you’ve been literally living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed the essential oil craze. It seems like everyone’s homes have suddenly been filled with millions of tiny, scented bottles.
But if you’re a bit of an all-natural-novice like me, then this whole trend probably seems pretty overwhelming. Well no longer. We are going back to school. Essential oil school to be precise. Knowledge is power y’all.
Let’s start with the basics (aka what the hell these things actually are). Luckily it isn’t too complicated. Essential oils are just organic compounds that are extracted from plants. They are made up of small molecules, which are able to penetrate your cells.
Essential oils are normally extracted through the process of distillation (where the oil and water-based compounds of the plant are separated using steam). As a result of this process, these oils are super concentrated, which is what gives them that amazing aroma.
Oils can be applied directly to the skin or inhaled which allows them to pass directly into the bloodstream. Some essential oils can also be ingested but it’s best to consult a medical professional first. Probably the most common way you’ll see them used is mixed in with other products.
You might have also seen essential oils mixed in with almond or coconut oils. This is because essential oils actually evaporate really fast. These fattier oils help stop that from happening.
Now for a little history lesson. Essential oils have been used for over 5000 years. Roman, Egyptian, Jewish, Indian, Chinese and Greek cultures all used essential oils for many different things from cosmetics to spiritual rituals.
And what about today? Well, essential oils are now used for everything from home cleaning to natural medicine, relaxation and beauty. Lots of oils can be used across the board so you truly get bang for your buck.
- Lavender: perfect for healing cuts, rashes and stings
- Peppermint: improves muscle and joint pain. Also great for digestive issues, fever, blocked sinuses and headaches
- Frankincense: anti-inflammatory, immunity booster
- Melaleuca: antibacterial, antifungal, great for preventing the spread of inflection
- Calm anxiety: lavender, sandalwood or neroli
- Sleep: patchouli, ylang-ylang, cedar, bergamot, dry sage or rose
- Calm irritated skin: lavender or roman chamomile
- Thicken hair: rosemary or sage
- Treat acne: tea tree or geranium
- Antioxidant support: rosemary
- Reduce age spots/scars: frankincense
- Natural SPF: helichrysum or myrrh
- Freshen up your home: lemon or eucalyptus
- Get rid of pests: lavender
- Humidifiers: tea tree
While we’re on the topic, check out how to switch to an all-natural beauty routine. Plus, which oils you should be cooking with.
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