Essential oils are some of the most powerful natural medicines available. They’ve been shown to not only relieve stress and rid toxins, but also to fight infection and even kill cancer cells. Each one boasts a slew of health benefits, whether by diffusing in the air, applying topically or ingesting orally. But it’s essential that your oils are pure and of the highest quality. Here’s what to look for in an essential oil and my favorite ways to use them.
What are they?
Extracted from plants and trees, essential oils are made by distillation, which separates the oil and water. This method leads to a higher-concentrated, more powerful oil.
Essential oils are transdermal, meaning they are made up of small molecules that can penetrate the skin much better than other oils. They’re able to not only enter the body easier, but they can also travel easier once inside.
What to look for?
More often than not, the essential oils you find at a drug store or grocery store are diluted with fillers and synthetic ingredients. And when over-processed, they lose their healing power, and you may be doing more harm than good. You should be looking for certified therapeutic-grade oils to be sure they haven’t been produced with pesticides and are quality enough to be consumed orally in many cases.
Go for organic and steam-distilled or cold-pressed oils, and always buy them in dark bottles to protect against potentially damaging UV rays.
Which to use and how to use them?
Lavender oil is most commonly used for its relaxing and stress-relieving properties, but it’s also a powerful detoxifier. Add 8 drops of lavender oil, 2 cups of Epsom salts and a cup of baking soda to a hot bath and soak in it for 20 minutes before bed. You will gently detox your body and have the best sleep you’ve ever had.
For a quicker solution to insomnia, rub a little on your neck, put a few drops on your pillow or diffuse it in your bedroom.
While lavender oil winds you down, peppermint oil will wind you up. Great for boosting concentration and energy, this is the oil to diffuse in the a.m. Use a drop in your morning water to aid in digestion or fight nausea and acid reflux.
Peppermint oil is also great for curing the common cold or simply improving breathing when applied topically to the chest.
Like peppermint oil, you can ingest high-quality frankincense oil orally as well. It helps to reduce inflammation and has been proven to kill cancer cells (check with your doctor about the best way to use with treatment, of course).
You can add it to your bath for a detoxifying affect or apply directly to your neck, behind the ears, or to the soles of your feet to boost immunity. Frankincense oil is often used topically to reduce the appearance of scars, aging and acne.
Taking a drop of lemon oil (up to a few times a day!) is a great detox for your lymphatic system. Diffusing it has also been proven to strengthen immunity and boost your mood and energy. Who can be unhappy with the refreshing smell of citrus in the air?
Tea Tree Oil
You might have already used tea tree oil on your skin to heal a blemish. Mix it with honey for a regular, all-natural face wash. Or put a drop in your child’s ear to help fight off an ear infection (always check first with your pediatrician). To do so, mix 1 tbsp. of olive oil (read more how to choose olive oil) with 5 drops of tea tree oil and then apply the quantity on a cotton ball. Insert this cotton ball into the ear to treat the infection (You may want to warm up tea tree oil a little bit before usage). You can apply it directly to infections or add a few drops to your shampoo to prevent dandruff, too.
Oil of Oregano
One of my favorites as it is one of the most powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial remedy you will find (as strong as some antibiotics minus the side effects). When you are feeling sick (cold, flu, etc.) add 20 drops to 6-8 oz. of water and drink twice daily. The one downside is it doesn’t taste great, but if your outcome is to quickly get better, it’s worth it. Another tip is when flying, add a drop of oregano oil onto your upper lip just below your nose. This will kill any bacteria upon entering your body.