About 10 years ago, my massage therapist introduced me to essential oils. Back then, I mainly use oils to help with muscle tension and sinus issues. Since then, I’ve slowly learned more about essential oils and now use them on a daily basis at work and home for a wide variety of benefits. Also, in the past year I’ve started on a personal journey to start reducing chemicals from the personal-care and household products I use. Essential oils have been amazingly helpful in that quest. In this essential oils beginner’s guide, I’ll share what I’ve learned throughout the years as I have become hooked on essential oils.
For thousands of years, ancient healing wisdom has turned to plants and herbs in the form of essential oils to both preserve and enhance health. With the rise of modern medicine, natural remedies such as essential oils saw a decline in popularity. This has changed in recent years however, as we begin to understand that modern chemical solutions are not always the best option for our bodies.
Essential oils are a very potent remedy consisting of highly concentrated phytochemicals distilled from plant parts from flowers to roots and leaves.Benefits of Essential Oils
Due to their high concentrations of phytochemicals, essential oils must always be used with caution. When used safely, the benefits of essential oils are amazing.
Essential oils are known for:
- Healing hormone imbalance
- Boosting immune function
- Ensuring quick recovery from illness
- Healing infection
- Providing emotional balance
Essential oils are also an effective natural ingredient that can take the place of harsh chemicals in homemade cleaning and beauty products, as well as bug sprays. (Read my post Using Essential Oils to Clean Your House.)
How to Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are composed of tiny molecules that the skin is able to absorb very rapidly– therefore topical use is both a quick and highly effective way to use them. Oils can also be ingested, but you may want to talk to your doctor before doing so. You can also search Pinterest for essential oils and you’ll see endless ideas of how to make DIY personal products such as lotions, soaps, and hand sanitizer.
Diffusing essential oils, or aromatherapy, is also very effective– the oils are thought to be absorbed into the bloodstream while being inhaled. Using essential oils in this way is called aromatherapy– over the years, many people have used scented candles for aromatherapy. Recently, however, there have been growing concerns over the chemicals in scented chemicals. Essential oils provide a safe alternative.
My office mates and I have an oil diffuser running pretty much the whole work day. Often times we diffuse oils that will help prevent the spread of colds and flu. Other times we select oils that reduce stress or ease a headache. And then there are times that we create a blend that just smells good and boosts our mood! At home I diffuse a whole variety of oils for various health benefits.
There’s So Many Oils! How Do I Get Started?
It’s so easy to fall in love with essential oils- there’s nothing quite so amazing as these naturally soothing, healing powerhouses. One of the best- and worst- things about getting to know essential oils is that there’s just so many of them, all boasting their own unique blend of aroma, flavor and benefits. It’s tough to know which ones to choose!
Getting started with an essential oil sampler set is a great way to introduce yourself to several oils. I have the set of 18 Radha essential oils. It’s so much fun experimenting with different blends! There is also a set of 8 oils if you’re looking for a smaller investment. There are many brands of oils, some of which are higher quality than others. Again, the sampler set is a good way to figure out which oils you like or dislike.
The Radha oils box comes with a brief informational message for each oil in the cover of the box – kinda like a box of chocolates. Here is an abbreviated listing:
- Bergamot – The fruity, yet delicately spicy aroma can be diffused in the classroom, at work, or at home when stress levels or tension is high.
- Cinnamon – has a warm and spicy scent, reminiscent of winter holidays. It can be diffused to help increase blood circulation and when mixed with a carrier oil it creates the perfect massage oil for achy muscles.
- Clary Sage – has a sweet, nutty fragrance. Clary sage oil can boost self-esteem, confidence, hope and mental strength, thereby efficiently fighting depression.
- Clove – has a powerful, sweet-spicy and hot aroma with a fruity top-note fragrance.
- Eucalyptus – this exquisite oil is great for aromatherapy, respiratory problems, massage and more.
- Frankincense – is perfect to clear your mind. It is used to help relieve chronic stress in anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, boosting immunity, and even aids in fighting cancer.
- Geranium – The sweet, floral aroma is known to help calm nerves and naturally relieves stress and depression. It is also known to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
- Lavender – has a warm, luscious fragrance and is widely used for its calming and relaxing qualities. This oil is perfect for aromatherapy, relaxation, and massages.
- Lemon – The sand is coming in nature and therefore helps in removing mental fatigue, exhaustion, dizziness, anxiety, nervousness, and nerve tension.
- Lemongrass – bursting with a fresh lemon, citrusy aroma, lemongrass is known for its invigorating and anti-septic properties.
- Orange – has an intense citrus aroma and is widely used to inspire warmth and cleanliness. It is perfect for your essential oil aroma diffuser.
- Oregano – One of the most powerful essential oils containing immune-enhancing and anti-oxidant properties.
- Patchouli – has a strong earth the aroma. Patchouli also has wound healing and scar reducing properties, as well as aphrodisiac effects.
- Peppermint – perfect for aromatherapy practices, massage, inhalation and much more.
- Pink Grapefruit – has properties of a disinfectant, stimulant and antidepressant. This cleansing scent is revitalizing and creates an energizing citrus room freshener.
- Rosemary – an excellent inhalant. When inhaled, it can boost mental energy and also known to clear the respiratory tract.
- Tea Tree – used as a herbal skin remedy. Great for aromatherapy and home remedy use.
- Ylang Ylang – has a sweet floral aroma. Refresh your skin with an aromatherapy steam facial using ylang ylang essential oil.
My Favorite Essential Oils
I’ve put together a list of four of (in my opinion) the best and most versatile essential oils to make things easier as you get started. Read about my choices below:
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil, or ‘Lavare’ as it’s known in Latin is known for its gorgeous aroma and its ability to induce calm, bring on sleep and cure headaches and migraine.
But while these are perhaps the most commonly known benefits, lavender is used for a wide variety of other health issues, such as:
- Depression, stress and anxiety
- Pain Relief
- Increased cognitive function
- Urine flow
- Respiratory issues and blood circulation
Lavender oil can also be used as a bug repellent when applied topically (to the skin), and even helps to reduce the itching and discomfort of bug bites. In addition to diffusing Lavender, it’s also one of my favorite to use in all-natural skin care products.
There are a few things you should bear in mind when using Lavender oil- the oil should never be taken internally and is used topically or inhaled. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or for anyone with diabetes. It should always be used with caution by anyone with sensitive skin.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil is one of the most widely used and versatile oils- it can be taken orally and used topically for many conditions:
- Muscle and pain relief associated with joint pain, Fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses
- Fever reduction
- Headache relief
- Sinus and allergy issues
- Hunger cravings and increased energy
- ADHD relief
- Skin problems such as sunburn, inflammation and acne
- Stomach conditions ranging from colic to nausea, IBS, bloating and indigestion
Peppermint oil can also be used in shampoo to help treat lice, acts as a natural bug repellent and anti-itch solution, and is used in cancer patients to slow prostate cancer growth- it’s also used in chemotherapy to protect against radiation damage to DNA and cell death.
Amazing! No wonder it’s one of my favorites!
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is known for its distinct scent and has many uses- it’s also known for being one of the most widely studied essential oils and is known scientifically to act as both an antibacterial in the body and to neutralize harmful free radicals as well as reducing inflammation.
Eucalyptus also has a host of other health benefits:
- Warding off Staph infection
- Protecting against E. Coli, Herpes and Candida
- Lowering blood pressure
- Stabilizing blood sugar
- Acting as a natural bug repellent
Eucalyptus oil should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and when the oil should always be well diluted- if inhaled or applied topically without proper dilution, the oil can cause significant irritation both of the skin and the respiratory tract.
You should also take care never to ingest the oil.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass oil has a sweet, lemony smell that cheers the senses and lifts the mood. It can be ingested and has a wonderful and intriguing flavor that’s widely used in tea and various recipes.
Lemongrass has numerous health applications, for example:
- Relieving pain induced by headaches and fever, illness, muscle and joint pain and general body pain
- Fever reduction and healing wounds
- Use as a deodorant
- Boosting overall health
- Fighting depression, anxiety and inducing a sedative-like effect
- Relieving flatulence and bloating
- Curing cellulite
Lemongrass also makes a wonderful natural insect repellent and is said to have positive effects on the symptoms of disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more. Lemongrass can be irritating to the skin and can cause various other irritations- it should be kept away from the eyes and avoided during pregnancy.
Ready to Roll!
So, whether you’re just entering the wonderful world of essential oils or you’re a long-time fan, these incredible oils have got what you need- gloriously versatile and packed with a healing punch, it’s hard to resist the power of essential oils!
I hope this essential oils beginner’s guide has shed some light on the benefits you can reap from essential oils. Be sure to read my recipe collection of essential oil blends for relaxation and energy, and watch for my upcoming post that takes a deeper dive into selecting an essential oil diffuser. Do you have a favorite essential oil? Leave a comment about your favorite oil, where you are in your journey, or your thoughts about essential oils.