We all know about the everyday power of scent: how a particular perfume reminds you of your mother, or when the smell of your favorite restaurant brings you back to your first date there. But did you know that some scents can actually improve your health? Essential oils can also help you relax or sleep, or improve your skin or digestion — their benefits go well beyond a pleasant smell.
What are Essential Oils?
Did you know essential oils aren’t really oils at all? They are actually highly concentrated elements of the plant itself. Hundreds of plants can be used for essential oils such as chamomile, cinnamon, jasmine, red cedar and Valerian. People have been using essential oils in many different ways since ancient times—for their healing properties, stimulation, relaxation, cleaning and disinfection. Today, there are a vast variety of uses for essential oils—as a scent for your body, an air freshener for the home, in homemade cleaning products, for relief from cold symptoms, as a stimulant in massages, an addition to DIY face scrubs and masks and many more.
Uses and Tips
First and foremost, always make sure you are using a high-quality product. Some of the below uses involve placing the oil on your skin—so you want to be sure it’s safe and comes from a good source. Also, do research to make sure an oil is safe for topical or oral uses, some essential oils can be toxic.
The next time you or another adult in your family has a cold, put a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil in the tub. As the steam rises from a shower or bath, the essential oil will help to open up the sinuses.
To relieve a headache, place a couple dots of peppermint oil on your temples, forehead and back of the neck.
Use lemon essential oil to remove the sticky gunk left on glass from stickers.
Make your own air freshener by mixing tea tree oil with baking soda and placing in a container with a lid. Be sure to poke holes in the lid!
Keep lavender essential oil on hand to reduce stress. Research has shown that breathing in this calming scent can help with relaxation.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon has natural antibacterial, antiviral and antihistamine properties, making it a great natural cleaner. Lemon essential oil is great for making your own cleaning products since it helps kill bacteria and also gives off a great lemon scent. It can be used on insect bites or wounds. A few drops can even be added to your shampoo to invigorate your senses in the morning and stimulate hair growth. Just be aware that using lemon essential oil on the skin, such as in lotions, can increase sun sensitivity.
Diffusing lavender oil can help reduce stress, and promote calmness and better sleep habits. Lavender has also been found to help digestion, promote hair growth, and even support skin health. Just the amazing smell of lavender is nice to have in your home at all times.
You may be familiar with oregano for when you are cooking Italian food, but oregano essential oil has even more health benefits. It is a powerful oil, and therefore it should always be diluted with water or coconut oil before applying to the skin. Diluting the oil with coconut oil and rubbing the mixture on sore muscles helps speed up the recovery of those muscles. Oregano oil can also be used to get rid of warts, athlete’s foot, and ringworm. It is also known for helping get rid of internal parasites.