Essential Oils and How to Use Them
For millennia, our human ancestors have turned to one particular substance more than any other, especially when it comes to treating pain, discomfort, and even illness. Essential oils are a unique formulation of liquid harvested from plants, herbs, and other organic materials; whereby the oil compounds present within can be extracted. This straight-forward, natural process has been used for thousands of years, and these days holistic treatments often rely on these remedies to tackle a wide variety of complications relating to health.
With pills and pharmaceuticals now at a record high, it should come as no surprise to learn that more and more people are turning to holistic treatments as a complement to modern medicine – and this is one of the reasons why brands such as doTERRA are becoming increasingly popular. According to an article on PubMed.gov, certain extracts of these oils can even be used to combat salivary estrogen in perimenopausal women – an ability that even modern medicines aren’t able to offer.
For those wondering where to source these types of all-natural essential oils, it’s well-worth noting that specialist brands are now available world-wide. Recently launched in Brazil, doTERRA offer an incredible variety of natural treatments, holistic products, and oils taken directly from plants and stored in an entirely organic environment, ready for supply to retailers and customers in general.
But where do these oils actually come from?
Every single living thing in the world contains water in one form or another, but where plants are concerned, this H2O often takes on the form of oil. And by distilling these oils using contraptions that emit steam, lift the atoms out of the plants, and store them in a vessel it can be possible to harvest the purest formulations available.
Within the resultant oils is a host of health-enhancing benefits. From antihistamine properties, right through to anti-inflammatories, anti-bacterial compounds, and much more in between; different oils are jam-packed with a range of health benefits. From roots right through to bark, leaves, resin, and petals – plants play host to an incredible variety of properties.
Once the liquid formulation has been harvested, and depending on the type of plant that it comes from, it can be used as a salve for skin, it can be consumed, or it can even be placed in a diffuser to emanate around a home or an office. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular advantages; and obtain an idea of what it is that makes essential oils such an important part of many treatments.
The Real Benefits of Essential Oils
Improving cognitive performance
One of the most impressive benefits that essential oils can have is the ability to improve brain function. A study has shown that these liquid formations have been able to help individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and many more neurodegenerative diseases.
The fact that the neuroprotective effects of these oils can improve cognitive performance and help those who suffer with conditions that affect the neurons within the human brain is amazing on its own, but there are also a few other benefits that can come with using them, too.
For example, it is proven that stimulating oils can enhance a person’s concentration over long periods of time, and that sedative formulations can be used to calm and relax individuals who may suffer with bouts of sudden anger. In addition, those with dementia can benefit in other ways from using these types of oils too, as they can reduce agitation and feelings of anxiousness.
Basil essential oil for instance has been proven to help tackle chronic stress, as well as decrease fatigue, and nervousness. However, since this liquid can strengthen mental muscles, many people find that it also helps to boost energy and focus attention levels, too.
Some of the best essential oils for those who want to improve their brain performance are rosemary, peppermint, lemon, lavender, and grapefruit.
Enhancing skin complexion
Nearly all essential oils have a range of varied uses, and many are able to boost the health of a user’s skin as part of their arsenal. More and more individuals are finding that they don’t need to use expensive beauty products, or those that are full of chemicals – as natural treatments can be just as good, if not more effective, than counterparts with high price tags and that are developed in labs. From improving acne to reducing the effects of aging, there are many reasons why individuals should switch to the use of essential oils for their daily skin care regime.
A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that a minimum of 90 of these liquid formulations can be utilized for dermatological uses, with thousands of different ways that they can be combined to provide users with even better results.
One of the main reasons why essential oils can be such an amazing skin treatment is because they can tackle the bacteria that are causing the issues. As well as being able to improve a range of dermatological conditions (such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, and more), these natural treatments can also help to enhance a user’s complexion and even help to heal wounds, too.
An amazing essential oil that is commonly used in skincare is rose, and this is because of its ability to help people with dry, damaged, or aging skin. It’s considered to be so effective because of the many therapeutic compounds that are contained within the formulation; helping to improve skin complexion, as well as treating dermatitis and other skin conditions.
Frankincense, carrot seed, geranium, and myrrh oil are just a few of the many other preferred compositions that can also be used to improve the overall health of skin.
Improving the immune system
Aside from the ability to improve skin health and brain function, essential oils can also help many individuals to ward of infections and illness.
Since most of these liquids are made up of ingredients that contain antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties (such as carvacrol, phenolics, ketones, and many more), they’re generally able to enhance a user’s immune system to help them to fight off infections – which is an incredible benefit to boast.
Thanks to these attributes, many of these ingredients are able to fight off a wide range of viruses, infections, and pathogens. Using these kinds of oils is often a natural and safer way to combat illness and keep the body healthy – particularly over long periods of time. This could prove to be especially beneficial for those suffering with long-term or chronic disorders.
For example, lemon essential oils can be incredibly effective at killing bacteria – which is the main reason why it’s commonly used to for cleaning purposes. These oils utilize the power of the citrus fruits’ ability to lower bacterial levels, to remove allergens in the air, and more.
Many individuals find that eucalyptus, oregano, cinnamon, and ginger extracts can also be incredibly effective at boosting the immune system; offering a powerhouse in the fight against viral illnesses.
Lessening aches, migraines, and pains
Research has also revealed that a number of essential oils are able to help alleviate the signs of pain and aching that can come with certain ailments. A wide range of these liquids can treat pains though inhalation or by applying them onto skin, and one study has revealed that they can be just as effective (and even better) than a number of other types of standardized treatment.
Black pepper essential oil for example can help to reduce a plethora of aches, in several ways. Its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties make it great for relieving muscle and neck pains, as well as helping with digestive issues, and even the reduction of cancer cell production within the human body.
Natural oils can also be used to treat headaches too – and this is because they work to tackle one of the main sources of these types of issues (often muscle tightness as a result of stress or exertion). In fact, these liquids have often proven to be better than painkillers for many individuals suffering with a range of headaches – in both those who suffer sporadically, and chronically.
For migraines caused by stress, depression, and anxiety, lavender and chamomile oils are some of the best treatments available, because of their abilities to help individuals to unwind and relax. Rosemary and peppermint oils however, are more effective for those who suffer with tension headaches.
Other effective treatments for pain, migraines, and aches include ginger, clove, yarrow, and eucalyptus oils.
There are many natural oils that can help to clear out toxins and impurities from our bodies. Chemicals and toxins can easily find their way into our internal systems these days – and often, they can damage our health in more ways than we realize. This is why it can be important to ensure that we promote the process of detoxification with essential oils.
Parsley oil is one of many treatments that can help to do just that, but the reason why it can often be so effective at body detoxing in particular is because it includes numerous properties that are perfect for the job; such as antimicrobial, antiseptic, carminative, and many more).
Grapefruit, lemongrass, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint oils are all great treatments for clearing the body of toxins, too. For those who want to reduce toxicity in the air of their home, orange, lemon, tea tree, and cinnamon oils are some of the greatest liquid formulations available.
Many people struggle to get a good night’s sleep, but luckily for those who want to get more rest, there are a number of essential oils that can help to promote sleep. Lavender is one of the most well-known and commonly used treatments for sleep, but there are several others that can be of assistance; especially if Lavender isn’t preferred by the user.
A study was conducted at the University of Minnesota to see the effects that a number of different essential oils had on sleep. Most of the liquids tested proved to be beneficial in some way, but lavender seemed to be the most effective overall. An important thing to note is that no negative side effects were found during its use, either.
Another study was then conducted to see just how lavender oil affected the quality of sleep that patients in the coronary intensive care unit experienced. These subjects were separated into two groups; the control group and the intervention group.
The patients in the intervention group inhaled the essential oil for 15 days, and the study found that their sleep was greatly enhanced compared to those in the control group who did not have any type of sleep therapy.
Some other treatments for those who want to get more sleep include ylang ylang, bergamot, and vetiver, and each has a unique aroma that can help to relax and balance an active mind.
As proven by dietary supplements everywhere, a wide range of natural ingredients are proven to boost digestion, and these positive effects can be applied to essential oils, too. Many are able to combat issues such as diarrhea, stomach spasms, indigestion, and a number of gastrointestinal conditions.
Often, these liquid formulations can help with digestion issues by stimulating digestive enzymes – which can often allow an individual to break down food and take in all of the vital nutrients contained within.
Ginger has become one of the most popular essential oils for improving digestion – and this is because it has been proven to ease constipation, reduce ulcers, and much more. It can also help to lessen nausea and stomach pain for a number of different causes, too.
Peppermint is another incredibly effective treatment for indigestion. Studies have shown that it can reduce pains and issues caused by IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and often, this oil is far more effective than leading market medications and their placebo counterparts.
In a study, 72 people with the condition were given either a placebo or peppermint oil to use for 4 weeks. Within a day of using this treatment, patients using peppermint oil found that symptoms of the condition were reduced by nearly 20%.
At the end of the time period, the placebo had only managed to lessen symptoms by 24%, whereas those who used peppermint oil for the full duration reported a 40% decrease in their symptoms overall.
Fennel, marjoram, juniper berry, and black pepper are other essential oils that can be used to help individuals with digestion problems, offering a wide range alternatives to suit users’ needs.
Improving energy levels
A number of individuals have found that many types of essential oils can boost energy and improve exercise performance. Where some are sedative and can help individuals to sleep, others can work to stimulate the brain – making a person feel more focused and often full of energy.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition conducted a study that showed that peppermint oil was able to increase the amount of oxygen that went into the brain in sportsmen that drank it mixed with water for 10 days, and it was able to lessen tiredness and boost energy levels for a sustained period of time.
Other than peppermint, individuals found that lemon, rosemary, grapefruit, and eucalyptus essential oils were also able to increase their energy levels in a notable manner.
Essential Oils for a Wide Range of Uses
There are many different kinds of essential oils, and they’re all different to one another; even if they share a range of uses. Where some can be relied upon to help fight off illness, others can help individuals that struggle to fall asleep at night. Below are some of the many liquids that can be found on offer at leading brands such as doTERRA – and their uses.
Note that some of these remedies also need carrier oils. These liquid formulations are:
- Magnesium oil
- Arnica oil
- Neem oil
- Rosehip oil
- Sea buckthorn oil
- Coconut oil
- Almond oil
- Argan oil
- Magnesium oil
- Jojoba oil
Essential oil remedies for the body and mind:
Immune system – Combining oregano essential oil and a standard carrier oil and applying it topically (usually on the bottom of both feet) before undertaking long plane journeys can help to balance the equilibrium within the body and help to reduce travel related sickness.
Supporting broken bones – Helichrysum, fir, and cypress oils are extremely effective when applied to areas of the body housing broken bones, to support them during the healing and recovery process.
For back and neck pains – Mixing cypress, ginger, and peppermint essential oils with cayenne pepper and coconut oil can prove to be an all-round effective homemade rub for a range of muscular issues.
To combat allergies – Inhaling oils such as lavender and frankincense can help to relieve the symptoms of allergies that are triggered by airborne particles, like hay fever.
For headaches and migraines – Peppermint oil and lavender oil are a great combination to apply to the temples to help relieve symptoms of headaches and migraines – or related pains.
For morning sickness – Combining a mixture of lemon, wild orange, and ginger oils and inhaling can help to reduce feelings of morning sickness produced by pregnancy.
To combat motion sickness – Lavender, peppermint, and ginger oils can be a powerful treatment when used to reduce the effects of motion sickness of varying degrees.
For ringworm – Massaging tea tree essential oil mixed with coconut oil can help to alleviate itchy symptoms when applied to the affected area of ringworm twice a day.
For Nausea – Inhaling peppermint, lavender, or ginger can be especially effective in reducing feelings of nausea – and applying the oil topically to the neck and upper chest can work, too.
For aching muscles – Applying a mixture of eucalyptus, cypress, wintergreen essential oils, and an unscented lotion onto the muscles in a circular motion is another great way to alleviate muscle pain.
To get rid of head lice – Apply a mixture of thyme, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils, as well as an unscented oil, to the scalp of an affected head of hair. Keep a shower cap on for 30 minutes to ensure results, and then shampoo the remedy out.
For weight loss – To support the metabolism whilst trying to lose weight, take a mixture of food grade grapefruit, cinnamon, and ginger oils and take as a supplement to a diet plan of healthy eating regime three times a day.
Energy boost – To lessen the toll of tiredness and fatigue, inhale peppermint oil for an effective energy boost.
For hangovers – To reduce the unwanted symptoms of a hangover, add rosemary, grapefruit, juniper berry, cedarwood, lemon, and lavender oils to a warm bath and relax.
To reduce hunger – Diffusing cinnamon and peppermint oils can be a great way to suppress appetite, reducing feelings of hunger for those hoping to lose weight.
Massage therapy – During a massage, adding lavender essential oil to an unscented lotion can be great way to reduce tension and stress.
For indigestion – Ginger, fennel, and peppermint essential oils can be used together to help promote better digestion.
To alleviate a cold – Taking food-grade oregano and frankincense oils 3 times a day for a week can usually help to alleviate symptoms of a cold or flu.
For a cough – Diffusing and inhaling eucalyptus oil can often help to clear coughs and open airways for a range of causes – and to help a plethora of individuals.
For a fever – To help get rid of a fever quicker, combine lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint oils to a cloth or sponge and apply topically to the body to cool and refresh.
To alleviate Arthritis – Combine a mixture of lemongrass, wintergreen, and cypress essential oils into an unscented lotion and apply onto affected areas to alleviate Arthritis symptoms.
Homemade Asthma remedy – Rubbing a mixture of eucalyptus, coconut, and peppermint oil onto the chest and neck areas can often help to alleviate symptoms of Asthma and breathing-related issues.
For circulation – Adding grapefruit oil to a warm bath can help to improve circulation within the body.
For depression – Inhaling rose oils and adding the liquid to baths can often be a great way for individuals with depression to improve their mood.
For premenstrual syndrome – Applying a mixture of basil, sage, and rosemary oils to a warm hand towel and placing it on the stomach can often help to reduce the effects of premenstrual syndrome.
To reduce anxiety – Diffusing lavender oil throughout a home can often help to relieve feelings of anxiety and stress, especially if used within communal areas.
Relaxation remedy – Rubbing lavender, chamomile, and peppermint oil into temples can offer fast-acting relief for a person who needs to feel more calm and relaxed.
For sleep – A few drops of lavender oil on a pillow can often help individuals to get a better-quality night’s sleep.
For concentration – Inhaling peppermint or bergamot essential oils can be a great way to improve focus and concentration throughout the day.
For tension and stress – The smell of lavender oil can help most people to lessen feelings of tension and stress.
Essential oil remedies for skin care, body, hair, and oral health:
Moisturising body lotion – A combination of Shea butter, coconut oil, magnesium oil, and essential oils can often create an excellent moisturizing body lotion.
For bug bites/stings – Apply lavender oil to bug bites and stings to lessen pain, itchiness and inflamation.
For dry feet – Apply a mixture of lavender essential oil and coconut oil to dry, cracked feet before bed and cover with thick socks to make them feel softer and smoother.
Cellulite reducer – Massage a mixture of grapefruit seed essential oil and coconut oil to areas with dimples to reduce signs of cellulite and water retention.
Age spot reducer – To reduce age spots, apply frankincense oil topically to the skin 3 times a day.
For acne – To treat acne, rub a mixture of tea tree oil and honey onto the affected areas, then rinse off with water for maximum results.
For chapped lips – Create a mixture of coconut oil, lavender essential oil, and beeswax to create a soothing lip balm for chapped lips.
Essential oil hair conditioner – Mix rosewood oil, sandalwood, and lavender essential oils to an unscented carrier oil and place into a sealable plastic bag before adding to warm water (to heat it up). Apply this to damaged hair and leave it for 20 minutes before shampooing it out.
For blistered skin – Apply a mixture of tea tree essential oil and unscented carrier oil to any areas affected by blisters, up to five times a day.
Dandruff remover – Massage a mixture of rosemary and lavender essential oils mixed with an unscented carrier oil into the scalp. Leave for 10 minutes before shampooing out.
For itchy scalp – Add lavender, basil, or cedarwood oil to shampoo to help reduce unspecified itching (not for use when treating head lice or psoriasis).
For eczema/psoriasis – Apply a mixture of lavender oil and Shea butter to areas affected by eczema or psoriasis to treat these skin conditions.
For burns – A mixture of lavender oil and aloe vera is often a great natural treatment for burns.
Skin toner – Create a mixture of 8 ounces of water and 2 drops of lavender, frankincense and geranium oils for the perfect skin toner.
For bruises – Apply a mixture lavender and frankincense essential oil and 4 ounces of hot water and apply to any areas affected by bruising.
Essential oil hair thickener – Applying rosemary oil to shampoo can often be a great, natural hair thickener.
Detox bath – To cleanse the body, add a mixture of lavender oil, sea salt and Epsom salts to a warm bath.
Aromatic body spray – Mix 5 to 10 drops of any essential oil with 4 ounces of water to create an amazing, long-lasting aromatic spritz.
Essential oil deodorant – Mix any essential oil, coconut oil, and beeswax to make the perfect deodorant.
For oily hair – Massage a mixture of 10 drops each of ylang ylang, rosemary, and lime essential oils with 2 ounces of an unscented carrier oil into the scalp 2 to 3 times a week. Wash out with a hand-made essential oil shampoo for best results.
Essential oil shampoo – Create a mixture of lavender, and rosemary oil, aloe vera, and coconut milk to create an essential oil shampoo (perfect as a regular-use shampoo).
Nail strengthener – Rub a mixture of 10 drops of frankincense, lemon, and myrrh oils and 2 tablespoons of vitamin E oil onto cuticles
For wrinkles – Apply a mixture of geranium, lavender, sandalwood, and frankincense oils with an unscented lotion to skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Sunscreen – Store a mixture of lavender essential oil, coconut oil, Shea butter, helichrysum oil, and zinc oxide in a bottle and use it to protect skin from the effects of sun damage and UV rays.
Teeth whitener – Rub a mixture of lemon essential oil, coconut oil, and fresh strawberries, onto teeth. Rinse after two minutes for a whiter smile.
Toothpaste – To create a homemade essential oil toothpaste, mix baking soda, coconut oil, sea salt, and xylitol with peppermint essential oil (should be used as normal toothpaste).
Essential oil recipes:
Lemon water – Ingredients: 2 to 3 drops of lemon essential oil in water.
Mint tea – Ingredients: 1 to 2 drops of peppermint essential oil in any tea.
Mint chocolate drink – Ingredients: 2 to 3 drops of peppermint essential oil to hot chocolate.
Peppermint patties – Ingredients: peppermint essential oil, raw honey, dark chocolate, and coconut oil.
Lavender cake – Ingredients: lavender essential oil, raw honey, organic eggs, and coconut flour. Bake at 350 degrees.
Essential oil remedies for the home:
All-purpose cleaner spray – Spray surfaces with a mixture of three drops each of lemon and tea tree essential oil, add to a few ounces of warm water to naturally disinfect and clean.
Burnt pan cleaner – Add a couple of drops of lemon oil to boiling water to help get rid of burnt food on pots and pans.
Carpet cleaner powder – Add 20 drops of tea tree essential oil to Borax to create an effective powdered carpet cleaner.
Shower scum cleaner spray – In a 16 ounce spray bottle, create a mixture of 4 drops of eucalyptus and four drops of tea tree essential oil with warm water. Spray the shower to naturally kill mold and germs.
Bathtub cleaner scrub – Create a bathtub cleaner scrub with half a cup of vinegar, half a cup of baking soda, and 5 drops of bergamot or lime essential oil.
Fridge/freezer cleaner – Add a couple of drops of citrus or bergamot essential oils to the rinsing water whilst cleaning the fridge or freezer, to freshen it up.
Dishwasher fluid – Adding a couple of drops of lemon essential oil to a dishwasher before turning it on can work to ensure a perfect rinse.
Mold killer – To remove mold and any toxins in the air, diffuse tea tree oil.
Christmas air freshener – Add a drop of pine essential oil (or even sandalwood oil) on a fire log 30 minutes before burning to make a house smell like Christmas.
Home air freshener – Diffuse rosemary, clove, and orange essential oils to make a home smell wonderful.
Bin freshener – Put a cotton ball with 2 drops each of tea tree and lemon essential oil into the bin to help freshen it.
Bathroom freshener – Soak a cotton ball in either lemon or lime essential oil and leave it behind the toilet to freshen up the bathroom.
Air cleaner – To clear the air of any impurities in a home, diffuse cinnamon essential oil for the perfect air cleaner solution.
Cooking odour remover – To get rid of odors left by cooking, add 3 drops of cinnamon, clove, or a citrus essential oil to boiling water.
Shoe odour remover – To eliminate of unpleasant odors from shoes, add 3 drops of tea tree and lemon essential oil to remove bacteria and therefore nasty smells.
Smoke remover – To get rid of cigarette smoke, create a mixture of 4 drops of eucalyptus, tea tree, and rosemary essential oil in a spray bottle and freshen the house.
Frequently Asked Questions about Essential Oils
Which essential oils should I start with?
There are a number of great essential oils, and all of them can do a range of things. However, some of the best ones to start with are:
- Frankincense (proven to reduce inflammation and scars, heal bruising, promote emotional health, and increase immunity)
- Lavender (proven to reduce anxiety, promote sleep, and heal burns, cuts, rashes, and stings)
- Peppermint (proven to improve asthma, bronchitis, headaches, joint and muscle pain, reduce fevers, and relieve digestive issues)
- Tea tree (proven to clean the air of pathogens, toxins, and allergens; can also prevent/reduce infections)
How can I tell which brand I should (and shouldn’t) buy from?
An important thing to keep in mind when shopping for essential oils is that not all of them are made the same – and for the best results, an individual will have to make sure that they purchase from a reputable brand such as doTERRA.
To ensure that an essential oil product is worth the money and will be effective, a potential buyer should check to see if they are 100% natural and pure, with no synthetics, are certified USDA organic, are properly sourced, and are at therapeutic grade.
What type of essential oil should I pick?
Often, the best type of essential oils for a range of uses will depend on what an individual wants them for. Each one is different in composition and will be made up of different properties – which is why certain oils (such as lemon) are far more effective at clearing bacteria than others.
Some oils may have similar uses, or opposing ones, so it’s often advisable to undertake some sort of research before making a decision or purchase. Reputable brands and sellers should be able to help with any queries regarding their products.