You must have heard about essential oils and how their introduction to your daily life can prove to be beneficial. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in ancient civilizations such as traditional Chinese culture, Egyptians, Vedic Indian culture, and the Roman Empire. These oils were used in different religions and ceremonial rituals symbolizing purification and were also used in healing therapies. They are highly concentrated and serve multiple purposes. But first, let’s take a small brief on what are essential oils.
Essential oils are aromatic compounds found in certain plants. They contain the essence of the plant’s scent, hence the name essential oils. Many of us have commercial air fresheners in our homes, but those are different in so many ways. Instead of manufactured chemicals, essential oils come directly from the plant. They can easily be extracted from the roots, leaves, stems, and other plant parts.
Benefits of essential oils:
Aromatically: You can breathe in an essential oil by using a room diffuser, which spreads the essential oil through the air.
Topically: In aromatherapy massage, one or more essential oils are diluted into carrier oils and massaged to the skin. Always dilute the essential oils as they are highly concentrated.
Internally: It has been studied and proven that certain oils are safe to ingest/ but it is advised to read the label directions of each individual oil before ingesting it, as not all are safe to take internally.
Some important essential oils and their uses:
- Lavender: It is one of the most popular and most used essential oils. It inspires calm and relaxation. It is used in body oils, cleansers, lotions, creams, body and hair mists.
- Frankincense: One of the most used oils in a wide range of perfumes, Frankincense is also used during meditation and yoga. It is used in body oils, massage oils, body mists, perfumes, room mists, and diffusions.
- Peppermint: The menthol and herbal aroma can be used in many ways to uplift and invigorate. It is used in body oils, massage oils, cleansers, soaks, room mists, perfumes, scalp oils, etc.
- Eucalyptus: It is great for body care products like body oils, massage oils, salves, room and outdoor mists.
- Tea Tree: It is used widely in body and home care products. It has effects of cleansing and purifying. It is used in body oils, body scrubs, cleansers, cleaning sprays, cleaning wipes.
- Rosemary: It can bring uplifting, energizing, and purifying benefits to your airspace and body care. It is used in body oils, massage oils, scrubs, soaks, body mists, shampoos, scalp oils, hair serums.
- Lemon: It is widely used in home cleaning and air freshening, and body care products. It is used in the making of body lotions, creams, cleansers, scrubs, soaks, perfumes, body mists, cleaning sprays, and cleaning wipe.
No matter how much we are aware of these oils, we always seem to miss out on some important information. Here are some do’s and don’ts of essential oils.
Do try these oils if you are anxious: Essential oils are used in aromatherapy. Certain smells like Lavender, rosewater, and chamomile, have calming effects. These smells may not take away all your stress, but sure can help you relax.
Check the quality of the oils: Make sure that essential oils are 100% pure with no synthetic fragrance or adulterations. Always choose the oils from trusted producers.
Toss out older oils: There is no specific shelf life for essential oils but try to not keep them for more than 3 years. Older oils are more likely to be spoiled because of their exposure to oxygen. They can irritate your skin and may cause an allergic reaction. Toss out older oils if you see a big change in the way they look, feel or smell.
Dilute them before every use: Always dilute the essential oil in carrier oil prior to application. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, the direct application can irritate the skin. For the known reason that water and oil don’t mix, never use water to dilute these oils.
Store them safely: One of the important things to keep in mind while handling essential oils is to store them safely. Store them in air-tight containers in a dark location, away from children’s reach. There should be no direct exposure to the sun, as they oxidize easily and deteriorate, losing therapeutic benefits.
Know about each oils’ safety concerns: Almost every oil contraindicated with certain medicines and medical conditions. So it is advised to take precautions before using it. Like oils rich in aldehydes (Lemongrass, Melissa) are extremely irritating, similarly every oil has its own conditions before use.
Know the current health of the user: Keeping in mind the health conditions of the user, essential oils should be used accordingly.
These oils should be properly diluted for size, age, physical constitution, and metabolism.
Learn the plant, its oils before starting to apply: It is always important to know the plant that you are using. Do your homework on it and research its benefits, actions, and how to use it.
Use an appropriate amount: Educate yourself on how much essential oil you should use for certain things. These oils are strong and concentrated. Overdoing it could sensitize your skin.
Use as directed: Use these oils in the ways they are recommended. Always read the label before applying the oils.
Don’t just rub them anywhere: Certain oils which can work just fine on your arms and legs but may not be safe to put inside your mouth, nose, eyes, or private parts. Some examples are lemongrass, peppermint, and cinnamon bark
Don’t apply edible oils on your skin: These oils are separate for application and ingestion. Cumin oil is safe if you use it in food, but it can cause blisters if you apply it on your skin. Eucalyptus or sage oil may help if you apply on your skin or breathe them in, but swallowing them can cause complications like a seizure.
Don’t use the oils on damaged skin: Application of diluted or undiluted oils on injured and inflamed skin can cause unwanted skin reactions, as damaged skin absorbs more oil.
Don’t use certain essential oils while pregnant: Certain oils like bitter almond, basil, cedarwood, rosemary, peppermint, rose, sage, thyme, wintergreen, etc. are not recommended for pregnant women. Spiced oils like cinnamon and clove or even oils like jasmine should be avoided as they may cause false or early contractions.
Essential oils come with great benefits when used precisely. They can provide a delightful scent or calming ambiance to your surrounding. But it is necessary to research every bit on the oil that you are willing to use. Natural or organic oils coming from a trusted manufacturer are best to use.