I love essential oils, I use them every which way I can, therapeutically as medicine in creams, medicated oils and poultices, in massage blends, in skincare products, for cleaning, and when cooking. Known as the life blood, or essence, of the plant essential oils have the power to heal, balance, revive and restore the body, mind and soul.
Our sense of smell is powerful and primal. It is attached directly to the limbic system, the part of the brain responsible for, among other things, our basic desires such as the desire to eat and drink, our emotions and our memories. Without our sense of smell we wouldn't be able to taste, the food we eat, determine danger or tune into those all important attraction creating, pheromones.
What makes essential oils so effective is that they have the ability to penetrate every level of our being. Their direct relationship with the limbic system means that they can heal on a deep emotional level, balancing our moods, lifting us out of depressed states and reducing stress and anxiety. Essential oils also have the ability, when applied to the skin, to penetrate right down to the cellular level thus getting to the very core of the physical problem, which is why many of them should not be used when pregnant.
However you choose to use them essential oils are a must for every home medicine cabinet. But it's important to use them wisely, a patch test on a small area of skin is advised before you use your oils topically and if you are treating a chronic condition with long term oil use follow this easy pattern of five days usage and two days off (I like to think of it as taking the weekend off), this is because all oils metabolise at different rates and long term use of the same oils can cause a build up in your body resulting in over-sensitisation. Also remember, when using your oils on your skin, to add them to a carrier cream or oil such as sweet almond or jojoba.
The following list of oils are some of the most common, effective and safe to use.
EUCALYPTUS - Use for respiratory infections, headaches, muscular aches and pains, burns and cuts and as an insect repellent.
GERANIUM - Use for wounds and bruising, cellulite and fluid retention, balancing the nervous and hormonal system and in skin care to balance the production of sebum which makes it an appropriate oil for all skin types.
LAVENDER - This is a wonderful all purpose oil that can be used for just about anything. It reduces inflammation making it great for muscular aches and pains and arthritis, it's inflammatory properties also make it a go to oil for burns, insect bites, rashes, eczema, dermatitis and problem skin. Lavender is also useful for respiratory infections and for bringing the nervous system back to a state of peace and calm.
MANDARIN - This oil is particularly good for children helping with colic, restlessness and anxiety. Other uses for mandarin oil include topically for stretch marks, problem skin, and nervous exhaustion.
ROSEMARY - This oil is particularly good for treating tired, stiff overworked muscles. It stimulates the brain making it useful for times when real concentration is needed like before a presentation or when studying for exams. Rosemary is also helpful in respiratory conditions where congestion is a problem such as bronchitis, certain types of asthma and sinusitis. This oil combines well with lavender for treating headaches.
SANDALWOOD - Use for varicose veins and swollen lymph nodes. Sandalwood is also a wonderfully relaxing oil making it great for anxiety and agitation. Used in skincare sandalwood is soothing, moisturising and cooling and it may also help stimulate hair growth if baldness is an issue.
TEA TREE - One of the most powerful antiseptic oils Tea Tree should be the go to oil for any type of infection, it stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and fungi and can be a deterrent to viruses. Tea Tree oil is recommended for wounds, burns, bites and blisters. It can be used to treat fungal infections such as athletes foot and a drop placed on a wart daily (then cover with a bandaid) will eventually remove the problem. Tea Tree oil is also particularly beneficial for respiratory conditions ranging from the common cold to whooping cough.