Essential oils (EOs) are highly concentrated plant extracts containing active chemicals that help support physical and emotional health and well-being.
Aromatherapy is an alternative medicine and holistic healing treatment involving the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes.
Research shows that there are multiple mental, emotional, and physical health benefits of essential oils.
Different oils work in many different ways.
The active chemicals influence the body via inhalation through the lungs and olfactory bulb, via the skin through topical application, or via the gastrointestinal tract through ingestion.
41 Physical Uses of Essential Oils:
Essential oils make exceptional preventative health care tools to keep in your medicine and beauty cabinet. Here are some of the most effective physical uses to keep in mind:
- Anti-inflammatory support
- Immune system support
- Treating colds, coughs, and flu symptoms
- Sinus infections
- Sore throats
- Yeast infections
- Low libido
- Thyroid support
- Skin cancer
- High blood pressure
- Menopause and hot flashes
- Headaches and migraines
- Foot pain
- Balanced blood sugar
- General pain relief
- Arthritis symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Tennis elbow
- Constipation relief
- Weight loss and craving control
- Allergy relief
- Sleep troubles
Skincare & Hair:
7 Mental & Emotional Uses of Essential Oils:
Essential oils can help calm tension, balance the nervous system, and promote robust mental health and well-being:
10 Other Uses:
Essential Oils & Their Therapeutic Properties
Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular essential oils and their alleged health benefits:
- Peppermint oil – is a digestive aid that can help constipation relief and alleviate IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms.
- Tea tree oil (Melaleuca) – is a potent antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic.
- Lavender oil (Lavandula) – Is one of the most well-known oils for stress relief and improving sleep.
- Eucalyptus oil – Is effective at alleviating respiratory infections.
- Oregano oil – Is a potent anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial.
- Roman chamomile oil is gentle enough for most sensitive skin types. It’s soothing and highly anti-inflammatory.
- Frankincense oil – It contains anti-tumor properties and is highly anti-inflammatory.
- Sandalwood oil – This oil may help lower blood pressure, and it also supports balanced hormones.
- Grapefruit oil – Citrus oils like grapefruit (and bergamot, orange, and lemon oil) can help support weight loss by reducing food cravings, reducing cellulite, and stimulating the body’s detox mechanisms by way of the lymphatic system.
- Ylang-ylang – Is a brightly-scented oil that’s commonly used for skincare and anti-aging.
- Cedarwood – Is excellent for increases focus and tension relief.
- Cinnamon bark – Improves circulation, boosts immunity, boosts libido, and can help with depression.
- Oregano oil – Is known as “Mother’s Nature’s Antibiotic” because of its strong antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
- Lemongrass oil – Is an effective insect repellent while also being a potent antifungal.
- Clove oil – Supports healthy blood flow and has anti-anemic properties.
- Geranium oil – Can help balance hormones, fight depression, and lower inflammation.
- Wintergreen oil – Is anti-inflammatory and can help relieve joint and muscle pain.
What’s your go-to or favorite essential oil?
How To Use Essential Oils
Always dilute your essential oil blends with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil if you’re applying directly to the skin.
As a general rule of thumb, stick to 1-2 drops of EO per teaspoon of carrier oil.
Never apply EOs in mucous membrane areas like your eyes, nose, or genitals, which can irritate.
Pro tip: One great thing about EOs is you can mix and blend different oils to enhance their healing and therapeutic effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created a comprehensive list of EOs that are considered ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) for ingestion provided the oils are undiluted, solvent-free, and consumed in an appropriate quantity and as described.
This list is not exhaustive.
The FDA doesn’t regulate EOs, so it’s on you to do your research and make up your own decisions when purchasing any oil.
It’s a good idea only to ingest supplement-grade, certified organic EO products as you don’t want to make symptoms worse to ingest pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
It’s also a good idea to use vegetable gel capsules that you can add the EO too.
Dilute the EO with MCT oil or olive oil if you’re going to use the capsule method.
You can also learn to cook safely with essential oils.
You can use either an inhaler for a more direct application or an essential oil diffuser for a less direct application.
Inhalation of essential oils is not as effective as topical application or ingestion for constipation or digestive purposes.
If you’re going to inhale or diffuse your oils, be sure to couple it with an abdominal massage for the best results.
Essential Oil Safety Concerns
- Essential oils are strong. A little goes a long way, and you only need a few drops to reap the benefits.
- If you use them carefully and mindfully, there’s a low chance of adverse side effects. (If you have a known allergy to a specific plant or oil, avoid using it.)
- If you experience any allergic reactions to any essential oil, then discontinue use immediately.
- Be aware of the contraindications for each oil you use as some of them aren’t safe for babies, young children, pregnant women, or those with high blood pressure or epilepsy.
- The best essential oils are pure essential oils. EOs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it’s important only to choose the highest quality products. Always choose certified organic, therapeutic grade oils that are 100% unadulterated.
- Perform a patch test on a small area of your skin and wait 24-48 hours. Proceed with the oil if you do not react. (Especially if you have sensitive skin.)