ESSENTIAL OILS: THE BASIC CARE KIT PART I August 27 2019
Ten aromatic oils every medicine cabinet should have
Everyone who even once experienced the power and efficacy of essential oils forever trusts their therapeutic magic. Our ancestors have been using them to heal the mind, body, and spirit since ancient times. They would observe the world around them and with trial and error, they learned which root, leaf, flower or berry would relieve their illnesses and complaints. The knowledge and wisdom were then passed down from generation to generation which later formed into the herbal medicine we know today.
The world of aromatic and medicinal plants is vast and bountiful but I have picked a small number of aromatic plants that I think every household can benefit from having around. The list below covers some of the most versatile and useful essential oils for the home medicine cabinet. Many people, (including me) believe that we can easily turn to nature instead of pharmaceuticals for some common health complaints. You will be surprised how wise and effective is Mother Nature.
Lavender is the most popular, widely used and multifunctional of all essential oils. At first, it may sound too good to be true, but as you begin using this oil you will realize its true potential. It balances body functions and emotions alike. Used in a massage or a bath the oil helps alleviate muscular aches, nervous exhaustion, and restlessness. To prevent insomnia or simply relax a troubled mind, add a drop or two on your pillow. A drop of lavender oil massaged on the temples and back of the neck is helpful in treating migraines, headaches, anxiety, and depression. Lavender oil effectively soothes burned, irritated or inflamed skin, which makes it THE GO TO oil for our beach and camping attire. It promotes healing and prevents scarring by stimulating the formation of collagen and healthy new skin cells. Repels insects like mosquitoes, for example, and when bitten it will remove the stinging. Always remember to dilute the essential oils in carrier oil or butter. 1-2 drops in a tablespoon work well for most people.
Tea tree has a reputation for the most medicinal of all essential oils. This plant has strong antimicrobial properties, inhibiting all three infectious organisms: bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Tea tree oil has potent immuno-stimulating effects and helps combat numerous health complains and conditions like acne, dandruff, cold sores, athlete’s foot, insect bites and many more. It stops infections from spreading when diffused in the air and can prevent common cold or flu when used in a steam inhalation. In addition to those applications, tea tree oil can be used in our personal or home hygiene. It can be the perfect disinfectant for make-up brushes, phones, remote controls, door handles, and other objects. Its antimicrobial properties destroy the bacteria on our skin that causes body odor, making it perfect as an addition to our DIY deodorant. It helps with bad breath and keeps insects away: pantry/clothes moths, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and ants.
Peppermint, another widely spread plant all around the world, from Europe and North America, all the way to Australia makes #3 on this list. The plant gained its popularity with its useful digestive and health-promoting properties. Peppermint is a great essential oil for all types of digestive upsets like nausea, indigestion, and flatulence. Use a few drops in massage oil and gently apply over the abdominal with a circular motion. Peppermint also promotes respiratory and circulatory health. Combined with lavender, the refreshing mint oil supports the body's defense system and prevents colds and flu. Relieve headaches and migraines by combining a drop of lavender and a drop of peppermint to a cold compress. In addition, the oil possesses anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. These qualities make it helpful to treat varicose veins and rheumatism. Psychologically, peppermint oil promotes clarity and alertness. To ease the symptoms of a shock add a couple of drops to a tissue and sniff. Do not use this oil topically on children younger than 10 and alongside homeopathic remedies.
Chamomile is another well-known medicinal plant with its multi-therapeutic, cosmetic, and nutritional values that puts it on our radar. German and Roman chamomile are the two most used and well-known essential oils. The first one is famous for its deep blue color and powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. These include internal inflammatory conditions like rheumatism and arthritis as well as external like eczema, skin allergies and rashes. The second one is especially good to use with children and infants, as it is both gentle and effective to help with common ailments. Roman chamomile is one of the best oils to choose for menstrual complaints. It relieves cramps, eases PMS and calms mood swings. Use in a bath, a compress, or in mood perfumes. This type of chamomile promotes total relaxation both to the body and the mind. It reduces muscle tension and helps stress-related conditions like nervous tension and insomnia. Because of its calming, balancing and restorative effects on our psyche Roman chamomile makes a great choice to use in meditations. Remember, essential oils are very concentrated substances and we should always dilute them when we apply them on our skin. Otherwise, they might burn our skin or cause irritation.
Rosemary is a strong physical and mental stimulant. As the old folk saying states "Rosemary for remembrance" this oil is great to use before exams, interviews or whenever we need to stay alert. Mix 1 drop of rosemary oil with 2 drops of neroli and dab your wrists before your test. Rosemary strengthens the mind and increases creativity while neroli calms your nerves. Another good way to incorporate this essential oil is in a morning bath. It will wake up the body, mind and make you feel refreshed. Because rosemary helps detoxify the lymphatic system and is a good liver tonic a morning bath with rosemary will make you feel better if you had a little too much to drink the night before. Overworked muscles, muscle sprains, arthritis, rheumatism, and fluid retention can all be improved with a rosemary oil treatment. To do so simply make yourself a massage oil with a carrier oil of your choice and several drops of rosemary oil to take an aromatic bath with 3-4 drops of the essential oil. In beauty, the aromatic herb is widely used in hair treatments and recipes, from hair growth to combating and preventing dandruff. Its antiseptic properties will help you deal with acne, as well as prevent airborne infections, relieve coughs and help the body fight the flu. Avoid this oil when you are pregnant or suffer from epilepsy.
Geranium is a genus of flowering plants that include around 300 different species many of which possess delightful aroma. In this particular case, we will review the essential oil extracted from rose geranium also known as sweet-scented pelargonium. This is a South Africa native, that was spread around the world from Eurasia to North America and it happens to be one of my favorite oils. The plant produces oil with light, lemon-fresh, green herbal top notes and soft, rosy undertones. This essential oil stimulates the adrenal cortex, which makes it a great balancing tool for moods and hormones alike. This is also one of the best detoxifying oils for the lymphatic system. Rose geranium oil has a number of applications from frostbite to infertility and endometriosis. It's antiseptic and astringent properties contribute to wide general usefulness. For example, if you treat a wound with a diluted rose geranium oil you will speed up the healing process. With its sweet and delightful aroma, pelargonium makes a wonderful addition to your DIY deodorant or a refreshing room scent. Psychologically, the essential oil creates a sense of comfort and security. It calms the nerves and relieves our anxiety. In skincare, the aromatic oil will balance sebum production and will bring radiance in your complexion. Another reason I love the rose geranium oil is its usefulness in female wellness and health. This is my go-to remedy when I have menstrual cramps. Besides that, it is also useful for those undergoing menopause or women who have difficulty becoming pregnant.
Eucalyptus, as geranium includes more than one species. In fact, there are more than 700 different plants under this genus. We use two of them in our formulations but for the purpose of this article, I will only discuss one of them - Eucalyptus Globulus. Many of us are probably familiar with this essential oil and its application in saunas and as a treatment for respiratory conditions. What I most love about this oil is its all year round usefulness. It cools the body in the summer and protects it in the winter. Eucalyptus oil helps fight inflammation and possesses excellent properties for relieving symptoms of colds, flu, and viral infections, while it's expectorant and decongestant capabilities help with cough and clearing up mucus from the lungs. In addition, the oil has the ability to reduce fever and relieve headaches, as well as neuralgia. Eucalyptus can also be used as an insect repellant. Add a couple of drops to your diffuser along with a couple of drops of lavender oil and don't worry about mosquitos or flies coming into your home in the summertime. It's pain relief properties make the oil useful in treating shingles, as well as overworked muscles. Add a few drops in a bath and relax while waiting for the essential oil work its magic. Another way to take advantage of its analgesic abilities is through a local wash. Blend it with bergamot and a carrier oil and you have yourself a medicine for cold sores and herpes.
The lemon tree originates from South Asia and it was later introduced to southern Europe, as well as California, Australia, and North Africa. For thousands of years, ayurvedic practitioners have used both the fruit and its essential oil not only for their wellness benefits but also to treat a vast number of health issues. Overall lemon is invigorating, purifying and cleansing. Its ability to improve cognitive functions and reduce mental exhaustion makes it useful essential oil to diffuse in the work environment. The aroma may improve focus and efficiency, as well as to reduce the number of errors we make. It helps to prevent emotional outbursts and assists in decision making. Lemon oil also clears the mind and opens the heard - two handy properties for quieting the mind during meditations. Physiologically this oil supports the immune system and detoxifies the lymphatic system. The two systems work together to sustain balance and wellness within the body. Lemon oil acts as a tonic for the circulatory system. It cleanses the blood and can improve varicose veins. The oil's ability to counteract acidity makes it useful in treating conditions like rheumatic conditions, gout, arthritis, and digestive acidity. Another great quality of lemon oil is its hemostatic properties, in other words, the ability to stop bleeding. This combined with the power to kill pathogenic bacteria makes this essential oil invaluable in treating cuts and grazes. Besides that this property makes lemon a wonderful oil to treat acne and brighten your complexion. Despite all the benefits of this sweet citrus oil, there are some precautions we should all keep in mind. If you have delicate skin, do a sensitivity test before applying it topically (even in diluted form). Lemon, as many other citrus oils are phototoxic. It would make our skin extra sensitive to sunlight and can cause pigmentation or sunburn. So be on the safe side and apply citrus oils at least 12 hours before going in the sun.
Thyme, another helpful oil to have in your home medicine cabinet. Most of us know this aromatic herb from cooking, but I assure you thyme has a lot more to offer than make your food taste delicious. There are many types of thyme, some of which are gentler and safer to use than others. So before you decide to use any essential oil read about its safety and always dilute it before putting it on your skin. Thyme ct. linalool, for example, offers wonderful properties and it is a vital component of The Basic Care Kit. This essential oil not only helps prevent infections but it is also perfect to use for recovering. It strengthens the body's defense mechanism, increases the production of white blood cells and does wonders against respiratory infections. With its powerful antiviral properties, thyme essential oil is good to have around when you come down with the flu. Diffusing a few drops of it in the room is a wonderful way to prevent others from getting sick. As a tonic for the digestive system, the oil has the ability to increase and regulate the appetite. In addition to that the oil assists in eliminating toxins from the body. Thyme has excellent balancing effects on the body. People suffering from chronic fatigue can really benefit from using this oil because it not only enlivens the body but it also calms it when needed. Take a bath with a couple of thyme drops or use it in massage or self-massage. Psychologically the aroma of thyme is fortifying, protective and energizing. The essential oil stimulates physical vigor and emotional as well as spiritual strength which is useful in people who tend to be lethargic or melancholic. Thyme is also very grounding, helping those, prone to spacing out.