This is how essential oils can help your mind, body, and spirit.
It’s easy to dismiss essential oils as being just a bit too crunchy. With claims being thrown around that essential oils can cure every ailment under the sun, it’s no wonder they can get a bad rap. But this hippy remedy is actually centuries old, used by ancient civilizations like the Greeks and the Chinese for cosmetics and medicinal purposes. Spurred on by both the natural beauty and the wellness movements, beauty companies and researchers are taking these plant oils seriously and testing the rumors with science. Don’t be scared off by its alternativeness: Recent studies show that some of our favorite oils, like peppermint essential oil, as well as rose oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil, have properties that can actually help improve your spirits and your health. It’s time to consider this natural remedy to kickstart a better, healthier mind and body.
Table of Contents
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are concentrated oils that are extracted from plants and used in cosmetics, perfumes, and aromatherapy.
The History of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy
The use of essential oils for therapeutic, spiritual, and hygienic purposes can be traced all the way back to first-century Greece. It was described in detail by the Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist, Dioscorides. In his famous book, De Materia Medica, he writes about aromatic oils and the ointments that could be made with them. While science and medicine has improved boatloads since then, don’t count this ancient physician out. His book detailed several medicines that are known to be effective, such as opium and aloe. So maybe, just maybe, there are some truth to his other claims. Beyond Greece, ancient Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, and Indians also used forms of essential oils in their cosmetics and medicines.
Discerning Fact from Fiction
Shrankhla Holecek, founder and CEO of UMA Oils, recently told goop, that while aromatherapy can help with many problems, one should be wary of crazy claims. She says, “smelling a synthetic, perfumed candle is not going to give aromatherapeutic effects… By the same token, if you have a health problem you need to go to the E.R. Essential oils are no substitute!” To sum it up from a professional: Essential oils are helpful, but don’t believe any claims that seem too good to be true.
Research Backing Essential Oils
A few promising studies have shown that different plant oils can have curative properties. For example, studies show that ginger oil can effectively treat nausea and diminish migraines. While The Atlantic reports that both lemongrass oil and tea tree oil are effective at killing the harmful antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA.
Ways to Use Essential Oils
- Keep essential oils on your desk and inhale your favorite scent for a quick boost during the workday.
- Freshen up your space by adding a few drops of oil into a glass and let the scent diffuse throughout the room, or invest in an electric diffuser for a stronger aroma.
- Add a few drops of essential oil into your bath water for a luxurious soak.
- Create a room spray by mixing distilled water with your favorite oil.
- Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (coconut, jojoba, or almond) and apply to your skin to create a perfume. Most essential oils are extremely potent and can cause irritation, so always dilute essential oil with a carrier oil before placing it directly on your skin.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil can be used to aid digestion, boost energy, and ward off unwanted insects and bugs. Instead of sipping coffee at work, keep the oil on your desk and sniff it for a burst of energy when you’re feeling drained.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits
- Aids digestion
- Boosts energy
- Repels insects
Rose Essential Oil
The scent of rose oil is used in aromatherapy to promote positive thoughts and help treat depression. Stash the dreamy fragrance in your bag for a quick sniff that’ll leave you feeling uplifted. Rose oil also helps balance your skin, so it also delivers multiple beauty benefits. Create your own facial toner or add rose oil to your shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair smelling fresh. .
Rose Essential Oil Benefits
- Uplifts spirits
- Tones skin
- Nourishes hair
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is one of our favorite natural remedies for acne. This backed-by-research antiseptic fights the bacteria that causes pimples. Tea tree oil is one of the few essential oils that can be directly applied to skin. Dip a cotton swab in tea tree oil and lightly dab it onto a blemish and watch it magically disappear. To naturally treat an itchy, flaky scalp, mix one part tea tree oil with three parts carrier oil (jojoba, almond, or olive) and massage the mixture gently onto your scalp. Finish by washing the oil out with shampoo and conditioner. You can also create a household disinfecting spray by mixing tea tree oil with distilled water, soap, and vinegar.
Tea Tree Essential Oil Benefits
- Fights acne
- Disinfects surfaces
- Treats itchy, flaky scalps
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
It’s no coincidence that the decongestant medicine Vicks Vapor Rub includes eucalyptus essential oil as an ingredient. This plant oil can be used to help relieve congestion. Add a few drops of the oil to a steaming bowl of water. Lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head and inhale the eucalyptus-scented steam to help yourself breathe easier. You can even place a few drops in your warm bath for an indulgent spa-like experience.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Benefits
- Helps relieve clogged sinuses and congestion
- Removes odors
- Creates an indulgent spa-like bath
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is known for instantly relaxing the mind and body. It’s calming scent helps relieve nerves and quell anxiety. If you’re an insomniac, lavender will be your new favorite thing. Make a spray with lavender oil and distilled water and lightly scent your bedroom before you go to bed. The scent will ease you into dreamland for a truly good night’s rest.
Lavender Essential Oil Benefits
- Helps calm anxious thoughts
- Relaxes muscles
- Sleep aid
Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.