by Alanna Ketler |
Essential oils can do much more than just produce lovely smells to make your home or bath smell pretty. Being highly concentrated oils from herbs, spices, and other plants, they hold some amazing healing properties. Essential oils are wonderful because they are completely natural and often do a better job than their synthetic, chemically-laden counterfeits. If you are interested in essential oils but aren’t sure where to start or which ones to buy, then this list is for you. Here are the top 9 essential oils to have on hand.
Lavender is my all time favorite essential oil. It has a wonderful, floral scent and is an amazing relaxer. It promotes a peaceful sleep and can even relieve headaches. Lavender can also be very beneficial for various skin rashes and can be an effective disinfectant for burns and cuts. For fresh smelling clothes, add a few drops of lavender to some aluminum free baking soda and put it in with your laundry.
Clove oil has been used for centuries. Because it contains eugenol, which is a strong antiseptic and anesthetic that can reduce pain and kill germs, clove oil can be applied to teeth to help relieve the pain from toothaches or dental cavities. Clove oil can also tackle odors in the air when diffused, or, when added to a spray bottle with water, can be used to kill germs and bacteria around the house. A drop or two can also be added to a sink full of dishes to help sanitize them. Another amazing property of clove is its ability to kill mold: just add 10 drops clove oil to 100 ml of water, spray onto mold, wait one hour, and wipe off.
Ah peppermint! Peppermint oil has a soothing smell that can instantly calm the mind. It is a great oil to diffuse while cleaning, and a drop can be added to coconut oil when oil pulling to achieve a minty fresh taste. Drinking a glass of water with one drop of peppermint oil can alleviate stomach aches, nausea, and even symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, while enteric coated peppermint oil can be taken before a meal to improve digestion.
4. Tea Tree
This infamous Australian oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia and boasts many benefits, particularly for the skin. It effectively treats acne and rashes, even helps with herpes, and is now being studied for its potential healing against cancer.
Tea tree oil is also an anti-fungal and can be diluted to treat fungal infections such as ringworm, or used to heal insect bites (and reduce the itching, too). It can be added to shampoo to help kill head lice as well — just don’t get it in your eyes!
Containing the active constituent limonene, lemon oil is my favorite to diffuse while cleaning, because nothing beats that lemony-fresh smell. You can add lemon to your laundry in the same way as lavender to boost your detergent’s cleaning power. It also makes a great disinfectant for counter tops and cutting boards.
Eucalyptus oil is a great one to have on hand; this oil is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiseptic, antibacterial, and a decongestant to boot. Upon smelling this oil you may think to yourself, ‘Hey! That smells like Vicks!’ but it’s actually Vicks that smells like eucalyptus! It is this oil which opens your airways and helps you breathe when you’re all stuffed up. And like its Australian friend tea tree oil, eucalyptus can also be used to treat insect bites. Adding a few drops to some warm water can make an excellent mouthwash, while applying it to warts can help remove them naturally.
When diffused, frankincense oil reduces anxiety and stress. This ancient oil also has a well-known influence on the limbic system of the brain, thereby supporting nervous system health, and it serves as a natural pain reliever when added to a hot bath, relieving sore muscles and cramps. The longer you soak the better.
If you haven’t heard of oil of oregano, it’s time you did! This oil can be absolutely amazing for both treating and preventing colds and other viruses. It is a natural antiseptic, antibiotic, and anti-fungal, making it an essential in your healing arsenal. It is considered nature’s antihistamine as well, helping to alleviate and even reduce allergies. And oregano is loaded with antioxidants, which means it can help reduce oxidative damage. It has also been shown to help rid the body of intestinal parasites.
Chamomile has some amazing calming properties; you may have noticed this after consuming some chamomile tea before bed. It can relieve the symptoms of an overactive nervous system, like anxiety and stress, and calm the mind and help you drift off to sleep. Because chamomile is a member of the Asteraceae family (which includes things like ragweed and other major allergens), however, you may want to skip this one if you have asthma.
It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equally. Not all brands are food grade, which means they should not be ingested or even applied topically, and some are of much better quality than others. Be sure to read the labels thoroughly before using any essential oil. These are highly concentrated, and although they are all natural, they can still be harmful if used incorrectly. Many oils must also be mixed with a carrier oil, such as castor, before being applied topically.
What are some of your favorite essential oils to use and for what purposes do you use them? Share in the comments section below.