Natural Healing with Essential Oils
Everyone is talking about natural healing with essential oils. But do you know what different essential oils do, and how effective is natural healing with essential oils?
Essential oils, which are compounds extracted from plants, have been used in beauty products for centuries. We dig deeper into that in a bit but they can also be used for health purposes such as healing and pain management, as well as in cleaning products. The oils capture the scent and essence of the plant itself.
Some say essential oils have been utilized for nearly 6000 years, by the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. They were used for spiritual, therapeutic, hygienic, and ritualistic purposes.
What Different Essential Oils Do and How Essential Oil Is Made
Here is how essential oil is made, in essence (see what I did there?).
Essential oils are obtained through distillation via steam or water or cold pressing. After extraction they are combined with a carrier oil to create the finished product. Beware – if chemical processes are used they are not considered true essential oils. These oils are not meant to be swallowed but rather inhaled or diluted and applied to the skin. This can stimulate the limbic system which is a part of the brain that deals with emotions, behaviors, sense of smell, and long term memory.
Healing and Pain Management
Essential oils provide an “alternative” to modern medicines for pain management.
Wintergreen reduces headaches, geranium reduces arthritis inflammation, peppermint reduces pain, lowers fevers, eases stomach pain, and reduces congestion. Lavender relieves stress, sandalwood helps with focus, bergamot reduces stress and improves skin conditions such as eczema, and rose reduces anxiety. Chamomile improves mood and promotes relaxation, ylang-ylang is used to treat headaches and nausea, and tea tree fights infections and boosts
These are just a few of the plant extracts used for good health promotion. In fact there are over 90 beneficial essential oils.
- a mixture of chamomile and sesame oil applied to the temples is a traditional Persian remedy for headaches and migraines.
- smelling lavender oil improves the sleep quality of women after childbirth and patients with heart disease.
- Rosemary is a great degreaser.
- And then there is lemon, that multifunctional one. It dissolves sticky substances, (think of it as a non toxic Goo Gone), polishes wood and chrome, removes felt markers, is an antimicrobial, and just makes everything in your home smell wonderful.
Cleaning and Other Household
Uses for Essential Oils
Essential oils are nontoxic so a safe way to keep your home clean. They are safe for your water supply and the environment and much safer than chemicals. You can make your own cleaning supplies so you know exactly what their ingredients are. Oregano fights off viruses, fungus, bacteria, and mold. Peppermint keeps spiders and ants away, and several essential oils such as citronella, can be used as bug repellants.
There are many recipes for DIY cleaning products made from essential oils such as carpet freshener, cleaning spray, laundry detergent, wood cleaner, and dish soap.
Essential Oils for Skincare and Beauty
Using essential oils for skincare often gives you a double benefit. While working their magic on your skin they are simultaneously boosting your overall good health. A good example to prove this point is that when using frankincense oil to fade those nasty skin discolorations you are also boosting your immune system. There are numerous other examples of this.
- lavender soothes skin irritations and acne.
- tea tree is an excellent remedy for eczema and acne and as a side benefit it fights colds and infections.
- geranium encourages your body to recycle damaged cells and regenerate them. As well it balances your mood.
A good way to introduce these oils into your skin care routine is simple. Just add a drop to your moisturizer or face cleanser. But of course be sure to do a patch test before slathering it on your skin!
A Few Things You Can Whip Up That Are Very Beneficial
- Mix one ounce of water, ten drops of tea tree oil, and one tsp. Of aloe vera gel for a homemade hand sanitizer.
- four tbsp. of water, two tbsp. of witch hazel, and 8-10 drops of geranium essential oil and voila, you have a great face toner and pore tightener. This also stimulates cell regeneration and balances your skin whether too oily or too dry.
Ok the fun stuff is over. Now we need to get on with the technicalities. Sort of like having your dessert and then your meal. Sorry, but it is a thing I must do.
It is time to discuss carrier oils for use with essential oils. For those of you who don’t know. they are used to dilute essential oils because they are potent and can cause irritation when applied directly to your skin. Most carrier oils are suitable for use with any of the essential oils but listen up, anyone who cares about or believes what the FDA says:
The FDA does not regulate carrier oils labeled for use as cosmetics. However they do regulate edible cooking oils to use as carrier oils. Now, I have lost a lot of faith in the FDA in the last two years but that is another story. Just know what you are getting and doing. Therapeutic grade carrier oils that are safe are those that are cold pressed, 100% pure, and additive or preservative free. Here are some good examples:
Carrier Oils for Essential Oils List (just a few)
- coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil is great as a carrier but refined = not so much.
- jojoba. Now technically this is not really an oil but a wax with powerful moisturizing properties. Just as an aside, in acne prone people, this is a wonderful thing as it absorbs easily in the skin and doesn’t clog pores but it also helps to reduce the oil production by fooling the skin into thinking it has produced enough oil. Thus it is a great carrier oil for massage oils, facial moisturizers, and bath oils.
- apricot kernel oil. This is an emollient oil high in fatty acids and vitamin E. Use it as a carrier oil for massage oils, bath oil, and hair care products.
- olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the best to use for aromatherapy. It is packed with fatty acids which makes it great for cleansing and moisturizing dry skin. Also a good addition to homemade soaps.
- rosehip oil. This oil is high in vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is a natural retinoid that helps fight aging, and both vitamins can help reverse the effects of the sun on your skin.
- black seed oil. This is one of those multi-use oils that you can check out in our previous article. It is often used to sooth eczema, acne, and psoriasis, among MANY other things.
Mixing Essential Oils with Carrier Oils
These are a small sampling of excellent carrier oils so now let’s learn how to successfully mix them with essential oils. Here are some diluting guidelines:
3% dilution means 20 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil.
5% dilution means 30 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil.
10% dilution means 60 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil.
Store your carrier oils in a cool, dark place, preferably in the fridge. A dark glass bottle is also necessary to keep them at their best. Avoid using these oils on your lips, eyes, or other sensitive areas after having mixed it with an essential oil. Let’s be frank. The best way is to consult with an experienced professional, at least the first time you attempt this procedure.
Safety Using Essential Oils
For the most part if you purchase the proper ingredients essential oils are very safe. However, as with many things, they could cause a reaction in some people. Rashes, asthma attacks, headaches, and allergic reactions are the most common, and they are rare.
Another precaution – essential oils derived from citrus fruits increase the skin’s reaction to sunlight and consequently can cause sunburns. As mentioned above, it is always wise to do a patch test before administering a full treatment.
Essential oils that can be used with or without dilution are chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, unoxidized tea tree, rose, grapefruit, spearmint, and sandalwood. Some that should be diluted include bay, cinnamon bark or leaf, clove, citronella, cumin, lemongrass, oregano, peppermint, and thyme.
Those that should never be used around infants, children or Justin Trudeau include eucalyptus, fennel, peppermint, rosemary, verbena, and wintergreen. These can irritate their respiratory systems.
When using diffusers (as for aromatherapy) always follow proper dilution guidelines, diffuse in a very well ventilated space, diffuse intermittently, not exceeding 30 to 60 minute intervals.
Essential Oils Are Flammable
One last caution and then I will stop being a wet blanket.
Essential oils are extremely flammable. Do not use them or even store them near candles, gas stoves, lit cigarettes, or open fireplaces. Or near your heart, if it is prone to becoming aflame with passion. Or near any flaming-panted liars. Or dragons–especially panted, lying ones.
And just stay right away from this guy, period…
Let’s Wrap It Up
I guess the bottom line after all of this is do your homework and practice your due diligence but enjoy the effects to both your mind and your body when administering, or having someone administer these lovely products.
Please leave your thoughts or questions in the form below. We would love to hear them, as always!