How to use and choose essential oils

Written by Andrea Tang

What exactly are essential oils?

What exactly are essential oils?

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts and they can be attained through distillation or cold pressing. The plant’s natural scent and flavour is retained, giving each essential oil its distinct essence.

It’s known to many as “alternative medicine” and is gaining popularity for its alleged health benefits like aromatherapy, reducing stress, improving skin conditions, and helping with digestion.

How do I use essential oils?

One of the most common application methods is topical by massaging it into the skin, spraying, and putting it in baths for wounds, acne, and scars. Next would be inhalation from diffusers, steam, and dry evaporation.

There are a handful of essential oils that are beneficial when taken internally. It can be used as a gargle to relieve sore throats. However, since many essential oils are not recommended for consumption, it is crucial that the oil is not swallowed.

Some essential oils come in the form of supplements that relieve stomach and gut problems. Despite this, a certified healthcare professional should be consulted before ingesting essential oils orally.

Essential oils are highly concentrated. Therefore, carrier oils are a must when applying topically to dilute the essential oils. This makes them safer to apply as irritation and drying out of the skin can be avoided. As a good rule of thumb, three drops of pure essential oils would be accompanied with one teaspoon of carrier oil. Some great carrier oil options are coconut and jojoba oil.

Choosing the right essential oils

Determining the desired effect is the first step. Most people gravitate towards essential oils for aromatherapy and helping with health conditions.

Type of essential oil

Benefits

Sweet Orange

  • Treating spasms

  • Natural sedative to alleviate anxiety and certain inflammations

  • Regulates menstruation and lactation as well as stimulate urination

  • Prevents infections around wounds

  • Cures acne and dermatitis

  • Boosts immunity

Roman Chamomile

  • Improves acne

  • Soothes inflamed skin and rashes

  • Relieves nausea and digestive disorders

  • A germ-killer in creams

  • Relives sinus inflammation and sore throat

  • Supports immune system

Bergamot

  • Relieves headaches

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Helps with stomach problems

  • Lowers cholesterol

  • Improves skin conditions like acne, blackheads, and scars

  • A great ingredient in aromatherapy

  • Able to soften and tame curly hair

Australian Tea Tree

  • Treats mouth ulcers, boils, dandruff, thrush, ringworm, and acne

  • A great hand sanitiser

  • An insect repellent

  • Antiseptic for minor wounds

  • Treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot

  • Relieves psoriasis

  • Great for a DIY cleaning product

Rosemary

  • An anti-infective agent

  • Reduces hair loss and removes dandruff

  • Stimulate hair growth

  • Boosts prostate health

  • Reduces muscle and joint pain

  • Eases stress

Lavender

  • Promotes relaxation and sleep

  • Helps with minor burns and wound care

  • Soothes eczema and dry skin

  • Improves functional ability in people affected by cerebral ischemia

  • Helps with respiratory problems

  • Stimulates urine flow

Frankincense

  • Prevent oral issues like bad breath, cavities, and mouth sores

  • Firms skin and limbs

  • Lightens scars and stretch marks

  • Prevents signs of aging

  • Helps with inflammation and pain

  • A great cold or flu medicine

Disclaimer: Benefits vary from person to person. Please consult a certified healthcare professional to find out which essential oils are right for you.

Another thing to consider when choosing essential oils is age. Younger children and the elderly might be more sensitive to certain oils.

One of the things to remember when choosing essential oils is the purity. Look for oils without additives or synthetic oils. Next, the quality. Choose chemical-free essential oils that have been extracted through methods like distillation or mechanical cold pressing. Last but not least, buy essential oils from a reputable brand.

Important tips to keep in mind

  • Before applying to larger areas of your skin, remember to do a patch test.

  • Don’t just rub essential oils anywhere. Some may not be safe inside your mouth, around your eyes, or private parts.

  • Use essential oils in moderation. Too much of a good thing can be bad.

  • It is best to avoid using certain essential oils if you are pregnant.

  • Don’t use diluted oils on damaged skin as it may cause unwanted irritation.

  • Read up on the safety and side effects of essential oils.

  • Only buy PURE essentials oils and be wary of unsafe rip-offs.


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