Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine that employs plant extracts to support health and well-being.
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant's scent and flavor, or "essence." Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essenc
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Sometimes it’s called essential oil therapy. Aromatherapy uses aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It enhances both physical and emotional health.
Aromatherapy is thought of as both an art and a science. Recently, aromatherapy has gained more recognition in the fields of science and medicine.
How long has aromatherapy been around?
Humans have used aromatherapy for thousands of years. Ancient cultures in China, India, Egypt, and elsewhere incorporated aromatic plant components in resins, balms, and oils. These natural substances were used for medical and religious purposes. They were known to have both physical and psychological benefits.
The term “aromatherapy” was coined by a French perfumer and chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in a book he wrote on the topic that was published in 1937. He had previously discovered the healing potential of lavender in treating burns. The book discusses the use of essential oils in treating medical conditions.
How does aromatherapy treatment work?
Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell and skin absorption using products such as these:
body oils, creams, or lotions for massage or topical application
hot and cold compresses
You can use these alone or in any combination.
There are nearly one hundred types of essential oils available. Generally, people use the most popular oils.
Essential oils are available online, in health food stores, and in some regular supermarkets.
Each essential oil has an array of unique healing properties, uses, and effects. Combining essential oils to create a synergistic blend creates even more benefits.
Aromatherapy has an array of benefits. It’s said to:
improve sleep quality
reduce stress, agitation, and anxiety
soothe sore joints
treat headaches and migraines
alleviate side effects of chemotherapy
ease discomforts of labor
fight bacteria, virus, or fungus
improve hospice and palliative care
Top 8 Most Popular Essential Oils For Beginners
Lavender Essential Oil
This must-have essential oil for beginners is effective for so many different uses. The floral scent makes it one of the best smelling essential oils that is beloved by many. Although this oil is known for being mild and calming, a few people are allergic so it’s important to take care.
While most essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil, Lavender is safe to apply directly to the skin. For promoting healthy sleep, add a few drops to a diffuser and place in the bedroom before sleep. You can also diffuse it into a room for a calming scent that reaches the whole family.
Peppermint Essential Oil
One of the best smelling essential oils that almost everyone loves, Peppermint offers a myriad of health benefits as well as a boost of energy. Its minty scent is reminiscent of candy canes and fresh summer days.
Use in a cool mist humidifier during winter months for fighting colds and cleaning the air. Add a drop to a glass of water and use as a mouthwash. Place a few drops with a carrier oil and massage into sore or tired muscles.
Lemon Essential Oil
Who doesn’t associate the smell of lemons with something fresh and clean?! It takes about 50 lemons to make a small 15ml bottle of essential oil—and you can tell just by opening it.
Add a few drops of Lemon to water and white vinegar in a glass bottle to use as a disinfecting cleaning spray for kitchen counters and bathroom sinks. Apply directly to the skin for healing purposes (avoid exposure to the sun after use). Add a drop to a glass of water and drink it to give a boost to the immune system (of course you should only ingest oils that you know are 100% pure).
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
The bright and somewhat medicinal scent of eucalyptus is minty with a hint of pine and sweetness. Some people describe the scent as sharp and clean, with a hint of camphor.
At the first sign of a cold or flu, place a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil in a diffuser and breathe it in to ward off winter infections and fight sinus congestion. Or add to a pot of hot water, place a towel over your head and inhale the steam. Add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage into tired and sore muscles.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Known from ancient times as a precious commodity, Frankincense essential oil is extracted from the resin of a hardy tree. This oil is more expensive than many, and works well when blended with other oils to make it effective for a variety of reasons. The scent is woody and clean with a warm and spicy tone.
Diffuse into the air in winter months to kill germs and boost your immune system. Apply directly to the skin on the face before going to bed to keep the skin healthy, prevent wrinkles and fade dark spots. Or apply to warts, moles, and other skin problems. Take a deep sniff of this oil after eating a heavy meal to aid with digestion, or prior to going to sleep to help calm and relax.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Another essential oil with a strong odor, tea tree oil is also commonly called ‘Melaleuca’. This scent is very medicinal and acrid with a camphorous odor.
Apply directly to cuts, scrapes, and acne in order to kill germs and promote healthy healing. Add a drop to a glass of water and gargle to kill germs in the mouth. Dilute with a carrier oil and apply topically to skin affected by athlete’s foot, nail fungus, or other infections.
Chamomile Essential Oil
This oil has a sweet, flowery scent that some people compare to apple blossoms. It’s an earthy, straw-like smell that many people find to be mild and enjoyable.
Add a few drops to a cool mist humidifier and place in the bedroom to help calm and relax. Or add a few drops to a water bottle to create a pillow spray or room spray. Add a drop to your favorite herbal tea or apply directly to the abdomen to soothe digestive problems. Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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