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A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils
You’ve probably heard about essential oils (or seen friends post about them on social media) and wondered what all the hype is about. Are they just today’s “snake oils” that take your money and end up doing nothing? Absolutely not. Let’s quickly explore what essential oils are and how to use them, then I’ll give you a list of some to start with and what they do.
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Essential oils are made from the roots, flowers, stems, seeds, leaves, and/or bark of various plants. Usually, the liquid is distilled via water or steam, and the end product is highly concentrated (so just one or two drops go a long way). Basically, essential oils are meant to provide the therapeutic benefits of the plants they are derived from. And a lot of them smell pretty amazing too, making them a popular choice for aromatherapists.
How Do I Use Essential Oils?ext-align: justify;">There are several ways to use them and not all oil will be most effective in the same way. Some can be mixed with lotion and directly applied to the skin, some have great benefits when a few drops are added to a bath, and others should be used with a diffuser to be spread via steam or heat and inhaled by the user. Before using any essential oil, research the best method of delivery (and correct dosage amounts), because some oil can cause irritation if used improperly.
Essential Oils to Start Withext-align: justify;">Let’s get you started with a few easy ones. I’ll give you a quick overview of what they’re good for and how to use them.
Lavender: One of the most popular essential oils, lavender smells amazing, has been reported to ward off headaches and has antibacterial properties that can fight germs. Mix it with lotions/bath products, or diffuse it to relax and center yourself.
Peppermint: This invigorating scent is able to boost your energy levels and help soothe headaches, indigestion, and other bodily aches and pains. Try massaging several drops on your abdomen and wrists to soothe nausea, apply a drop under your nose to boost energy, or use it on your temples/forehead/nape of your neck to relieve headaches.
Lemon Balm: The herb famous for relieving stress and depression can do the same things in essential oil form. It’s best used with a diffuser – don’t apply it to the skin undiluted, because the concentration can be quite strong. It’s also labeled by its Latin name, Melissa.
Orange/Lemon: Both of these are great to use in cleaning products for your home. You can also combine a few drops with bath products to keep yourself ultra-clean and smelling great.
Eucalyptus: Got a cold? Relieve congestion by creating a “steam bath” with a bowl of warm water and a towel over your head. Eucalyptus oil can also relieve arthritis and other body pains when added to a warm bath.
Try out a few of the above, then decide for yourself whether essential oils are worth the hype. However, note that you need to buy them from reputable sources/companies, as not everyone sells the pure stuff. Avoid any that are advertised as “fragrance/perfume oils” and do your research before buying.
Are you already using essential oils? What’s your favorite and when do you use it?
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