Essential oils have been used for decades by aromatherapists to alleviate a variety of systems and increase the overall health of their patients. Now that these oils are more easily accessible, a wealth of possibilities is now open.
However, there are just so many essential oils you may not be sure which ones are, well, essential. These five oils are the most commonly used and have a diverse properties which can be beneficial to your daily life:
1. Tea Tree
Tea tree oil is one of the most diverse essential oils. Due to it's anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal effects, it's been used for everything from athlete's foot to preventing acne outbreaks. When added to a vaporizer, tea tree oil has shown the ability to loosen chest congestion and treat sinus infection. In terms of skin care, tea tree oil is wonderful for spot treatment. It's often dabbed on the infected area to reduce the inflammation. It clears up pimples in a two days or less and greatly reduces their reoccurrence. Tea tree oil also shows the ability to reduce dandruff and destroy head lice, though research is ongoing as to why.
Peppermint oil has been used since the Roman Empire to relieve common ailments. The medicine used to treat headaches, colds, nausea and morning sickness will sometimes have peppermint as a main ingredient -- this is because peppermint has decongestant, antiviral and vasodilatory effects. Peppermint has also been used in many insect repellent. A study conducted in 1999 by the Malaria Research Centre in Delhi, India showed 85 percent of subjects who had applied peppermint oil topically where found to be completely protected from the surrounding mosquitoes. Lastly, peppermint has also been proven effective at the treatment of irritable bowl syndrome (IBS) symptoms. IBS is a disease which can cause cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.
Lavender possesses a fresh, sweet scent and is highly effective for relaxation, especially when rubbed on your back or the soles of your feet. Lavender can be used to treat minor wounds like cuts, burns or bug bites, thanks to its antibacterial properties. Lavender does an excellent job at balancing oil production in the skin as well as clearing blemishes and evening skin tone. It's indicated for all skin types and even helps hydrate dry skin. Some other uses for lavender which require a bit more research are depression, insomnia, migraines, nausea and loss of appetite.
Unlike many of the other oils, eucalyptus isn't popular in aroma therapy. Eucalyptus is found in variety of over-the-counter rubs, inhalers, liniments, rash creams and mouthwashes. Most commonly used to treat respiratory problems such as cold, cough, sore throat or a running nose, eucalyptus has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Eucalyptus oil has also been proven effective in healing wounds. When rubbed on ulcers, burns, cuts or insect bites, eucalyptus has proven effective in reducing the swelling and helping the cut heal faster. Many toothpastes contain eucalyptus is effective in fighting cavities, dental plagues, gingivitis and other infections due to its germicidal properties. It's also found in many massage oils or creams used to reduce muscle pain due to its anti inflammatory properties. Some other uses for eucalyptus which require a bit more research are fever, skin care and diabetes.
Frankincense has a woody, spicy and slightly fruity smell which most find calming. Frankincense is used for a number of conditions related to emotional stress such as anxiety, disappointment, emotional fatigue and hysteria. Frankincense is most commonly used as a skin treatment, to heal scarring and rejuvenate cells. Frankincense is also used to relieve menstrual cramps, stop the burning of a urinary tract infection and improve circulation. Some other uses for frankincense which require a bit more research are headaches, herpes, insecurity, asthma and allergies.
It's important to consult your doctor before using any essential oil as to prevent an allergic reaction and to follow dilution instructions carefully.
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