Essential oils, in their many scents, blends, and flavors, have been used around the world as healing and healthy lifestyle aides for centuries. From leaves and flowers ground into poultices hundreds of years ago to the modern, mass market extraction techniques used on the very same plants, essential oils are meant to address health problems without causing more complications (unlike many man-made pharmaceuticals).
Whether you’re looking to boost your immune system or want to add more natural elements to your daily beauty regiment, here are a few conventional and unconventional ways you can use essential oils to improve your health and elevate your life.
Conventional Health Applications for Essential Oils
As in all things, moderation is key when using essential oils. Overdoing it by using too much or mixing and matching oils without caution can cause adverse effects (for example, too much orange oil can drop your heart rate drastically; too much peppermint may irritate your skin). Test, taste, and try a few of these conventional essential oil health remedies in moderation to reap the benefits:
- Infection and skin irritations – (Tea Tree oil) – Tea tree oil, also commonly known as Melaleuca Alternifolia, is great for the body in general, but it combats infection and skin irritations like the best over-the-counter synthetic solutions. From soothing and healing irritated skin (cold sores, chickenpox, acne) to fighting infection and boosting immune system support, tea tree oil works wonders as an antibacterial and disinfectant. Apply topically to affected areas.
- Stomach and digestive system issues – (Peppermint) – Aching tummy or digestion issues got you down? Rub a little peppermint on your stomach (around your belly button) or dilute a drop or two (remember moderation) into a glass of water to alleviate stomach pain and provide digestive system support.
- Headache and congestion – (Peppermint) – Peppermint is an effective pain reliever across the board when used topically, and that fact holds true for deeper pain like headaches and those caused by sinus congestion. Rub a little peppermint oil behind your ears and along the back of your neck to ease headache pain. As an added bonus, peppermint’s aromatherapy affects (when applied so close to the nose) can help relieve congestion and unblock sinuses.
- Detoxing and disinfecting – (Lemon) – Great for detox purposes, lemon essential oil can be ingested with a cup of water to help clear unhealthy toxins out of your system while also working as an internal disinfectant. Add a few drops to your favorite tea for flavor to work in your daily detox cleanse.
- Fever and respiratory infection – (Eucalyptus) – While more evidence is needed to support effectiveness, eucalyptus oil is commonly used to suppress fever and fight respiratory infection. For immediate relief, add a drop or two of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot/boiled water, place your head above the water, and inhale.
BONUS: Tuberculosis – (Eucalyptus) – While studies are not yet conclusive, research into the airborne effectiveness of eucalyptus essential oil against tuberculosis is promising.
These few oils and their health benefits are only just scratching the surface of what essentials oils are able to do for you and your body. In fact, these same oils can work on a wide variety of trouble areas and health problems, but detox, digestive support, fever symptoms, and skin care are always a good place to start when working toward a healthier life.
Not surprisingly, essential oils can also be used around the house and even outdoors to address common irritants and cleaning complications.
Unconventional Indoor & Outdoor Uses for Essential Oils
Outside-of-the-box thinking has led to some pretty interesting/unconventional uses for essential oils. These are just a few:
- Insect repellent – (Eucalyptus) – Rub on exposed skin to combat pesky mosquitos and other biting bugs in the summer. Eucalyptus oil is fairly strong/can irritate when applied directly to the skin, so be sure to dilute in a carrier oil, lotion, or water before applying.
- All-purpose cleaner – (Tea Tree/Lemon) – There’s a good chance the lemon scent in your Lemon Pledge isn’t just for the pleasant smell. Give the Pledge a pass and create your own all-purpose cleaner using essential oils. Both tea tree oil and lemon can effectively elevate your cleaning prowess. Lemon oil can even be used to remove permanent marker! Add a little oil to a few ounces of warm water to create an all-purpose cleaner that’ll give your Pledge a run for its money.
- Rodent deterrent – (Peppermint) – Pesky rodents can be a problem, and driving them away can prove problematic in both remote areas and inside the home. A few drops of peppermint in the right spots can work just as well as mothballs or similar methods that are meant to deter rodents.
- Neutralize odors – (Lavender/Peppermint/Lemon/Grapefruit) – These oils are surprisingly effective at neutralizing stinky pet, shoe, and even paint odors. Mix with warm water or apple cider vinegar, shake, and spray. Additionally, to remove lingering cigarette odors from carpets, add a few drops of essential oil (any of the above will work great) to a large tub of water and baking soda. Sprinkle liberally over the affected carpet area, leave for a few hours, then vacuum. Repeat as needed.
Branch out, experiment a little (in moderation, of course), and find your own fun, effective indoor and outdoor uses for your favorite essential oils. While you’re at it, you may even find a few that are worth including in your daily routine.
Infusing Essential Oils into Your Daily Routine
Why limit your essential oil use to health, cleaning, and pest control? We say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Infusing essential oils into your daily routine can literally change the way you get ready for the day and how you view the products you’re already using.
- Tasty teas – (Lemon/Peppermint) – And you thought your favorite teas couldn’t get any better. Whether for flavor or their wellness benefits, adding a little peppermint or lemon can complement just about any tea. Add a drop or two and stir, but remember to not go overboard. A little peppermint essential oil goes a long way.
- Anti-depressant – (Grapefruit) – Like most citrus fruit-based essential oils, the aroma and hormone stimulation of grapefruit oil can be used to ease symptoms of depression and even anxiety. Infuse in warm water and inhale or use a little topically on your chest and neck.
- Healthy hair – (Lavender) – Tired of synthetic, plastic-feeling shampoos? Give an all-natural alternative a try. Add a little lavender oil to your current shampoo for that natural boost or create your own for healthier, stronger, thicker hair.
- Relaxation – (Lavender) – Commonly used for relaxation purposes, lavender can be dripped into an oil burner or rubbed on your body (ears, temples, stomach, neck) to provide a calming effect. Great for aromatherapy and massage applications.
- Skin care – (Tea Tree) – We’ve already discussed the skin-related benefits of tea tree essential oil, so adding this skin care wonder oil to your daily regiment is a no-brainer for both preventative and proactive purposes. Make your own lotion with tea tree oil as the base, and protect your skin from breakouts, cold sores, and other irritations.
- Appetite suppressant and weight loss – (Grapefruit) – Citrus fruits are recommended as part of plenty of cut-and-paste weight loss programs for their appetite suppressant and weight management properties. With that in mind, grapefruit essential oil works great as an appetite suppressant. Furthermore, when used in aromatherapy/massage capacity and coupled with other oils, grapefruit oil can be utilized as an effective intervention to reduce abdominal subcutaneous fat, waist circumference, and to improve body image in post-menopausal women.
Why Use Essential Oils?
If the above-listed recommendations weren’t enough to convince you that essential oils can improve your health and everyday well-being, you need only dive a little deeper down the essential oil rabbit hole to uncover additional benefits. Countless would be a bit of an exaggeration, but with the growing number of oils being produced and combined to provide a seemingly endless variety of uses, the notion isn’t that far-fetched. We’ve only just peeled back veneer here regarding how essential oils work, what they can do for you, and how to use them unconventionally to great affect. Now it’s your turn to look a little closer and discover the oils best suited for your individual concerns and remedies.
Next time you’re in the pharmacy aisle, take a minute to examine a few over-the-counter medications and the specific symptoms they treat. Chances are, there’s an essential oil available that works better, is more natural, and won’t leave you with unwanted side effects. The key is to find quality products made only from pure, clean, and natural ingredients rather than artificially-created replicas.