Essential oils have become popular over the last few years for their relaxation benefits, but now people are beginning to tap into the health benefits of using oils from seeds, stems, roots, flowers, and plants that are extracted and distilled.
My yoga instructor, Nikki Dean, here in Truckee, introduced me to essential oils and their many health benefits. Essential oils can help with allergies, muscle aches, fatigue, digestion, depression and so much more. You should acquire some basic knowledge of the usage and precautions of essential oils prior to using them. It is recommended that most essential oils be diluted and not applied directly to the skin, apart from lavender and tea tree oils.
Here are nine common essential oils and their healing properties:
• Cedarwood: Aids in the removal of body fat and is used externally for cellulite and the retention of fluid in the tissue. Also used for the respiratory system - a drop in a half cup of water to gargle for sore throat or with a few drops of Eucalyptus in a steaming bowl of water to reduce nasal and lung congestion. Eases bronchitis, coughs and colds. Can be added to shampoos or facial washes to reduce oily secretions. Helps to clear chronic conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis.
• Frankincense: Antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, digestive, and sedative. Slows down breathing and produces feelings of calm. Ideally used for meditation. Effective for respiratory congestion. Its astringent properties may relieve heavy periods. Stimulates production of new cells.
• Lavender: Analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, bactericide, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, fungicide, sedative. Soothes the spirit, relieves anger, valuable in manic-depressive cases. Has a sedative action on the heart, assists in bringing down high blood pressure, relieves insomnia, relieves muscular spasms and rheumatic pains. May be useful in nausea, vomiting and colic. Keeps insects at bay. Purifies the air. Promotes growth of new skin cells, great healing effect on burns and sunburn, acne, psoriasis, boils, fungal growths, and scarring.
• Lemon: Antacid, antineuralgic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericide, diuretic, emollient, insecticide, and laxative. Helps to clear thoughts. Tonic to the circulatory system, liquefies the blood and aids flow, thereby easing pressure on varicose veins. Used to bring down high blood pressure. Helpful in nosebleeds. Eases painful cold sores. May be helpful with constipation and cellulite. Relieves headaches and migraines. Soothes insect bites and stings.
• Lemongrass: Antidepressant, antiseptic, bactericide, diuretic, fungicide and insecticide. Stimulates the mind, lifts the spirit. Stimulates appetite, helpful with colic and indigestion. Prevents spread of contagious diseases. Great for aching muscles. Relieves fatigue, assists with jet lag. Aids in the flow of milk in nursing mothers.
• Patchouli: Antidepressant, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, deodorant, fungicide and insecticide. May cause loss of appetite. Due to its strong astringent properties, may be helpful for loose skin, especially after dieting. Seems to curb appetite also. Excellent in cases of diarrhea. Its diuretic properties are useful in cases of water retention and cellulite. Known to increase libido. Relieves effects from insect bites. Tissue regenerator which helps regrowth of skin cells and the forming of scar tissue. Heals rough, cracked skin.
• Peppermint: Analgesic, anesthetic, antispasmodic, astringent, decongestant, expectorant, insecticide and stimulant. Said to relieve states of anger, hysteria and nervous trembling, excellent for mental fatigue and depression. On the body, it has a dual action: cooling when hot and warming when cold. As a remedy for colds, it halts mucous and fevers and encourages perspiration. Good for travel sickness, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, colic and nausea. Its stimulating qualities are useful for shock, vertigo, anemia and dizziness. Its cooling and pain relieving action seems to ease headaches, migraines and toothaches. Not liked by insects and vermin.
• Rosemary: Astringent, digestive, diuretic, and hypertensive. Good for mental strain. Revives the senses. Clears headaches and migraines, especially when connected to gastric problems. Helps ease gout and tired, overworked muscles. Normalizes blood pressure. Could ease colitis, flatulence and stomach pains. Seems to relieve menstrual cramps and light periods. Its diuretic properties may be useful with water retention during menstruation.
• Tea Tree: Antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, bactericide, expectorant, fungicide, and insecticide. It has a refreshing, revitalizing effect on the mind, especially after shock. Its most important usage is to help the immune system fight off infectious diseases. Sweats toxins out of the body. Indicated for influenza, cold sores, and gingivitis. Provides relief from chicken pox to rashes caused by insect bites. Reduces pus in infected wounds. Clears pores and blemishes caused by chicken pox and shingles. Useful with burns, sores, sunburn, ringworm, warts, herpes and athletes foot.
Once you have explored some essential oils, you may want to start creating your own blends. Growing Up Herbal offers step by step instruction on how to create signature blends.