If you’ve ever had a professional massage at a spa or tried any number of organic beauty products, chances are you’ve noticed the potent soothing benefits of essential oils. These oils are—essentially—the concentrated liquid extracted from plants, which are highly aromatic and can be used for certain medicinal, pharmacological and culinary purposes. They’ve been called upon for centuries to create perfumes and soaps and continue to be used nowadays in alternative therapies.
If you like the idea of trying new things to further promote your health and happiness, you may want to consider looking into essential oils for a variety of potential benefits. Here are eleven benefits of essential oils worth a look, some of which you might already be familiar with, while others much less so.
1. Basil oil
A few fresh basil leaves liven up just about any chicken or pasta dish. And the essential oil has a similar effect when used in cooking. It can also be inhaled to make you feel more alert or as a sore muscle remedy to be applied directly to the skin. Just a few drops of course.
2. Carrot seed oil
This youth-promoting oil has antioxidant properties to help relieve joint conditions and prevent weakening eyesight. Like basil oil, it can be added to foods or massaged into the skin.
3. Eucalyptus oil
One of the more versatile benefits of essential oils, eucalyptus has historically been used for infections, upset stomach, asthma, joint pain, and burns. It’s often found in mouthwashes but should always be diluted before using orally or directly on the skin. What’s more, it can be used as a safe and natural insect repellant.
4. Frankincense oil
You may be familiar with the story of the three wise men, one of whom brought frankincense as a gift for Jesus of Nazareth. This essential oil is actually considered a concentration aid that may help you focus on the task at hand. In today’s overworked, multitasking world, it’s worth a shot!
5. Juniper oil
Found in a variety of skincare products, juniper oil is known for its fresh, earthy fragrance. It can be ingested or used directly on your skin to promote wellbeing and also to fend off pesky insects. It has a diuretic effect and is good for urinary health too.
6. Lavender oil
With its intensely calming aroma, lavender oil is often used in bedtime routines for relaxing the body before sleep. It’s also considered an antiseptic good for cleaning small cuts and bruises.
7. Lemon oil
Thought to boost immunity, the lemon essential oil can be added to a cup of tea or just about any refreshing beverage for a hint of citrus flavor. It’s also commonly found in household cleaners and can be added to water for a simple homemade sanitizing solution. The aroma is found to be energizing and may also help ease nausea.
8. Peppermint oil
Have you noticed that bowl of individually wrapped mints you walk by on your way out of many restaurants these days? It’s no secret that peppermint oil can aid in digestion and even trigger satiety. See if sniffing a vial of the stuff calms your stomach, or try squeezing a drop into your evening decaf tea to help ease your stomach after dinner.
9. Pine oil
Like lemon essential oil, pine is commonly used to clean around the house. You can mix a pine-scented floor cleaner by combining several drops of the oil, ½ cup white vinegar and a gallon of warm water. You can also make your home smell like the great outdoors by using pine oil in a diffuser.
10. Rose oil
When a dozen fresh-cut roses are just out of reach, rose oil is a nice, sweet-smelling substitute. Often used in skincare meant for dry, sensitive and aging types, rose oil has wonderful moisturizing and astringent properties making it a popular choice for beauty enthusiasts.
11. Tea tree oil
A popular oil for topical treatment of acne and fungus, alongside serving antibacterial purposes for scrapes and cuts, tea tree oil has been used as a remedy for everything from boils to toothaches. Whatever you do, don’t eat or drink it because you may have a severe reaction with a whole host of unpleasant symptoms ranging from hallucinations to diarrhea.
A word of caution
While essential oils are generally considered safe to use, they shouldn’t be ingested in large quantities. If you’re thinking about regularly using an oil, you should do some research into usage guidelines and potential risks, especially if there are children or pets in your home.
A note about pregnancy
Not all oils are safe for use during pregnancy. It’s probably a good idea to refrain from using them since there’s no solid evidence of their safety. Plus, pregnant women tend to be more sensitive to smells and substances.