My collection of essential oils at home is now growing as I continue to experiment and discover their individual fragrances and benefits. What started out as a hobby has quickly turned into a lifestyle change. However, I appreciate that this is certainly not a cheap ‘hobby. Then again, a lot of hobbies once you really get into it, are NOT cheap
Essential oils have numerous uses and benefits that range from health care to home and garden maintenance.
If I were to choose 5 essential oils for their spiritual and emotional uplifting properties, as well as for their practicality, these would be my personal favorites in the order listed and here are the reasons why:
1. LAVENDER essential oil benefits (Lavandula angustifolia)
Key Constituents: Linalyl Acetate, Linalol, Cis-Beta-Ocimene, Tran-Beta-Ocimene, Terpinen-4-ol
Lavender would be top of my list as the most essential of essentials as it is not only the most extensively researched (to my knowledge … insert link) but also the safest. Safe enough for babies and pregnant mums.
Aromatically, I use Lavender to calm, relax and balance me, physically and emotionally. This often leads to an improved concentration and mental acuity in me (rather than completely putting me to sleep, which insomniacs claim it does).
Topically, it helps to ease skin rashes, insect bites, acne or minor burns. My children love it as it also means a nice massage before going to bed.
For the household, I add a couple of drops of the oil to sachets of dried lavender (or make up a sachet of potpourri) before putting them into our bed linen cupboard. This helps to keep the moths away as well as adding a nicer fragrance to our bed sheets and pillow cases. Adding a couple of drops to the water used to mop the floor can also freshen up the living space.
2. PEPPERMINT essential oil benefits (Mentha piperita)
Key Constituents: Menthol, Menthone, Menthofuran, 1.8-Cineole (Eucalyptol), Isomenthone, Neomenthol, Pulegone, Menthyl Acetate
The oldest and most highly regarded herbs for soothing digestion, peppermint can be consumed in the form of tea and is found in a variety of food products. Peppermint drops (sweets), chewing gum and even in toothpaste. Peppermint I keep, predominantly for my husband who suffers from headaches and occasional indigestion.
Aromatically, I find Peppermint stimulating to the mind, improving my attention and focus. On the few occasions that I have to use it for a mild headache, the fragrance alone seems to help lessen it. I burn/diffuse it when my children suffer from coughs/cold (especially when they have blocked sinuses) to ensure a better night’s sleep though this I would now advise to do with precaution.
Topically, Peppermint can be massaged onto the abdomen (I put this diluted in a roller ball for my husband) to relieve stomach discomfort or nausea, rubbed onto the temples for headaches, or rubbed onto muscles to help relieve pain. A few drops added to cool water can make a lovely foot soak for hot, tired feet.
For the household, I have a 100mL spray bottle filled with 10 drops of Peppermint (or Purification) to eliminate odors around the house and to spray into stinky shoes. A few drops neat into cracks in wall will discourage spiders and rodents. It can also be added to the water used to mop the floor for its antibacterial properties and refreshing scent, particularly if you have pets living in the house.
3. TEA TREE essential oil benefits (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
Key Constituents: Terpinen-4-ol, Gamma-Terpinene, Alpha-Terpinene, 1,8-Cineole (Eucalyptol), Alpha-Terpineol, Para-Cymene, Limonene, Aromadendrene, Delta-Cadinene, Alpha-Pinene
I personally love the smell of Mel A. as I find it has a uniquely uplifting and almost ‘medicinal’ fragrance to it. This oil is highly regarded for its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties due the high levels of Terpinen-4-ol in it.
Aromatically, it uplifts, cleanses and purifies.
Topically, I dilute Tea Tree (or Purification) in a pure, fragrance free cream (send me an email if you want to know what cream I use) to apply to insect bites, mild cuts and grazes, mild fungal infections and skin conditions (acne, dermatitis, eczema). I also discovered the hard way in my earlier days of using Tea Tree that if the oil was not in its purest form, my sensitive skin reacted and I suffered for a few days with contact dermatitis (red, itchy rash)
For the household, a few drops to unscented shampoo can help alleviate dandruff problems, psoriasis, and (hopefully I won’t have to use it) treat head lice as well. A few drops into a spray bottle provides a chemical free disinfectant for table tops, door handles, railings, etc. A few drops into the water used to mop the floor would also be a good alternative to using Peppermint.
4. LEMON essential oil benefits (Citrus Limon)
Key Constituents: Limonene, Gamma-Terpinene, Beta-Pinene, Alpha-Pinene, Sabinene
I used to think I wouldn’t bother getting Lemon as I can easily get lemons and I’m sure the juice would do the same thing. However, it is one of the handiest oils to have for household use, not to mention a couple of therapeutic uses. Though I have yet to brave into the realms of consuming the oils (even though the brand that I buy is GRAS – Generally Regarded As Safe for consumption), lemon and honey or a hot lemon drink is always a requirement to sooth a sore throat, cough or cold.
Aromatically, the fragrance of lemon invigorates, enhances and warms. This helps to promote a clarity of thought and purpose – a nice way to wake up the children up in the morning too. Because I associate it as a natural remedy for cough and colds, psychologically I feel it helps to boost my immune system too.
Topically applied, lemon can make the skin photosensitive (easier to burn if exposed to the sun) so I have yet to apply it to my skin as I am out and about a lot and hardly ever apply sunscreen in Malaysia.
For household use, well that’s where most of its uses come from. Lemon can be added to dish washing detergent, laundry detergent, floor and spray cleaners. A few drops added to a carrier oil (such as olive oil) can be used to polish furniture beautifully. Adding a few drops to coarse salt and baking soda can make an effective, chemical free, antibacterial scrub for the kitchen sink and chopping boards.
5. FRANKINCENSE essential oil benefits (Boswellia carterii)
Key Constituents: Alpha-Pinene, Limonene, Sabinene, Myrcene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Alpha-Thujene, Incensole
I have always associated Frankincense with baby Jesus. One of three precious gifts brought by the 3 Wise Men for baby Jesus.
This exotic sounding oil, which I thought I would only ever hear about when growing up (before the availability of the World Wide Web) certainly lives up to its name. It is derived from the Medieval French word for “real incense”, considered the “holy anointing oil” in the Middle East and well referenced in the Bible “to treat every conceivable ill known to man”. I had to see and smell this oil for myself.
Aromatically, the fragrance increases spiritual awareness, improves attitude and uplifts the spirit. I use it occasionally at nights after an extremely stressful day to free the mind. There are claims that the fragrance can help to anxiety or panic attacks, depression and insomnia. It can also help to repel mosquitoes and flies when diffused.
Topically, I have found frankincense wonderful for the skin. Diluted in a carrier oil, it can help with scar tissue and acne. I wouldn’t hesitate to try it for other skin issues such as insect bites, cuts and scrapes, if I unexpectedly ran out of Lavender or Tea Tree. However, I would advise to use it diluted as it can be quite drying on the skin.