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Using Essential Oils To Improve Your Health

Updated on January 25, 2016

What are Essential Oils?

To keep it simple; an essential oil is an extraction from a natural source such as lavender or peppermint and are taken from the leaves, roots an flowers of the plant they originate from. You can experience their health benefits by ingesting them, inhaling them or simply massaging the oil into your skin.

While essential oils are most commonly used for bath and scent-related purposes, they are also traditionally used for their medicinal properties and overall improving our well-being. Since ancient times, they have been used to treat conditions as simple as muscle aches to treating infections and even combat conditions such as insomnia.


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The Difference Between Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils, Carrier Oils, etc

It's easy to confuse essential oils with fragrance oils and carrier oils, but they aren't the same at all. They are used for different purposes and depending on what you're planning to use essential oils for, they can't be substituted with a fragrance or carrier alternative.

A fragrance oil is basically a scented or aromatic oil and isn't naturally infused. It differs from essential oils due to the fact that fragance oils are synthetic and essential oils are exclusively natural. Essential oils are beneficial to our health, whereas a fragrance oil is simply an appealing smell.

Carrier oils on the other hand have more in common with essential oils than fragrance oils, but aren't quite the same. Carrier oils for example are vegetable oils taken from the fatty regions of plants such as the seeds and nuts, whereas essential oils are taken from areas such as roots, leaves and flowers where there is no fat.

Tonics are also confused with essential oils from time to time. Tonics are almost exclusively used for your skin and hair, while essential oils can cater to a wider range of uses. They are commonly used as medicine and are better described as potions or infusions.

Lastly to cover, there are also tinctures which aren't the same as essential oils at all. The main difference is that they are made to take orally and are usually extracted from herbs in alcohol.

Natural essential oils

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Uses for Essential Oils Include:

  • Overall have a relaxing effect on the human body

  • Can be used to calm those with anxiety, stress and to relieve tension.

  • Used to fight insomnia and get a better night of sleep.

  • Can help fight bad body odour.

  • Similary can be used to fight bad breath.

  • A lot of oils are anti-fungal and anti-bacterial so they can be effectively used for treating infections.

  • Used sometimes to smoothen wrinkles.

  • Can be used for strengthening hair and nails.

  • Great as a natural teeth whitener.

  • Used sometimes to treat nasuea and dizziness.

  • Can be used to treat indigestion and upset stomachs.

  • Can be used to treat poison ivy rashes naturally.

  • Used to treat burns.

  • Also bruises.

  • Can be used as an alternative treatment when dealing with premenstrual symptoms.

  • Weight loss, no really!

  • Combatting colds.

  • Relieving muscle aches.


Using Essential Oils For Aches and Pains

Essential oils can be effective in helping you deal with aches in your body. The types of aches aren't limited to headaches, muscle aches, aching joints even premenstrual aches/cramps.

Essential oils can be used to relieve aches, along with getting rest and the addition of pain killers.

  • Lavender oil is famously known for helping with relaxation and pain relief. A common way to put this oil into use is to add it a hot bath. Just 10 minutes of lavender infused relaxation should be enough to lessen the pain of a mild ache. Lavender oil can also be applied to a warm damp cloth and applied to the area where the ache is present and also doubles as a natural treatment for poison ivy rashes.

  • Chamomile oil can be used to treat muscle pain, PMS symptoms and headaches. It might be able to reduce swelling if applied directly, but will only work for very mild swelling, anything worse may have to be treated by a doctor.

  • Ginger oil can be used to combat stomach aches and also indigestion. By adding a a few drops to a cup of hot water, you can relieve the symptoms of a stomach ache and also PMS.

  • Peppermint oil is great for treating aches, especially headaches. It can be directly massaged into your temples to help relieve a headache. Otherwise, it can be used in a similar way to chamomile oil.

  • Thyme oil is used to treat sports injuries such as muscle aches, back aches and even arthirtis. Can be applied directly to the source of the pain.

  • Frankincense oil can be used as a mild sedative which will act as temporary pain relief.

Using Essential Oils for Skincare

Essential oils can also help with achieving desired results for skincare. This isn't limited to treating acne, scars, stretch marks and dry skin.

In addition to hand creams, lotions, keeping hydrated and such, essential oils can play a role in making your skin look better and healthier.

  • Use Frankincense oil to treat acne. The oil itself has anti-inflammatory properties and is also known for being anti-bacterial. You can apply it to acne directly or diluted if you find it too strong to see if this acne treatment works for you. It can also tighten skin and help with pigmentation issues.

  • Tea Tree oil is fantastic for your skin. Many people choose to use it as a toner for their face. Use it to stop breakouts, treating acne and to keep your face feeling soft.

  • Rose oil is most commonly used for dry skin in the skincare world. What it does is essentially smoothen out the texture of the skin which also makes it an effective oil to use against aging too.

  • Rosehip oil can help with the treatment of scars and fading. When applied directly and massaged into the scars, it may help them fade away over time.

  • Use lemongrass oil as an effective skin toner. It helps improve the texture of your skin and can be applied either directly or diluted to your face.

  • Juniper oil is used to treat infections traditionally, but can also help with keeping acne away.

  • Coconut essential* oil can be used to treat strechmarks and help them fade when applied directly through massaging the oil into the area where the stretchmarks are present.

Using Essential Oils for Haircare

Essential oils can also be used to promote healthy hair growth, be used in masking treatments and help it become more shiny, less dry, etc.

With a healthy diet (you really are what you eat with hair, skincare and overall health) and by taking care of your hair otherwise, you can improve the quality of your hair.

  • Lavender oil can help with dry hair and dandruff prevention. Application is simple, just apply a few drops to your wet hair and wash as normal. Many people choose to apply it to their conditioners or hair masks for a more effective treatment.

  • Coconut essential* oil helps achieve a luxurious shine and can soften up brittle hair. Simply directly apply the oil to your hair by working a few drops in and wash out after a few minutes have passed.

  • Basil oil is used for oily hair and maintaining it. If you have particulary oily hair, try working a few drops of basil oil into your scalp and washing out along with your conditioner.

  • Lemon oil is also used similarly to basil oil but can also naturally highlight your hair (it isn't damaging as long as you use a few drops of the oil, it only becomes damaging with fresh lemon juice applied to your hair) and treat dandruff and a dry scalp.

  • Peppermint oil is commonly used for hair growth as well as help with dry hair. You can use peppermint oil as a hair growth treatment by leaving a few drops massaged in your scalp for 10-15 minutes a day to see if it works for you.

Using Essential Oils for Anxiety, Tension and Stress

It's no mystery that essential oils are used to relax people. These oils can be used in massage as well as helping those with anxiety or those who are stressed and tense.

If you introduce essential oil therapy as an option for someone with anxiety disorder or someone who is experiencing stress, make sure that they are (or you, if this is for yourself) are getting the appropriate support and aren't relying on essential oils as an option alone.

  • Lavender oil is an extremely versatile oil that is also good for reducing the symptoms of anxiety by giving off a calming effect. You can use it similarly to the ache reduction technique in which when applied to a hot bath or damp cloth, gives off a calming effect. A perfect oil to also use for massage therapy. You can also treat insomnia by adding a few drops of lavender oil to your pillow at night as a good night of sleep could help you deal with stress too.

  • Chamomile oil is also good as a calming oil. The scent alone can help you feel calmer and less anxious and can also be added to a hot drink as a natural calming solution to combat stress.

  • Basil oil can be used as a de-stressing treatment. You can add it to a drink to relieve stress or try inhaling it directly from the bottle. It also works as a good tension releasing oil.

  • Frankinsense oil has previously been mentioned as a very light sedative for pain relief. It can also double as an anxiety relief when applied to the chest area or inhaled. You might also want to try applying it to a damp cloth around your neck for the full calm experience.

Using Essential Oils for Weight Loss

This one might seem too good to be true, but yes, you can use essential oils to supplement weight loss. Certain oils can help increase your metabolism an

It is worth noting that like most supplements to weight loss, they will only work if you're actively praciticing a healthy diet and aren't planning to rely on weight loss alone through essential oils.

  • Ginger oil is an effective oil because of how effective it is at being a hunger suppresant. If you apply one or two drops of ginger oil to your morning tea or making a lemon, honey and ginger hot drink, then you might find that it helps curb your hunger.

  • Grapefruit oil can be used for effective weight loss because the fruit itself has been studied to find that it speeds up metabolism. It's also good for increasing energy. To apply this oil to your diet, try adding a few drops into water in the morning or adding to smoothies.

  • Lemon oil is used for weight loss in a similar way to ginger oil. You can use lemon oil to curb hunger, which makes the lemon, honey and ginger hot drink a perfect start to the day.

  • Peppermint oil is great for helping with digestion and reducing your appetite. Try adding a few drops to a glass or bottle of water to keep hunger at bay.

Summary

To wrap it up, yes, you can use essential oils to improve your health and general well-being in addition to already practising healthy habits. If you are planning to rely on essential oils for healthcare alone, then it won't get you too far.

You still need modern medicine to treat serious illnesses, diseases and conditions. Essential oils are meant to be used as temporary relief or helping maintaining/bettering a healthy lifestyle and is no way a replacement for proper healthcare.

Remember, that these are traditional remedies that people used when they didn't have anything better. While it may have helped ancient civilizations, you still might be better off with actual painkillers with the supplement of essential oils.

Use the essential oils responsibility and you will see the results in time, but don't rely on essential oils as some type of miracle cure.

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