What are the Best Essential Oils? The Top EO's You Should Have
Top Essential Oils
Are you looking for ways to live greener? Would you like to move away from potentially toxic chemicals and towards more natural alternatives around your home? From ointments to personal care products and cleaners, many of the products we buy commercially are loaded with harsh chemicals and additives that trigger allergies, asthma and other health problems.
Essential oils are an all-natural alternative that can be used safely for a variety of applications. There are many different essential oils that come from a variety of trees and plants. All of them have different beneficial properties.
I use essential oils all the time for aromatherapy, homemade cleaning products, soap and balms. I have so many favorites, it is hard to narrow down the best essentials, here are 10 essentials I certainly can't live without that anyone can benefit from.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree, also known as Melaleuca oil, has a broad range of antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It can be used topically on small wounds and in homemade spray cleaners as a natural disinfecting agent. In the winter months, it can be inhaled to relieve sinus congestion. It has a pungent, medicinal scent that is similar to Camphor.
Tea tree is an excellent addition to salves and balms. I mix it with Comfrey salve to help speed healing. Use it on stings, bites, scrapes, minor burns and skin irritations.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus is especially useful for upper respiratory ailments like colds, allergies, and bronchitis. Used in an oil and massaged into the chest it can help loosen congestion in the sinuses and lungs. If you've ever used products like “Vicks” rub, you've smelled the pungent aroma of Eucalyptus.Add a couple of drops to a hot bath to loosen phlegm and make coughs more productive.
Eucalyptus has many other benefits as well. It is a natural antibacterial and insect repellant. It can kill germs in the air as well as on surfaces. In addition it is used to treat muscle pain, mental fatigue, and to heal wounds. You'll find it in many natural toothpastes and mouthwashes also because it fights germs that cause gum disease.
If you're looking for more oils to use as insect repellants around the home or on your body be sure to also check out my hub: DIY Natural Insect Repellant with Essential Oils
Lavender Essential Oil
Most people are familiar with the scent of lavender. It is widely used in products that promote relaxation. It is also excellent for all skin types. Lavender is effective on minor burns and scrapes due to its natural anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties. It can be used in the bath or in personal care products as a way to soothe skin and relieve stress simultaneously.
Carry a bottle of lavender with you if you are facing a stressful day at work. A quick inhalation can help calm nerves and promote a sense of well-being.
Use it in homemade laundry products as well. Sachets of Lavender buds with a bit of essential oil make clothes smell wonderful without the addition of chemical fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary is a physical and mental stimulant that can be used in the bath or in a diffuser. It also has antibacterial properties that make it excellent in homemade cleaning products.I add it regularly to my all-purpose cleaner because the scent is invigorating and clean.
Rosemary has warming properties that make it especially useful in massage oils for those with arthritis and other joint and muscle complaints.Add a few drops of it to your favorite carrier oil and rub into aching joints and muscles after a long day.
Rosemary is often used in shampoos because it thickens the hair and promotes growth by stimulating blood flow and clarifying the scalp. Avalon Organics makes one of the best Rosemary shampoos I've ever tried. You can see my full review of it here, or get a recipe and try your hand at making your own.
Geranium Essential Oil
Geraniums floral scent is uplifting and brightens the mood while also working as a mild sedative to calm and relax the nerves. Geranium oil works well for circulatory disorders and can treat bruising, broken capillaries and relieve fluid retention.
Diffuse it into the air or create room sprays with it to give the home a wonderful natural fragrance. You can also add a few drops directly to the bath to intensify relaxation.
Geranium stimulates circulation just below the surface of the skin. It is used in beauty creams to help even out skin tone and to reduce the appearance of blemishes and other skin imperfections. It also speeds up the healing of wounds, making it ideal for acne treatment.
Some sources also suggest it is a bit of a natural aphrodisiac and may make women more amorous, so perhaps add some to an oil warmer in the bedroom to set the mood or add it to massage oil for a special treat.
Citrus Essential Oils
Take your pick of lemon, orange or bergamot. Citrus oils are all great for clearing the mind and improving mental function. They also are natural disinfectants that can be added to any homemade cleaning products. Their anti-microbial properties destroy harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi.
The scent is light and delicate and fades fairly quickly so your cleaners won't “overwhelm” your home. Citrus oils blend well with many other oils and can be used to provide a synergistic effect and to tame the more potent scents of other oils.
I love cleaning with a blend of clary sage and bergamot oil. The scent is delicate, crisp and clean and very uplifting. I make Men's shaving soaps with the same blend of oils and they are always well received by women and men alike. The scent is pleasing to a wide range of people.
Citrus oils can also be used in massage to promote deep circulation and improve tissue oxygenation. When you use it in skin care products, citrus oils help with cell turnover and they brighten the skin and help reduce blemishes.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint tea is used to soothe many digestive system upsets including heartburn and nausea. The oil is good to carry when traveling because it can soothe motion sickness. A few drops added to water or tea can provide quick relief to stomach issues.
Peppermint is also a natural stimulant that clears the mind and elevates the mood. It can sharpen mental focus when inhaled right before taking an exam. Used on the body, it is also an effective insect repellant.
Menthol, present in abundance in peppermint oil is effective for treating asthma and other respiratory ailments. It is a natural expectorant.
It is also an excellent addition to shampoos and lotions because it benefits all skin types. It is clarifying, stimulates circulation and gives a cooling sensation. Use it in the summer months especially to rejuvenate and cool the skin.
Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme is very potent and needs to be handled with care, however it is a powerful antiviral, antiseptic, antibiotic and diuretic. Use it in a room diffuser to help prevent the spread of colds and flu. It can kill germs in the air and on surfaces, making it a great addition to natural cleansers when you want to prevent the spread of illnesses.
It supports elimination of toxins from the body, in particular uric acid which contributes to gout, sciatica and arthritis. Thyme stimulates circulation, digestion and nervous system responses and is used to enhance and support the entire metabolic system. It should be avoided during pregnancy.
Thyme oil is also used to prevent hair loss.
Clove Essential Oil
Clove has a potent, spicy scent that mixes so nicely with citrus oils. It is warming and uplifting. Its health benefits are amazing. Clove oil effectively kills many types of bacteria and is useful for preventing food poisoning. Clove can also be used to treat fungal conditions such as athlete's foot. Clove increases blood flow and is an ingredient in many natural pain relieving balms due to its ability to fight inflammation.
Clove oil can be used as a natural germicidal in homemade cleaning products. It can also be used to treat a toothache until you can make an appointment with the dentist. If you lose a filling or have an abscess, soak a cotton ball with a bit of clove oil and bite down on it, ensuring the oil gets to the affected gums and painful areas. It is a natural pain reliever that also fights infection.
One of the best ways to rid your home of toxins is to throw out commercial cleansers. Many of them are loaded with carcinogens and have been definitively linked to breast cancer and other diseases. Some of the worst offenders are "deodorizing" products.
Essential oils can be pricey in stores and I typically purchase online from Amazon or eBay.
Don't let the high prices of oils put you off. It only takes a few drops of oil to make an entire spray bottle of cleaner. Oils are highly concentrated so a tiny bit goes a very long way. For best results store your oils in glass amber bottles out of direct sunlight. An ounce of essential oil can last up to a year depending on how often you choose to use it.
Natural Cleaner Recipes
½ cup white vinegar, water, several drops of grapefruit seed extract, and 5-10 drops essential oil(s) of your choice. The GSE acts as a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral that is safe for pets and kids. It can even be used on Cutting Boards and in areas where food is handled.
½ cup white vinegar, water, 1 Tbsp corn starch, 10-12 drops Rosemary, Lavender or Citrus essential oil (or blend as you like) Mix all in a spray bottle, shaking thoroughly before each use.
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (lemon is great) to a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Mix thoroughly and apply to a soft, white lint-free cloth. Use it to wipe down furniture, baseboards, and stair rails.
What's Your Favorite Essential Oil?
Do you have a favorite essential oil you just can't live without? What is it and how do you use it?
Do you use Essential Oils?
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© 2013 Christin Sander