If you’re not entirely familiar with them, essential oils, and their purpose, may seem a bit mystifying. While the use of these naturally derived oils is most popular in the more holistic, health-conscious circles, the powerful, healing benefits of essential oils should not be reserved for wellness gurus only. So how can a few tiny drops of liquid work to improve your health?
Here’s why it all makes sense. Essential oils are composed of tiny, easily absorbed molecules that work to aid different bodily systems depending on the specific plant from which they are derived. Since they’re most commonly tied to the olfactory system, i.e. they can work through inhalation, these plant-based oils are able to penetrate the psyche—the control center of the mind, body, and soul—in order to impact bodily functions, both physically and cerebrally. Essential oils may also be applied topically, depending on the targeted goal, and have proven to successfully promote healthier skin and hair, which is why they’re commonly found as popular ingredients in natural beauty products. From tackling some of the more common symptoms like relieving anxiety or aiding in sleeping patterns to healing more complex concerns like digestion and internal inflammation, most essential oils are multipurpose and can boost the body in a multitude of ways. Check out five of our favorite oils and their magical benefits below.
Known for it’s centering and grounding properties, sandalwood is most popular due to its ability to act as a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Sandalwood is specifically helpful in healing fevers and boosting the digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems to reduce anxiety and stress. This essential oil is also particularly useful for its anti-aging elements to help boost memory and improve concentration as it can sedate inflammation in the brain, while keeping the mind calm and relaxed.
Peppermint is one of the most widely used essential oils thanks to the overall soothing and relieving benefits it brings to the body. Best known as a natural alternative to anti-nausea medicine, in oil form, peppermint can help cure digestive issues by soothing the gastric lining and other organs affiliated with the gut. It’s also effective as a natural “painkiller” in relieving muscle aches and spasms as it has a cooling and calming effect if applied topically. When inhaled, it takes on the form of an expectorant to reduce symptoms associated with overactive sinus, coughs, and colds. Peppermint can also provide a much-needed pick-me-up; it works as a natural energizer in boosting focus and concentration.
While lemongrass has several benefits associated with the body, this essential oil also makes for a lovely natural purifier and deodorizer for the home when diffused into the air or added to water to create a powerful cleaning solution. It’s also a popular ingredient for natural beauty products as it can promote hair health and contains antioxidant properties that help sterilize the skin and pores (translation: a clear complexion). Consider it a natural cleanser, astringent, and antiseptic—all in one. The oil is also an effective replacement for toxic bug sprays as an insect repellent (just mix a few drops with water) and it can also kill off fleas on pets. As for its internal health benefits, lemongrass is known to relieve muscle aches and pains, especially menstrual cramps, and is a powerful antifungal treatment when applied topically to infections. The mild, citrusy scent can also be used for aromatherapy to help soothe headaches and reduce stress and tension as well.
Lavender is likely the most popular of all the essential oils as the sensory benefits have been introduced through candles, lotions, and other beauty products in the mass market. But lavender packs much more than a delicate fragrance when it comes to promoting health and wellbeing for both the mind and body. The oil is highly regarded for its powerful impact on the nervous system and is recommended as a natural alternative for those suffering from anxiety or high stress. When inhaled, lavender can naturally reduce symptoms of nervous exhaustion, as well as help regulate the heart-rate (i.e. calm your mind and your body). It’s is also a popular aid for insomnia by promoting regular sleeping patterns through relaxation. Keep some by the bedside and sprinkle a few drops on your pillow or plug the oil into a diffuser to mist the scent through the air for a sound, restful sleep.
Not just for the kitchen, this delightful herb is seriously beneficial for the body thanks its natural properties as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Rosemary, which is categorized in the mint family, is known to fight off free radicals, while producing carnosol, which targets cells to reduce inflammation. Hence, the oil helps improve internal organ function and promotes healthy digestion. Specifically, rosemary oil has been tied to aiding in detoxifying the liver and enhancing the functions of the gallbladder by boosting nutrient absorption.
*Always consult your physician before adding any supplement to your daily diet or health routine.
Are you a fan of essential oils? Which ones do you use? Share with us in the comments.