Pure essential oils are all-natural—made solely from plants. Just as you’d drink a glass of orange juice to boost your vitamin C or eat peanut butter when you need energy, essential oils are medicines sourced directly from nature.
In ancient cultures, people burned twigs, plants and resins to produce different effects like aiding sleep, curing ailments and wounds, and even psychiatric conditions. Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant extracts, or essential oils, for therapeutic purposes.
Offering a wide variety of therapeutic benefits, essential oils are typically used either topically on the skin or as aromatherapy, though some can be taken internally. Essential oils can be used with other ingredients to make natural products for personal use, like toothpaste, deodorant, insect repellant, soap and shampoo.
They are so potent and highly-concentrated that they need to be put in a carrier oil and just a few drops of essential oil can be the cure you need for a wide variety of ailments. The only exceptions are lavender and tea tree oil, which can be applied undiluted, if desired. Examples of carrier oils include almond, macadamia nut and coconut oil. Essential oils can also be put in a spray bottle along with vinegar, witch hazel or cheap vodka, depending on the product.
Here is a list of 8 types of ailments, along with a list of just some of the essential oils that can be used to cure them.
When tension and stress leads to a headache or migraine, certain essential oils can come to the rescue. Peppermint and lavender essential oils are especially helpful when you have a headache. Applying peppermint essential oil to the temples reduces the symptoms of tension headaches. Lavender oil is highly effective at reducing migraine pain and associated symptoms when applied to the upper lip and inhaled. Other essential oils that are good for clearing the mind include rosemary, basil, lemon, rosewood, eucalyptus and lemongrass.
Plagued with worries and generalized fear? Both lavender and marjoram calm and soothe the mind. Geranium eases the mind and slows down the repetitive stressful thoughts that cause anxiety. Neroli can help with general anxiety, as well as panic attacks, hysteria and shock. Frankincense and myrrh help reduce stress. Ylang ylang lowers blood pressure, slows fast breathing and reduces the fight-or-flight reaction.
Feeling down and blue? Clary sage, rose, jasmine, sandalwood and bergamot are all powerful antidepressants. Bergamot is nicknamed “the sunny oil”, because it’s a great cure for SAD, Seasonal Anxiety Depression in the wintertime. Grapefruit also helps lift the spirits in winter. We all depressed sometimes, it’s a part of life. Instead of habitually reaching for prescription antidepressants which are far from natural, consider using these essential oils by rubbing them into the temples or inhaling through a diffuser.
Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Get a good night’s rest in a natural way. The following essential oils help with insomnia: neroli, melissa, sweet orange, mandarin, sandalwood, petitgrain, rosewood and vetiver. They can help switch off the mind and promote restful sleep. Use a few drops of any of these in a warm bath before bedtime to relax.
5. Respiratory Problems
Plagued with congestion? Frankincense slows and deepens breathing and is useful in treating colds, bronchitis, asthma, coughs and sore throats. Thyme wards off respiratory infections. Cedarwood can be inhaled as a steam for chronic coughs and bronchitis. Eucalyptus acts as a decongestant and helps alleviate colds and flu.
6. Stomach Issues
There are specific essential oils to treat digestive problems and stomach pain, as well. Neroli relieves spasms in the intestines. Melissa regulates digestion and helps with nausea and indigestion, especially when stress related. Lemon helps lower digestive acidity. Ginger stimulates digestion and also reduces flatulence, morning sickness and motion sickness. Sweet orange regulates digestion and aids cramps, diarrhea and constipation.
7. Joint Pain/Arthritis
Feeling any pain in your shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, fingers or other joints? The following essential oils ease rheumatism: black spruce, plai, lemon, juniper berry, cypress, eucalyptus, pine needle and nutmeg. Black spruce, plai, German chamomile, frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, sweet orange, plai, pimento berry and black spruce are anti-inflammatory. Lemon counteracts acidity in the body. Juniper berry is purifying.
8. Muscular Tension and Pain
Whether stemming from overworking the muscles when exercising or an accidental injury, muscular pain can be healed with the assistance of various essential oils. Clove bud can help relieve stiff or aching muscles and rheumatic joint pain. Lemongrass assists the healing of connective tissues and can be massaged into the skin when muscles are sore, as well as used in compresses for muscle sprains or strains. Rosemary also eases muscular tension. Interestingly, rosemary is also the strongest cephalic oil for strengthening the mind and memory, increasing creativity and reviving and refreshing.
Aromatherapy is a huge field of study that can be expanded throughout life. We hope this beginner’s guide to some of the top essential remedies for common ailments helps you amplify your knowledge of natural medicine and serves as a jumping off point for a further investigation into the potent powers of essential oils.