‘Essential Oils’ are oils that give plants their characteristic odor and are extracted from different parts such as its leaves, the root, stem and flowers. Their benefits however, go beyond the pleasant fragrance. They are considered to have immense therapeutic benefits – and can be applied topically or ingested to address skin related issues or other ailments including lack of sleep, poor digestion, muscle fatigue and overall well being. These are just some of their uses, and Essential Oils based products are an excellent alternative to chemical based remedies for lots of things including insect repellents and personal care products.
Essential Oils shouldn’t be confused with ‘Aromatherapy Oils’ which only have about 2% or so of Essential Oils mixed with 98% regular carrier oils (such as Almond or Olive). So be careful while buying.
We’ve put together a list of the 5 Essential Oils that you should stock up on so you can enjoy the goodness of this natural ingredient:
Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus Limonum): It is extracted from lemon rinds and has anti-bacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Owing to its fresh fragrance, it is widely used in air freshners, soaps, face washes and cleaning agents among other things. Here are just some ways in which you can use it:
Lemon essential oil can increase the photosensitivity of skin, so avoid using this before stepping out in the sun.
Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia): This one’s another favorite for its sweet floral garden aroma. Like lemon, it too is known for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties, along with it having a calming effect, and inducing sleep. Here are just some ways in which you can use it:
Tea Tree Essential Oil: This one comes from the leaves and stems of the Melaleuca Alternifolia (or the Narrow Leaved Paper Bark tree). Its rich antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, insecticide properties among others, have earned it the name of the ”medicine cabinet in a bottle”. This one’s strictly for external use only. Here are just some ways in which you can use it:
Being toxic in nature, it’s not safe for oral consumption at all and must always be used topically. It must not be used on babies, or by pregnant women or breast feeding mothers.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Eucalyptus Globulus): This one’s derived from the leaves and young stem of the Eucalyptus tree. This immunostimulant helps keeps cold and flu at bay and is also anti-microbial in nature. It has a mildly pungent, minty smell and can be used in the following ways:
Rosemary Essential Oil (Rosmarinus Officinalis): Extracted from the leaves of the Rosemary plant, this oil offers varied benefits in the health space. Like the lemon oil, it too helps reduce flatulence and aids digestion. Here are some other ways in which you can use it:
Do not use this oil if pregnant and suffering from hypertension, epilepsy or if taking homeopathy.
The trick with essentials oils is to know which ones to use and when. While we’ve tried to give you a sense of the main oils and how you can use them, we advise that you conduct thorough research before starting to use these oils, and try a little bit at a time.