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Essential Oils: Uses and Benefits

Happy 2018! After spending some down time with my family and friends over the holidays, I’m back blogging about all sorts of things.  Christmas reminds me of frankincense and myrrh, which got me wondering about scents and then about essentials oils.  So, this blog is about ‘what is’ essential oils and their benefits.

What are essential oils?

In a nutshell, they are highly concentrated non-water-soluble phytochemicals, distilled from different parts of plants. These oils may be distilled from:  potent parts of plants such as their leaves, roots, and flowers.  It’s not a secret that for thousands of years, herbs and plants have been used to administer remedies for illness using natural solutions. Use essential oils topically when you want the body to absorb its benefits rapidly, such as using Clary Sage oil to quell period cramps when rubbed on the lower abdomen. It’s recommended to often dilute oils that are used on skin with a safe carrier oil (such as apricot, grape seed, avocado, olive, and sesame oil to list a few) and consulting with a qualified aromatherapist before using topically and often, especially on children. Essential oils can also be used aromatically or diffused into the air. This process is known as aromatherapy and provides the benefits of the oils as they are inhaled. There is evidence that the oils are absorbed into the blood stream when inhaled.

What are their benefits?

The ancients had it right! These oils have been used time and time again to treat many ailments.  A small number of these oils include:

  • Basil – used to making perfume;
  • Caraway Seed – used to flavour food;
  • Cedar – used in perfumery;
  • Citronella – used to repel insects;
  • Coconut – used to enhance skin, hair, and food;
  • Eucalyptus Oil – used as a germicide;
  • Geranium – used in herbal medicine and aromatherapy;
  • Ginger – used to treat nausea;
  • Lavender – used primarily as a fragrance;
  • Pine – used as a disinfectant;
  • Savory – used in cosmetics and soap making;
  • Spearmint – used in flavoring mouthwash, chewing gum, etc.
  • Star Anise – used in the manufacture of tamiflu drugs to treat influenza.

Over consumption, in any manner, is not recommended as essential oils can be extremely potent, so a little goes a long way, both topically or aromatically. Their long-term and widespread use could create a negative versus positive effect. When used properly, essential oils can be used to:

  • Improve immunity and speed illness recovery;
  • Deal with infection;
  • Balance hormones;
  • Make DIY homemade cleaning and beauty products;
  • For diffusing and natural air cleansing;
  • In homemade recipes.

Additionally, using essential oils can save you money and help you avoid using harsh chemicals in do-it-yourself beauty and cleaning products. For example, you can:

  • Use essential oils and inexpensive ingredients like baking soda and white vinegar to make cleaning products;
  • Use essential oils in lieu of candles and air fresheners;
  • Use essential oils to make homemade laundry detergent;
  • Use essential oils and other natural ingredients to make homemade toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, and deodorant.

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