Are you not sure how to use essential oils or what you should actually use them for? Well, this guide is for you then. I was just like that in the beginning when I didn’t know anything about essential oils. I stayed away from them for a long time, just because I didn’t know what to do with them and what they are good for.
With time I learnt that essential oils are simply amazing – they have so many different uses and benefits. I came to a conclusion that everyone should have at least a few at home, especially because they are amazing natural remedies.
So far I’ve only tried a small selection of essential oils and my favourites are tea tree essential oil and lavender essential oil. I use these pretty much every day. Recently, I’ve been testing organic essential oils from Sacred Soul Holistics so I also got to try a few new essential oils for me: peppermint essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil.
What are essential oils?
Before we dive deeper into the benefits of essential oils, how to use them and what you can use them for, let’s clarify first what essential oils are.
Essential oils are highly concentrated natural oils made from different parts of plants. Essential oils are what gives plants their distinctive smells. They are extracted using various methods such as distillation (using water) and expression (expressed mechanically or cold pressed).
An oil is “essential” in the sense that it contains the “essence of” the plant’s fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived (1).
Essential oils benefits
I am slowly learning what each essential oil is good for and their health benefits. It’s amazing what essential oils can do for our health, well-being and beauty. Have a headache? There is an essential oil for that! Itchy skin? Yep, there is an essential oil for that as well! Feeling anxious and cannot sleep? We probably all know which essential oil is good for that, right? The point is, with essential oils and aromatherapy you can naturally treat minor health concerns, skin issues and you can even calm the restless mind. The benefits of using essential oils are endless.
How to use essential oils
Before you start using essential oils you need to know that they are highly concentrated and most of them shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin as a skin sensitivity could occur. It’s advisable to dilute more potent oils and when trying an oil for the first time. Only like that you can avoid strong reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin.
The recommended dilution ratio is typically one drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil (you can use almond, jojoba or olive oil as a carrier oil). You can, of course, use more of a carrier oil, it all depends on what the purpose of your application is.
You can use essential oils in many different ways but here are some of the most popular ways of using them:
- in a bath (add a few drops to improve your mood)
- for a massage (to aid relaxation)
- on the skin, diluted (to soothe and calm the skin)
- steam inhalation – for colds and coughs (some oils are better for this than others)
- for cleaning your home naturally (many of essential oils have anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties)
- as a natural air freshener – add a few drops in a diffuser or burner (I’ve been using Kinga aroma diffuser which creates a wonderfully smelling mist with a scent which lasts for hours)
Lavender essential oil
Possibly the only essential oil that is safe to apply neat to large areas of the skin, lavender oil is a key first aid remedy for home use and when travelling (2).
Lavender essential oil properties:
- analgesic (offers relief from pain)
- antispasmodic (helps relieve muscle spasms and cramps)
- antiseptic (antimicrobial)
Lavender essential oil uses and benefits
Lavender essential oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils and it’s well known for its calming qualities soothing nervous overactivity, stress-related headache, and migraine. It’s great for relaxation and anxiety and helps you sleep better.
Here are some of the ways you can use lavender essential oil:
- use a few drops under your pillow for better sleep
- massage a few drops into the temples to bring a headache relief
- massage the oil onto herpes, shingles sores, rheumatic joints
- apply the oil to minor burns, sunburn, sores, itchy skin and insect bites to promote healing and ease discomfort
- use it to deter moths and insects
- use it on acne to soothe the skin and reduce the redness
- add it to your shampoo to soothe the itching scalp
- add it to your laundry as a rinse aid to make clothes smell fresh
Peppermint essential oil
Clinical research confirms the usefulness of peppermint essential oil in irritable bowel syndrome. The essential oil acts on the colon, relieving spasm and irritability, and reducing the sensitivity of nerve endings in the intestinal wall (2).
Peppermint essential oil properties
- antiseptic (antimicrobial)
- antispasmodic (helps relieve muscle spasms and cramps)
- diaphoretic (helps to induce involuntary perspiration that helps to reduce fever, cool the body, and speed the elimination of toxins from the system)
- mild analgesic (offers mild relief from pain)
- mild sedative
- relieves wind
Peppermint essential oil uses and benefits
Peppermint essential oil is known to energise your body and mind while helping you ease aching muscles. As a natural air freshener, it creates an energising ambience and mood. Used together with elderflower it creates an effective combination for fever, colds, catarrh, and gastric infection.
Here are some of the ways you can use peppermint essential oil:
- use on itchy skin: apply 2 drops per teaspoonful of carrier oil
- drink hot peppermint tea to encourage sweating and cool fever
- apply 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to forehead to relieve a headache and migraine
- add to your shampoo to promote hair growth and reduce dandruff
- apply to achy joints to help relieve pain
Eucalyptus essential oil
A key aboriginal remedy of Australia, eucalyptus can be used to treat everything from colds and chest infection to skin conditions and fever (2).
Eucalyptus essential oil properties
- antiseptic (antimicrobial)
- expectorant (helps loosen mucus)
Eucalyptus essential oil uses and benefits
Main uses of eucalyptus essential oil include cold symptoms with or without feverishness, nasal and sinus congestion, sore throat, and phlegmy cough. It can also be used for skin problems such as insect bites and fungal skin conditions.
Here are some of the ways you can use eucalyptus essential oil:
- apply diluted oil to insect bites
- make a steam bath (to use as a decongestant): pour a cup of boiling water into a bowl, and then mix 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, place a towel over your head and inhale deeply for five–10 minutes (3)
- use in a diffuser to refresh the air and keep your home mold-free (great in combination with tea tree oil for this purpose)
- use as an effective insect repellent (4)
- apply it diluted to a cold sore to help reduce pain and speed healing
Tea tree essential oil
A must have for any home herbal first aid kit, tea tree oil can help treat many minor fungal and bacterial skin problems.
Tea tree essential oil has been widely used throughout Australia for at least the past 100 years. Several medical studies have shown its effectiveness in killing many strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Tea tree essential oil properties
Tea tree essential oil uses and benefits
Tea tree essential oil is the oil I personally use the most. I mainly use it to treat spots and acne but also to clean my home naturally. It’s a great disinfectant and successfully kills mould. It’s really effective on fungal skin infections too.
Here are a few ways on how to use it:
- diffuse it in the air to kill mould spores
- spray it onto the mould to kill it
- apply it on an affected toenail twice a day (fungal infection)
- for ear infection: put 1-2 drops on cotton wool and plug into the affected ear overnight
- put it directly on spots to dry them out (dilute with water to avoid really dry skin)
- add it to your shampoo to combat against dandruff
Ylang Ylang essential oil
The intensely sweet, enticing aroma of ylang ylang is said by many to have aphrodisiac properties.
Ylang Ylang essential oil is not an essential oil which I use often, I am still learning what to do with it actually. I’ve used it for the massage but that’s about it. However, further research has shown that it’s much more useful than that.
Ylang Ylang essential oil properties
- antiseborrheic (effective in seborrheic dermatitis – dandruff)
- hypotensive (lowering the blood pressure)
- nervine (to calm the nerves)
Ylang Ylang essential oil uses
- add Ylang Ylang to your bath for relaxation
- add to your massage oil for the aphrodisiac effect
- massage a single drop daily over the heart combined with a carrier oil to control blood pressure and prevent heart arrhythmia (9)
- use in a diffuser to help improve your mood (research shows it can help release negative emotions, including anger) (9)
- to prevent signs of ageing combine one or two drops with jojoba oil and massage it into the face once or twice daily for protection
- check this article for more uses of Ylang Ylang
Buying essential oils tips
If you are going to buy yourself some essential oils, make sure you buy pure essential oils with nothing added to them. Even better if you can buy organic essential oils as these won’t contain any pesticide residue and tend to be of a higher quality. Don’t go for the cheapest oils as you don’t know what they put in them and how pure they are.
Remember that lower quality essential oils could harm your skin while failing to provide the necessary therapeutic benefits.
Organic essential oils from Sacred Soul Holistics – Review
If you are looking to buy organic essential oils, one company to consider is Sacred Soul Holistics. They currently have five essential oils available to buy and I’ve been testing them all over the past few weeks (tea tree oil, lavender oil, Ylang Ylang, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil).
The price of organic essential oils is not so much different from non-organic oils, so well worth a buy.
Although Sacred Soul Holistics is a British company, the essential oils they sell are organically certified by ACO which is an Australian-based certification body. The reason for this Australian organic certification is because the business co-founder emigrated to Australia where he sourced their first essential oil from (tea tree oil).
What I really love about this company is that they are really open and honest about the purity of their essential oils – on their website you can actually find the results of the oil tests showing their 100% purity.
All the essential oils that I’ve tested from Sacred Soul Holistics have a really strong aroma and their scent is 100% natural, you can definitely smell their purity. So big thumbs up for that.
The oils come in glass bottles and I really like the little instructions leaflet inside the packaging – it briefly explains basics about each oil and some of their uses. I haven’t seen anything like this with the essential oils I bought in the past (I think most companies expect you to know basics about essential oils and how to use them, that’s why they don’t include it).
All in all, I couldn’t find any faults in essential oils from Sacred Soul Holistics and I am happy to recommend the company to my readers.
I hope this essential oils guide help you gain a little bit more understanding about essential oils, their benefits and how to use them.
Have you tried any of the essential oils mentioned in this post? Do you use essential oils regularly?
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(2) Chevallier, A. (2007). Herbal Remedies. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited.