A Guide to Basics of Essential Oils: Its Preparation, Use, Benefits, Precautions
Have you ever felt refreshed when some fresh flowers are placed in your room? Isn't it amazing to see your mood change due to the presence of such flowers or herbs? Wish we could capture the essence of such flowers and herbs and use when needed. Yes. Indeed, the essence can be extracted and stored for use for various purposes; such extracts are called essential oils.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are liquids extracted from various parts of a plant like the roots, stem, leaves or flowers. The essential oils are the real essence in a highly concentrated form and bear the fragrance and properties of the plant from which they are extracted. These oils are naturally derived and different from the artificially created fragrance oils. Essential oils are known to have effects on the mind and body; hence are used for therapeutic purposes as well. They have excellent properties that complement their usage in aromatherapy.
Essential Oil Preparation For Use
Essential oils are highly concentrated and have to be diluted with carrier oils. Carrier oils are vegetable oils derived from plants and have no aroma. These carrier oils can be safely used on skin for example, in lotions, lip balms or massages. Some examples are coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, olive oil and more.
Most of the essential oils are thin in consistency but some may be little thick or almost like solid at room temperature. These oils need to be heated, which has to be done very carefully so that the properties of the oil are not affected. Thick oils are heated by placing them in warm water. Carrier oils used for blending should also preferably be warmed and then used.
Uses of Essential Oils
While specific oils are best used in a specific manner as advised by the experts, some general ways in which these oils can be used include
- Inhalation – 5 to 10 drops of essential oil are added to a pot of steaming water and the steam is inhaled. A towel can be placed over head to reap maximum benefits. Few drops of oil are also placed on a handkerchief or pillow to inhale and experience the benefit when required.
- During a bath – 8 to 10 drops of oil are added to bath water; it can also be done for a relaxing evening bath.
- Compress – While warm compresses are used for healing purposes, adding 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to the water can make the compress more effective.
- Massage Blend – Essential oils are mixed with massage oils to create a blend and applied over the skin during massage.
- Humidifier – 5 to 10 drops of oil are added to room humidifier for all to experience the benefits.
- Diffusers – Few drops of oil are diffused in the diffuser, which spreads the oil in air and naturally purifies your room.
- Sprays – Few drops of oil are used in sprays and sprayed on cloth or carpets for a fresh feel in the house.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils are widely used for various purposes and as home remedies. These oils have earned a name for their medical and healing properties and have been used since many years. Some of their benefits include:
- Essential oils offer health benefits like relieving headaches, cough and cold, muscle soreness, body pain and also help to improve digestion. Some oils have anti-bacterial properties and can be used during illnesses and injuries, while some are excellent for improving skin and hair complaints.
- Many oils have a calming effect and help in improving emotional well-being for example in stress management and relaxation. These oils help to provide better sleep, soothe the nerves, relieve fatigue, calm anxiety, fight depression and bring positive mood. Some can also act as stimulants, thus help to improve concentration, alertness, boosting memory.
- Essential oils are also popularly used in commercial products meant for health and hygiene purposes like mouthwash, herbal tinctures, hair and lice treatment, massage oils, joint injury or pain ointments.
- Many oils are also popular for their skin and cosmetic benefits and are widely used in cosmetic products like lotions, oils, facial scrubs and creams, hair conditioners and shampoos.
- These oils are known for their room cleansing and refreshing properties and are used in room fresheners, diffusers, linen and carpet sprays, fabric softeners and potpourri. These are also used in insect repellents that can keep the house clean, fresh and free from germs.
Essential Oil Precautions
Essential oils are for external use only and should not be consumed.
- Never use them concentrated on skin.
- Always dilute essential oils before using.
- Only small amount of essential oils are sufficient
- Essential oils should be kept in a safe place, away from fire places and out of reach of children.
- Some persons can be allergic to the fragrance of certain essential oils.
- Some essential oils may not be advisable during pregnancy and persons with asthma, epilepsy, or other major health conditions.
- Use of essential oils or aromatherapy is a healing therapy and is best advised by an expert.
List of Some Essential Oils
Listed Below Are 46 Commonly Used Essential Oils Are:
- Agar oil
- Ajwain oil
- Angelica root oil
- Anise oil
- Basil oil
- Bergamot oil
- Black pepper
- Cannabis flower oil
- Caraway oil
- Cardamom seed oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Cedar wood oil
- Chamomile oil
- Citronella oil
- Clove leaf oil
- Cranberry seed oil
- Cumin seed oil
- Dill oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Fennel seed oil
- Fenugreek oil
- Ginger oil
- Grapefruit oil
- Henna oil
- Hickory nut oil
- Jasmine oil
- Lavender oil
- Rose oil
- Lemon oil
- Lemon grass
- Mint oil
- Mugwort oil
- Neem oil
- Orange oil
- Oregano oil
- Parsely oil
- Patchouli oil
- Peppermint oil
- Pine oil
- Sage oil
- Spearmint oil
- Tea tree
- Thyme oil
- Wintergreen oil.