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7 Essential Oils You Should Never Be Without
Essential oils are all the rage right now — and with good reason. Think of essential oils as a natural remedy that contains powerful medicine. Like all things, however, powerful medicine requires responsibility. Some websites make the mistake of making it sound as if essential oils are completely harmless, but the truth is that you do want to take care with how you use them as they can irritate the skin, and can even burn the skin of little ones. Some people are allergic to certain oils and citrus oils. For some people, essential oils make the skin more sensitive to the UV rays of the sun. Internal consumption should be limited to no more than two drops every 12 hours and only from oils that are safe to consume such as lavender and peppermint. NEVER ingest an essential oil unless you are 100 percent certain that it is safe to do so.
One last word regarding using essential oils safely: Pregnant women should never use any oil, no matter how long they may have used them in the past, unless they speak with a doctor first.
Now that we have talked about safety, let’s talk about those top seven essential oils no home should be without. Essential oils are terrific for naturally cleaning the home; for use in beauty recipes (such as homemade lotion bars and homemade toothpastes); for cleaning and cleansing the skin; and they can help with wide variety of everyday health problems, such as headaches and skin problems.
As a general rule, you should dilute most essential oils in a good quality carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil. You can dilute most essential oils at three to five drops per every tablespoon of carrier oil. If you have sensitive skin or if you are using it on younger children, you might want to cut it down to one or 2two drops per tablespoon. It’s not a good idea to use essential oils on children under seven, and never use them on children under three years of age.
The list of essential oils that follows are all generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for both food and cosmetic purposes, but this doesn’t mean that you can use unlimited amounts without consequence. There are other common household things that are GRAS, such as salt, baking soda, and vinegar, but you would never dream of using these regularly in large amounts. Anything, even water, can be deadly if you consume huge amounts. Be smart, practice moderation, and if you are unsure, do some research first.
If you are using essential oils for cleaning purposes, you shouldn’t store them in plastic containers for long periods of time. There are numerous essential oils that will eat through plastic containers, especially when stored undiluted. If you cannot find a glass spray bottle, mix up just enough solution for what you plan to use that day, and then rinse out the container when you have finished. Don’t store essential oils in plastic.
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How To Use Essential Oils
The main ways that essential oils can be used safely are:
- Reed sticks
- Topically (when diluted)
Essential oils will improve your immune system and speed up the recovery time when you are sick. They can also help to lessen the time it takes for wounds to heal. They can balance hormones, make terrific cleaning or beauty products, cleanse the air, and they can be used in hundreds of recipes for everything from headache-relieving tea to natural bug deterrents.
Are you ready? Let’s get started with the top seven essential oils that you should always have on hand for those little emergencies and for everyday cleaning.
This is a terrific oil for general all-around purposes. Peppermint will help improve mental alertness, improve energy levels, and give you a lift in spirits, especially if you are trying to cut back on sugar and caffeine. Peppermint is the oil to turn to when it comes to digestive problems. It helps with almost every single digestive problem you can think of, including bloating, poor digestion, indigestion, nausea, and general stomach pain. Peppermint triggers the brain’s satiety center, which means that simply smelling peppermint can help to make you feel as if you have eaten and can keep you feeling full for hours. Peppermint oil is also anti-bacterial, which makes it perfect for your homemade toothpaste and keep your gums and your mouth free from the bacteria that can cause gingivitis and cavities. It also makes a terrific mouthwash.
2. Tea Tree Oil
This is an extremely powerful and volatile essential oil that comes from trees native to Australia. The medicinal compounds in tea tree oil are well known to the Aboriginal people of Australia. They used the leaves of this tree to make medicinal bandages for skin diseases, burns, and wounds. Women used the leaves and bark to protect their babies from infections, and some report that they used to even stew and eat the leaves for internal cleansing. Tea tree oil has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-parasitic, and anti-viral compounds that can’t be found in any other oil. This oil should never be applied without diluting it first. Tea tree oil makes an excellent insect repellant, a massage oil for aching muscles, a germ-killing mouthwash, plus it heals cuts, burns, fungal infections, abrasions, and psoriasis. You can mix this with water to make a powerful disinfectant that works great in the kitchen and bath.
This is the oil to turn to when you need to stay focused and alert. Rosemary has been shown to improve both memory and concentration levels in studies with students. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used this herb both as a sweet-smelling additive not only to their bathwater, but also to their cooking dishes to add flavor. Rosemary is said to have positive effects on the heart, liver, and brain. With its powerful anti-microbial and antiseptic compounds, it also works well on skin problems. Rosemary has powerful antioxidants as well, which means that it can improve the immune system and stop the signs of premature aging. One little known fact is that rosemary essential oil can stimulate hair growth. Add about six drops of rosemary essential oil to both your favorite shampoo and conditioner to encourage longer, thicker, more beautiful locks.
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Is there anything sweeter than the scent of lavender? This scent is well known for its soothing effect on both mind and body. It relaxes and calms the nervous system, and relieves headaches, migraines, and often lulling insomniacs to sleep. This is the oil you will want to use when you have had a super stressful day and your shoulders and neck are tight with frustration. Mix some lavender essential oil with a carrier oil and massage away the stress and tight muscles. You can also add some to a hot bath for a relaxing soak. Lavender also has antibacterial compounds, so it can also be used to heal burns, acne, skin wounds, and itchy bug bites. Lavender can also help with dandruff, as well as other types of skin problems. If you like making your own deodorant and soaps, don’t forget to add some sweet-smelling lavender oil to your homemade air fresheners and personal care products.
There is perhaps nothing better for clogged sinuses or respiratory infections than eucalyptus oil. You will find eucalyptus oil as the main ingredient in many soaps and inhalers that are meant to clear the respiratory system. This oil will thin mucus and works as an expectorant, which means that this is the oil to turn to when you have a cold, sinus infection, runny nose, or congestion due to allergies. Eucalyptus oil is a terrific disinfectant and antiseptic, so you can add some to a bucket of water and have a natural, non-toxic means of cleaning just about anything in your home. You can also add some eucalyptus oil to your favorite massage oil to ease the aches and pains of overworked or sore muscles. Eucalyptus oil stimulates and energizes the mind while keeping the sinuses clear, which makes breathing easy.
6. Citrus Scents
These include lime, lemon, grapefruit, orange, and tangerine. Citrus essential oils are antiseptic and astringent and are believed to stimulate the immune system. These scents uplift the spirit and are considered to be cleansing. If you decide to use these topically, keep in mind that they make many people more sensitive to the sun. Tangerine is known to be a great tonic for the digestive system. Add one drop to a glass of water, and drink three glasses max each day. Orange also improves digestion and is high in antioxidants. Grapefruit oil is super detoxifying and energizing, and lemon is known to stimulate the immune system by encouraging the production of white blood cells.
This sweet-smelling oil comes to from trees commonly found in Arabia and Africa. Frankincense is known for its anti-inflammatory compounds and is often used to treat digestive problems, skin issues, and asthma. Some studies have even found that it is very effective against cancer cells in in vitro studies. Many people claim that frankincense can balance hormones and help thyroid function.
You can do so much with natural essential oils. Use them in place of the synthetic and toxic air fresheners and candles. You can make your own cleaning products by mixing essential oils with vinegar or baking soda, and save a fortune on cleaning products, not to mention saving your health from the toxic chemicals contained in cleaning agents. You can use essential oils to make homemade laundry detergent and fabric softeners. There is almost no end to the ways you can use essential oils. If you haven’t used them, why not try them today?