Essential oils have been used for their physical, mental and emotional healing properties for over 5,000 years. Throughout history, many different cultures have used essential oils to treat a variety of health conditions. Today, essential oils have become hugely popular as a holistic remedy and natural alternative for beauty care, home cleaning, and improving overall well-being, in addition to fighting illnesses such as the flu, depression and irritable bowel syndrome, to name a few.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are highly-concentrated organic compounds which have a strong aroma and are extracted directly from plants and trees. They are usually created through steam distillation, or in the case of citrus oils, it’s done through cold pressed extraction. Essential oils are composed of tiny molecules which can penetrate your cells, and some compounds in essential oils can even cross the blood-brain barrier. This is how our bodies utilize the unique healing and therapeutic properties of essential oils.
How to Use Essential Oils?
There are a few different methods for using essential oils and gaining all of its amazing benefits. You can use them aromatically, using a diffuser, as evidence suggests that essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream when inhaled. When applied topically, essential oils penetrate the skin and are absorbed into the bloodstream. Many, but not all, essential oils are safe if ingested with a cup of water, but remember that they are very powerful, so only 1 – 3 drops are needed and will go a long way. Essential oils can also be used for homemade DIY beauty products, household cleaners, bug sprays and more.
It’s common to combine essential oils with a carrier oil, to help keep the oil on your skin longer and make it gentler for your skin. Using a carrier oil does not decrease the effectiveness of the essential oil. Instead, it actually increases the surface area of absorption. Popular carrier oils include coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and jojoba oil.
Top 7 Essential Oils Everyone Should Have
There are about 90 different types of essential oils available so it can be intimidating to figure out which ones to use and what to use them for. After all, each essential oil is like getting 8 medicines in one, as it can be used in a variety of ways, and treat several conditions at once.
I compiled a list of my top seven favorite essential oils based on their versatility, affordability and the numerous benefits they offer. Let’s look at what those are and the reasons why I recommend them.
1. Lavender Essential Oil
There’s no denying how amazing lavender oil is. It has many properties which are sedative, antispasmodic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibacterial, anesthetic, immune-boosting, and antiviral. Lavender oil contains a high content of linalool, which can be sensitizing for some people, but overall is considered to be very safe. If your skin is tolerable to lavender oil, you can use a 50/50 mix of it with a carrier oil to take advantage of its many positive effects.
Lavender Oil Benefits:
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Protects against diabetes symptoms
- Improves brain function
- Helps heal burns and skin wounds
- Improves the quality of sleep
- Restores skin complexion and reduces acne
- Slows down signs of aging
- Offers pain relief
- Alleviates headaches
2. Tea Tree Essential Oil
The only place in the world where tea trees grow naturally is in Australia, and they are abundant there. Traditionally, native Australian cultures used tea tree leaves to treat coughs and colds, heal wounds, and alleviate skin ailments. Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca, is antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory. From helping to fight cancer to clearing up acne, tea tree oil can be used as a natural remedy for many conditions. Never take tea tree oil internally. It can be diffused or applied topically with a 1:1 ratio of carrier oil.
Tea Tree Oil Benefits:
- Reduces odors
- Fights acne
- Relieves congestion and respiratory infections
- Cleans skin wounds
- Stimulates the immune system
- Relieves sore throats
- Kills head lice and treats dandruff
- Can be used in household cleaners
- Cleans air of pathogens and allergens
- Kills mold
- Treats earaches
- Fights fungal infections
3. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense, from the Boswellia sacra tree and sometimes referred to as olibanum, is a type of essential oil which offers a variety of health benefits, from helping relieve anxiety to boosting immunity and even potentially helping to fight cancer. It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties and has been medically proven to destroy cancer cells. It’s a versatile oil which can be combined with other essential oils and carrier oils, with no adverse side effects. Frankincense oil is used by either inhaling it or applied topically mixed with a carrier oil.
Frankincense Oil Benefits:
- Reduces the appearance of scars, wrinkles, stretch marks, sun spots, and bruising on the skin
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Deodorizes naturally
- Helps fight cancer
- Relieves indigestion
- Treats respiratory conditions
- Boosts immunity
- Offers neurological support
- Smooths wrinkles
4. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil, also known as oil of oregano, is a potent essential oil that can be used as a natural alternative to prescription antibiotics to fight infections and boost immunity, without the adverse side effects with are typically associated with antibiotic medication. Carvacrol is the primary healing compound found in oregano oil, which offers many benefits, from skin protection to treating allergies. Oregano oil can be used topically with a carrier oil, diffused or taken internally in gel capsule form or with water, but only if it’s 100% therapeutic grade oil.
Oregano Oil Benefits:
- Fights infections as a natural antibiotic
- Battles toenail fungus and athlete’s foot
- Treats pneumonia and bronchitis
- Helps remove warts
- Gets rid of mold from home
- Prevents indigestion
- Fights inflammation
- Boosts immunity
- Eliminates UTI’s and yeast infections
5. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil is a refreshing essential oil already found in many products we use on a daily basis, including toothpaste, shampoo, mouthwash, and chewing gum. It contains menthol, which is antispasmodic, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antioxidant. Peppermint oil naturally soothes nausea, improves concentration and memory, and relieves pain. This invigorating essential oil can be used topically, aromatically or ingested in tiny amounts – only 1-2 drops with a glass of water.
Peppermint Oil Benefits:
- Treats respiratory conditions
- Reduces headaches
- Eliminates nausea
- Relieves muscle and joint pain
- Boosts energy and concentration
- Thickens and nourishes hair
- Reduces seasonal allergy symptoms
- Improves IBS symptoms
- Freshens breath
- Enhances skin and treats sunburns
- Repels bugs
6. Lemon Essential Oil
As lemon is associated with freshness and cleanliness, its oil is a powerful antibacterial, astringent, and antiseptic agent. Lemon oil naturally raises energy levels and has a positive effect on mood. It’s also an excellent as a natural household cleaner, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Because of its high concentration of D-limonene, which has skin-repairing and anti-inflammatory properties, it helps tone skin, remove wrinkles and promote circulation. Lemon oil can be used topically with a carrier oil, but be sure to avoid direct sunlight for up to 12 hours as it can cause photosensitivity to the skin.
Lemon Oil Benefits:
- Relieves nausea
- Improves digestion
- Nourishes skin
- Promotes weight loss
- Detoxifies the body
- Boosts oral health
- Relieves allergy symptoms
- Disinfects the home
7. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is a strong smelling essential oil which is highly effective at clearing airways and treating respiratory issues. It helps boost the immune system, is anti-inflammatory and can even serve as a rat repellent. It’s ideal to use as a natural remedy for getting rid of a cough, disinfecting your house, or trying to keep little critters out of your home. Eucalyptus oil is not safe for internal use. Only use it aromatically or topically with a carrier oil.
- Improves respiratory conditions
- Relieves a cough
- Improves seasonal allergies
- Fights infections
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- Alleviates headaches
- Treats earaches
- Boosts mental clarity
- Repels rats
If you are pregnant, nursing or taking certain medications, always check with your doctor first before incorporating essential oils into your regular routine. It’s also important to understand that not all essential oils are created equally. Stay away from those that are synthetic, as they will offer no benefits and are not worth buying. Ideally, you want to find certified USDA organic, 100% pure, therapeutic grade, and indigenously sourced essential oils which come in 5 ml, 10 ml, or 15 ml glass bottles.