If you LOVE removing the cap from your favourite aromatherapy essential oil and inhaling the scent until it penetrates the back of your nostrils, you’re our kind of person! And you’re in the right place to understand the essential oil benefits that surround you every time you sniff your beloved oils.
But before we jump into the top 10 essential oil benefits you NEED to know, let’s look at the essential oil basics.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils, also known as aromatic oils, are concentrated plant extracts that promote health in the body, mind and spirit. They’re commonly associated with aromatherapy, and the best essential oils are extracted from the purest, most healing parts of plants, flowers, herbs or trees. The benefits of aromatherapy include being able to help treat and prevent health conditions (e.g. insomnia, depression, anxiety, skin conditions, digestive ailments, headaches, menstrual problems, fatigue) WITHOUT medications or harsh chemicals.
Aromatherapists state that you can use essential oils in 3 beneficial ways:
- Inhalation (great for for health issues)
- Application to the skin (NB: caution is needed here)
- Home fragrance and cleaning.
Now that you understand the basics of how to practice aromatherapy, let’s look at 10 benefits of using essential oils for health and wellbeing – and how to use them.
#1 Essential Oil Benefit – Relief from Colds and Flus
Essential oils can provide relief from the symptoms of colds and flus. In fact, they can even help treat the underlying pathogen (virus, bacteria, fungus) if you choose the correct essential oil. There have been many studies revealing the immune system benefits of essential oils, which means you can feel confident using them as part of your cold and flu treatment regime.
Beneficial essential oils for colds and flus:
- Eucalyptus: add 1-2 drops of to hot water and inhale the steam
- Geranium: add 1-2 drops of oil to a hot bath and soak in the water
- Peppermint: add 2 drops to 3 tsps of a carrier oil, like coconut, apricot kernel or grapeseed, and rub on your chest.
#2 Essential Oil Benefit – Deeper Sleep
When you don’t sleep well, other health problems start developing. You can become vulnerable to coughs and colds, your moods may start to swing, your skin can look tired and, in the long run, you may even be more prone to heart attacks, blood pressure problems and other serious conditions.
If you have insomnia or other medical conditions that interrupt your sleep patterns, please consult your doctor for further investigation. However, if you’re unable to sleep for other reasons, such as stress or lifestyle factors, you might benefit from essential oil therapy.
Lavender is by far one of the best essential oils for sleep. To benefit, you could add 1 drop of essential oil to 1 tsp of a carrier oil and apply to your feet at bedtime, or you could soak in a hot bath that contains 2 drops of lavender essential oil. If you’re not comfortable using oils on your skin, you can add essential oil to a diffuser or add a few drops on your pillow case before bedtime.
#3 Essential Oil Benefit – Reduce Anxiety
Inhaling essential oils helps to stimulate psychological reactions in the brain. When the molecules reach the brain through the nose, this can affect the limbic system, which regulates your emotions, hormones, memory and blood pressure.
When the right oil is inhaled, its effect on the limbic system may leave you feeling calmer, happier or more focused. Some oils may even have the ability to heighten motivation levels and calm anxiety, making them great additions to any stress management practices you’ve already adopted.
If you’re looking for essential oil benefits for anxiety or to lift your mood, try using lavender, clary sage, chamomile, or rose essential oils. Jasmine oil can help you relax without making you sleepy. If you want a super quick mood lift, try using sweet orange, rosemary or peppermint essential oils in a diffuser. Pair this with your daily guided meditation session and you will be in heaven!
#4 Essential Oil Benefit – Happier Skin
Using essential oils can result in happier, glowing skin. That’s because essential oils give you access to a world of anti-inflammatory properties, sebum balancing, moisturising, and skin healing benefits.
To embrace these results you could:
- apply them topically to your wrist
- incorporate them into your beauty routine
- beauty/massage therapist can incorporate them into your sessions, you can access a world of anti-inflammatory properties, sebum balancing, moisturising, and skin healing benefits when you embrace essential oils.
A word of caution…
Due to their high concentration levels, essential oils are generally too strong to use on your skin directly – especially the face. You should always mix essential oils with carrier oils that are safe for topical use. Definite no-no’s for direct use on your face include peppermint, tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, wintergreen and rosemary. If you’re unsure of whether an oil is suitable for topical use or about the best way to dilute it, please check with a professional before application.
Popular carrier oils for the BODY are:
- Coconut oil
- Apricot kernel oil
- Sesame oil
- Sunflower oil
- Jojoba oil
Popular plant oils for the FACE are:
- Sea buckthorn.
When you mix essential oils with carrier oils for application on the skin*, mix 1 drop of essential oil into 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. This helps the oil properly absorb into your bloodstream, where it can work its magic on your body and its many systems. Depending on the oil, this may include the digestive system, the circulatory system, the endocrine system and more.
*Always store your blend in a brown glass jar to protect it from sunlight.
#5 Essential Oil Benefit – Fresher Rooms
Essential oils are an ideal, chemical-free way to freshen a room. Just a few spritz of your favourite essential oil blend can transform a boring and uninteresting room, into an atmosphere-filled space that energises everyone who enters.
To make your own room freshener, add 10-12 drops of your choice of essential oil to a spray bottle filled with half a cup of water. Shake it and spritz the room. You can also blend oils to create your signature fragrance. Some of the best essential oils for home fragrance are rose, sweet orange, lavender, or lemon.
If you’re not keen on making your own room freshener, you can always use diffusers instead. Electric diffusers, or small ceramic diffusers with a tea candle, are a great way to scent your home using essential oils. Please note: essential oil burners that use candles can be a fire hazard. Always put out the candle before you leave the room and avoid placing them in spots where children or pets may knock them over.
#6 Essential Oil Benefit – Chemical-Free Floor Cleaning
You can have a sparkling clean, germ-free house without spending loads of cash on commercial floor cleaning products. In fact, some of the most effective cleaning products are based on extracts of essential oils. There have been many studies showing the benefits of essential oils for chemical-free cleaning, and it’s interesting to note that recent studies revealed the benefits of using antimicrobial oils, e.g. eucalyptus, when disinfecting against the COVID virus.
For clean, chemical-free floors, choose oils with anti-microbial and disinfectant properties, such as eucalyptus, pine, clove and lemon oils. You can add a few drops of these oils to the water when mopping your floors for a fresh scent that lingers all day.
#7 Essential Oil Benefit – Sparkling Windows and Mirrors
It’s time to ditch smelly, chemical-based window and mirror cleaners.
Instead, you can replace them with deliciously aromatic essential oil cleaners that know how to remove grease and grime.
To create your own window and mirror cleaner, mix 1 ½ cups of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 20 drops of a citrus-based essential oil, such as lemongrass, orange or lemon. Pour into a spray bottle, shake well, and spray on glass before wiping clean with tissue or microfibre cloth.
#8 Essential Oil Benefit – Safer Pest Control
You’ll want the safest form of pest control if you have children or pets in your house.
That’s because many commercial, chemical-based pest control products are toxic if ingested. And the scary thing is that children’s small bodies have a low threshold for toxicity.
Fortunately, essential oils can be used for pest control.
To naturally control pests in your home:
- Place a few drops of peppermint, tea tree or eucalyptus on a cotton wool ball.
- Put this under cupboards, near drains, or in cabinets – wherever cockroaches or ants hide.
Alternatively, you can spray a mixture of 1 cup of water with 10 drops of essential oil along the floor where bugs enter. However, this is NOT recommended if you have pets or young children who crawl.
#9 Essential Oil Benefit – Healthier Plants
Did you know that essential oils can keep your plants happy and healthy? This is great news if you love living in tune with nature and prefer to steer clear of harmful insecticides. There’s been plenty of research showing that essential oils are effective as an insecticide, which means they can naturally deter those annoying bugs that gnaw away at your favourite plants.
It’s super easy to make your own! Simply add a few drops of rosemary essential oil on terracotta pots or on the soil at the outer edge of the pot to prevent bugs chewing the leaves of your plants. You can also mix a cup of water with 10 drops of cinnamon oil and spray on weeds to prevent them from growing. To stop plants being attacked by aphids, mix 10 drops of cedarwood, spearmint and peppermint into 1 cup of water. Then, spray on your plants.
#10 Essential Oil Benefit – Fresher Sheets
Ahhh, fresh sheets. There’s nothing quite like jumping into bed after a long day and knowing that fresh sheets are hugging you. If you think you sleep better when you’re bundled in clean, fresh linen, you’re probably right as a 2012 study found that 73% of people sleep better when using fresh sheets.
If you want to quickly freshen up your sheets, a linen spray that uses essential oils is what you need. You can make your own linen spray by combining 10 drops of essential oil of your choice with 2 tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka and 6 tablespoons of water. Shake well and pour into a spray bottle. Always allow it to dry fully before folding sheets and spot-test on delicate or solid coloured fabrics before use.
Essential Oils Precautions
If you’re excited to embrace the wonderful world of essential oils, it’s important you also understand the precautions. It’s for you, and your family’s, own safety 🙂
- Avoid using essential oils if you’re pregnant, breast-feeding or have any undiagnosed health conditions
- Never ingest essential oils
- Always patch test essential oil massage/face blends before applying to large areas of your skin
- Some essential oils enhance photo-sensitivity and make you more prone to sunburn. For this reason, avoid using them on your skin before exposure to sunlight or UV light.
- Essential oils are not safe for pets, young babies, children, and the elderly. Avoid using these oils on bedding or furniture that pets or children use, on the floor, or on the skin or fur. If you’re using oils for fragrance, spray when the pet or child isn’t in the room to allow it to evaporate, and consider providing a scent-free room for pets.
- Always use essential oil diffusers in well-ventilated areas and turn off diffusers for 30 minutes to allow breaks.
- After mixing or using essential oils, wash your hands thoroughly.
Well done! You’re now on your way to becoming a master with essential oils and essential oil blends.