Essential oils are concentrated compounds derived or distilled from plants. The essential part of the name simply means the oil contains the essence of the plant’s volatile compounds with its fragrance, hence the reason why they are heavily concentrated.
Used in aromatherapy, essential oils are valued for their various health benefits and their aromatic scent. Using essential oils is a natural, chemical-free, often even less expensive option than the other health and beauty products in the market. Healthcare bills often take a toll on the person using chemical products, and these natural products are a sustainable and even ancient way of staying fit, healthy and enjoying a wholesome life.
- How are Essential Oils Used?
- List of Essential Oils with its Usages.
How are Essential Oils Used?
Essential oils are obtained by distilling or extracting different parts of a plant. These oils are so potent that even a single drop can have various health benefits. Because they’re highly concentrated, essential oils must never be used without proper dilution. Typically, for topical application, most recipes of essential oils have essential oils present in 1-2% or lesser concentration mixed in a carrier oil or water or other similar media. For home cleaning or fragrance, a slightly higher concentration of upto 5% is recommended by most recipes.
There are myriad ways of using essential oils, from simply inhaling them to making blends with other oils and natural products.
1. Dilution Using Carrier Oil
Essential oils are fat soluble and can be easily absorbed by our skin to imbibe its beneficial properties. Since they are so potent, however, we can’t usually use these oils directly. Thus we have to dilute the oil using what is called a carrier oil.
Usually one drop of essential oil to one teaspoon of the carrier oil should be enough, however, it ranges from the degree of potency of the essential oil.
Some well-known carrier oils are jojoba oil, coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil and argan oil
2. Diffusing Essential Oil
Diffusing essential oils simply means converting them to vapour so we can inhale them and enjoy their fragrance and benefits.
Use a diffuser that plugs in and put water and oil in it. The diffuser will convert this mixture into minuscule particles in the air which will spread fragrance and goodness.
Diffusing for short stretches of time such as half an hour to 45 minutes should usually be enough.
Some of the best oils for this purpose are peppermint, lavender, lemon, Cedarwood, etcetera. These smell great and have various benefits for human health.
List of Essential Oils with its Usages.
1. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil was discovered to be using thousands of years ago, back in Egyptian times it was even used during the process of mummification. It is one of the most commonly used essential oil in the world today, due to its myriad qualities and benefits for skin, hair, health and living.
This oil has several benefits for human health. Lavender essential oil is especially useful in reducing stress and anxiety and alleviating nervous tension. Some more lavender essential oil benefits are:
- Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory properties which means it reduces swelling, pain sustained due to any injury, etcetera. Due to this, it helps in taking care of any skin conditions one might have as well as reduce the signs of ageing.
- It helps enable hair growth. While recent studies on animals have confirmed this, human studies are yet to be had, however lavender essential oil has other benefits for hair health such as it having antimicrobial or antifungal and antibacterial properties. It also helps in reducing or even killing lice.
- Studies have shown that inhaling lavender oil for fifteen minutes aids in relieving migraines. Thus lavender essential oil helps in tackling headaches.
- A 2015 study confirmed that women using lavender oil showcased a better quality of sleep pattern and duration than other women. Thus it helps us sleep better.
- Lavender oil promotes brain functioning. Inhaling lavender oil’s vapour can improve cognitive impairment and prevent ‘oxidative stress’, meaning, disbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in our body. This can be harmful as it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, the rise in blood pressure, etcetera. Due to its antioxidant property, lavender essential oil is vital for maintaining, or promoting the balance of these free radicals and antioxidants, thus promoting a healthy body.
- Lavender can help induce sleep and a better quality of sleep. Mix two drops of orange essential oil, three drops of neroli essential oil, one drop of chamomile essential oil with nine drops of lavender essential oil in a bowl. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle. Shake well. Spray it onto your bed or pillow just before sleeping to see the effects.
- Mix two drops of lavender essential oil with two drops of rosemary essential oil in a bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of carrier oil and mix well. This mixture can treat muscle pain. Apply onto affected area to see results.
2. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil used for practical as well as healing or medicinal purposes. It is believed to have several benefits for bettering our immune system, treating cough, cold, headaches, etcetera. It has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Thus it is commonly used in medicinal products to fight pathogens and other forms of infections.
Eucalyptus oil has traditionally been used to relieve pain and due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to control or reduce respiratory conditions, it has always been valued particularly for its medicinal values.
Some more benefits of eucalyptus oil are:
- Eucalyptus oil has SPF 3 and can be used as a natural sunscreen. Due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial properties eucalyptus oil has also been known to help in treating acne, wounds, insect bites, skin conditions, etcetera.
- Eucalyptus oil can be used to nourish hair. It acts as an excelled hair moisturizer, and due to its many properties, it stimulates hair follicles, thus stimulating blood vessels to retract, ensuring more blood to hair follicles and promoting hair growth. It is also useful in relieving an itchy scalp due to its anti-inflammatory properties, as well as reducing dandruff and reducing hair fall.
- Eucalyptus oil helps in improving respiratory conditions. It has been known to be most effective against asthma, common cold, cough, flu, bronchitis, and even conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It stimulates our immune system, providing antioxidant protection and improving respiratory circulation.
- While it is still not entirely clear how eucalyptus oil helps in treating diabetes by reducing or controlling blood sugar levels. However this hasn’t been proven by research yet, or there isn’t any adequate research on this, therefore only use eucalyptus oil in conjunction with your diabetes medication after consulting with your doctor.
- It aids in resolving sluggishness and mental exhaustion.
- To nourish and strengthen hair, apply the following blend thrice a week. In a pan mix together 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 teaspoon jojoba oil, and 1 teaspoon castor oil. Heat this mixture sufficiently, without letting it boil or get too hot. It should be hot enough to be touched by your fingertips without getting scalded. Transfer onto a bowl and mix in 4 to 5 drops of Eucalyptus oil. Apply this onto your hair, massaging your scalp well, and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing it off.
- Make a natural facial scrub at home by combining half a cup granulated sugar with 8 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and 1/4th a cup of coconut oil. Use this natural scrub on the face or any part of the body, rubbing for two minutes before washing it off.
3. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is derived from the peppermint plant found in Europe and North America. It has uses ranging from cosmetics to food item flavouring to treating human health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, etcetera.
While peppermint has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years starting from around Egyptian times, it was recognized as a distinct type of leaf only recently, around the 1700s. It has several health benefits.
- Peppermint oil has been used to relieve headaches and muscle pain and some research do serve to corroborate the same.
- Dietary supplements using peppermint oil have been used in lieu of treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, inflammation of the mouth and throat, cold, cough, etcetera. It helps in abdominal pain by allowing gas to pass easily, as well as providing relief for upset stomach and indigestion.
- If two to three drops of this oil are used in conjunction with a mild shampoo it can promote healthy hair growth and reduce dandruff and relieve itchiness. This is because peppermint oil has antiseptic and antibacterial properties promoting a healthy, cool-feeling scalp.
- When used in conjunction with lavender oil peppermint oil can serve to improve skin health, promoting a glowing and tighter skin.
- Some studies have shown that when sniffed, peppermint oil helps improve or boost energy levels.
- To prevent nausea, mix 2 drops of peppermint oil with 1-2 teaspoon amount of any carrier oil such as coconut oil and apply behind your ears. To treat motion sickness you can also gently smell it.
- To treat headaches, mix 2-3 drops of peppermint oil with 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil as a carrier and apply onto your forehead. Massage well.
4. Lemon Oil
Lemon oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for the past hundred centuries due to its medicinal properties. Its health benefits have long been proven scientifically, it is known to rejuvenate, promote a healthier skin, fight bacteria and fungi, clean toxins from the human body, etcetera.
- Lemon oil is good for treating dull skin and restoring its luster. Acting as a natural cleanser, lemon restores your skin’s original colour in case of a tan while nourishing the same, hydrating it, in case your skin is, and appears, tired. It’s antiseptic properties aid in treating pimples and other skin conditions or disorders.
- Lemon essential oil can be beneficial for treating dandruff and for promoting healthy and shiny hair as well when used as a hair pack.
- Lemon is a citrus fruit, thus its quantity of Vitamin C is quite high. This aids in boosting our immune system and improving blood circulation throughout our body.
- Lemon oil helps in relieving stress. It makes one calmer, less fatigued and exhausted, reduces dizziness and anxiety. Ayurvedic belief places lemon as the ability to negate negative emotions.
- Lemon oil promotes lymphatic drainage which is helpful in cleansing the body of its wastes. Lemon oil promotes the lessening of oxidative stress.
- For a bath blend that reinvigorates: Combine 1 tablespoon of carrier oil with two drops of lime essential oil, 3 drops of grapefruit essential oil and 3 drops of lemon essential oil. Use this blend for your daily bath by pouring one tablespoon of the blend into your bathtub/bath bucket.
- For oily hair, use a mixture of half cup water, half cup witch hazel, and 40 drops of lemon essential oil. This is a hair tonic which you have to use after showering, while your hair is still wet. Let it stay till your hair dries. Your scalp will be less oily with repeated usage.
- For acne and removing scars, use 3 tbsp of raw honey, 2 tbsp of yogurt, 10 drops of lavender oil, 15 drops of tea tree oil and lemon oil each. Mix this well and store it in a glass container. This is a face mask which you can use on your face and leave it for 15 minutes, and then wash. Use this mask once a week monthly for results.
5. Tea tree Oil
Tea tree oil derived from the leaves of the tea tree, an Australian native plant, is a well-known antibacterial essential oil due to its antiseptic properties. Widely used throughout Australia for nearly a century, tea tree oil has manifold benefits and is being widely commercialised due to its ability to treat wounds, acne, being used as a cosmetic and domestic product useful for cleaning purposes.
- Tea tree oil can be used to treat acne. It’s a particularly powerful weapon against acne as studies have proven that it reduces the overall severity and amount of acne. Tea tree oil’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties aid in it acting as a natural way of treating acne.
- Tea tree oil is significant in helping fight against dandruff. Having dandruff is an embarrassing and itchy situation we’d all like to avoid. Studies conducted show that after repeated usage with a mild shampoo there was a significant reduction in dandruff. Thus it can be used to avoid dandruff.
- Fungal infection of the toenails can be treated with tea tree oil. With repeated usage over a period of six months, it can be naturally cured.
- Due to its antibacterial properties, tea tree oil can be used effectively in treating wounds and cuts.
- To treat dandruff, use 5 drops of this oil with your daily natural shampoo. Do not apply this oil directly. Use this concoction to get a healthier scalp with less dandruff. Repeated usage will result in a significant reduction of dandruff.
- Put a drop or two of tea tree oil on a cotton swab with a little water, and gently dab on to the acne. This will result in a gradual decrease in your acne.
6. Basil Essential Oil
Basil oil is not only used in food preparations for its wonderful smell and the taste it lends but also for its medicinal properties, which are plenty. In India basil is particularly popular in the form of ‘holy basil’ or ‘tulsi’- a plant we worship and regard particularly for its medicinal properties. The uses of basil have been so pervasive and widespread that the name basil in itself etymologically derives from ‘basileum’ which in Latin means King or royalty.
As a natural antiviral, antibacterial, diuretic, basil has several properties which have lent to its widespread use especially in Asian medicine for ages.
- Due to its antibacterial properties, it has been used in food items to prevent its spoilage via the growth of bacteria.
- Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, basil essential oil can be used as a natural muscle relaxant and can help ease or alleviate pain from muscle cramps.
- Breakouts of acne often happen due to the buildup of bacteria on the face, in clogged pores, accumulated while travelling or otherwise. Due to its antibacterial properties basil oil when applied can help prevent breakouts.
- Basil essential oil is considered to help relieve mental strain, tension, mental fatigue, etcetera as it is a natural stimulant to our nervous system. It can provide energy and enhance our mood for better, optimal day-to-day functioning.
- For treating muscle pain, spasms, the following blend will help. Mix together 20 drops of basil essential oil with 15 drops of lemon and marjoram essential oils each. Mix this with 100ml coconut oil in a bottle and store. Apply this onto the affected areas.
- For a refreshing, moisturizing body scrub, combine together 4 drops of basil essential oil with 8 drops of lemon essential oil, 1 cup granulated sugar, 5 drops of vitamin E oil and half a cup of almond oil. Store in an airtight container. Apply while showering to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin.
Cedarwood essential oil is derived from the cedar tree’s bark. Its woody, comforting smell besides which is used as a natural deodorizer it has several other uses or benefits.
- Cedarwood oil helps those struggling with hair fall by providing stimulation to the hair follicles which promotes better circulation of blood and in turn, the growth of hair. This blood circulation also aids in helping against a dry scalp which can turn flaky, itchy and prone to dandruff. Used in conjunction with coconut oil, cedarwood oil can aid in moisturizing dry scalps.
- Cedarwood oil is known to relieve joint pain especially for those suffering from arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly used in pain relievers due to its therapeutic benefits.
- It can aid in naturally curing acne if used every night diluted with a moisturizer.
- Cedarwood oil is a natural deodorizer, it is relaxing and its woody smell aids in refreshing not only our body but our rooms, our house as well.
- For helping treat arthritis and inflammation, use the following blend as required. Mix 3 drops of peppermint, Cedarwood and rosemary essential oil each with 4 teaspoons of any carrier oil. Apply this blend onto the affected areas. Consult your doctor once before using this method.
- For hair fall problems mix together 5 drops of cedarwood, rosemary, lavender and thyme essential oils with 8 teaspoons of olive oil. Apply this blend to your scalp and wash after some time. Use over a period of time regularly for tangible results.
8. Clove Essential Oil
Clove oil has wide-ranging uses, not the least of which are treating dental pain, boosting gum health, treating acne, etcetera. Clove oil is derived from an indigenous tree in South-East Asia. Clove oil has a chemical component present called eugenol which is responsible for its fragrance and is used in mouthwashes, toothpaste, etcetera due to its medicinal and aromatic properties.
- Candida, or yeast infection, can be treated with clove essential oil which possesses antifungal properties. This is the most common fungal infection which occurs in human beings and clove oil has proven to be a very effective antifungal treatment for this problem.
- Clove has an astonishingly high amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress which promotes a healthier human body, antioxidants also help by boosting heart health.
- Clove oil has been used as a remedy for toothaches for a long time, and for over two thousand years Chinese medicine has been using it for dental pain relief. Today there is scientific backing to support this claim. It even slows down dental erosion and remineralizes teeth.
- This oil can also be used to aid in digestive problems and conditions such as bloating, indigestion, motion sickness, etcetera. Clove oil also increases mucus production which occurs in our gastric lining, helping prevent ulcers and gastritis.
- For toothaches, take 2 to 3 drops of clove essential oil onto a cotton swab and dab on the affected area until the pain begins to subside.
- For treating skin conditions, mix 1 mL of Jojoba oil in a container with 2-3 drops of clove essential oil, and apply to the affected area. Apply as per your need.
9. Rose Oil
Rose oil is highly coveted for its rich fragrance and other benefits. While it is difficult to find unadulterated rose essential oil due to the expense involved in the procurement of rose oil via steam distillation of rose petals, rose oil continues to be commonly used for skin, hair and other health benefits.
- A romantic usage of this oil would be that it cures depression. Surely, inhalation of its fragrance can lead to a surge in mood and a better temperament. Studies conducted with women have shown that those who inhaled its fragrance regularly, once a day, felt rejuvenated and their spirits lift.
- Rose essential oil helps calm the mind and relax the body. This is why it is recommended as a body scrub or body spray. It helps to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Promotes a better-looking skin by moisturizing and rejuvenating it. Rose oil used in conjunction with other oils such as jojoba can lead to an even skin tone and supple looking skin.
- A surprising benefit of this oil is that it helps women by stimulating their menstruation. Those struggling with PCOS can use this oil over a period to see results. All women can use this oil (inhalation) when suffering from cramps, to alleviate the pain. It is even considered to help protect the uterus from tumours and fibroids. However, do consult your doctor before going ahead with its usage.
- As a skin toner rose essential oil can be used with vinegar to provide you with a natural toner. Mix 80 grams of rose petals with 75 mL of vinegar in a glass jar. Let it sit for a week. Afterwards, strain the mixture into a bottle, adding distilled water to the mixture. Mix well, and apply onto face after washing it.
- To use as a PMS and muscle pain relaxant or reliever, mix two drops of rose essential oil with 3 tablespoons of any carrier oil of your choice in a bowl. Take some onto your hands and massage onto the affected areas to see the results.
10. Coriander Essential Oil
Coriander is one of the most useful essential oils. Its usage in folk remedies has been long known. Popularly known in India as a condiment called ‘dhania’, coriander essential oil has various benefits which can be used besides flavouring purposes.
- Coriander oil can help eliminate body odour and help treat bad breath due to its antibacterial properties.
- Coriander essential oil is known to have an increase in human libido and as such acts as a natural aphrodisiac.
- Recent studies show that coriander oil helps fight food poisoning, helps in ease of digestion, flatulence, etcetera.
- It acts as an analgesic, treating muscle pain, menstrual pain, etcetera.
- To help with muscle pain, mix 2 cups of Epsom salt with ten drops of lavender oil and ten drops of coriander essential oil. You can now use this as a muscle relaxant or soother by applying to affected areas.
- To aid with digestion, mix 8 drops of lemongrass, 6 drops of ginger and 3 drops of peppermint and coriander essential oils respectively together, in a bowl, and apply externally on the stomach in a gentle, circular touch.
11. Lemongrass Oil
Extracted from the lemongrass plant, lemongrass essential oil has a citric, powerful scent and is used in food, cosmetics, soaps, etcetera. Lemongrass has several health benefits besides, as well.
Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, and its high amount of antioxidants, lemongrass oil has several benefits.
- It can be used to disinfect and treat wounds.
- It may prevent gastric ulcers. Lemongrass has traditionally been used as a folk remedy for stomach problems, and according to a study conducted on mice, it may help treat or prevent gastric ulcers. It can even help with preventing nausea.
- It helps regulate the sugar in your blood and it helps in controlling your cholesterol levels.
- It can even provide for healthier skin by unclogging pores, getting an even tone of skin, freshening and revitalising it. Used on the scalp it can help provide for a better scalp.
- It can act as a natural deodorant. It has a pleasant scent that can naturally refresh you.
- For relief from indigestion, mix 2-3 drops of lemongrass essential oil with 2-3 drops of any carrier oil such as Jojoba and apply onto your stomach.
- For a moisturizer mix 2 to 3 drops of lemongrass oil with half a cup of argan oil and apply onto your face at night before going to sleep. This acts as a natural moisturizer.