Essential oils can help you in ways you never imagined. You can go to the store and find a various supply of helpful aromas to encourage sleep, give you energy, or simply spruce up your home.
The herbs these essential oils come from have been used for a long time, and many can be found in your own garden. If you have never used them, you may have some questions and concerns regarding them. The following is a beginner’s guide to these essential oils and how they are used to help what ails you.
Herbs in history
For centuries, these popular plants have been used in medicine, cooking, and fragrance for the body. You can find them today in lotions, salves, makeup, and even your favorite seasoning.
Some common herbs you may recognize are oregano, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, and lavender. While some believe that certain herbs help with courage and fertility, today we enjoy them for more concrete reasons.
Herbs are used in remedies to help inflammations such as eczema. Many varieties are hearty and can be grown indoors to be plucked while cooking like basil and thyme. Lavender is used in baby lotions to soothe and calm them (and it’s great for adults too).
If this is your first foray into the world of herbs and oils, you may not recognize some things that show up on those labels. The most common is the word “organic”, which you may see on your eggs, milk, and even clothing. What makes a product organic, and is it better for you?
When produce and animals are being readied for production and sale, there are chemicals such as pesticides used to keep harmful bugs and growths away. “Organically grown” means that these harsh products weren’t used. So when you chow down on that organic eggplant parmesan, the plants used were grown without any synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes, or sludge-based fertilizers.
Organic animals must have the space to roam freely, not be fed with animal byproducts (for example, chicken feed with meat) and growth hormones. Scientists are still researching what non-organic products do to us, which is why so many more people are choosing organically grown and made food, clothes, and other items. In fact, in 2012, about 43 percent of all produce sales were organic. And essential oils are nearly always organic.
What are essential oils?
If you grab a leaf of a mint plant and rub it between your fingers, the smell becomes stronger. This is because the oils in the leaf are being released and these oils will eventually land into a vial of oils for various uses.
Mint, for example, can be used for a variety of reasons. For centuries, it has been used to calm the stomach (if safe for consumption). Mint can be used to open nasal passages and awaken the senses. However, essential oils are designed for topical use. Other oils like pure rose oil can be used as a perfume, and some people believe it can help as an antidepressant, an aphrodisiac, and an antiseptic.
Another oil used for a variety of reasons is lavender oil. The lavender plant itself produces little bluish-purple flowers to attract much needed honey bees and butterflies, but it can also be beneficial alone and as an oil. It may help insomnia, and it’s used in lotions and shampoos due to antiseptic properties, and headaches.
Oils can be blended to create a unique mix to be used directly on the body (but don’t ingest them). Essential oils can be absorbed or used as part of aromatherapy. This can be important in stress relief, and also that relaxing massage to calm tense nerves.