You may have heard about essential oils and their myriad uses – think tea tree oil for acne or ylang-ylang essential oil for better sleep… But do you know how to use them and for what? And what are essential oils? Where do you get them from?
Essential Oils 101
Essential oils such as tea tree oil and rose oil occur naturally in Mother Nature’s free for all store. These oils are found in plants in parts like seeds, stems, flowers, roots and the bark and are extracted by various processes – remember that the yield of essential oils is pretty less, which is why these oils are expensive .
Essential oils are rich in many beneficial nutrients such vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and more and can be used directly on the skin (by diluting them with carrier oils such as coconut, olive or jojoba) or by inhalation (aromatherapy). Any and all essential oil has its own delicate, signature balance that has the power to benefit your health, skin as well as your home in various ways .
How To Apply Essential Oil On Skin
As good as essential oils are for the skin, you have to be careful in using them. They are very concentrated so you cannot apply them directly to the skin as that can cause skin damage. You have to dilute an essential oil with carrier oils like coconut, olive, rose hip, avocado or sweet almond oil in 2-3 drops of essential oil per 1tbsp of carrier oil ratio. . Also, make sure that you are not allergic to any essential oils by doing a little patch test on the inside of your arm – wait for 24-48 hours and only then use that essential oil on your face (mixed with a carrier oil always). Essential oils are natural sure, but they are chemical in nature and can cause an allergy as well…
What Are The Uses Of Essential Oils
- Topical Application: Since essential oils contain many different organic compounds; some of these ingredients, or a combination of ingredients, can be beneficial for the skin. For example, tea tree oil has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammation properties so is known to treat acne . The best way to apply the essential oil to the skin is to mix it with your favorite carrier oils or your favorite lotion and apply this oil mix to the skin.
- Inhalation And Application: Thinking of drawing a hot bath? A couple of drops of essential oil added to your bath will do wonders for your skin, and give you aromatherapy benefits since the hot steam will also help you inhale those fragrant vapors.
- As Aromatherapy: The benefits of essential oil can be reaped without actual physical contact as well by using them as aromatherapy – in diffusers, in inhalers (like tea tree oil to help alleviate colds) and in aromatherapy lamps. If you need a quick aromatherapy fix, you can simply sniff the oil from the source, or else you can also drop a little of the essential oil on your handkerchief and sniff as you please.
Medicine In A Bottle: The Many Uses of Tea Tree Oil
Despite its name, tea tree essential oil has got nothing to do with the tea shrub from which tea leaves are extracted, rather the Tea Tree essential oil is distilled from the leaves and young stems of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, which is pretty toxic in itself if ingested. That said; tea tree oil can be used to cure and treat so much, that it is often dubbed, medicine in a bottle 
1. Cure Acne on the Skin
One of the most effective remedies for acne, tea tree oil’s intense anti-microbial action can kill all the bacteria that causes acne, and yet is gentle on the skin so doesn’t leave scars or cause dryness. A good way to treat that acne with tea tree oil is by mixing 2tbsp honey with 5 drops of the oil, and a pinch of turmeric. Wash all acne affected skin with this every day, and see the change in a week or so.
2. Zap Dandruff and an Itchy or Flaky Scalp
The anti-microbial and emollient (moisture trapping) properties of tea tree oil make it an effective remedy for dandruff as well as an itchy or flaky scalp. You can use it to give yourself a head massage by mixing 5tbsp coconut oil with 10 drops of tea tree oil or simply add a few drops to your conditioner for added protection for the hair.
3. Clean Kitchens and Add Fragrance
Yet again the anti-microbial and anti-fungal action of tea tree oils keeps surfaces free of bacteria and molds – 2-3 drops of tea tree oil mixed with ½ cup each of water and vinegar will effectively clean and disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
4. Prevent Tooth Decay and Maintain Oral Hygiene
Need a toothpaste that kills off germs and soothes the gums? Then add just a drop of tea tree oil onto the toothpaste-coated toothbrush and brush your teeth with it to prevent tooth decay and treat any bleeding or sensitive gums as well.
5. Protect Nails from Fungi Infection
Tea tree oil has amazing anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties so it’s a great tool to treat those unsightly nail fungi infections. All you have to do is apply undiluted oil to the infected nail on an everyday basis and watch those nails get healthy again in a month or so.
6. Steam Colds Away
Tea tree oil can effectively reduce any congestion as well as a stuffy nose: just add a few drops of tea tree oil to boiling water or a steamer and inhale in the vapors for 5-10 minutes. Doing this should alleviate a sore throat feel better, and clear up any sinus or chest congestion too .
10 Awesome Essential Oils
Think of any plant with beneficial properties, and you have an essential oil that can be extracted from it. The flower, the bark, the fruit, the leaf, the root – whichever part of a plant is aromatic, an essential oil can be extracted from it and each oil as myriad uses . Here are ten often used essential oils.
1. Rose Essential Oil
The smell of a rose is intoxicating to say the least – and in a concentrated essential oil, it works all that more, as studies show, in relaxing and calming the emotional response in humans. 
2. Clove Oil
Other than reducing dental pain or infection, clove oil can reduce inflammation, nausea and is also a great breath freshener .
3. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil has even proven effective in reducing the stress and is anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial so it goes a long way in promoting healing of skin conditions. 
4. Bergamot Essential Oil
From reducing the heart rate to soothing the nervous system, studies show that Bergamot essential oil works quickly to calm the human mind and can also be used for pain relief, soothing a chest congestion and treating digestive problems. 
5. Lemon Essential Oil
Who doesn’t find the fresh lemony scent of lemon and other citrus fruits invigorating? With its anti-microbial properties, lemon essential oil can be used in diffusers as an air freshener and a few drops of it mixed with water can also be used as a household cleanser. Topical application of lemon essential oil (mixed with a carrier oil) can relieve pain and is an anti-fungal remedy as well. 
6. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Can’t sleep? A few drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil on the pillow will promote better sleep and its use can also treat depression as well as anxiety and reduce stress as well. 
7. Rosemary Essential Oil
Mixed with body oil, rosemary oil can detoxify the skin and improve scalp health as well as eliminate dandruff. In aromatherapy, it can help boost the immune system and ward off seasonal cold and flu. 
8. Chamomile Essential Oil
Period problems? Sipping chamomile tea can alleviate mood swings in PMS due to inhalation of its aromas as is a great relaxer and gives you a breather in high-stress situations. 
9. Peppermint Essential Oil
According to many aromatherapy experts, peppermint oil can improve digestion, relieve nausea and eliminate gas or bloating. Plus it also has anti-microbial properties so works great for the skin in the summer heat and as a cleansing agent as well 
10. Vetiver Essential Oil
Have an important meet and need to calm those nerves now? Try taking a big sniff of vetiver essential oil, which can also increase concentration levels and soothe any nervousness or anxiety. 
Remember if you are allergic to a particular plant product, you will be allergic to the essential oil derived from it too. Never ingest essential oils for they could be toxic, and always source them from certified organic sellers – cheaper is more often than not, not better! And store your essential oils in a cool, dry place like you would medicine – sunlight can alter their properties and they are oil, ergo flammable…
Featured photo credit: Style Craze via cdn2.stylecraze.com
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