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If You Are Not Using Essential Oils I am Sure You Are Missing Out!

If You Are Not Using Essential Oils I am Sure You Are Missing Out!

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 [1].

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 [2].

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. [3]. 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 [4]. 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 [5]

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.

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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 [6].

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 [7]. Here are ten often used essential oils.

1. Rose Essential Oil

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    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. [8]

    2. Clove Oil

      Other than reducing dental pain or infection, clove oil can reduce inflammation, nausea and is also a great breath freshener [9].

      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. [10]

        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. [11]

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          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. [12]

            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. [13]

              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. [14]

                8. Chamomile Essential Oil

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                  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. [15]

                  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 [16]

                    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. [17]

                      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

                      Reference

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                      Sheba Leung

                      Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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                      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                      Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                      Video Summary

                      Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                      There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                      This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                      Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                      In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                      One Exercise, multiple benefits

                      There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                      By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                      When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                      Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                      In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                      What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                      What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                        1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                        Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                        • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                        • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                        • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                        • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                        2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                          Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                          Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                          3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                            Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                            4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                              Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                              A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                              A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                              On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                              5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                  Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                  7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                    How to hold a plank position

                                    1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                    2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                    4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                    6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                    Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                    Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                      How to improve your plank time gradually

                                      1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                      2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                      3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                      Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                      Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                      You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                      • Prolapse
                                      • After prolapse surgery
                                      • Pelvic pain conditions
                                      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                      • Previous childbirth
                                      • Overweight

                                      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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