When you start looking into essential oils it can be completely overwhelming. There seems to be so much information out there. But the more I looked around the internet the more I realized that a fair bit of it is just someone sharing a blend they like or that works for that one issue. Don’t let it fool you, though. Essential oils have a vast number of uses, even within a single oil, that you really can address just about everything by finding the right oil for the job.
I don’t have all the answers. The books I’ve read don’t have all the answers. There is so much to learn about essential oils, and about the plants they are made from, that there will be constant learning when using them. There will be a handful of different oils that will address the same issue. But each oil has a slightly different action, blends better with certain oils, and works better for one person and not another. There are so many variants, but getting started can be so easy and rewarding. Start with just a few single essential oils, research their properties and uses, and try them out.
The essential oils I currently have in my arsenal are:
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Great for just about everything. It helps to soothe insomnia and nervous tension; lowers blood pressure and cholesterol; treats allergies and asthma; soothes bruises and burns; and combats mild bacterial and fungal infections. It is really my go to if I don’t have anything else.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
I cannot sing the praises of peppermint enough. I get horrible migraines two to three times a week and they are debilitating. But a swipe of peppermint across my forehead and within a minute I’m feeling relief. It’s better than Excedrin®.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
A fantastic cleansing oil. Its antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic, and several other properties, make this oil a go to for cleansing cuts and wounds, cleaning mold and fungus in the bathroom, or really cleaning anything around the house.
Lemon (Citrus limon)
I just love the scent of this oil. Citrus essential oils in general are excellent to use in cleaning products. It is also has a diuretic action which helps flush your digestive system (which is why it is suggested that you drink lemon water) and is a great skin toner (keep in mind that it is phototoxic, so it is advised that you avoid direct sunlight on the area it is used for about 24 hours).
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
I bought this oil when I woke up with swollen tonsils. It is an aid for so many body systems that are not functioning at full capacity. Oregano oil can be used to soothe and generally cleanse the digestive system. It can be used to boost the immune and respiratory systems, helping you fight colds, bronchitis, or asthma. It is also pain relieving, can help with chronic pains from rheumatism or pains associated with menstruation.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Also a recent purchase, in part because I enjoy the smell. However, it is a vasoconstrictor, so it is helpful when there is excess of fluids. This makes it useful in hemorrhages, excess bleeding, heavy menstruation, sweating, varicose conditions, and hemorrhoids. It is also a helpful tool for the reproductive system, particularly pre-menstrual tension and difficult side effects of menopause. This essential oil can also help ease coughs associated with asthma, influenza, bronchitis, and whooping cough.
These five essential oils have gotten us through just about every issue that has come up. It has already replaced all pain relievers in our home. When I first started looking into essential oils I thought I would have to buy dozens of different oils before I would be able to get results. But even with the top three on my list – lavender, peppermint, and tea tree – I would be able to get by just fine through probably 90% of our issues. That fact alone makes essential oils, to me, completely worth it.
The other important part of working with essential oils is using base, or carrier, oils. These oils are used to help your essential oils go farther, and in some cases, help them to be more effective. They also have their own healing properties, so using them as a stand alone will provide you benefits, as well.
By blending just a few drops of your essential oil into, say, an ounce of your carrier oil, you are able to get all the benefits and cover a much larger area. For example, I use a blend of lavender essential oil, tea tree essential oil, and apricot kernel oil (the carrier oil), on bug bites, scrapes, and burns. The apricot kernel oil allows me to cover a much larger area while using only a few drops of the essential oils.
My carrier oils are:
Apricot Kernel Oil
I love this carrier oil because it is thin and doesn’t leave an oily residue on my skin. It also doesn’t have a strong scent so it is great for blends when I want to be able to smell the essential oils I’m using.
This oil’s therapeutic properties include being an emollient (softens and relaxes), anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antibacterial, antiseptic (reduces risk of infection in open wounds and cuts), and antioxidant (protects the skin from damage by free radicals).
This oil is slightly thicker than the apricot kernel oil, but also provides quite a few impressive therapeutic qualities. These include being a moisturizer for face and hair; promotes skin health and accelerates the wound-healing process; it contains Vitamin E and Vitamin B complex; and helps fight fungi and infections.
Yes, that castor oil that people used to take by the spoonful. And for good reason. This oil has so many incredible benefits it’s a wonder why no one uses castor oil anymore. Most impressively, this oil provides significant support to the lymphatic system. (Look it up. This system is important.) It also helps increase blood flow, helps heal skin afflictions (wounds, sunburn, acne), and helps with pregnancy and inducing labor. These are just a few of the long list of benefits of using castor oil.
I’m telling you. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a few essential oils and carrier oils get the job done, and get it done well. Keep it simple, people.