Plant medicine has alway been used to keep us going strong! Each plant having a means of providing some benefit towards healing the world. Even in concentrated oil form known as essential oils, each drop is a helping hand in the healing process or preventing outside invaders from making their way towards harming us.
I firmly believe essential oils are liquid gold when it comes to protecting us or maintaining balance. Essentially they are another form of plant medicine that is easier for people to work with. They have been used for years. A great on-the-go tool but also a handy way of combining different plant constituents together to help in whatever way is deemed necessary when put to use.
Even though these handy oils have been around for some time, not many people know the different ways in which these oils can be utilized. In this article, I will go over some of the common uses for essential oils.
First, lets go over what essential oils are.
Essential oils are compounds that are pulled from plants through a distillation or a steam method. This then becomes a concentrated and potent liquid containing the properties and essential parts of the plant such as taste, smell, and healing properties.
How can we use essential oils?
Topical application means placing oils directly on the skin or surface of the body. This can include hair, mouth, teeth, or nails. This direct contact on the body allows for focus on a particular area to be worked on. Due to the oils being so potent, it is best to use a carrier oil to avoid irritation on the skin or body region where the oil is being placed. A carrier oil is an oil (jojoba oil, olive oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, etc) used to dilute the essential oil(s). This method is good for joint pain, headaches, calming the mind, easing stress, and muscle tension.
Essential oils are able to penetrate through the skin easily due to their components being a lipid soluble substance. This means the oils can be absorbed through the skin to treat whatever needs to be addressed in the area.
Using essential oils for massage is an old technique that really allows for relaxation and healing. As mentioned above with using them topically, massage is no different in how the essential oils work. However, in this method muscles, skin, and connective tissues are being manually stimulated to promote healing and maintaining balance. Different massage techniques can be used as well as a variety of essential oils depending on what is being aim for during the session. This, however, generally may cover a wider area(s) of the body, helping to relax muscles, increase blood circulation, and detox the tissues. I enjoy using lavender, peppermint, clary sage, and frankincense for body work.
If you are performing this on your own and are not a certified massage therapist, it is best recommended to use light to medium pressure when performing the massage. It is also best to avoid the spine and sensitive areas.
This has to be one of the most common uses for essential oils. Aromatherapy is the inhalation of the oil or aroma of the oil. This form of therapy is one of the simplest ways of reaping the benefits from the plants. Inhalation can be done by smelling the oil with a few drops on a cotton ball or from your hand directly. This opens up the sinuses but also effects the larynx, bronchial tubes, and lungs. By smelling the aroma, it affects mood and emotions by activating the olfactory system (sense of smell) which targets different areas of the brain such as memory, the nervous system, and hormones.
Some ways you can utilize aromatherapy is through a diffuser, vaporizer or humidifier that uses a fine mist to diffuse the essential oils in the air. This a great way to get the benefits from the different oils in the office, at bedtime or even just hanging out at home. I love using lavender, citrus fruits, peppermint, rose, and sandalwood.
This can be a tricky one for not all essential oils that are manufactured can be ingested. It is best to check with the oil manufacturer to see if the oils you are using are able to be taken internally. Also, not every oil can be ingested. Only pure, therapeutic grade essential oils can be used internally.
One of the most common ways of ingesting oils is using it sublingually. This is by placing one or two drops of an essential oil below the tongue. This allows the oils to pass directly to the blood stream to wherever it is needed. It ensures a faster absorption rate and therapeutic effect.
Another way is by adding the oils to a beverage of choice. Essential oils are most commonly mix with water but nondairy milk may be used as well. It is best to use one drop of essential oil for every one cup of liquid. I prefer to use lemon oil in a 16oz glass of water throughout the day or if I'm on the go. If you do choose to add your oils to a beverage, make sure to use glass and not plastic. Some oils are so potent they can slowly break down the plastic and then you will also be consuming those particles.
This is another method to orally ingest essential oils to get the healing benefits. Since the oils are concentrated, a little goes a long way. Most dishes will only require one drop. Using oils is great way to substitute dried spices or herbs. The flavors help to enhance the food being prepared and provide the pure, natural essence of the plant. Cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, tangerine, and ginger are common oils I like to use in my cooking. As a caution, you always want to make sure the oils you are working with are ingestible and are of pure quality.
This is one of my personal favorites. I love using essential oils in my daily personal care routine. The oils can be used in bath water to relax the body, can create a shower gel, add to foot baths, or even create a mouth wash. Some oils I like using in this area are rosemary, orange, clove, Roman chamomile, and frankincense.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Using essential oils for cleaning and disinfecting is a safer and natural alternative than some typical cleaning agents. Many oils have the ability to kill off bacteria, mold, and viruses. I like using a few oils for my routine cleaning such as: lemon, melaleuca, cinnamon, peppermint, and thyme. These oils can be used in combination or individually with water as different household cleaning solutions. It is recommended to look up specific measurements for each oil and cleaning tips before using.
In addition to being a disinfectant, the oils can be used as a deodorizer. I love using essential oils to refresh a room, carpet or even the closet. Some of the oils I enjoy using are peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, pine, tangerine, and Ylang Ylang.
There are so many uses for essential oils. Their healing benefits are so diverse individually and in combination with other oils. Give one or two of these methods a try. However, always make sure you use high quality oils and research dosage before experimenting.
Have fun with Earth’s liquid gold!!