Essential oils: The essentials!
Here in Thailand, we are definitely spoilt for choice in terms of alternative methods of healing, makeup, etc. After realising the multiple benefits of coconut oil, I looked into other natural products that reap other health advantages, including the so called ‘essential oils’.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are simply aromatic oils that have been extracted from fruit, leaves, bark and flowers, in addition to the roots of different types of plants. Unlike other ‘oils’ that are fatty and ‘fixed’ such as coconut or vegetable oil, essential oils are immensely volatile, meaning they evaporate quickly, are very concentrated, potent and are very aromatic.
Even if you think you’ve never used them, chances are that you’ve come across them in one form or another, whether this be during a massage somewhere in the city, a yoga class, or even in your personal care and household products. Evidently, the almost mystifying nature of aromatherapy isn’t something to brush off.
Used for centuries, they have been beneficial not only for wonderful cosmetic purposes and qualities but also for their properties and role traditionally in different medicinal and healing systems. They are known to (amongst many other things): balance hormones, stimulate collagen production, increase circulation, repair and regenerate skin tissue thus maintain high moisture levels of the skin, strengthening it altogether. As a result, slowing the overall process of ageing.
Emotionally, they can work wonders, whether it is finding the right aroma to jump start your day and get out of your sluggish mood, or to find something that relaxes you from the hustle and bustle of a big city. They are said to warm the soul and uplift the spirit, invigorating the senses, stimulating the memory, and being a rejuvenating means for the body.
An important thing to remember when dealing with essential oils however is that less is more – as they are immensely potent, it is recommend to not apply them directly to the skin, instead diluting them for use on both the body on face.
The best uses for different oils:
An oil that carries antiseptic properties, frankincense oil is great for eliminating bacteria – both for your home, as a natural household cleaner and even for your teeth! Also great for relieving symptoms of indigestion or any other cramps and stomach aches, in addition to being a natural cold medicine in that you can breathe in by putting it on a cloth and breathing it in or in a diffuser.
Most commonly found in insect repellents (which you can easily make on your own by diluting it with some water and putting it into a spray bottle), it is also useful post-insect-bites, healing the pain or itch. Moreover it is one of the most common oils in aromatherapy. It can be said to help relieving headaches and other pains and aches.
Found in one of my favourite perfumes, neroli is very fragrant, coming from the flowers of a bitter orange tree. I would suggest if anything diluting it with water for a wonderful homemade perfume or to even just lightly dab on your wrists and neck. Also lovely for home and eau de toilette, you could also use it to spray around your home or in your burner or diffuser.
Known to be useful for treating acne and hyper pigmentation, it is a very popular essential oil that can be found in many beauty products and facial regimes.
One of my personal favourites, along with helping treat sensitive skin, orange blossom and many of the other citrus scents (both lemon and orange) are the best energising scents to put in a diffuser when you’re stuck in a bit of a rut. I will put a few drops while I’m studying to wake me up.
How could I not include lavender? A beautiful scent known to many for its calming and soothing properties, it is useful for eliminating tension, relieving pain and sun damage, among many other things. There are hundreds of other scents, and I’d encourage you to try the different types out as each and every person takes to different smells and has a different responses. Not only are there the pure scents, but also multiple different blends, which include drops of different essential oils.