Essential oils are most commonly used in aromatherapy or massage. Usually, these oils are used to relieve stress and make one feel calmer. There’s nothing wrong with using essential oils for stress relief, in fact, essential oils have excellent de-stressing properties. However, stress relief isn’t the only benefit you can attain from essential oils.
While I teach a class on the third Thursday of every month right here at Attunement Acupuncture, I wanted to take a few moments to give an overview of the many benefits that can be derived from essential oils.
There are three ways in which essential oils can be utilized to boost your health. These are: topically, aromatically (in a diffuser), and internally.* Oils should only be used internally if they are therapeutic grade and have supplemental facts on the bottle.
There is an oil out there for just about every ailment. While the below information covers some of the more common oils – there is a wide variety of oils for every type of health challenge.
Many people know that diffusing essential oils can make them feel relaxed, but did you know that, in specific combinations, different essential oils can make you feel energized, improve breathing issues, and more? Here are just a few of the unusual ways you can use essential oils in your home, your car, and your office to make your day better.
- Lemon essential oil can naturally put you in a positive mood – plus it’s an innocuous scent. So, even people sensitive to strong smells will barely notice the wisp of lemon as it filters through your office. If putting it in a diffuser seems too invasive, you can always add the oil to your dryer sheets or dryer balls to give your clothes a light scent. This particular oil has incredible internal* uses – so be sure to read below and find out how else it can be used.
- Melaleuca or “tea tree” oil can be diffused and sprayed through the air to clear away other scents and keep things fresh. Additionally, the smell of melaleuca oil can make people feel more confident and communicative, so you may want to spritz the air with a diffusion of this oil before having “the talk” with your child.
- Inhaling a diffusion of oregano essential oil can help you clear up that summer cold – and stimulate your appetite. Additionally, it mixes well with peppermint, which can also help your lungs open up as you try to get over the sniffles.
- Frankincense is one of those oils you hear about, but don’t really think about. It’s a great oil for both stress relief and for calming any fears. So, if you’re nervous before a big presentation, take a whiff of frankincense. It may help you take action and make a good impression! This is another oil with MANY internal* uses, so be sure to scroll down and find out more!
Using Essential Oils Topically
As I said earlier, most essential oils get relegated to the diffuser – which is entirely understandable. After all, they smell great! However, many essential oils can be applied topically to help with all kinds of skin or health ailments. Here are just a few of the topical uses of some essential oils:
Frankincense is a natural astringent, helping to tone skin and reduce the appearance of aging. I had a brown age spot on my nose that I couldn’t get rid of until using this oil. Another great use of frankincense is soothing inflammation. Add a few drops to a hot compress or towel to soothe swelling.
Finally, this oil is a wonderful cancer preventative and can be used both internally* and topically to assist with cancer prevention. If you are hoping to utilize frankincense to prevent ovarian or breast cancer, it can be applied topically to the breasts and ovaries.
Lemon oil is a great exfoliator and can be added to homemade scrubs. There’s a quick and easy sugar scrub that is wonderful when combined with essential oils. All you need is one part granulated sugar for every two parts coconut oil. Combine the sugar and coconut oil – then mix in a couple of drops of lemon oil. It’s easy to make and feels amazing on the skin!
The best time to use lemon oil is during a nightly bath or shower. This is because it photosynthesizes, so you want to be careful of using it if you’re going to be exposed to the sun.
Lavender oil may surprise you with its sheer number of topical uses. Like frankincense, lavender is a natural anti-inflammatory and can be used to stop the itching and swelling caused by insect bites or stings and minor burns. It’s also an excellent moisturizer and can be mixed with oil or cream to help ease severe skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis. Finally, mixing lavender with your conditioner may contribute to reducing pesky dandruff flakes. So, you may want to use lavender essential oils in more than just your diffuser!
Oregano oil may also surprise you. This common spice is a great antimicrobial and can help to fight infections. If you have fungal infections beneath your nails, you can soak the affected part in a warm bath with a few drops of oregano to help kill off the fungus. Additionally, oregano is a soothing anti-inflammatory and can help to ease arthritis pain when added to a hot compress or towel.
Be sure to take note: Whenever oregano oil is applied topically, it should be diluted. It can burn when applied directly to the skin, so be sure to dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil before applying it directly to your skin.
However, diluted oregano has many wonderful topical effects – like removing skin tags or even assisting a natural detox.
There are many, many other topical uses for essential oils. So, be sure to research all of the effects an oil can have before only using it to make the air smell nice – or you can just take my free class on the third Thursday of every month to ask me questions about oils directly.
Internal Uses of Essential Oils *
Believe it or not, you can use some oils internally. As noted above, if you plan to take oils internally they need to be therapeutic grade and have supplemental facts on the bottle. See more information on this at the bottom of this article. Here are just a few ways you can benefit from taking essential oils internally:
Lavender: If you live in Portland, you’ve probably eaten lavender of some kind or another. We put lavender in coffee, tea, scones; you name it. However, you probably didn’t know that lavender is great for your system! This oil has also been found to help with metabolic function, antioxidant depletion, treating seasonal allergies, and regulating blood glucose. Plus, it tastes delicious!
Frankincense: This essential oil can help fight indigestion, ease period cramps, and boost immune system function. A 2012 study even found that frankincense can be used to kill chemoresistant cancer cells. As mentioned above in the “Topical” section, frankincense can also be used in cancer prevention. Just take four drops sublingually every day to stay healthy and assist in your efforts to avoid cancer.
Lemon: This is another flavor we are all used to. It can be mixed with a drop of lavender in your water to make a flavorful (and allergy-fighting) beverage. Lemon essential oil has other health benefits too. When taken internally this oil can ease digestive issues like stomach cramps, indigestion, and heartburn. Lemon essential oil can also assist in treatment of seasonal allergies. It’s also a great addition to any detox and can help to cleanse the liver, kidneys, and digestion – while boosting your immune system.
I don’t want to gloss over the important role lemon essential oils play in detox. Our body naturally makes the antioxidant glutathione in the liver. This antioxidant is an immune system booster and is even given to cancer patients to increase white blood cells during chemotherapy. It’s also a vital part of any detox – we need glutathione to remove the environmental toxins we are exposed to daily. So, if your liver isn’t working optimally, a simple and natural solution is supplementing with lemon essential oil. Just 15 drops in a glass of water is enough for your liver to make glutathione. So, don’t miss out on this vital essential oil!
Oregano: We’ve all eaten spaghetti, so you know that oregano has a pretty strong flavor on its own – but it is also a familiar one that is pleasant with other foods or when mixed with other oils. Not only does this oil add a great flavor to familiar sauces, but it also has great antibiotic effects. You can use oregano internally for many ailments, ranging from flu to bacterial infections to cancer. There are studies ongoing about the effectiveness of oregano essential oil, but so far it’s been found to be nature’s powerhouse antibiotic!
Are you interested in learning more about these and other essential oils? Be sure to come to one of my classes – they happen on the third Thursday of every month. If you can’t wait that long, make an appointment here at Attunement Acupuncture. I’d love to find the right holistic health solution for your need!
*CPTG = Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. Make sure your oil has this stamp and lists supplemental facts on the bottle in order to take internally. Not all essential oils are the same. They may say “Pure” or “100% Pure Oil” but that is not always the fact.