When I was first introduced to essential oils it was through an aromatherapy session, an optional add on during a massage I was having a few years ago. At that time, I didn’t really think that it would do much for me other than smell nice and add to my relaxing experience. Since then I have been introduced to essential oils in so many different ways, through chocolates, cooking, energy healing – reiki sessions and used to clear chakras and blockages and now everyday use, prevention and healing.
In fact, as I was slowly introduced to and learning about essential oils and what they could do for us, I was absolutely amazed that there was so much they could do and didn’t understand why I was not using these in my life. There were natural substances, extremely effective and had been around for centuries.
History of Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used by many cultures around the world for centuries. Their uses varied between cultures from religious purposes to healing the sick. Though it is hard to pinpoint exactly when essential oils gained notoriety as effective healing agents there is early evidence of their use in Lascaux, France dating as far back as 18,000 BCE. Medicinal plants were used in everyday life and had many uses and benefits.
Somewhere along the way, we lost the knowledge of essential oils and they did not see as much use as they had in the earlier centuries. Now we are rediscovering their uses and benefits to aid and support our health and well being – as well as fantastic healing properties.
The Next Step in My Journey
Last year when I started learning more about essential oils and their uses I took a look at what I wanted to adjust in my life and which oils would best support that. For me sleep was a huge issue, being able to go to sleep quickly but not being able to stay in a deep restorative sleep through the night. I woke up each morning exhausted.
So my colleague recommended that I rub lavender oil on the bottom of my feet each night before I went to bed (you rub it on the bottom of your feet because it has quick absorption and delivery to the body). I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical but decided to give it a go. I was amazed at the results – they weren’t immediate that night – but within a week I was already sleeping better, deeper and feeling more rested in the mornings. This was enough to propel me forward in my learning and exploration of essential oils and their uses (other than diffusing it and it smelling nice – though diffusing is highly beneficial as it puts the properties of the oil into the air and you benefit through inhalation).
Top 5 Essential Oils to Get You Started
Now there are so many oils out there and there is so much to learn. So when you are just starting out it can certainly be overwhelming! As a result I have put together my top 5 list of essential oils to start with, play with and learn about, which will provide you with a good foundation of knowledge and how to work with the oils.
One of the most popular essential oils in the world, lavender I thought that other than helping with relaxation/ sleep and that it smelled good was as far as it goes. But then I discovered that lavender has many other benefits such as
- Reduces anxiety and emotional stress
- Heals burns and wounds
- Restores skin complexion and reduces acne
- Slows aging with powerful antioxidants
- Improves eczema and psoriasis
- Alleviates headaches
The one I found most fascinating was that it heals burns. A coleaugue of mine told us a story about how she had badly burned her hand one year making Thanksgiving dinner and instead of running cool water over it, as many of us have been taught, she went straight to her lavender oil and rubbed that all over her hand. By the next day it was as if the hand had not been burned at all. Since then if I burn myself I go straight for the lavender as well and have experienced phenomenal results.
One of the most versatile oils, lemon is commonly recognized for it’s fresh scent and non toxic cleaning. It is also known to have many cleansing and digestive benefits for the body (you know that glass of lemon water they recommend you drink in the morning?) The downside of the real lemon in your water is that too much lemon can cause deterioration of the gums, while using the essential oil instead you reap the cleansing benefits and are not in danger of bleeding gums (this is because the oil is extracted from the outer peel and not the inner fruit). Lemon is also
- Very uplifting and energizing
- Improves mood
- Can be added to food to enhance flavors of desserts and other dishes
- A Thirst quencher
- Provides cough relief
- Nourishes the skin
- Provides Immune support
Melaleuca or Tea Tree
My first exposure to tea tree oil was when my kids got head lice and I wanted a more natural alternative to the toxic shampoo they recommended. I learned that tea tree was not only effective in getting rid of lice but was also a great preventative measure to avoid getting lice. I also knew that this oil was effective in managing acne but that was about it. As with all my other explorations I learned that Melaleuca could do so much more
- Effective against infections (fungal, bacterial)
- Anti-microbial laundry freshener
- Insect repellant
- Natural deodorant
- Acne face wash
- Removes foot order
- Removes mold
- Household cleaner
Every time I hear about Frankincense I think about the 3 Wise Men who brought the gifts to the baby Jesus – and up until recently that was about all I knew about it. It turns out that Frankincense is one of my favorite oils, not just because of what it does, but I love the scent. There’s just something about that woody, spicy scent that I love. Bonus is Frankincense has many healing properties
- Supports healthy cellular function
- Promotes feelings of relaxation
- Reduces the appearance of skin imperfections
- Anti-aging and wrinkle reducing
- Helps relieve inflammation or pain
- Supports wound healing
- Is grounding
- Eases digestion
- Natural cold or flu remedy
- Works well with other oils
My first introduction to oil of oregano was when I had a horrible sore throat and was told that oil of oregano would knock it out of the park quickly. All I can remember was how horrible this stuff was, but I took it anyway because it seemed to work. What I have now discovered (not all oils are created equal) is that there are much better ways to use this oil and in a more comfortable manner (the oil of Oregano you purchase from the health food store is also not the same as the pure essential oil). Oregano essential oil is often used in cooking but is also
- Powerful cleansing agent
- Immune Boosting
- Supports healthy digestion
- Prevents and treats infections
- Natural insect repellant
- Relieves muscle and joint pain
For many people often times the smell can determine which oil they will use – as many of the oils have common properties and not one oil fits all. And sometimes a blend of different oils together will provide even more benefits to you and dampen the smell that you may not like as a single oil. So if you can’t stand the smell of lavender but need support for sleep do not despair, there is another oil to try or a blend that will do the trick.
Another thing that is important to note is not all essential oils are created equal. Make sure you purchase high quality oils as many drugstore and mall brands contain synthetic derivatives and additives which do not have the same properties. They may be less expensive but you are not getting the same quality and may need to use more. With pure essential oil you only need a drop or two to make a difference.
What is/ are your favorite essential oils to use? Share in the comments below