What are essential oils?
Essential oils are extracted from a plant or flower through steam distillation or cold pressing. The oil collected is then known as the “essence” of the plant or flower. It is concentrated aroma and nutrients, far more powerful than the plant itself.
Take lavender for example, it takes 150 pounds or more of lavender flowers to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil, similarly 1 drop of peppermint oil is equivalent of drinking 25 cups of peppermint tea, so a little goes a long way.
Essential oils have been used for centuries for mental, physical and medicinal wellbeing. As many essential oils contain antiseptic, analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, they are used in cooking, remedies to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, mood boosters, increasing energy and as a perfume
Take care when using essential oils at home
Be careful not to overuse the essential oils. As the molecules are so small, these molecules are able to penetrate your skin and are easily absorbed into your blood stream. Never use oils on the skin undiluted as this can cause an allergic reaction, always mix with a carrier oil, for example, for every 3-5 drops of essential oil, you should use 1 tablespoon of carrier oil such as almond oil or coconut oil to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
The elderly, pregnant, children and babies should be extra cautious as some different oils can increase blood pressure, or cause skin irritation. Lavender is generally safe for most individuals, including babies and children, however make sure this is diluted before applying.
Before we start:
Remember to wash your hands after applying aromatherapy oils and blends.
Do not apply after surgery, on open wounds or undiagnosed rashes.
Do not use after chemotherapy.
Keep the oils away from the eyes.
Use only topically.
Avoid rosemary, thyme, sage, fennel and hyssop if you suffer with high blood pressure
Do not apply to babies or infants – it doesn’t mean it’s not safe, you just need really low concentrations and should always consult a Doctor first.
Make sure you research the brand for quality and check the expiry dates.
Store your blends in dark glass bottles, preferably in a cool dark place, and use within a month of blending.
For 15ml of oil, use 5-7 drops of essential oil.
Use oils such as sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, hazelnut oil, olive oil or avocado oil or use natural creams and lotions and aloe Vera gel.
Do not use too many essential oils in one blend, 1 – 3 is enough.
18 Home Spa remedies
For Physical tiredness, muscle aches or tension – Use a few drops of oil, choose from ginger, lavender, lemongrass, sage, and camomile mixed with almond oil or grapeseed oil. Massage into the affected areas, for example, massage into tired and sore legs.
Stress, emotional problems, insomnia or anxiety – perform a full body massage or treat yourself to an aromatherapy bath. Panic attacks, nervousness, frustration and anxiety can be relieved by massaging the solar plexus (just under the diaphragm) and the feet. Good oils to use for this are Bergamot, Geranium, Litsea, rosemary and lavender. To Reduce anxiety and stress, you can use lavender diluted in a spray bottle, or mixed with unscented lotion and apply to the temples.
To unwind after a busy day – prepare an aromatherapy bath, add a few drops of your favourite smelling oil only when the water is running, focus on your breath, switch off your phone and try to disconnect – as a suggestion, add lavender to promote relaxation, bergamot to reduce anxiety, clove/cinnamon for energy or rose for depression.
Insomnia – sprinkle a few drops of lavender onto your pillow to help with a good night’s rest and stay asleep though the whole night.
Skin problems – for daily use, add one drop of your chosen oil to your cream or face mask. (If you have sensitive skin, test on your wrists first) If you suffer with Acne – mix 3 drops of tea tree oil and a teaspoon of honey, apply to face using circular hand movements and then wash off.
Natural scrub or Face mask – combine ¼ cup of yogurt, ¼ cup of oatmeal, and 5 drops of patchouli oil, grapefruit oil and lavender oil: use as a scrub or leave on face for 5-10 minutes as a mask.
Headaches including migraine – combine 2 drops of lavender oil and peppermint oil - use the blend to massage your neck, shoulders, head and temples avoiding contact with the eyes
To improve your hair condition – perform a scalp massage and leave the oils for at least 1 hour, then wash your hair with gentle shampoo. For damaged or brittle hair, leave overnight. Natural shampoo - combine 2-3 drops of lavender and rosemary oil, and equal parts aloe Vera, coconut milk, and baking soda, this solution should last about 2-4 weeks. Hair thickener – add a few drops of rosemary oil to your shampoo. Dandruff – add a few drops of lavender oil, cedar wood oil, and basil oil with 3 teaspoons of coconut oil, leave on for 10 minutes.
Sugar/salt scrub – to use on the body combine 2 drops of almond oil, and equal parts of rock salt and Himalayan sugar.
Reduce cellulite - add 5 drops of grapefruit to 2 teaspoons of coconut oil – prepare your blend and apply twice a day.
Stretch marks – add 5 drops of Frankincense, myrrh and grapefruit to coconut oil and apply to affected areas.
For strong nails – add 10 drops of frankincense oil, myrrh oil and lemon oil, to 2 tablespoons of vitamin E, then rub onto cuticles.
Digestion - add a few drops of ginger oil, peppermint oil and fennel to your favourite carrier oil, gently massage your stomach in a clockwise direction.
Menstrual cramps - combine a few drops of sage, basil, and rosemary with an unscented oil, and massage into abdomen, leave for 5-10 minutes.
Aching feet – add a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus oil to a foot bath to soothe aching feet
Dry skin on feet – add 2 drops of lavender oil to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and apply liberally to the bottom of the feet and put socks on just before you go to bed, and wake up with smooth refreshed feet!
Yoga/Pilates – add 8-10 drops of sandalwood and lavender to a diffuser to help you centre during your practice, you can also clean your yoga mat with a few drops of clove oil and citrus oil and warm water.
Heightened concentration – for anyone working at home, meditating or studying for exams, add 10 drops of Frankincense to a diffuser.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for.