The existence of essential oil dates back as early as 4500 B.C.E when the Egyptians cultivated herbs and aromatic plants to extract oil. The extracted oil would then be extensively used for religious, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes. It is widely believed that essential oils were produced by using a solvent extraction method – enfleurage.
These essential oils were transformed into balsams, scented oils, perfumed barks, and aromatic vinegar. Pastes and oils from aromatic plants were used to make powders, pills, medicinal cakes, and ointments. One of their most popular herbal preparations was “kyphi” – a mixture of 16 ingredients that could be used as a medicine, perfume, and incense. However, at that time, common men were not lucky enough to use these therapeutic oils; only higher authorities, such as the Egyptians’ priests, had the power to make the most of essential oils.
Around the same time, India and China were also exploring herbs and plants, which later became an essential part of the Indian Ayurvedic medical system. In China, the first use of aromatic oils was first recorded around 2697-2597 B.C.E, during the reign of Huang Ti. His notable book “The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine” is regarded as the guidebook by followers and practitioners of Eastern medicine.
From the Egyptians, Greeks learned about the healing power of essential oil; the knowledge of essential oil, including its uses and benefits, gradually spread around every part of the world. Even today, essential oils hold immense significance, as they help treat a wide range of physical and mental ailments.
The most admirable quality of essential oil is that it comes in many soul-awakening flavors. And this article discusses all of them in detail.
Popularly used in aromatherapy, lemon oil offers numerous health benefits. Lemon essential oils are used to alleviate stress and anxiety and help boost mood. They also fight off fatigue and insomnia which enables you to get a good night’s sleep.
According to a rat study conducted in 2003, scientists concluded that the scent of lemon alters the nervous system in such a way that it leads to the breakdown of body fat. This goes to show that this citrus oil helps in controlling weight gain. However, more clinical research needs to be done to prove this theory.
The lemon essential oil also acts as a skin detox. Its antiseptic properties treat severe skin conditions and promote healthy, clear skin. In addition to skincare, this wonderful oil also promotes hair and nail care. Lemon oil serves as an incredible hair tonic which eliminates dandruff and strengthens the hair. You can add a few drops of lemon oil into your washing machine to make the laundry smell nice and fresh.
This is the type of essential oil that is extracted from the evergreen shrub by the same name “rosemary”. The oil of this popular culinary herb has been in use since ancient times as it offers a number of health benefits.
Rosemary oil is excellent for curing indigestion, constipation, bloating, and stomach cramps. Owing to its antioxidant properties, the oil protects the liver against free radicals. It further detoxifies the liver, which, in turn, enhances the digestive system.
Rosemary essential oil also boosts haircare, skincare, and oral care which is why it is found in several organic shampoos, lotions, creams, and mouthwash.
Cinnamon oil is loved for its unique spicy, sweet fragrance which is a reminder of warm, cozy winter days. Since it has an unforgettable scent, it is popularly transformed into fragrant room sprays, scented candles, and seasonal goods such as garlands and pine cones.
The worth of this oil becomes 10 times extra due to its amazing health and beauty benefits. Studies show that cinnamon oil consists of antifungal, antibacterial, anti-diabetic, and antioxidant properties. Owing to these properties, cinnamon oil is able to control blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It also prevents life-threatening infections to spread in the body cells.
In aromatherapy, cinnamon essential oil helps treat chest cold. When applied topically, it soothes muscle pain and aches. Some studies have concluded that cinnamon oil is packed with excellent antioxidants that can fight heart ailments and neurological disorders.
This essential oil is also used as food flavoring as it is added in candies, teas, and bubble gums. You may also find them in commercially-made baked goodies, having warm and musky flavors to them.
Native to Northern Africa and the mountainous Mediterranean regions, lavender is an herb that is mainly grown for medicinal and beauty purposes. Lavender oil is more like beauty oil which is used in soaps, shampoos, and fragrances to enhance the overall beauty.
It also helps relieve stress and anxiety; according to experts, applying a few drops of lavender oil to your temples can provide a much-needed relief from headaches, migraines, tension, and depression. Breathe in lavender oil through aromatherapy and it will promote a sense of calmness, helping you to sleep better. You can also rub a few drops of the aromatic oil in your palms, pillowcase, or bedsheets to induce sleep.
The lavender essential oil contains wound-healing properties and applying it on a cut, burn, or a scrape, the wounds heal up faster. This powerful oil also diminishes the appearance of scars.
Another essential oil that is popularly used in aromatherapy is rose essential oil. Aromatherapy practitioners boast that inhaling and absorbing essential oils positively affect the body; it normalizes the heart rate and blood pressure, decreases the stress and anxiety level, eases menstrual cramps, and boost the immune system.
The second tried-and-tested benefit of rose oil is the enhancement of the skin. Quality beauty products contain rose essential oil as it moisturizes dry skin, cures acne, diminishes signs and symptoms of aging, and treats eczema and rosacea.
You can apply rose essential oil directly to your skin. For the best result, mix it with a carrier oil such as jojoba, avocado, or sweet almond. Add it to your baths in small amounts, or inhale it by sprinkling a few drops onto a clean cloth, or use an aromatherapy diffuser/vaporizer.
For most people, the lovely scent of rose brings a sense of relief and ease to them. If you are one of them, a bottle of rose oil will prove to be a happy investment.
Commonly referred to as “sweet orange essential oil”, orange oil is derived from the fruits of “citrus Sinensis”. Orange oil has been in use for over thousands of years; it is believed that Europeans valued oranges for their medicinal benefits in the 15th or 16th century. However, they were soon adopted as fruits as well.
In historic and modern times, the sweet orange essential oil has had plenty of domestic uses. The orange flavor was added to candy bars, soft drinks, chocolates, sweetmeats, and desserts too. Owing to the preservative and anti-septic properties of orange oil, the citrus oil is best used in the production of various skincare products such as lotions, creams, soaps, and deodorants. Due to its lovely fragrance, orange oil is also used in cleaning products such as room-freshening sprays, detergents, and other toiletries.
Orange oil also boasts a broad array of health benefits. The oil helps alleviate muscle spasms, abdominal pain, and menstrual cramps. All you have to do is mix a few drops of this incredible essential oil with a carrier oil and massage smoothly onto the affected part. The oil also boosts the immune system, promotes better digestion, reduces gas, and eases sore joints and muscles. To treat these health concerns, mix a few drops of orange oil in water and drink it!
Tea tree oil is considered as traditional medicine by Aborigines for hundreds of years. These natives of Australia crush tea tree leaves to extract the oil. The oil is then used for a number of purposes; most commonly it is inhaled to treat colds and coughs. Most people apply it directly on their skin to enhance its condition.
Another skin benefit of tea tree oil is that it reduces itching and irritation caused by acne and eczema. The anti-inflammatory effects of the oil also help reduce swelling and redness, making the skin clear and smooth. For protection against acne, mix three drops of tea tree oil with two ounces of witch hazel. This will act as an ideal skin toner throughout your day.
Did you know that tea tree oil also fights against dandruff? It achieves this result by eliminating dead skin cells and chemicals from the scalp. For healthy and moisturized hair, use a tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner. Apply the shampoo from the roots till the hair ends and let it stay for 2 to 3 minutes. Rinse with warm water and follow with a tea tree oil conditioner.
When purchasing tea tree oil, always look for a product that contains 10% to 40% of terpinene – an essential antiseptic ingredient of tea tree oil.
Peppermint oil happens to be the most versatile essential oil, as it can be used topically, aromatically, and internally to treat a variety of health problems. The number one use of peppermint oil is to get relief from joint and muscle pain. It is advised to take a warm bath in the mixture of peppermint oil and Epsom salt. You can also rub the oil into affected areas three times a day.
Another great benefit of peppermint oil is that it provides sinus relief. Rub it on your temples, chest, and back of your neck with the help of a diffuser. Peppermint oil also helps you get rid of seasonal allergies when used with eucalyptus oil. Rub it onto chest, temples, and back of your neck for the best result. Mix in one or two drops of the essential oil in water and drink it to boost energy and improve IBS symptoms.
Tea tree oil also promotes hair growth and reduces dandruff so massage it into scalp before showering. This oil is mixed along with lavender oil to boost skin health. To get rid of sunburn, experts suggest mixing half-teaspoon of coconut oil with tea tree oil.
A better alternative to peppermint oil is spearmint oil.
Initially originated in Australia, eucalyptus trees are cultivated all over the world and used for their remedial properties. Their cure-all power comes from eucalyptus oil which is stored in the oval-shaped leaves of the tree. The oil acts as a cough medication as OTC medications like VapoRub and Vicks contain 1.2% of eucalyptus oil.
Along with suppressing a cough, eucalyptus oil helps your chest get rid of the mucus as well. Heat the essential oil and inhale the vapor to loosen up mucus. In this way, when you cough, the slimy substance is excluded. The diluted oil is also used for treating wounds and infections. Apply eucalyptus oil-based creams and ointments directly to the affected areas and promote quick healing. The oil also controls the blood sugar level which is the best treatment for diabetes.
This therapeutic oil works best as an insect repellent. It keeps mosquitoes and other biting insects away. Most people opt for chemical-based repellants, but they are more dangerous as their strong smell directly affects the person’s health. To stay on the safe side, it is advised to use eucalyptus oil at home.
Derived from the Latin word “clarus”, clary is native to the northern Mediterranean region and North Africa. In medieval times, doctors used to use this perennial herb to treat vision problems. It was also used for flavoring wine as it was called “muscatel sage” due to its similarity to German Muscat wine.
This sweet herbal aroma is lauded for its lovely fragrance which helps to eliminate the pungent smell of other ingredients in skincare products. Clary sage also possesses astringent properties that provide a myriad of skin benefits. It improves and moisturizes skin health and cures skin problems like acne and eczema. Studies also show that the scent of clary sage contains anti-depressant effects. According to a 2014 study, two depressed, postmenopausal women in their 50s breathed diffused clary sage which alleviated their depression. This was achieved by the oil’s ability to lower cortisol level and to improve thyroid hormone levels.
A study conducted in 2012 showed that clary sage mixed with marjoram and lavender is the best massage treatment for curing stomach cramps and menstrual pain.
Also known as olibanum, frankincense oil is formed from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It is native to the rough, mountainous regions of Africa, India, and the Middle East.
Popularly used in Ayurvedic medicine, frankincense offers amazing health benefits such as treating indigestion, asthma, arthritis, and some types of cancer. These are terminal illnesses with expensive treatments, but the daily use of frankincense oil can successfully treat these life-threatening diseases. Besides treating physical ailments, frankincense promotes emotional well-being as well. Effective oil helps calm and relax the mind.
You can prepare this oil at home with two main ingredients – safflower oil and resins of frankincense. For this DIY method, pour safflower oil in a jar, making sure there is room for the resins as well. Add 7 to 8 tablespoons of frankincense into a mortar and pestle and gently crush the resins. Now close the jar tightly and place it outside in the sun for two days maximum. Afterward, cover the mouth of the jar with muslin and strain the oil.
As it is a popular notion that grapefruits aid in weight loss, using grapefruit essential oil for the same result is also a common happening these days. This invigorating oil cleanses the body, decreases fluid retention, and curbs sugar cravings – all of which helps you in achieving the desired body shape.
Along with these mind-blowing benefits, grapefruit essential oil also reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, relieves hangover symptoms, and reduces inflammation.
Lemongrass essential oil is the most effective when used in aromatherapy. To make it more impactful, mix in a few drops of other essential oils such as ylang-ylang, patchouli, oregano, marjoram, or jojoba. You can also add lemongrass oil into a warm bath or massage into your skin. You can opt for any of these methods to treat problems like anxiety, acne, headache, indigestion, and muscle ache.
This form of oil can also be used as an air freshener and a natural insect repellent.
Native to India and Indonesia, sandalwood is an evergreen tree that offers numerous medicinal benefits. Also known as white saunders oil, santal oil, or white/yellow sandalwood oil, this curative oil has been used as an astringent and antiseptic for stomachaches, headaches, urinary and genital disorders.
In Ayurvedic practice, sandalwood oil is used in the form of a paste or emulsion for inflammatory diseases. In ancient times, the leaves and barks of sandalwood were used to treat lice, dandruff, and skin inflammation. Today, sandalwood oil, along with all of these benefits, boosts memory, controls blood pressure, reduces stress, and improves skin complexion.
Due to its warm woody scent, sandalwood oil is a crucial component in soaps and perfumes. It is also used in massaging as it helps make the skin soft and body relaxed.
Invest in these pure essential oils to savor in their promised benefits. Some other restorative essential oils that you can consider are wintergreen, helichrysum, vetiver, myrrh, neroli, oregano, bergamot, and geranium. Make sure that you get them from a reliable source that is known for good-quality products. Always have a look at the client’s feedback and reviews from the place you ultimately decide to get your preferred essential oil.