Fresh coffee, a peeled orange or a newly cut lawn, whatever smells get us going, they change how we feel. If you aren’t using therapeutic aromatherapy essential oils at home, you are missing out. They are more than smells though: essential oils are powerful substances, which can restore balance in the body, relieve many symptoms, and speed recovery through our olfactory system (our noses to brain) and absorption into the skin. I have a growing box of them and they are my friends.
There are certain safety protocols, however, once you have got them down, essential oils are easy to use and game-changers in my opinion. They are always diluted and can be used in base oils massaged on the skin, in water, mixed in lotions, inhaled in hot water or a diffuser or in a warm bath.
Although I am passionate about the healing benefits of essential oils, I am not a qualified aromatherapist and I advise that you do your own research, always dilute the oils and stick to the safe use guidelines.
ALWAYS DILUTE YOUR ESSENTIAL OILS AND NEVER USE THEM NEAT!
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding consult your doctor about using essential oils. There are many with are not to be used when pregnant.
top 5 essential oils for a starter pack.
1. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Do not use in first 4 mths pregnancy
Hands down winner for versatility and ease of use. Best known for encouraging relaxation and a good nights sleep, it has multiple other uses. Antiseptic, antiviral, antispasmodic…. the list goes on. Great for skin (acne. eczema, psoriasis add a drop to your bottle of lotion), coughs,colds and respiratory issues, provides relief from pain and muscles spasms (can be used in pregnancy pain and labour) repels moths and bugs, soothes the stomach,warms the skin up when it is cold and cools it when its warm, treats burns and wounds and calms moods.
I put a drop in my face water at night to soften the hard water and I also blend it with chamomile essential oil in a base oil and rub it into my lower back and feet before bed. Bliss.
We have seen this around the block for a good reason. It is a powerful antibacterial, antifungal AND antiviral oil. This makes it great for the odd spot or to rub in between toes for athlete’s foot. It is also an immune booster so combats colds, glandular fever or M.E and can be used diluted in water as a gargle for sore throat. You can use a couple of drops in your household cleaning product to disinfect and I always take a little bottle on any trip as a first aid savior or to dry out a surprise spot.
Well, I know this is two oils but they have similar uses in my hands so the choice is yours. I use both to energise, as a muscle rub for period pain or to clear congested head and sinuses.
Do not use if pregnant or epileptic.
Stimulates central nervous system, antiseptic, muscular pain, respiratory really good for hair and scalp (add to your conditioner). Energises and revives the brain, good for exhaustion.
I also use it in a blend to rub on an upset tummy. I love Rosemary oil in a hot bath where its earthy woodiness warms the muscles and joints.
Also reviving, clearing and stimulating.
Commonly used for the colds and flu as it’s antiviral and antibacterial and purifies the air . Has the added bonus of soothing inflammation, lowering a fever and may help with migraines. I use 3 drops of this in a hot bowl of water under a towel, when I have a cold.
4. Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Where da ladiiies at? This might be my favourite essential oil. A rose-like scent which balances hormones, eases congestion and soothes and lifts mood at the same time. Heals the skin, balances the adrenal glands and is great for stress or depression. Good for regulating the menstrual cycle, helping in menopause and relieves PMT. Also helps sore throats, the lymphatic system (so good for swollen ankles) and clears the body of toxins. And in my opinion smells flipping great. I use it in a bowl of hot water with lavender (they are sweet lovers) to stick my head over when my skin is congested.
5. Lemon (Citrus limon) – or other citric oil
TO WAKE UP
I love citrus essential oils to wake up and feel refreshed in the morning. Lemon strengthens the immune system, reduces fever, boosts circulation, soothes sore throats, colds and helps acid digestion. As it’s also a bactericide, you can use it to clean the house and apparently can help clear verrucas and warts but be careful with sensitive skin.
I equally love lemongrass, which is also uplifting, antiseptic and a natural insect repellent like Citronella. Really I just think having a citrusy bright scent is key for a zesty uplift in a starter pack. I often use citrus oils in making room sprays to lift and clean the air.
This selection gives a nice variety of scent and versatility but choose whichever essential oils you like. It’s interesting how the scents we are individually attracted to, often indicate something in their nature that could benefit us, so follow your nose and choose an essential oil that draws you in and makes you want to keep sniffing.
Where to get them
It’s best to get your oils from a company that specialises in aromatherapy or natural health rather than a high street chemist. The way in which the oils are extracted is important you can often tell by sniffing them the quality of an oil. Of course if you can afford organic then go for it. I recommend in order of ascending cost and quality (UK).
- Enaissance (cheaper but decent online alternative)
- Absolute Aromas (widely available)
- Baldwins (online or in their store in South London)
- Aqua Oleum (Julia Lawless’ brand, online or some health stores)
- Neal’s Yard Remedies (online or in many high street branches)
- NHR (All organic- online or from their Brighton store)For a good basic book of essential oils I recommend
- The Directory of Essential Oils by Wanda Sellar.
It clearly profiles each oil body mind and spirit , although it doesn’t have a section on ailments to match the oil to what you need.
If you’re a beginner with essential oils and try one of these please let me know how you get on. I think you’ll also get hooked.
ALWAYS DILUTE YOUR ESSENTIAL OIL!
NEVER USE THEM NEAT (EVEN LAVENDER)
I can not stress this enough-Never ever put them directly on your skin. It can cause painful skin reactions, system toxicity and sensitisation to that essential oil for life. Also do not just throw some drops in a hot bath as this can also cause a burning reaction. Oil and water do not mix so the droplets will lie on the top of the bath and come into contact with your skin undiluted.