I've often wondered if I would ever write a post about essential oils...they've become such a big thing with so many people buying, selling, and excited to dive into their wondrous world. The reason I've stayed away from an essential oil post is that I haven't really had a desire to engage in discussions in the online world about them because there are so many views and opinions...and that's really not my thing...
However, recently I've had some people ask me about how I use essential oils and it got me thinking that maybe some people need a simple perspective on a truly great thing. Essential oils can be a great way to naturally calm coughs, clear congestion, ease nerves, relax when overstimulated, and so many other things. However, sometimes they can be overwhelming or expensive, which can be a turnoff for people. When I started exploring the world of essential oils, I found myself getting caught up in the excitement of it all and I found myself wanting to spend a lot of money in order to get a bunch of quality oils. But then I took a step back and I had to examine how these little bottles of wondrous oils were going to fit into our lives and our budget. The decision that I came to was a simple one. I decided that essential oils should be a step-by-step process, one that could be added slowly and as needed to fit our needs and lives. So, I've done just that. I've bought oils that I knew I liked and would use on a somewhat regular basis. I bought oils that I had researched and knew how to use. And, I bought oils that fit into our monthly budget. Now, many would argue that the oils I've purchased are not the best quality out there, and that may well be so. But, in the world of natural living, I've found that there is often quite the spectrum when it comes to quality and often times our budget doesn't allow for the absolute best and sometimes the price tag or label doesn't always equal the highest quality. So, I've taken that same mindset into my journey with essential oils. In my opinion, opting for a more natural lifestyle is always better than not. So, when "the best" is out of reach, I opt for "the better." It's just what works for us.
So, here is my simple take on essential oils. This post is meant to be a practical one that just shows how I personally use essential oils, not because I'm an expert, but because a few people have asked. So, this is what I've found to work of us.
- Lavender: If I had to choose one, and only one, essential oil to have in my house, it would be lavender. It is hands down our favorite oil. We use it to diffuse in our diffuser (we have this one, it's kind of annoying to fill, but it works well and is cute) at nights to help us sleep, I add it to soaps and lotions for a calming and light floral scent, and I use it topically when I'm feeling cranky, anxious, or when I have a headache. It's also relieves the itchiness from mosquito bites and helps keep bugs away. It's a great oil for so many different things!
- Eucalyptus: My second favorite E.O. is eucalyptus. We use it all winter long to help with congestion. I often mix it with lavender in the diffuser, apply it topically on my chest, or dab it on a scarf so I can inhale it as I go throughout my day. I love how it opens the sinuses and smells so lovely.
- Peppermint: Peppermint is a great refresher. I love dabbing it on my chest before doing yoga as a way to help me to breath easier and to open my sinuses. I've also found it helpful to apply it behind my ears when I feel a tension headache coming on. We've found that a mixture of lavender, peppermint, and lemon can be good for congestion and itchiness related to seasonal allergies.
- Tea Tree or Melaleuca: This has antiseptic properties, which makes it great to add to cleaning products and body care products. I have a neem and coconut oil mixture with lavender and tea tree in it that I use as a moisturizer on dry and itchy skin areas. I also add tea tree to the diffuser anytime we are fighting a virus.
- Ylang Ylang: This oil is great when you are feeling a bit off emotionally or you want to create a more romantic environment. One of my favorite romantic concoctions is to mix lavender, ylang ylang, and cinnamon in the diffuser. It's a lovely mixture. I also dab it on my chest or scarves with a bit of lavender when I'm feeling a bit on edge and it works wonders.
- Clary Sage: Clary sage and lavender spend the first few days of my moon cycle with me each month. Not only do they help relieve tension, cramps, and pain, but they also help calm my stomach and nerves.
- Others: I also have clove, orange, lemon, vanilla, spearmint, birch sweet, and a few others in my oil collection. They all have their purposes, both for health and cosmetics. However, I find that sometimes starting simply and adding as you go is the best way to learn and to be able to really put them to use.
A few important things to keep in mind with essential oils...
- Education is super important. Research an oil before you use it--especially if you are using it on a baby or if you are pregnant. You can find great books and resources out there.
- Use caution. Oils are super strong and if they are not used properly, they can cause irritation or worse. Some oils are best used topically, others by diffusing. If you do your research, you can find out how and when to dilute, apply, and diffuse.
As I said, I am by no means an expert, but we have found that essential oils can be really great. Dan often asks me to turn on the diffuser at night so that he can fall asleep easier and we found them to be super helpful as we faced the nasty cold season this winter. They are definitely worth exploring, but I think it's great to do just that...explore.