What are essential oils?
Essential oils are substances found in different plant tissues. The ancient alchemists called them “soul of the plants”, because they contain numerous natural chemical compounds, coming from the plant from which they are extracted, which we can use as a home remedy in many situations. In fact, aromatherapy is a very old technique that uses essential oils for therapeutic purposes, both physically and emotionally. Although we can also use its magnificent properties in the field of home or cosmetics.
What properties do essential oils have?
Each essential oil contains the specific properties of the plant from which it is obtained, whose chemical components will serve us for different purposes. For example, an essential oil can be sedative (jasmine) while another has the ability to stimulate the nervous system (rosemary). Some stand out for their bactericidal properties (thyme), while others have a greater analgesic capacity (mint), etc.
But in general, and thanks to its complex molecular composition, all essential oils are, to a greater or lesser degree:
- Cell regenerators
- Improve blood and lymphatic circulation
- Balance the emotions
How do essential oils penetrate the body?
There are different ways in which essential oils can penetrate inside the human organism. Let’s look at the three most common:
Essential Oils – Orally
Through the digestive system, an essential oil can be incorporated into our bloodstream when we ingest it. However, it is totally discouraged to carry out this practice on our own. Ingesting an essential oil should only be done under medical prescription. The French School of Aromatherapy is specialized precisely in the oral administration of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, since in France there are medical specialists in aromatherapy who have pharmaceutical laboratories that develop specific formulas.
Essential oils are volatile particles, that is, they evaporate. When inspired, they penetrate the organism through the pulmonary alveoli reaching our bloodstream. The speed and efficiency with which they are incorporated depend on many factors such as, for example, the intensity of breathing, the amount of oxygen we have in our blood, or the specific characteristics of the oil in question.
In the nasal cavity, in addition, we have cells that transmit the information received from the outside to the brain, so that it processes and interprets the received stimuli. The intense aroma of essential oils has an immediate effect on emotions, so one of its main applications is to balance disordered or extreme moods.
Topical route (through the skin)
Crossing the different layers of the skin, essential oils also access our bloodstream and spread throughout the body. The eminent biochemist Margueritte Maury was the driving force behind aromatherapy and the use of essential oils in therapeutic massages. His line of work has been followed by the English School of Aromatherapy, aimed at beauty and wellness, which is in favor of this procedure in aromatherapy treatments.
Apart from the general effect of essential oils throughout the body, the epidermis is one of the most benefited with its continued use, as not only moisturize and nourish the skin, but also most essential oils are effective cellular regenerators, stimulating cell growth in the deeper layers.
The speed of penetration in blood will depend, above all, on the density or fluidity of the oil in question.
How are essential oils used?
As we have already seen, we can use certain properties of essential oils simply by inspiring them, for example, to calm the nervous system, to clear the airways or to calm the emotions.
Other properties can be more effective by applying them on the skin, but in this case, we must take into account some considerations. Since these are very concentrated substances with therapeutic properties, we should always use them with caution. Except for lavender, chamomile and tea tree, which are the only three essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin (although it is safer to use them diluted), essential oils should always be used diluted in a conductive substance. To know the exact precautions and the specific dosage, see our article precautions and dosage in the use of essential oils.
The best option is to dilute them with vegetable oils much softer substances and especially recommended in the area of cosmetics (they are the real substitutes for industrial creams full of toxins). Although there are also other options such as clay (with which we can make natural creams).
Alchemy at Home
The most fun to work with essential oils is that little by little and as you go knowing all its properties, application forms, and precautions to take into account, you can expand your alchemy pantry.
When you have a certain number of essential oils you will discover remedies for all kinds of problems in the home, making your own mixtures, which is an art. Manipulate, smell and experiment with these extraordinary substances can become a real passion, especially when you see their great effectiveness.
Whether you want to prepare an anti-lice mix for your sons and daughters, a natural moisturizer, a cleaning product, a remedy for wounds and burns, a remedy to relieve headaches, cellulite, edema or poor circulation, experiment with Different properties of essential oils will allow you to make personalized mixtures enjoying the creative process, as well as incorporating this healthy practice into your life .
How are essential oils extracted?
There are different methods to extract this precious substance that depends, above all, on the area of the plant where the essential oil is more concentrated.
It is the most common method of extracting essential oils. It is usually used with relatively resistant plants whose essence is found in parts such as leaves, stem, trunk, etc. For this, still is used in which the part of the plant that we want to distill together with water is introduced. When heated, the steam drags the volatile molecules of the plant that goes to another container along with the steam. When cooled, the different density of the water with the oil causes that the essence is deposited in the upper part separated from the steam, already turned into water.
This method is used to extract the essence of citrus fruits, since their essential oils are in the outer skin of the fruit and to obtain them it is necessary to press their bark.
This technique involves introducing the plant for some time into another liquid until it captures its properties. When the maceration is made in vegetable oils it is called oleate; When maceration is done in alcohol, it is called tincture.
Extraction with volatile solvents
This technique is used when you want to extract a very delicate part of the plant that would not support steam distillation, such as, for example, flower petals such as rose or jasmine. This process is much more complex than the previous ones and a huge amount of raw material is needed for extraction. Therefore, the essential oils obtained with this system have a very high price. It consists of using certain solvents to, as in the maceration, get the essence of the plant is retained in them. Then the moisture is removed and the essence is obtained, which in this case is called “Absolute”.
The essential oils have been used for thousands of years in many cultures for medicinal purposes. The uses of essential oils range from aromatherapy to household cleaning products, personal beauty care and natural medicine treatments. The particles present in the essential oils come from the distillation or extraction of the different parts of the plants, including their flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin and husks. In ancient times, Jews and Egyptians made essential oils by soaking plants in oil and then filtering the oil through a linen bag.
The benefits of essential oils come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The popularity of these healing oils has grown rapidly because they act as a natural medicine without side effects. Are you ready to take advantage of the power of the most proven therapeutic compounds in the world? Next, let’s see 101 amazing ways to use essential oils.
- Multi-Purpose Cleaner: Add three drops of lemon oil and three drops of tea tree oil to a bottle of warm water, then sprinkle on your countertops to disinfect naturally.
- Natural mosquito repellent: Combine a drop of lemongrass oil, a drop of citronella oil and a drop of eucalyptus oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil to make a natural insect repellent that you can rub on your skin. Reapply as necessary.
- Cleaner sports items: If your children play sports, add two drops of tea tree oil and two drops of lemon essential oil to one liter of warm water; then add four tablespoons of baking soda and mix. It is used to clean t-shirts and soccer shoes, and sportswear.
- Cleans the air: diffuses cinnamon essential oil in the air and enjoys its anti-microbial properties.
- Homemade mint pies: You can use peppermint oil, coconut oil, dark chocolate and raw honey to make mint goodies.
- In the washing machine: Add 10-20 drops of your favorite aroma per load.
- In the vacuum: Add 5-10 drops of your favorite oil in the vacuum bag or dust bag.
- Homemade sunscreen: Mix coconut oil, zinc oxide, shea butter, evergreens oil and lavender essential oil. Store in a jar to make a homemade sunscreen and free of toxic.
- Remove the verdigris from the shower curtain: In a spray bottle, add four drops of eucalyptus essential oil and four drops of tea tree oil (Melaleuca) with warm water; spray over the shower to kill the mold naturally.
- Clean burned frying pans: Use a few drops of lemon oil and a little boiling water to help eliminate the burned food from the pots and pans.
- A house with a wonderful smell: Diffuse essential oils of cloves, rosemary or orange, when the guests are about to arrive, and they will talk about how amazing your home smells.
- Carpet Cleaner: Mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with borax to make a homemade carpet cleaning powder.
- Kill pests: Diffuse clove essential oil and orange essential oil to kill pests on contact.
- Lavender cake: Mix coconut flour, raw honey, organic eggs and lavender essential oil and bake at 170 degrees C.
- Remove mold: Add tea tree oil to your diffuser to kill mold and other pathogens in the air.
- Christmas scent: Apply a drop of pine oil, one of sandalwood oil or cedar oil on a log about 30 minutes before burning.
- Reduce anxiety: Diffuse lavender essential oil in your home to reduce the feeling of stress and tension.
- Spiritual illumination: Diffuse incense essential oil, while you pray, meditate or read to increase spiritual awareness.
- Bath scrub: Mix half a cup of baking soda, half a cup of vinegar and five drops of bergamot oil or lemon oil; Used as an exfoliant for a sink or bathtub.
- Renew your wastepaper basket: Put a cotton ball with two drops of lemon oil and two drops of tea tree oil in the bottom of the trash can to help reduce the smell and detoxify the environment.
- Wash food: To clean fruits and vegetables, add two drops of lemon oil in a large container of water before washing.
- Clean the smell of the kitchen: Add a few drops of essential oil of cloves, cinnamon oil or citrus oils to a saucepan of water over low heat to get rid of the smells of the kitchen.
- Bath freshener: Put a cotton ball soaked in lime or lemon oil behind the toilet for a cool bath.
- Purify the fridge: To cool the fridge or freezer during cleaning, add a few drops of lime oil, grapefruit or bergamot to the rinse water.
- Mint tea: Use 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil in your favorite tea to give a touch of mint.
- Eliminate smoke: To remove cigarette smoke, put four drops of rosemary oil, four drops of tea tree oil and four drops of eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle and spritz inside the house.
- Combat the toxicity of paint: Add peppermint oil and eucalyptus to your paint to dissipate chemical fumes.
- Get rid of smell in shoe: To remove the smell of shoes, add a few drops of tea tree oil and lemon oil to refresh.
- Gift for engagement party: For a beautiful engagement gift, create a “love potion” with essential oils. Use 20 drops of sandalwood oil, four drops of cocoa oil, vanilla and rose, and add them to a lotion without essence.
- Baby shower gift: Give a lavender-scented wall diffuser to soothe mother and baby.
- Water with lemon flavor: Dilute 2-3 drops of lemon oil in water for a delicious citrus flavor.
- Cleaner tableware: Add a few drops of lemon oil in the dishwasher before washing for a stain-free rinse.
- Medical kit: creates a natural family medical kit with essential oils of lavender, lemon, mint, tea tree, oregano and incense.
- Improve sleep: Lavender oil can relieve insomnia. Sprinkle a few drops on the pillow to help you fall asleep.
- Body lotion: Mix coconut oil, shea butter, magnesium oil to create a moisturizing lotion for the body.
- Homemade lip balm: Combines coconut oil, beeswax and lavender oil to create an incredible balsam for cracked lips.
- Relieve tension: Help relieve anxiety with a single drop of lavender oil on your hands, rub them and make a cup with your hands near the nose, let the smell flood your senses.
- Massage Therapy: Use a few drops of cedarwood oil or lavender oil, mixed with an unscented lotion during a relaxation massage.
- Immediate relaxation: Apply 2-4 drops of essential oil of chamomile, lavender and mint on your temples for an immediate cooling and relaxation effect.
- Detoxifying bath: Mix lavender oil, Epsom salts and sea salt to a hot bath to cleanse and rejuvenate the body.
- Sauna therapy: Add two drops of your favorite essential oil to two cups of water in a sauna.
- Calming children: help calm children by applying lavender oil or chamomile on their stuffed animals.
- Foot bath: Add a few drops of lemon oil or eucalyptus oil to a large bowl of warm water to help soothe feet.
- Improve depression: To improve mood and relieve depression, add rose oil to baths, inhalations and diffusers of the environment.
- Yoga and Pilates: To relax during yoga or meditation, inhale lavender or sandalwood essential oil before class. You can mix clove and citrus oils to clean yoga mats.
- Mint Chocolate: Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to hot chocolate for an instant menthol flavor.
- Reduce cellulite: Mix five drops of grapefruit essential oil with two tablespoons of coconut oil and massage into the affected areas.
- Natural perfume: Use 1-2 drops of jasmine essential oil on the wrist as a fresh and natural fragrance. Lavender and vanilla essential oils go well with most women, while cypress and clove oils work well to make a man’s cologne.
- Face wash for acne: Get rid of acne with a homemade face wash by mixing tea tree oil (Melaleuca) with raw honey and rubbing on the face. Then rinse with water.
- Refresh your breath: Use a drop of peppermint essential oil to freshen your breath naturally.
- Homemade shampoo: To make a homemade shampoo, mix lavender oil, rosemary oil, aloe vera gel and coconut milk. Use as you would with normal shampoo. It lasts 2-4 weeks.
- Home Deodorant: Combine coconut oil, beeswax and your favorite essential oils like cedar oil and clove oil for men and lavender oil and tea tree for women.
- Sugar Scrub: Mix a few drops of an essential oil with almond oil and rock salt or sugar to make your own salt or exfoliating sugar.
- Homemade toothpaste: Combines sea salt, baking soda, coconut oil and xylitol with peppermint essential oil to make homemade remineralizing toothpaste. Next, brush.
- Body spray: Add 5-10 drops to 100 ml of water and use as a body fragrance.
- For itchy scalp: Add lavender, cedar or basil oil to the shampoo to reduce itching.
- Thicken the hair: Add rosemary to the shampoo to thicken the hair naturally and increase the volume.
- Strengthen the nails: Mix 10 drops of essential oils of frankincense, myrrh and lemon in two tablespoons of vitamin E oil, and then rub on the cuticles.
- Reduce wrinkles: Mix 3-5 drops of essential oils of sandalwood, geranium, lavender and incense with an unscented lotion and apply to the face. Avoid the eyes.
- Teeth whitening: Combine essential oil of lemon, coconut oil and fresh strawberries, then rub on the teeth. Rinse after two minutes.
- Cure Dandruff: Mix five drops of lavender and rosemary essential oils with three tablespoons of unscented oil. Massage on the scalp and leave on for 10 minutes. Then go with your shampoo.
- Reduce stretch marks: Mix five drops of essential oils of frankincense, myrrh and grapefruit with coconut oil and apply on stretch marks.
- Facial scrub: Mix 60 grams of yogurt, 60 grams of cornmeal and five drops of oil of patchouli, grapefruit and lavender. Apply on the face and wash.
- Natural skin toner: Mix 250 ml of water with two drops of lavender, geranium and incense oil.
- Conditioner for hair: Mix 15 drops of rosewood with five drops of sandalwood and lavender in an unscented oil. Put the mixture in a small plastic bag and heat it in warm water. Apply it to the hair and wrap it for 20 minutes. Wash it with shampoo as always.
- Reduce age spots: Apply incense essential oil three times a day directly on the skin to improve sunspots and age spots.
- For oily hair: Mix 10 drops of ylang ylang, lemon and rosemary oil with 60 ml of unscented oil. Massage on the scalp 2-3 times a week. Wash as usual.
- Heal dry and cracked feet: Add three drops of lavender oil in two tablespoons of coconut oil. Apply on your feet at night and put on some socks.
- Relieve nausea=: Inhale peppermint oil through the nose to relieve nausea, you can also apply to your neck and upper chest. Ginger and lavender can also help.
- Migraine relief: Try combining a few drops of peppermint oil and lavender and apply over the temples to help with headaches and migraines.
- Reduce cough or sinusitis: Eucalyptus oil is known for its powerful ability to fight coughs and open airways. Add a few drops in boiling water or in a diffuser. Inhale to help clear the nasal passages.
- Repair broken bones: To help heal broken bones, apply essential oils of evergreens, spruce and cypress.
- Cure burn: Mix lavender oil with aloe vera to treat burns.
- Calming insect bites: Use lavender oil on insect bites.
- Improve digestion: Take ginger oil, peppermint oil and fennel essential oil to support digestion and heal the leaking bowel.
- Remedy for bronchitis and asthma: Make a homemade massage ointment by combining oils of eucalyptus, mint and coconut. Rub on the chest and neck.
- Bruising treatment: Use essential oils as a warm compress to treat bruises or other wounds. Add five drops of lavender and five drops of incense in 120 ml of hot water and soak. Apply on the affected area.
- Improve concentration: Inhale bergamot oil, grapefruit or mint to increase the concentration during the day.
- Relieve pain in the feet: Add 10 drops of peppermint oil with a tablespoon of salt of Epson and make a foot bath with warm water.
- Reduce the grinding of the teeth: Massage 1-3 drops of lavender on the bottom of the feet and behind the ears before going to bed.
- Relieve menstrual pains: Mix two drops of sage oil, basil and rosemary, then apply to a wet and warm hand towel and rest on the abdomen.
- Cream for eczema and psoriasis: To treat eczema, psoriasis or dry, reddish skin, apply a mixture of lavender essential oil with shea butter.
- Improve circulation: Add 8-10 drops of grapefruit essential oil when heating the bath water.
- Relieve hangover symptoms: Add six drops of each essential oil: juniper berry oil, cedar oil, grapefruit, lavender, rosemary and lemon in a hot bath.
- Reduce food cravings: Inhale peppermint oil or cinnamon to reduce appetite and improve blood sugar balance.
- Energize your workout: Inhale peppermint oil before an exercise session to reduce fatigue.
- Reduce fever: Add 1-3 drops of eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender oil to a cold head cloth and sponge for the body.
- Relieve motion sickness: Use peppermint, lavender or ginger oil to reduce motion sickness.
- Relieve arthritis: Mix 2 drops of wintergreen, cypress, and lemongrass in an odorless cream. Massage in the affected areas.
- Treat ringworm: Combine three drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and massage over the affected area twice a day.
- Eliminate lice: Mix three drops of thyme, lavender and eucalyptus oil with odorless oil and apply to the scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap and let it act for 30 minutes. Then wash with shampoo.
- Cure the blisters: Mix two drops of tea tree oil with two drops of odorless oil and apply to the area with blisters up to five times per day.
- Soothe a sunburn: Combine lavender oil or chamomile oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply on the skin with a cotton ball to reduce swelling and pain.
- Treat poison ivy: Mix three drops of peppermint oil with odorless oil and apply to the affected area.
- Lose weight: Combine essential oil of grapefruit, ginger and cinnamon and take it as a supplement three times a day to improve metabolism.
- Stimulate the immune system: Mix a drop of oregano oil with four drops of a carrier oil and rub on the bottom of the feet.
- For sore muscle: Mix or oil of eucalyptus, wintergreen and cypress with an odorless lotion or with coconut oil and applied to the muscles.
- Reduce nausea of pregnancy: Add a few drops of wild orange, lemon or ginger oil to a handkerchief and inhale.
- Improve allergies: Rub incense and lavender on the palms and inhale deeply to relieve itching in the eyes and throat.
- Quick relief from the cold: Take three drops of oregano oil and incense three times a day for a week.
- Reduce back and neck pain: Combines essential oils of peppermint, cypress and ginger with cayenne pepper and coconut oil. Rub on the skin to relieve muscle pain at home.