Whether you need a quick sleep aid or something to relieve pain in the bathtub, there is pretty much an essential oil for every ailment. Aromatherapy is an ‘alternative’ approach to medicine that is continually being backed by scientific research and studies as being wholly effective in its claims. When you inhale essential oils, the molecules are carried by the the olfactory nerve cells in the nose and onto the olfactory system where the aroma is sent to your brain and lymbic system. It is here that the effects of the essential oil takes place, making you more relaxed, alert, or ready for sleep.
I try and use essential oils on a daily basis, either a few drops in the bath or a diffuser, or mixed into a carrier oil to rub on my skin. Each oil always has more than one amazing health benefits, so this list below is in no way exhaustive. Here are a few of my favourites!
For the perfect pain relief…Black Pepper Essential Oil
Black pepper is one of those ingredients that you think wouldn’t work well outside of the kitchen, but it has actually been used medicinally in India for thousands of years. This essential oil is derived from the dried fruit of the pepper plant, where it is distilled from the berries. I love to use this oil in the bath when my limbs ache or if I have any menstrual cramps, as this oil has amazing anti- inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. It may not be as floral as neroli or ylang ylang, but paired with some Epsom Salts, it can make bath time a near-spa experience..
For the perfect sleep aid…Ylang Ylang essential oil
Lavender is usually a go-to for sleep aid, but if you get bored and want to switch it up, then Ylang Ylang is the perfect choice. This oil is extracted through steam distillation from the cananga tree, which is found in the rainforests of Indonesia and the Philippines. It has a wonderfully sweet and floral aroma that has a way of making you feel like you’re in the tropics. Studies have shown that this oil has sedative properties that can help ease anxiety and stress before bedtime. I love to put a few drops in a diffuser an hour before I go to sleep.
For the perfect skin soother…Pine essential oil
This oil smells like those first few weeks of having a fresh Christmas tree in your living room. But not only does it smell amazing, it can do wonders for any skin ailments you may have. I have found that with a sensitive gut comes very sensitive skin, and I’m prone to eczema, psoriasis and acne breakouts. Mixing a few drops with a carrier oil like jojoba or castor oil can create a wonderful elixir to rub onto any skin ailments, as it has antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
For the perfect stress reliever…try frankincense oil
This oil is probably my favourite, and there is good reason why it was gifted to baby Jesus. It has a unique woody, spicy and sweet aroma that can really take the edge of a stressful day or an anxious episode. I find that putting a few drops on a diffuser and inhaling can create instant relief from tension headaches and accompanying symptoms of anxiety. This is one of the pricier oils, but a little goes a long way!
For the perfect pick-me-up….try Rosemary essential oil
If you feel sluggish in the mornings, then putting a few drops of Rosemary on your oil diffuser can do wonders to wake you up. Rosemary is a popular culinary herb found in the Mediterranean , and actually belongs to the mint family, along with basil and sage. Rosemary oil has been proven to cause an increase in acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter responsible for memory and learning. It also increases blood flow to the brain , making you feel much more alert. If you are having any sinus problems,or the beginnings of a cold, put a few drops in a saucepan of water and inhale for ten minutes, as this will help reduce any inflammation.
Whichever oil you choose, remember that a little goes a long way. Personally, I think with essential oils it is better to go for quality over quantity, as you will only need half the amount of a good quality essential oil, making the overall price a lot cheaper. Also bear in mind that organic oils will be processed in a way that doesn’t involve harsh chemicals, whereas there is no safeguard against chemicals being used in non-organic.