Essential oils are the concentrated form of what is sometimes called the blood of the plant. The ‘blood’ is very complex and contains as many different chemicals as our blood and it is loaded with oxygen. Part of the health impact of essential oils has been attributed to this concentration of oxygen, which boosts the ability of our cells to metabolize allergens, toxins, or stress and thus supports the health of all the systems of the human body.
Essential oils are not oily (despite the name) and they will not make your hands greasy. Instead, they rub right into the skin. They are called oils because, like oil, they combine with other fats and oils, and do not mix easily with water.
Interesting fact: the easiest way to remove an essential oil, if you experience a reaction or hate the smell, is to dilute it using a pure vegetable oil (such as olive, almond, or jojoba) or even butter. Using water will only drive essential oils into the body more strongly.
Uses of essential oil
Uses of Essential Oils
Here is our brief guide to some of the most popular essential oils and how they will contribute to your well-being. Try them in your soapnut laundry, soapnut liquid or soapnut shampoo!
Lavender: This is the great aromatherapy all-rounder. The essential oil is obtained by distillation. Lavender oils blend well with other essential oils and can boost their properties. Great for: aches, pains, sun burn, acne, depression, irritability, migraines, colds, period pain and stomach aches.
Bergamot: This is a member of the citrus family and the oil is extracted by pressing the peel of the fruit. Bergamot essence is used to make Earl Grey tea and gives it its characteristic perfume. Bergamot is a powerful antiseptic and an appetite stimulant. It must not be used neat on the skin because it can cause pigmentation marks.
Great for: psoriasis, oily / spotty skin, cystitis, cold sores
Geranium: There are many varieties of geranium. Essential oil is usually extracted from the Pelargonium family, but wild geranium – known as Herb Robert- is also used. The oil is distilled from all parts of the plant. Geranium oil is a good balancer. It can uplift or have a relaxing effect and is particularly good for menopausal problems.
Great for: eczema, dermatitis, sore throat, sluggish skin, nervous tension
Ylang-Ylang: This tree is native to the Philippines and other parts of the Far East. The essential oil is obtained from the flowers by steam distillation. This is another oil used by the perfume industry as it has a lovely, exotic floral fragrance. It has a relaxing, sedative effect and is a pleasant oil to use in a burner to scent your home. Ylang ylang is said to have aphrodisiac powers! Great for: depression, nervous tension, insomnia, fear, panic attacks, high blood pressure.
Lemon: It takes 3,000 lemons to produce 2 pound (1 kilo) of essential oil. It is extracted by pressing the rind of the fruit. Hand-pressed oil is of a better quality than mechanically pressed oil. Hand pressing is a family affair. The women and children cut the lemons and scrape out the flesh, the men do the pressing. Great for: cold sores, bites, stings, warts, colds, mouth ulcers.
Peppermint: The oil is obtained from the leaves and flowers by steam distillation and varies in quality depending on climatic and soil conditions. It is a very therapeutic oil which has a cooling effect on the skin and lessens pain. You’ll notice most commerical indigestion cures are mintflavoured. Peppermint is excellent for digestive problems. It also makes a great foot bath for hot, aching feet. Great for: migraines, travel sickness, indigestion, sinus, heartburn.
Rosemary: A well known herb, rosemary is cultivated in France, Spain, etc. The essential oils are distilled from the flowers and leaves. It is known as the herb for remembrance and clears the mind and stimulates the memory. It is an excellent hair tonic, improving circulation to the scalp, and is helpful for dandruff. Great for: mental fatigue, poor memory, dandruff, circulation.
Tea Tree: The tea tree is native to Australia and the oil is distilled from the leaves. This oil is an excellent antiseptic, 12 to 15 times more potent than carbolic. When applied neat to a cut, its antiseptic potency doubles! Keep this one in your first aid box.Great for: spots, athlete’s foot, thrush, cuts, sore throat.
Hyssop: Hyssop is an ancient herb which was cultivated for its medicinal as well as romantic properties. The oil is extracted from the leaves and flowers by distillation. It is beneficial for ‘all respiratory problems and can help relieve hayfever. Great for: Hayfever, eczema, rheumatism.
Camomile: The camomile family is large and there are several different camomile essential oils. German camomile is the most expensive, but all camomile oils are helpful for sensitive conditions and can be- used safely for children. Camomile tea is widely available, and the plant feverfew – belonging to the camomile family – is now being used to help migraine sufferers. Great for: sore eyes, aches, hyperactivity, dermatitis, eczema, insmonia.
Make sure you read the safety info because some oils are not safe for pregnant women!