When diluted, essential oils can be applied directly to the skin, or even ingested. They’ve been used as alternative medicines for centuries, all over the world—but it is the use of essential oils in aromatherapy that is taking the world by storm.
Whether it’s to cure a stubborn headache, improve digestion or help boost energy levels, aromatherapy can actually alter the brain’s chemistry. We tracked down 10 of the best essential oils to add to your bath, laundry or diffuser. Read on for a trusty and natural guide on treating various common ailments.
Peppermint essential oil is incredibly versatile. Not only can its fresh scent treat headaches and migraines, it can clear sinuses and also stops bug bites (spiders hate it, too). Peppermint oil’s anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties also aid with digestion, soothe muscles, and suppress hunger and stomach aches. It also relieves stress and improves focus.
Another highly adaptable essential oil, lavender smells amazing and is best known for its calming and soothing properties. It may cure insomnia, treat headaches and melt away stress and anxiety. Scientists believe that it also reduces oxidative stress, which causes a number of health problems.
This fresh, antibacterial oil is also a natural antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It is mostly used to cure respiratory and flu-like symptoms, such as congestion, coughs, colds and asthma. Aromatherapy with eucalyptus may also help relieve headaches, muscle pain, stress and clear the mind.
Citrus scents, such as lemon and orange are often used in the mornings to energize the body. Lemon oil also has health benefits such as easing arthritis, improving concentration, aiding digestion, alleviating headaches and is a natural immunity booster.
Frankincense essential oil is a reliable, all-round healer. It can heal the immune system, digestion system, respiratory system, stem negative emotions and improve memory. Frankincense can be a great comfort throughout the menstruation cycle and when the body is too uncomfortable to sleep.
Sandalwood’s earthy fragrance is not its only asset. Again, it is anti-inflammatory and can fight coughs and viruses, as well as relieve chest pain. It is often used in aromatherapy by yoga practitioners because it is relaxing, can help clear the mind, boost memory and is also recognised as an aphrodisiac, helping to increase libido.
Tea tree essential oil is one of the most popular and effective oils. It has an abundance of healing properties and is known to boost the immune system and fight infections and pain.
Since the time of the ancient Egyptians, cedar wood has been used in aromatherapy to alleviate stress and anxiety and help with insomnia. It also eases arthritis, clears toxins from the body, soothes insect bites, relieves muscle tension and can regulate the menstrual cycle.
Ylang-ylang has a strong, sweet fragrance and it known as an antidepressant and aphrodisiac. It also reduces stress, high blood pressure, intestinal problems, headaches and nausea.
Rose oil is a popular aromatherapy oil for mental calmness and emotional stability. It has uplifting properties and can also be used by women to balance hormones and treat menstrual problems. Throughout history, rose oil has been considered one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs. It also helps treat health problems such as circulation, digestion, heart problems and respiratory conditions.
Whilst these essential oils have copious health benefits, it is important to fully research their properties before buying. For example, some oils, such as lavender and cedar wood, should not be used during pregnancy. Applying oils directly to the skin without diluting them can also cause irritation.