HOW TO: Take care of your Mind, Body & Soul with Essential Oils
When considering healing of the mind, body and soul, we often lean toward natural remedies, which are always highly recommended. In this instance, we can refer to essential oils and aromatherapy. While often controversial, if you consider its derivatives, essential oils are compounds extracted directly from plants.
Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essence. The oils are extracted from the plant matter through an intensive steaming process and then distilled and bottled. The impressive part of essential oils is that they are normally multi-purpose, used for cooking, application and diffusing, and sometimes medicinal.
I was recently introduced to the brand Young Living. They are a US-based company which have recently ventured into the South African market and will be bringing some of their products to the country in October 2019. I was drawn to their products as I have always used essential oils at different stages in my life for application and diffusion.
There is something quite unique about using natural products, it brings with it a feeling of cleansing and detoxifying through its holistic and pure approach to your mind and body. The aromas coupled with the easy application and use, with minimal side-effects, leaves you feeling refereshed and relaxed.
As many of you have been, I too was a victim of the dreaded winter chills this year. I contracted a terrible cough as well as a nasty sore throat. No lozenge or cough syrup was able to give me any relief. A friend of mine recommended I try the Young Living thieves spray, so of course I did!
This spray comes in a pocket-sized bottle and has a spritz head so you can use it as a room spray, or as a throat and mouth spray. Their thieves oil blend is a combination of lemon, clove, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary which imparts a spicy, welcoming aroma.
When I sprayed it towards the back of my throat it not only gave me relief from the pain of swallowing but it also helped heal the irritation. It has a numbing effect and every now and then I still use it to soothe and cleanse. There is an entire range of thieves which I am sure will be available in SA pretty soon.
I am currently testing the Peppermint, Lavender and Lemon oils. Each of these have different benefits and are used to achieve different outcomes.
When I think of peppermint, the first words that naturally pops to mind is menthol, mint, fresh and breathable. As a result of this, I have used the peppermint oil in winter and during seasonal change to clear blocked sinuses. I pour a few drops into an oil burner so that the aroma can float about in the room making it easier to inhale. Peppermint oils are also nice to use in cooking and drinks.
For example: I use it in tea and hot water to add flavour, and I have also used the oil when I bake. Before you use it in foods and drinks, read the instructions first to ensure that it is safe to ingest. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory benefits and increases vascular circulation.
You can also apply the peppermint oil to your temples, nose, and chest which can assist in opening up blocked airways and providing relief of congestion and tiredness.
I would recommend that you dilute the oil before applying onto your skin. The oil is very concentrated and might be too harsh for the skin. So, pour a drop or two into your lotion or cream, mix thoroughly and apply.
Nothing smells better than lavender! This scent evokes a sense of relaxation and serenity. I normally use lavender to give me a good night’s sleep. You can pour a few drops on your pillows (not your pillow covers), or into a hot bath or in an oil burner. Research suggests that it may be useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness when used in this way.
Lavender also harbours moisturising and antibacterial properties which help kill bacteria and soothe the skin of redness, blotchy patches, and acne scarring. Rub a few drops onto your face and problematic areas a few times a week to see results. I normally mix this oil with a one of my face oils or scarring oils and apply the mixture to my skin. In a few weeks you are able to see a difference as the lavender is known to stimulate cell regeneration.
I haven’t ingested this oil previously, however the benefits of it comes directly from diffusing and application as opposed to ingestion.
While this fruit, flavour and smell is not my favourite, sometimes I suck it up in order to reap the benefits it offers.
Lemon essential oils are probably one of the most easily recognised oils because of its refreshing, energising and uplifting scent. The health benefits of lemon oil can be attributed to its stimulating, calming, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant and anti-fungal properties.
While I don’t use this oil too often, when I do, its through ingestion. Lemon is naturally known for its ability to cleanse toxins from the body and it's widely used to stimulate lymphatic drainage, rejuvenate energy, purify skin, and fight bacteria and fungi.
I would pour a few drops into anything I drink. Hint: Pour a few drops into soda water to create your own organic lemonade.
I wouldn’t recommend applying the oil to the skin, it’s been previously used in skin lightening however, because lemon is quite strong and acidic, it may cause damage to the skin when used in direct contact. Rather consult your dermatologist before use.
It is important to remember that essential oils are most commonly used in the practice of aromatherapy. They are either inhaled, or diluted then rubbed on the skin. When used according to national and international safety guidelines, aromatherapy is safe and provides a pleasant experience for the user. Always consult an aromatherapist when in doubt and don’t use these oils frivolously.
Personally, I love essential oils to use in my house. It brings a sense of utopia to my pad, a tranquil area and a place for me to go to rest and rejuvenate. I use them mainly for their aromas and application, and when used correctly and in limitation is harmless and healing.
I have been using the Young Living oils recently and what I appreciate after researching their oils is their Seed to Seal ethos. Where they grow, extract and package their own oils. They are the only essential oil brand in SA that are able to do this. Young living has their own lavender farms across the globe where they grow their own plants.
These oils are not meant for medicinal use or consumption, which Young Living is quite clear about, but rather for diffusing and application. If you would like more information on their products, visit their website www.youngliving.com.
I will continue using my oils and sprays and let you know how I get on when more products become available. I have heard that there will be a makeup line and household cleaning products being released quite soon. Excited!
If you would like a further post on DIY ideas using essential oils let me know in the comments below and I will be sure to share my secrets with you.