Last updated: March 6th 2019
You know when you suddenly get a whiff of something and you’re transported back to a moment in time? Yeah... that.
Your sense of smell is more powerful than you may believe, and the way that some scents can impact both your health and emotions is diverse and incredible.
Today, we’re exploring essential oils benefits, how you can use them in your day-to-day, and how the future of wellness depends on oils and scents in their most natural state. And, answering the all-important question: do essential oils work?
But first things first, what are essential oils?
What are essential oils?
Essentially (see what we did there?), essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. Aromatic compounds give each essential oil its unique essence.
Obtained through distillation or mechanical methods such as cold pressing, the extracted aromatic chemicals are combined with a carrier oil. The way the oils are produced is fundamental, as essential oils made through chemical processes are not considered to be true essential oils.
7 essential oils benefits
Essentially (excuse the pun), essential oils can offer unique purposes when used correctly, such as respiratory and digestive health, a stress reliever and hormone balancer, and a replacement for chemical cleaners and synthetic beauty products including deodorant and perfumes.
1. They're natural
The oils are derived from natural, aromatic compounds in plants, in not just the flowers or the leaves, but the stems, roots and bark. They’re incredibly potent – some oils only need a single drop to work their magic (for example, Sustainable Baby Steps states that one drop of peppermint oil can equal more than 25 cups of peppermint tea – how crazy is that!?).
2. They protect plants
Essential oils play an important role in plant pollination and protect plants in the process. Beyond the environmental benefits, the composition of the oil varies depending on where it’s sourced, at what time of day, and the method and length of distillation.
3. They improve your mood
Scents enter the brain directly, leading to intense emotional responses. Through breathing in essential oils, your brain will ensure you feel positive, energised and relaxed.
4. They help relieve pain
Did you know that essential oils can assist with the reduction of pain when rubbed on your skin? That's right, the topical use of essential oils in the treatment of pain is safe and effective. Give it a go.
5. They help you sleep
Struggling to sleep? Yep, you guessed it – essential oils can help with that too. Aromatherapy is very useful in treating psychological disorders such as stress, depression, and anxiety, and their relaxing properties will help you drift off to sleep. Zzz...
Using essential oils in your day-to-day and the future of wellness
Essential oils can just about replace anything in your household or beauty routine – and even your first-aid kit. Think outside the box with this one and start implementing a cleansing routine of your typically ‘chemical’ products throughout the home. For example:
- Turn your all-purpose cleaner all-natural with a few drops of lemon and tea tree oil mixed with warm water. Bottle in a squirty-style bottle and start spraying.
- If you already have coconut oil in your pantry, combine lemongrass, citronella and eucalyptus to create a natural bug spray and rub into your skin.
- Spice up your washing with around 10 drops of your favourite scent – we recommend lavender for that fresh, flowery smell.
The beauty world is fast transforming into a health-focused hub. On the Boody blog, we have discussed the benefits of toxin-free beauty with Irene Falcone, founder of Nourished Life. With all the benefits of essential oils for your skin and hormones, swap out your current products for anything infused with natural scents (but make sure to check for when, where and how the oils were produced). Some great uses of essential oils for beauty include:
- A moisturising body butter made with coconut oil, shea butter and your essential oils of choice.
- Create a delicious lip balm from coconut oil, beeswax and a flowery oil, such as lavender, to help heal your chapped lips.
- Don’t love your cellulite so much? We’ve got the perfect remedy for you – five drops of grapefruit oil mixed into coconut oil.
- Perfumes can often be hidden with nasties that leave your skin feeling dry. Nourish your body with a perfume made from jasmine, lavender or vanilla and you’ll have people asking what scent you’re wearing all day long.
- When you’re not feeling so fresh, whip up some homemade deodorant using coconut oil, beeswax and a musky-scent such as cedarwood oil or tea tree oil.
Beyond beauty, essential oils have health benefits that will have you throwing away the paracetamol. Next time you’re cursed with a migraine or a headache, combine lavender oil, peppermint oil and blood orange oil and apply to your temples.
When winter swings back around, reduce your cough or flu with eucalyptus oil – commonly found in candy-form (but much, much better for you as an essential oil) – simply add a few drops to hot water and inhale before bedtime. Find some other ideas on how to combat your cold naturally.
And lastly, any insomniacs out there should try adding lavender oil into their daily routine (it seems like lavender oil stores all the secret ingredients, huh?). By sprinkling a few drops on your pillow, you’ll be falling asleep before you can spell ‘lavender’.
Over to you: do you use essential oils? Have they (or do you believe they will) transform the typically chemical industries such as cleaning products and beauty products? Let us know in the comments below.