For centuries though, humans have relied on the basic healing, cleansing, and invigorating powers of essential oils.
Knowing where to start, or what should be considered essential in your home, can be tricky. While we all have different issues to address, I’ve compiled a list of the top five oils I believe everyone should keep in their home.
When purchasing, be wary of oils packed in clear glass or plastic containers, and choose organic when possible. The best vendors sell high quality oils in small darkly tinted glass containers, and they also won’t be selling multiple oils for the same price, as each varies in worth.
1. Lavender: calming
Lavender is used primarily as a calming agent, but in reality it has many uses: anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, antimicrobial, antihistamine, and even antidepressant.
Use it to combat burns, migraines, allergies, cold sores, and rashes. Mix it with water, add it to a spray bottle, and keep it on hand when you need to spruce up your living space or calm down before bed. Add it to a bath, your moisturizer, or clothes in the dryer (put a few drops on a damp item), and always keep it on hand outdoors, as it helps treat stings and sunburns. It’s a sweet smelling, utilitarian oil.
2. Tea tree oil: cleansing
Tea tree oil helps with detoxification. Appreciated for its antiviral properties, it helps to clear up everything from acne to messy work surfaces. Add a few drops to water and apply it to your face at bedtime, or to your feet if you’re suffering from foot fungus, or use it to treat wounds.
It’s a perfect household cleaner too. Mix olive oil with tea tree oil to polish wood, or with vinegar and water to sanitize your bathroom. You can even soak your dog’s collar in it to ward off fleas!
3. Peppermint: invigorating
If you suffer from headaches or migraines, take heart. Peppermint can help. Next time you feel pain kicking up, apply a couple drops on your fingertips then massage it into your forehead or temples. Do so likewise if you need to reduce a fever.
Peppermint oil is shown to be one of the most beneficial oils for the digestive tract too, treating everything from indigestion and heartburn to motion sickness. Add a drop or two to your next cup of water if you suffer from these conditions.
Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-carcinogenic properties are endless. Rub it on your joints to help arthritis and reduce inflammation, and one drop will rid you of bad breath after a meal. For an easy pick-me-up, add one drop to your water. This guarantees a calmer stomach and a natural afternoon boost.
4. Chamomile: soothing
Chamomile is used most frequently in the fight against insomnia and sleeplessness, but its powers span the spectrum. Use it as a gentle anti-inflammatory for cuts, bruises, acne, stings, and psoriasis, or as help for nervous conditions like anxiety and even depression.
The best way to achieve results is to mix it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and massage it onto your neck and temples; inhale it directly or through steam; or apply it to the bottom of your feet.
5. Eucalyptus: anti-inflammatory
From the dried leaves of the eucalyptus tree, eucalyptus oil offers anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibiotic properties not found in many other oils. It’s even effective in keeping your teeth healthy! Keep it on hand as a diuretic, analgesic, or deodorant too.
Eucalyptus is perfect for the middle of winter. The oil, when vaporized, sooths coughs and colds. Often a key ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics, this historically-used essential oil offers more than a soothing clean scent.
Author Bio: Andrea Fisher is a yoga blogger and writer for 4tv. She has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Chicago Tribune and Business Insider. Connect with her on Google+ and Twitter!