The Power of Aromatherapy: 5 Essential Oils That You Must Use
Neelambra Lahori | Updated: July 15, 2015 13:53 IST
Is your medicine cabinet packed with scores of useless capsules, ointments and bizarre medical devices you bought off the internet? You’re not to blame: while natural medical products seem to be way too expensive, synthetic pharmaceutical solutions hang down with the weight of allergic reactions and side effects. The only thing you are resigned to do is pick up from the chemist, whatever is advised by your “all-knowing-friend” and when that doesn’t work, whatever the next TV commercial says. But the end result is far from satisfactory.
If you are looking for a trusted, all natural savior for your well-being then the answer is aromatherapy. The century-old practice of using herbs and essential oils will prove to be the answer to your prayers. Aromatherapy makes use of essential oils, extracted from flowers and plants by steam distillation or cold pressing. It is known to stimulate the nervous system via their topical application and aroma - different plant and flower extracts can help relieve stress, boost the immune system, provide various beauty benefits, and keep various ailments at bay.
(Body Therapies for Monsoon Season)
Here’s our pick of the Top 5 Essential Oils that you definitely must-have:
Lavender Essential Oil
The flag-bearer of aromatherapy, lavender essential oil with its sedating floral fragrance, is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant all in one. Add a few drops to your bath water - it invigorates your circulatory system reducing visible signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. Its antiseptic properties also speed up the healing of skin scarring; add some to your everyday moisturizer to get blemish-free skin and control acne.
(One Ingredient for All Your Hair and Skin Problems)
Dr. Blossom Kochhar, a renowned beauty expert, says, "Essential oils work with the sense of smell for cosmetic purposes like rejuvenating skin, treating hair fall, pigmentation and also psychological issues like depression, calming anxiety and dealing with high blood pressure. Lavender essential oil is a must-have. It can be used on the palms of your hands when you're tired or stressed and mixed with aloe vera gel or ice water to treat sunburn. It can also treat eczema and joint aches.”
Inhale it directly or through diffusion to aid in digestion. It helps to keep away insects and is also a natural air freshener. When rubbed on the temples, it is a great headache-reliever. Spray some on your pillow cover and insomnia is a thing of the past.
(Go Natural: 7 Home Remedies for Quick Hair Growth)
Frankincense Essential Oil
Considered holy and revered in the Middle-East for ages, Frankincense Essential Oil can treat almost anything from rashes and burns to arthritis (and studies claim even cancer). Massaging into the soles of the feet has innumerable health benefits - mixed with coconut oil, it develops the immune system, improves vision, and opens up a congested chest. It is known to reduce anxiety; rub a few drops behind your ears and on wrists to ease stress. You can also diffuse it in your room as a spray to uplift your mood. Because of its ant-inflammatory properties, Frankincense can help with arthritis or just joint pains.
Suparna Trikha, a renowned beauty expert, says, "Frankincense Essential Oil is called the king of essential oils because of its amazing healing properties - both physically and mentally. It can stop wounds from bleeding and also helps to strengthen gums with its astringent properties. When diffused, it overcomes stress, anger and depression. It is extracted as a resin from the bark of a tree, making its fragrance woody and earthy and is commonly found in Africa and the Middle East. It promotes healthy regeneration of skin against dry skin, signs of aging, stretch marks and scars when mixed with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or almond oil."
Note: Do not use without consulting your physician as it is not suited to nursing mothers or people using blood thinners.
(Skin Care Tips for Beauty: In Your 20's)
Peppermint Essential Oil
Yes the name gives it away- peppermint is great for oral hygiene; add a couple of drops to your toothpaste or mouthwash and say goodbye to those evil bad-breath causing bacteria. But here’s the surprise - applying this essential oil on the back of your neck and shoulders in the morning and before and after workouts keeps your energy up all day as it eliminates fatigue and reduces anger and depression. You can add it to jojoba oil and rub onto an upset stomach, or the bottom of your feet to regulate fever. And if this wasn’t enough, Peppermint Essential Oil can also be diffused in your room to keep away those pesky red ants and cockroaches (Now this one was the best, right?)
(Shine Away to Glory: Cleopatra's Beauty Secrets)
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Most over-the-counter anti-acne products claim to have tea tree extracts because tea tree oil is popular all over the world for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Now consider that this essential oil is the purest version of these extracts.( Excited, right?) The common notion that any product that says ‘oil’ will clog our pores needs to be let down, as essential oils are completely unadulterated and non-comedogenic (will let the skin breathe). You can avoid the unnatural, chemical-ridden acne treatments by using a highly diluted version of this oil on the affected areas and see results in a day. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to any shampoo will rid you of dandruff and also head lice.
(Celebrities Swear by This Ingredient for Perfectly Radiant Skin)
Lemon Essential Oil
When life gives you lemons, ask for its essential oil instead. This product is the best-known natural mood enhancer and also, its fragrance curbs sugar cravings. Its beauty benefits are limitless - add it to your moisturiser for a brighter skin tone, to your shampoo for shinier hair and to promote hair growth, and with unrefined coconut oil to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Its anti-bacterial and antihistamine properties make it great for insect bites and cuts. You can also just inhale it or diffuse to instantly lift your mood.
Caution: Do not ingest any essential oil without medical supervision and buy them only from trusted practitioners.
For the latest food news, health tips and recipes, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.