Essential oils have been used for thousands of years because of their powerful healing properties. These highly concentrated oils extracted directly from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant or tree can benefit not just our physical bodies, but also our mental and emotional state as well. Who hasn’t felt the invigorating effects brought on by the scent of freshly cut lemons, or the soothing, encompassing calm triggered by the fragrance of a rose?
While essential oils date back over 5,000 years ago to Ethiopia, it is only in the last 35 years that the U.S. has put them to practical use countrywide (starting with massage, aroma therapies, body lotions and candle wax). And the role of essential oils in healthcare is having a sort of renaissance. Doctors might suggest using lavender for example to soothe anxiety, and indeed, in some hospitals lavender is used in post-surgery care. Essential oils are also used to treat or prevent a wide range of ailments such as candida, PMS, hormone imbalances, joint pain, viruses, and digestion.
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Despite the various benefits, many of us still think of essential oils as luxury items or something to be used to address a particular ailment, a growing number of homeopathic doctors recommend we implement them into our everyday lives. Dr. Eric Zielinski, the author of The Healing Power of Essential Oils, suggests creating a “daily practice” that incorporates the power of these transformative oils.
Getting into the habit of using essential oils is easier than you may think. Some of the more common oils may already be in your cabinets—such as lavender, rose, frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, lemon, or tea tree. If you are without any essential oils, there are often deals for starter kits on sites like Amazon that can provide a cost-effective way to buy eight to ten different oils at once. And if you prefer to start out small, you can always buy two or three, alongside a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or jojoba—or even good old olive oil. Popular all-rounder essential oils, if you are looking for the staples, are lavender, peppermint and tea tree. We suggest going with the scent that suits you because when it comes to buying essential oils, the rule is always to follow your nose!
CREATING A DAILY PRACTICE
With just a few essential oils, we can find infinite ways to bring health, relaxation, and well-being to our daily routine. We can create household cleaners with vinegar, baking soda and a couple of drops of lemon oil, for example. Oils can be used in a diffuser to scent a room or to make a massage oil using ylang ylang and sandalwood. In our personal care routine, we can add a couple of drops of geranium oil to a bath or in the shower. And we can even ingest a couple of drops of high-grade oils in water such as black cumin or oregano to boost immunity.
My use of essential oils turned into a daily habit after I purchased a few small glass roller ball bottles. I have psoriasis, so I fill one little bottle with sweet almond oil and then add a couple of drops of lavender—a proven skin soother—to be used throughout the day. I also have a bottle I use when I meditate. I roll a concoction of frankincense with sweet almond oil on my temples. Spray bottles are also a way to incorporate essential oils into your day. A couple of drops of peppermint oil in water, as a spritz, can lift spirits and energy (especially if you get sleepy during work hours), just remember that oil can stain!
24 HOURS OF OILS
Begin your day with essential oils that set you on a calm and intentional footing. Using a diffuser, include oils such as frankincense to support a morning meditation. Not only has frankincense been used in temples for thousands of years, but it also has been known to kill certain cancer cells, aid digestion, and reduce stress.
Morning Meditation Diffuser Blend
What you’ll need
- 1 drop each of frankincense, patchouli, vetiver, ylang-ylang, and neroli essential oils
- Fill the diffuser with water as directed in the instructions for your diffuser.
- Add the essential oils.
- Turn on the diffuser 5 minutes before you begin your prayer and spiritual practice to permeate the room with the aroma.
- Turn off the diffuser when done.
Note: You can keep this mixture in the diffuser and use it every morning until the diffuser is empty.
At the close of the day, use essential oils in a bath to support deep and restorative sleep. It also soothes our minds if we are suffering from overwhelming anxiety or stress with the healing effects working throughout the night. Dr. Eric Zielinski, author of The Healing Power of Essential Oils, includes ylang-ylang oil among the ingredients for an evening bath. And if frankincense is the king of essential oils, ylang-ylang says Zielinski, is the queen—helping to relieve depression, hypertension, inflammation and even diabetes.
Restful Evening Detox Bath
You may not have time for a full-fledged bath every night before bedtime, but taking even one detox bath each week will help your body process the stresses (and toxins) you encounter each day. This should be the first step in your nightly bedtime ritual.
What you’ll need
- 3 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops Roman chamomile oil
- 2 drops ylang ylang
- 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
- 1 cup Epsom salts (plain)
- ¼ cup organic apple cider vinegar
- Medium glass bowl
- Lotion dispenser or glass jar
- Drop the essential oils into a glass bowl.
- Add a carrier oil and mix.
- Use as a body oil after your detox bath.
- Be sure to switch to another blend every other month.
- Store in a lotion dispenser or glass jar.
As healing as essential oils can be, they certainly do not come without risks. Following the advice Dr. Zielinski provides in The Healing Power of Essential Oils, is paramount to ensure that you’re using them safely and effectively. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- Always dilute. Essential oils are rarely ever safe to use straight (“neat”).
- Listen to your body – known as the “organoleptic” evaluation, keep tabs on what your body is telling you and stop use immediately if something doesn’t feel right.
- Diffuse in well-ventilated areas. Be especially cautious around children and pets to never close them in a room with a diffuser running.
- Yes, oils are safe around kids, pets, and during pregnancy. It’s all about dosage and using time-honored common sense. Dr. Z’s book will help!
- Potential drug interactions: Consult your physician and/or pharmacist if you’re taking any medications, especially blood thinners.
Essential oil blends excerpted from The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Dr. Eric Zielinski ©Dr. Eric Zielinski, 2018. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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