Wellness by nature: The scoop on essential oils

Used for thousands of years in eastern medicine, essential oils are fast gaining popularity in the western world – but what exactly are they and how should we use them?

A growing body of scientific research supports the use of essential oils to treat pain relief, inflammation and many other health conditions including anxiety and depression.

Whether it’s using lavender oil on pillows to relax, mint for headaches and coughs, or geranium to restore balance, they’re a popular alternative for those seeking natural healthcare remedies.

What are essential oils?

Despite their name, essential oils aren’t oils at all.

They’re complex aromatic essences extracted from plants, seeds, flowers, fruit, stems, bark, roots and leaves.

The extraction process creates highly concentrated oils with powerful healing properties, particularly if the oils are 100 per cent pure and natural.

In aromatherapy, these are used in a multitude of ways including:

  • Diffusing one or a blend into the air;
  • Inhaling them nasally from a cloth or the bottle;
  • Massaging them into the skin, usually combined with a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil;
  • In an oil-infused bath.

And of course they smell great! Who doesn’t love the scent of freshly cut flowers or the refreshing fragrance of a eucalyptus tree after the rain or sweet zesty aroma of a lemon tree laden with fruit?

Popular essential oils, and how to use them

There are a ton of essential oils available but with cold and flu season upon us, there are a few worth keeping front of mind.

The pure essential oils of eucalyptus, mint and myrtle have been traditionally used in aromatherapy to relieve sinusitis, muscular aches and pains, mucous congestions and coughs.

Eucalyptus has an antiviral action that works well on the respiratory tract, soothing inflammation and easing mucous. It also clears the head from the stuffiness associated colds and hayfever.

Myrtle is good for the respiratory system and can be used for children’s coughs and chest complaints due to its relative mildness.

Mint is also used for headaches and coughs. A stimulant and revitaliser, it has antiseptic and expectorant qualities to help loosen congestion in the lungs.

Tea tree oil is great for its antiseptic properties, lemon oil for its skincare uses, sandalwood oil for its soothing nature and oregano oil as an insect repellent and many other properties.

This post is brought to you by Oil Garden.