Mini Guide to Essential Oils

My first experiences with essential oils were not very significant. Friend added some pine oil to sweet almond oil base, while giving me a massage. I liked the smell. I got an oil burner for my birthday once with nice smelling Geranium oil, so I used it because of the scent. A client of mine gave me a Lavender oil bottle and I’d put it on my hands and his pillow while giving him Reiki, as he liked it so much. I knew that herbs and plant have strong healing properties, but back then I was more interested in human mind and spirit than the body, so I have not ventured into deep waters of natural, plant based medicines.

 It was not until I myself have suffered from health problems that conventional medicine was not able to help me with, that I really discovered essential oils. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroditis and even though I was on hormonal replacement, I still felt very tired no matter how long I slept, I had aches and pains of unknown origin, my hair was falling out like crazy, I had terrible digestive problems and mood swings. And then I met a person who put a drop of lemon oil into my glass of water and my essential oil adventure began.

My first oils were a basic kit containing: Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense, Oregano, Lemon, and Tea Tree oil plus couple of specialized blends. But I had no idea how to effectively use them, so I signed up to classes, read blogs and finally started aromatherapy course.

What are the essential oils? They are mankind’s first medicine. Those aromatic compounds found in different parts of plants (seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers etc.) have been used in ancient world for health benefits and embalming. Researchers have found mentions of essential oils in Egyptian hieroglyphs, Chinese manuscripts and in the Bible (over 188 references to oils such as Frankincense, Myrrh, Rosemary and more). While searching King Tut’s tomb, archaeologists found alabaster jars with well preserved oils couple of thousands years old that kept their chemical structure and healing benefits!

Nowadays people come back to a more natural way of life, after suffering effects of unhealthy diets, toxic environment and side effects of chemical-based medications. Change needs to be made if mankind and the Earth are to survive and people who understand that turn to essential oils, healthy diet, exercise and meditation, becoming leaders of a new era.

Essential oils have many benefits that people were not able to replicate in the lab. Plant’s chemistry is detailed and it is supported by specific vibrations, allowing the compounds to work on many levels (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual).

In a plant, essential oils perform many functions: they regulate plant growth via hormones, function as part of plant’s enzymes and affect metabolism, and build plant’s immune system to protect the plant from viruses, bacteria, microbes, fungi, parasites and insects. Because both – essential oils and human bodies are carbon based, the healing benefits that oils give to the plants can also be used for people. Also it’s important to note that there are no conventional medicines that are capable of breaking the blood/brain barrier, but essential oils do. This means hope for diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s! There are no medicines that can infiltrate a cell to cure a virus, but essential oils can! And no more problems that antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose, as one can never become immune to the benefits of essential oils.

There are different ways of extracting the oils from plants: expression, maceration, enfleurage, percolation or with use of solvent or carbon dioxide, but for highest quality for therapeutic use distillation is the best process. When steam is circulated under pressure through plant material, the oils are freed from the plant and enter the steam. As the mixture cools, the water and oils separate and the oil is then collected in its pure from. To ensure the best possible quality and potency, the right temperature and pressure needs to be applied, so it’s not a process to be taken lightly. It’s good to remember that when choosing which brand of oils you use – always check the extraction process used and material sources, as poor quality oils lose the healing properties.

Essential oils can be used in few different ways: aromatically, topically or internally (only the 100% pure, certified therapeutic grade oils are safe for internal use!) .When used topically, the unique chemical structure of essential oils allows them to pass directly through skin for almost immediate effect. Feet are the best place to apply the oils, as they have nerve endings that can distribute oils to every cell of the body within 20 minutes. If you’re not using oils from confirmed and certified source, it’s always recommended to dilute them, as some oils may be too strong to use on their own. Oregano, Cinnamon, Cassia and Thyme are the hottest oils there are, so ALWAYS dilute them. Dilution may decrease the potency, so for acute problems, some of the oils known as safe are fine not diluted. Lavender is an example of a gentle oil that works wonders on skin issues – eczema, hives, cuts and burns (if used within couple of minutes of the incident and repeated 3-5 times within couple of hours, you will be amazed how Lavender oil can quickly stop bleeding and stop blisters from appearing after a burn).

Aromatic use allows the oils to reach the brain within few minutes, so it’s highly recommended for emotional issues and brain function support. And of course the scents of pure essential oils are to die for!

Peppermint oil or citrus oils (Lemon, Lime, Orange and Bergamot) scents are great in the morning to awaken the brain, while Melissa, Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Vetiver are perfect for stress, tension and insomnia. Vetiver fact – it can create pretty weird dreams!

I always have my diffuser on, day or night – just changing the oils during different activities and for specific needs. Rosemary is my working aid as it helps with memory and Frankincense stimulates brain function (when used topically onto the back of the neck), and its aroma is a wonderful meditation aid, as it works on spiritual levels.

Frankincense, one of my favourite oils, is worth its own paragraph as it is a wonder-drug for many ailments. Besides the benefits mentioned above, Frankincense supports cellular health and is highly recommended for auto-immune illnesses and has been proven effective in cancer treatment (taken internally in gel capsule, preferably). There is a saying: “when in doubt – use Frankincense”. It is so versatile and potent that there is no limit to its benefits. It can be used in anti-aging and scar-reducing creams and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It supports nervous system by helping one focus and improving concentration. Frankincense was one of the gifts the Three Kings brought baby Jesus, so its benefits have been knows for centuries.

Another oil know from the Bible is Myrrh, which along the Frankincense has been an enormous help in my thyroid issues. It is an oil recommended for Hashimoto’s (another one is Lemongrass) and just like Frankincense, it is helpful with cancer. Myrrh is a well known decongestant, making it a perfect treatment for coughs and sinusitis. It’s a great oil to add to creams, as it fights dryness, stretch marks and chapped, cracked skin.

I have already mentioned Peppermint in reference to its awakening properties but it’s also a very versatile oil with many other uses. I remember drinking peppermint tea for stomach issues when I was a child and Peppermint oil can also be used for that. Oil is much stronger than an herbal tea so couple of drops of good quality, pure grade Peppermint oil in a cup of warm water will help with nausea, upset stomach, indigestion, vomiting and diarrhea. It is a cooling oil, so it is recommended for fever (put couple of drops on wet compress and place on forehead or back of the neck) and muscle pains. I added Peppermint oil to my back pain blend and I love the tingling sensation it provides while releasing its anaesthetic benefits.

Talking about digestive track problems, I’d also like to mention Fennel for gastritis, pancreas support and parasites elimination. A tip for nursing mothers – Fennel increases milk production! Another tummy oil is Ginger. Just like the root of the plant, Ginger essential oil can be used for nausea, gas, indigestion, morning sickness and (from my own experience) for motion sickness. I can finally travel on a plane and bus without worrying about that unpleasant sick feeling! For constipation, grab Rosemary or Lemon oil and massage it onto your lower tummy.

Rosemary is also amazing for hair issues, especially dry scalp and dandruff. It stimulates hair growth and can be added to hair care mask/serum, along with Lavender essential oil and Argan oil for long, shiny, healthy hair (and eyelashes too!)

Besides Lavender, Myrrh and Frankincense, reach for Geranium if you have skin problems. It is deeply moisturizing and is recommended for both – dry and sensitive skin. It helps to heal broken capillaries, treat acne, burns, sores and eczema. On emotional level Geranium heals the heart. It is amazing for sadness, tension and stress. It lifts the spirit and promotes peace and hope. It is highly recommended oil for women to balance hormones and emotions during PMS.

Another ‘women’ oil is Clary Sage. It helps with PMS, cramps, infertility, estrogen balance, menopause and the hot flashes it causes. It is also the oil recommended for Parkinson’s disease and a potent aphrodisiac.

Talking about libido we must not forget that Geranium also works for libido in women, while Cinnamon and Ginger are recommended for men. For both sexes try to add Ylang Ylang and Sandalwood to a diffuser or massage oil and enjoy your night!

Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus and Tea tree essential oils are highly antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. When you feel a cold coming on, make a steam bath using above oils (you can add Oregano oil as well for a super-strong effect), cover your head with a towel and breathe deeply. I can assure you it will get you on your feet really fast! And why not use those oils as a prevention and immune support even before getting sick? You can make out a roller bottle with essential oils and Fractionated Coconut oil, Grapeseed or Sweet Almond base oil and apply to your feet daily to avoid getting sick. To dilute, use 3 drops of essential oil per every 10ml of base oil.

 Tea Tree oil’s antiviral benefits can be used successfully to treat cold sores (apply when you start feeling the ‘tingle’ to avoid the blisters from showing up). Use Tea Tree oil for any fungal infections such as thrush, Athlete’s Foot, warts or herpes. It stimulates immune system and reduces inflammation; kills lice, treats acne and sore throat (put a drop in a bit of water and drink) and any kind of bacterial and viral infections have no chance when Tea Tree oil is applied.

I have to mention Wintergreen, White Fir and Rosemary essential oils for muscle and joint pain. Along with Peppermint oil they are all great for chronic as well as acute pain; for arthritis, and sprains/ tears in muscles and ligaments. They can be applied as a blend with carrier oil base or added to some Epsom Salts and put into a bath (use 2-3 drops of each oil per bathtub).

On an emotional, mental and spiritual level essential oils help us recognize and heal traumas, thought patterns and negative beliefs. Bergamot is an oil of self-acceptance, while Ylang Ylang supports your inner child. Use Cilantro oil to learn to release control and Helichrysum oil to let go of the emotional pain. White Fir deals with ancestral issues and beliefs we have taken from our parents. Myrrh supports healing mother issues, while Frankincense – father issues. Thyme helps with forgiveness and Wintergreen teaches you to surrender and let go. Rose is an oil of Divine Love. Lemongrass cleanses and purifies. Lime awakens zest for life. Clary Sage unblocks creativity and helps to clear confusion. Fennel teaches responsibility and Clove supports letting for of victim mentality and helps create healthy boundaries. If you feel stuck, reach for Cypress oil, as it stimulates motion and flow; while Rosemary oil supports you in change and transition.

I could talk about oils for hours. About the fact that they are effective on every level of person’s life and have no side effects. How they heal what doctors deemed ‘incurable’ and promote health-care not sick-care. How they can reach the root of the problems, not just cover the symptoms. That they virtually have no expiration date, if stored correctly, and little can go a long way.

They have changed my life in so many ways I cannot count. I feel much healthier, have more energy and am empowered in knowledge that if I even need support in any physical, emotional or spiritual problem, there is an oil for that! To start on essential oils journey, please visit my Essential Oils page.

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