Essential oils are the essence of a plant, a gift from the earth.
Use this power of nature to benefit your health and home.
Since ancient times, people have used essential oils and plants to improve their health and lives, and to enhance spiritual reflection. Today, mounting scientific evidence and research show that some essential oils can be effectively and safely integrated into many aspects of daily life such as cooking, household cleaning, personal hygiene, and many other purposes with extraordinary benefits. And using natural essential oils instead of synthetically manufactured chemicals can dramatically reduce exposure to toxic products in your life and home.
These oils have gained popularity for their unique purported benefits:
Frankincense is a holy anointing oil used to augment meditation and raise spiritual awareness. Sacred frankincense, the king of essential oils, has a grounding, uplifting, and inspiring aroma.
The potent fragrance of frankincense—a combination of pine, lemon, and woody, earthy scents—can be used as aromatherapy. Its sweet, woody aroma is soothing and enhances mood by diminishing stress and anxiety and improving concentration and memory. Frankincense can help with inflammation and sleep. Studies show that it can improve asthma and prevent gum disease, and it is often added to skin creams.
Myrrh oil has a smoky, sweet, sometimes bitter smell. Myrrh is the most crucial ingredient in holy oil used in religious rituals and ceremonies. When diffused, the soothing scent is known to stabilize emotions, lift negative moods, promote the feeling of being grounded, and encourage a sense of spiritual awakening. Myrrh relieves stress, promotes mental focus, and supports spiritual opening.
Myrrh diffused with frankincense has an earthy and intoxicating aroma and is used for its meditative quality. However, occasionally, myrrh is blended with citrus oils to produce a more elevated scent. These lighter blends are used to help promote inspiration and emotional insight.
Cedarwood essential oil brings wisdom, protection, and abundance. Cedarwood, with its sweet and woody fragrance, is used in aromatherapy applications and is characterized as warm, comforting, and promotes stress relief. Its refreshing quality is known to enhance concentration and its soothing sent is reputed to reduce harmful stress and ease tension, which rests the body and clears the mind.
Cedarwood oil has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, and is a popular ingredient added to insect repellent, deodorant, and shampoo, giving these products a woodsy scent. Cedarwood oil helps with sleep and anxiety, and can be used as aromatherapy and a topical treatment mixed with a carrier oil.
Sandalwood is known to quiet the mind, supporting a feeling of peace. A noted mood enhancer, this essence facilitates all related benefits, from reduced tension and anxiety to enhanced feelings of harmony. The smell of Sandalwood complements meditation practices by promoting a sense of spiritual well-being. As a calming oil, it is further reputed to promote relaxation. Incorporating the soothing fragrance of Sandalwood into our aromatherapy practices will add a serene grounding influence promoting the feeling of a calm body at peace.
Sandalwood is one of the world’s most expensive essential oils, prized for its fragrance, which is described as soft and sweet, rich, woody, and balsamic.
Lavender calms and relaxes both body and mind. When used in aromatherapy, this mild sedative reduces stress by decreasing cortisol levels that contribute to the stress hormone. Lavender promotes a sense of relaxation, emotional stability, and mental clarity, inspires focus, and enhances the sense of enlightenment. Lavender can help with stress, pain, and sleep.
You can add lavender to a diffuser as aromatherapy, water to create a room spray or body spritzer, or base oil to make a soothing scented body oil.
Ylang Ylang is known for its captivating and exotic floral bouquet. Its pleasant floral scent, both delicate and powerful, makes it an ideal ingredient for aromatherapy applications. It can naturally help relax, promote tranquility, and create a sense of calm. With a delightful, bright, spicy, and stimulating scent, Ylang Ylang oil is a popular ingredient and blends well with lavender and sandalwood essential oils.
Rosemary adds to the flavor of various recipes. But rosemary oil has additional benefits like improving brain function, promoting hair growth, reducing pain and stress, lifting mood, and reducing joint inflammation. Rosemary oil is safe for aromatherapy and topically on the skin with a carrier.
Sage helps to stimulate and clarify the mind while presenting a balancing, uplifting, and soothing effect to ease negative moods. It enhances memory, too. Sage is valued in traditional medicine and is used to treat various ailments, including coughs, asthma, bronchitis, angina, inflammation, depression, and digestive and circulation disorders.
With so many essential oils available, you can adapt them to your specific needs and desires, making them a popular choice for those seeking the best natural solutions in the modern era. Clearly, the ancients understood that essential oils are a unique gift meant to be used. Our ancestors knew that a simple herbal infusion’s power supports spiritual, emotional, and physical health.
Nancy J. Schaaf, RN, BSN, MEd, is a retired registered nurse and educator. Her articles have been published in numerous national, regional, and Canadian magazines. Schaaf enjoys writing, reading, traveling, exercise classes, and playing with her toy poodle, Lettie.
Read More by Nancy Schaaf
Aromatherapy tips for using essential oils:
For immediate benefit you can simply inhale the scent by waving the bottle under your nose and taking a deep breath.
Use an electronic diffuser designed to disperse a fine mist of essential oils, gently filling the air with fragrance.
Mix a few drops with a carrier oil such as coconut, avocado, or grape seed oil to apply directly to your skin. Never apply undiluted essential oils to your skin.
Mix a few drops with Epsom salts to add to your bath for a relaxing time out.