If the word “oils” makes you think of greasy food or your acne-prone, teenage skin, then it’s time to look at oils in a totally different way. Essential Oils. There are so many awesome essential oil uses that We’re not talking about French fries or pimples…we’re talking about the good oils, the essential oils, the ones that can drastically improve many aspects of your life. Let’s start with the basics: what exactly are essential oils? According to Digestive Health Coach, Jen Broyles, “essential oils are powerful plant extracts that have been used for thousands of years for their health, cosmetic, and emotionally uplifting properties.
The term “essential” is referring to the fact that these oils contain the “essence” of the plant (not the fact that they are a necessary part of a healthy life). But in reality, they truly can enhance your life in more ways than one. In fact, we’ve got 12 essential oil uses that can upgrade everything from your home to your attitude. A better life is just a few drops away.
1. To Make Your Home Smell Nice
Essential oils are known for their aromatherapy properties… aka they smell amazing. If you don’t want to use chemical air fresheners, try dabbling in essential oils. A few drops in an air diffuser or spray bottle can release a pleasant scent of your choice (grapefruit, lemon, jasmine, peppermint etc.) into your home. Or you could put a few drops of the essential oil onto a cotton ball then drop that into your vacuum cleaner bag. The scent will be dispersed throughout your home while you clean.
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2. To Help You Relax
One of the most commonly known uses for essential oils is that they can help you chill out and achieve a state of calm faster than a glass of wine and a pair of cozy sweatpants. That’s why you find oils as a key ingredient in many spa treatments. “Essential oils combined with a skilled massage fosters healing on many levels,” says Laraine Kyle, R.N., cofounder of NAHA and aromatherapy consultant.
3. To Improve Your Mood
This is one of our favorite essential oil uses. If you’re feeling a bit cranky or tired you might just need the right scent to improve your attitude. Sometimes invigorating oil like grapefruit or peppermint can give you a boost of energy, while jasmine can calm anxiety and rose oil can alleviate stress and ease depression.
4. To Relieve a Headache
Before you turn to the Tylenol, try some essential oils to soothe your headache and ease discomfort. The minty oils (think peppermint, wintergreen, and spearmint) when mixed with chamomile can provide some instant relief. Mix a couple drops of each oil and apply the mixture to the back of your neck, behind your ears, on your temples, forehead and under your nose. Take a deep breath in and let the oils work their magic.
5. To Unclog Pores
A combination of lemon, tea tree and sweet orange essential oils will help to clear up your pores naturally.
6. To Disinfect Cuts and Scrapes
Clove oil is a powerful disinfectant that can clean cuts, soothe bug bites and be used topically on fungal infections like athlete’s foot. Just make sure you dilute the oil before applying it to your skin, especially to an open wound.
7. As an Antioxidant
Clove oil is one of the most powerful naturally existing antioxidants in the world. It can fight inflammation and infection in the body, naturally, without needing chemicals or medication. Typically clove oil is used to treat tooth pain, so it’s a good one to keep around the house.
8. Eliminate Garbage Odor
One of the greatest uses for essential oils is to eclipse that nasty garbage stench. Put a few drops of essential oils (your choice of scent) on a cotton ball and drop that into the bottom of your garbage can. Every time you open your garbage you’ll get a whiff of the pleasant aroma, rather than a nasty smell of trash. This works especially well with diaper pails…trust us, dirty diaper is not something you want to smell when you walk into a room.
9. To Get Rid of Unwanted Bugs in Your Home
We bet you didn’t think one of the essential oil uses included pest control. While you may love the smell of peppermint, bugs do not. Get rid of bugs by soaking a cotton ball with a few drops of peppermint oil and putting the cotton ball wherever they tend to enter your home (a crack in your window sill or floor board etc.). Or dilute that oil with water in a spray bottle and spritz any surface with that mixture to get rid of unwanted bugs. Since this is an essential oil and not a chemical, you’ll simply be shooing the bugs away without harming them.
10. To Cure Insomnia
If you’re having trouble sleeping you might not need sleep aids, you might only need a few natural tools to help you doze off. Try applying rose and lavender oils to your spine just before bedtime.
11. They Can Relieve Nausea
If you are feeling queasy then certain oils such as peppermint oil might help ease your discomfort and curb your appetite. Lauren Richter, DO, assistant medical director of the clinic at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine says, “you can place a drop or two [of peppermint oil] on a tissue and inhale the scent when you feel nauseated, or put it in an essential oil diffuser.” This is so safe it has even been recommended for pregnant women who experience morning sickness.
12. Clear and Restore Your Skin
Oils? On your face? Sounds like a terrible idea for those of us who battled with acne in our younger days, but in reality using essential oils as a part of your skincare routine can sooth irritation, reduce redness, clear pores, relieve acne and repair your skin. Chamomile oil, tea tree oil and argan oil all have different uses and perks, so assess your skin’s needs and find the essential oil that will best suite you.