We are gifted with many treasures from the earth. Essential oils are just a few of these gifts. These ancestral, nontoxic medicines work on a physical, emotional, and some even say spiritual level to heal and balance the body. We’re here to tell you which ones are really worth trying.
Most of us had heard of essential oils in the Christian story about the birth of Christ, the three wise men brought Jesus gifts of frankincense and myrrh, both of which are essential oils. Our ancestors were healers, using herbs and plant media to treat everything from colds to burns and cuts. In today’s world, we know essential oils as ingredients in soaps, perfumes and skincare products.
Essential oils are liquids comprised of highly concentrated aromatic mixtures of compounds obtained from plants. These oils are called “essential,” because they are all the good things in the plant condensed into just the oil. Because of their high concentrations, it only takes a few drops of any particular oil to do the job.
The medicinal uses of essential oils are almost endless. They can be used to treat everything from breathing problems to cuts and burns. Some are great for the treatment of joint and muscle pain; others can be used as a safe insect repellent.
The most popular way of getting the beneﬁts of essential oils is either through topical application or aromatherapy. Some people suggest ingesting these oils, but unless you are under supervised treatment from a certiﬁed medical professional, our experts do not recommend that these oils be ingested.
Here are a few oils that stand out for their ability to boost mood and promote a positive mental outlook.
Any essential oil from the citrus family will raise your spirits with one whiﬀ. First on the list is lemon (Citrus limon). Reach for lemon when a little extra energy is required.Upbeat and bright, lemon is veritable sunshine in a bottle.
Next up is one of the most eﬀective citrus oils for treating melancholy zesty blood orange. Although it shares the same Latin name as sister sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), blood orange is often chosen for its more complex aroma and anti-depressant qualities.
Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), another citrusy restorative, adds a zip to anti-anxiety blends with natural chemical properties that act as a tonic for those battling chronic stress.
Diﬀuse several drops of lemon, lime, and blood orange in the morning to start the day with an aromatic boost. Since these are top notes, the fragrance may dissipate quickly. So mix a few drops of each into unscented body lotion and apply after your shower to sustain the tart, happy scent just a bit longer.
Did you know? Blood orange is one of the most effective citrus oils for treating melancholy.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has a lemony aroma with a touch of green, almost as if it’s signaling your spirit to buck up. It’s also an excellent antidepressant.
Steep the dried herbs to make lemon balm tea for a soothing afternoon treat. And add a few drops of this rare restorative essential oil to a cotton ball and tuck into your pillowcase before climbing into bed to help still the mind and encourage restful sleep.
Speaking of the blues, diﬀuse negativity with blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum), a herbal essential oil with slightly sweet ﬂoral overtones that, like blood orange, adds substance and depth to any blend.Blue tansy essential oil is important on aromatherapy. It is useful for treating burned, irritated, inflamed and damaged skin. Blue tansy oil gets its unusual cobalt color from one of its components, chamazulene which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, it is a useful analgesic and is effective for addressing allergic and asthmatic reactions, and can help calm anxiety and nervous tension. Be sure to avoid common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), which can be toxic. True blue tansy has completely diﬀerent chemical properties.
The perfect choice from the herbal family of essential oils is clary sage (Salvia sclarea). The English name “clary” comes from the Latin sclarea, which is derived from Clarus, the word for “clear.” The essential oil has been shown in studies to calm the nervous system and reduce blood pressure, heart rate and levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. In one study reported in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2012, it was shown that clary sage helped women to feel less anxious before a urological examination. So, it can assist with female reproductive conditions such as menstrual cramping, menopause, and labour as well as sleep issues related to anxiety or stress.
Since the aroma can be a bit strong, blend clary sage with citrus oil, jasmine, lavender, sandalwood, and vetiver oil to mask the odor while still enjoying its euphoric properties, which will help battle the blues.
No list of stress-busting essential oils is complete without lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), the go-to oil for quelling anxiety and calming overwrought emotions. Whether inhaled or applied topically, lavender has a sedating quality that instills a sense of peace. Aromatherapists use lavender to enhance all kinds of blends, but especially those designed to balance mood and lift spirits.
Combine a few drops of lavender with blue tansy and diﬀuse aerially to help melt anxiety and create a mellow atmosphere.
The sweet, heady scent of jasmine is as calming as Valium but with none of the side effects, as reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Researchers at the Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf, found that the scent of this delicate white flower has the same calming, sedative effect on the central nervous system as commonly prescribed sleeping pills and sedatives. Brain scans showed that inhaling jasmine molecules enhanced the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – an amino acid produced naturally in your brain by more than five times. GABA promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, balances mood and helps you sleep better.
Add 2-3 drops of jasmine essential oil to 15ml of base oil such as grapeseed or jojoba, and massage it into your skin before going to bed.
The woody, sweet, aromatic scent of sandalwood is burned in Hindu and Buddhist temples. The scent instills a sense of peace and tranquillity. It’s so relaxing, alleviates anxiety and eases mental fatigue. It’s also restorative and emotionally grounding. If you’re having problems sleeping, sandalwood will help you to switch off from the stresses of the day. Studies have shown that it contains components (santanols) that have a natural sedative effect. It can be used directly from the palms or by diffusion. It can be used directly from the palms or by diffusion.
This sweet, exotic, sensual smell is so good they named it twice! Ylang Ylang is best known for its aphrodisiac and mood-enhancing properties. The scent reduces blood pressure and heart rate and eases anxiety, helping you to gently unwind physically and mentally.
For a powerful blend, combine a few drops with sandalwood and clary sage. Or, add two drops of ylang-ylang and two drops of vanilla essence or essential oil to 20ml of body butter or lotion, then dab on your wrists.
This has been used since biblical times as part of holy and ceremonial rituals. Derived from bark resin found in the Middle East, Somalia, Ethiopia and China, its woody, balsamic scent has a deeply calming, purifying and meditative effect. The scent of frankincense calms the respiratory system, relaxes the diaphragm and encourages deeper breathing. It helps to alleviate anxiety and stress. If you have a tendency to wake up in the night, add a drop of frankincense to a tissue, then take a deep breath into it. This will soon help you to get back to sleep.
The next time you get stuffy, reach for eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globules). Studies have shown that Eucalyptus and pine essential oil help with seasonal allergies and can help decongest a blocked nose and help ease sinus congestion. Soak in a really hot Epsom salts bath with a few drops of eucalyptus oil, and stir the water to release the scent. Topically you can apply to the chest, behind the ears and a touch under the nose to help clear congestion.
Rose oil (Rosa damascene) is costly because it takes so many flowers to produce, but it pays off with a glorious fragrance and anti-aging benefits. Twenty-two pounds of rose petals are distilled for every 5-ml bottle of oil produced. When it’s combined with rosehip seed oil, the natural vitamin A-rich fatty oil from the same plant, you’ve got a nourishing and wrinkle-fighting blend. Balances and improves general wellbeing, uplifts, relieves nervous tension and stress. Rose has a beautiful aroma that encourages feelings of positive self-reflection.
One study found that a diluted peppermint solution applied to the forehead was as effective as acetaminophen at reducing tension headaches. It’s also a powerful oil that promotes healthy intestinal function, supports normal digestion and cooling sore muscles.
Vaporize it with lemon and eucalyptus to clear the air and facilitate breathing. You can also take a whiff for a shot of energy or use it to help repel some bugs.
Its antifungal and anti-bacterial powers make this oil an excellent option for breakouts. One small study found that using a product with 5% tea tree oil was just as effective as benzoyl peroxide for treating acne spots. It’s also great on rashes, minor cuts, and irritation. Try to combine tea tree oil with olive oil and sage leaf extract to hydrate, tone, and soothe your skin.
These Essential oils will help you soothe away tension and welcome wellness into your home. Find that one right aromatherapy blend just for you. Start out on the lighter side. The recipes below feature a dilution of 3%, the perfect starting point. You can always add a drop or two more. Experiment to see what you prefer.
GET HAPPY MIST
For an instant mood lift, create an aromatic mist to use anytime, anywhere. Simply blend oils with distilled water in a 4 oz. glass bottle. Then just close your eyes, spray your space, and breathe deeply.
RESET & RENEW BLEND
Use the following blend in an aromatherapy diffuser.
BONUS: HOME CLEANING KIT
Reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals by replacing harsh cleaning products with safer options.
In a spray bottle mix: