“Put some tea tree oil on that, it’ll clear right up.”
“Take a bath with lavender for your nerves.”
For years, families seeking holistic health options have heard the benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy. It is no wonder that so many people swear by oils, after all, your sense of smell is one of the most primal senses and can control your mood, emotions, and even your memories.
Aromatherapy and essential oils have been around for years. Dating as far back as 4500 B.C. and used originally by the Egyptians for perfume and medicine, essential oils are now used for a variety of purposes. In India, essential oils have been used for 3,000 years for healing— some of the most popular for healing include ginger and sandalwood.
With all of the options surrounding essential oils and the various ways to use them, it can seem a little bit overwhelming if you are considering trying to incorporate the oils into your life. Making sure you use the essential oils correctly is vital– certain oils should never be swallowed and some oils should only be applied sparingly to the skin, so research is key before you begin using them. The best way to start using oils is by starting small and simple. To help you begin your oil use, and to help you use them correctly, here are my four favorite uses for essential oils:
Before you begin to make your oil blends, it is helpful to get a few roller-ball containers (like the ones shown here, which are available on Amazon and through most reputable oil sellers) and a carrier oil. I like to use Sweet Almond Oil as my carrier, but coconut oil is a great alternative. These are used to dilute some of the oil so that it will not harm the skin.
It is also important to make sure that you are using only the most pure oil available. Some great brands are DoTerra and Eden’s Garden. In the case of essential oils, you get what you pay for and what might seem like a bargain can actually be quite the opposite. Once you have your oils and containers, you are ready to begin.
- Bug repellent and bite healer
When your children are playing outside during the hot summer and even the cooler fall and spring months, bug bites are inevitable. However, spraying the kids with harmful chemicals in bug spray can do more harm than good. There are several oils that can repel bugs, including: Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Peppermint, Basil, Rose Geranium, Cinnamon Oil, Thyme, Lemon, Orange, Pine– however it is important never to apply these oils directly to the skin.Each oil repels a different type of bug, so if your children are getting frequent mosquito bites, they should use citronella, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, catnip, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium, lavender. If they are getting flea bites around their ankles while playing in the grass, they should use cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lemongrass, lavender, orange, and pine.The blend that I use repels bugs and helps to heal existing bites. All you do is fill the rollerball container 2/3 full with a carrier oil or distilled water. Then add 5-10 drops of eucalyptus, citronella and lavender to repel the bugs. To help cleanse bug bites, add 3-5 drops of tea tree oil. The lavender and tea tree also work together to heal bites and stop itching. I also apply this to my pet’s collars so that bugs will leave them alone as well.If you choose to create your own blend based on the different bugs in your area, be sure to use a carrier oil and a few different oils (for example, if you want to kill mosquitos, use both peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender).
- Easy laundry, furniture and carpet spray
Essential oils are great for creating calming and relaxing environments. One of the easiest and most no-fuss ways to use essential oils is in your laundry and as a spray for your carpet and furniture. Lavender is known for its calming properties, so I love to put a few drops (between 5-10 depending on the load size) into the laundry. This is especially nice when you are washing bedding because the lavender can help you relax at night. You can also mix up 10-15 drops into a spray bottle with distilled water to spray on carpet and furniture for relaxing scent all over the house. A bonus: lavender repels fleas, so if you have pets this is a safe way to prevent fleas from feeling at home inside the house.
- Healing bath
Another great way to use essential oils to both heal any bites, cuts or rashes, as well as to relax and cleanse your emotions is through an oil bath. Draw a bath and put 3-5 drops of tea tree oil in for cleansing– this is especially helpful to clean out and sanitize sores, cuts or rashes. Put in 5 drops of eucalyptus for a calming bath, or a few drops of peppermint if you are looking for an energizing bath. Soak in the bath and try to be mindful of each scent. Before you know it, your skin will feel and smell great and you will feel better. (For quick cleaning of a cut or scrape, roll diluted tea tree on the area. It has a cooling feeling and will cleanse and sanitize.)
- Oils for mental health
One of the best ways to use essential oils is to boost your mental health and wellness. Aromatherapy can make a huge difference if you are suffering from frequent anxiety attacks and have even been known to help comfort children with autism.You can purchase pre-mixed bottles to help you with different types of emotions, or you can make your own. My favorite pre-made blends are from include Breathe Easier, Hope Synergy Blend and Stress Synergy Blend. Make sure to dilute it with carrier oil if you plan to roll it onto the skin when making your own blends.If you prefer not to use a pre-made blend, using them as a calming agent is as simple as training your brain to associate a smell with a feeling. For example, when you in a calm, relaxed state, rub the oil into your hands and smell your favorite aromatherapy scent, breathing in deeply. For me, that is lavender. Continue to breathe deeply while smelling the scent and repeat the process every day for at least a week. Keep a small container with you, and when you begin to feel anxiety or stress taking over, rub the oil into your palms and breathe deeply. Because smell connects so deeply with emotions, this can help you feel the centered feeling that you experienced when you were at home and calm.
Remember, these tips are not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. For more wellness articles, click here.