Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for their spiritually and emotionally uplifting properties. Early recordings for the use of essential oils dates back to Egyptian times, India and China as well as being referenced in all major religious scriptures.

If you’ve taken yoga, you’ve probably experienced the use of essential oils such as the teacher spritzing lavender in the air, or on a face towel, during final relaxation. Using essential oils, especially such as lavender, accelerates the relaxation effect by reducing stress. Not only that, EOs support an overall healthy immune system, affects mood and emotions.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated, aromatic, liquid plant essences typically derived from herbs, flowers, and trees. The oils contained in the seeds, bark, roots, resin, flower petals, rind and leaves are a part of the plant’s natural defense against disease, predators, and weather. (Put on your lab coat and safety goggles for a minute). “They are stored in special cells, ducts or glandular hairs that are distributed among the flowers, leaves, bark, stems and roots of a plant. A single oil may contain hundreds of constituents that are molecularly aligned in exactly the right manner to trigger a number of responses in the human body.” Pubmed.gov  is the US National Library of Medicine. Real medical research studies have been done on every kind of ailment, and there are hundreds of studies using essential oils for healing.

5 oils to reduce stress

**Please remember these statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products discussed are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

#1 Lavender

Did you know it takes 27 square feet (or 35 pounds) of lavender plant (lavandula angustifolia) to make one 15mL bottle? Ask anyone using essential oils regularly, and they’ll tell you lavender is the number one oil to have in your home. Beyond its relaxation effects, lavender can be used to soothe and cleanse cuts, lessen skin irritations (like bug bites) and burns. Whenever my son starts scratching, I grab my lavender oil and start applying. In a short amount of time, the irritation has lessened or completely disappeared. We also recently implemented a new nighttime routine where I massage his feet with lavender oil. (He loves it.)

#2 Lemon Oil

Lemon oil can be used for relaxation (obviously) such as rubbing some on your hands and inhaling the fragrance for relaxation and relief of anxiety. It also has the ability to help you concentrate and focus. Lemon oil can also aid digestion, soothes a sore throat and ear infections, helps fight allergies, and eases and prevents cold sores. It also freshens breath, can be used as a disinfectant and additive to homemade cleaners. And of course, lemon oil can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in recipes.

#3 Frankincense

Frankincense was referenced in the Bible as one of the three gifts brought by the wise men to baby Jesus. However this all-around “king of oils” list of usages is mighty impressive. Top on the list of course is its ability to boost mood, energy and relieve stress. You can rub it on the bottom of your feet to ease nervous energy. Frankincense also promotes clear skin and is ideal for “mature” skin by lessening wrinkles, age spots, scars and stretch marks while also moisturizing. It is known for helping with improving eyesight and eye health by topically applying it around the eye (being careful not to get it in the eye). AND it works on insect bites. (Mosquito bites beware!)

#4 Peppermint

Peppermint is ideal for bringing more peace and balance into your life. Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found peppermint diffused into the cars of commuters decreased their anxiety and fatigue. Other uses for peppermint oil include reducing nausea and relieving headaches, improving concentration and focus, easing tummy troubles, and boosting energy. People are also experiencing relief from joint and muscle ache with this fresh, minty oil. You can use peppermint oil in diffusers, a couple of drops in the bath, and for massage then feel your stress fading away. With the holidays fast upon us, let the soothing aroma of peppermint not only keep you in the holiday spirit but also stay calm and focused when the crazy relatives arrive.

#5 Chamomile

When you think of chamomile, you might think of tea and its relaxing benefits, but the oil is a powerhouse of uses and benefits just like lavender. Chamomile has a sedative quality that makes it ideal for reducing stress and anxiety. Use a few drops of this soothing oil in a diffuser to take the edge off. You could also combine 1-2 drops in a carrier oil and massage it into your skin to help relax muscles. It’s also gentle enough to use on children.

quality vs quantity

Like any product there are products that are “okay” and products that are “better.” You’ll want to look for essential oils that have the highest level of purity. That means oils that haven’t been diluted, cut, or adulterated. This usually means you’ll spend a little more, but the quality and efficacy will also be higher. Young Living and doTerra are two brands with high ratings for their oils. Rocky Mountain Oils is another one I’ve heard recommended by a couple of sources. Your local holistic market will carry essential oils, with some probably being a better quality than others.

resources

Oil-Testimonials.com/2151770 is a good resource for personal testimonials. You do have to register, but it’s free and they don’t spam you. I’ve also curated information about the different essential oils on this Pinterest board.