Whether you’re feeling worried, burnt out, foggy headed, or on edge…there’s an oil for that! Got a migraine? There’s an oil for that! Are you stuffed up from allergies? Yep, there’s an essential oil that can help drain your sinuses. It might seem to good to be true, but it isn’t!
Essential oils (EOs) can relieve a wide variety of ailments—they’re basically the “Pepto-Bismol” of the holistic world (minus the questionable flavor and unnatural pink color). The best part about EOs is that their use is scientifically proven to elevate mood and eradicate infections. I’ve added references to several of the paragraphs below in case you’re a science-minded reader who thinks EOs are just a bunch of hippie hooey…you can check them out and see for yourself!
If you’re new to using EOs then you’ll want to check out my Essential Oils for Beginners post that gives you a quick run-down about how to spot a high quality oil and how to use them safely. Mastering EOs may seem a little overwhelming because there are so many of them and each one has a different use, so I’ve narrowed it down to my top 6 favorite oils for everyday use! Here we go…
1. Peppermint—the alarm clock/espresso shot
What it does: This oil offers a fresh burst of cool minty-ness that will wake you up and cut through brain fog. Mental grogginess, termed “brain fog” is common for Spoonies who have fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as for anyone who may be experiencing seasonal allergies or who’s just having an “off day” where their brain feels like sludge.
The proof: The strong scent of peppermint boosts alertness so well that it has even been shown to improve physical performance in sports by increasing grip strength and vertical jump among athletes. Peppermint has also been shown to improve memory and cognition in Alzheimer’s patients and it does the same for healthy people.
- It can be used to clear your sinuses when you’re stuffed up from allergies or a cold. Place a few drops directly onto your hands, rub them together, and inhale the strong scent for 30 seconds to a minute (and close your eyes or they can get irritated).
- Mint improves memory, so try diffusing some peppermint EO in your room the next time your study. Then, when you go to take your test, rub a little oil on the insides of your wrists. I’ve heard many anecdotal stories confirming that this habit helps them with recall in the midst of a stressful exam!
2. Frankincense—the migraine miracle
What it does: This oil has a very strong, distinctive scent that is known for relieving headaches and even migraines. Frankincense can be diffused for aromatherapy, but it treats head pain most effectively when it is rubbed directly onto the skin (or slightly diluted in a carrier oil). Common places to apply it are the temples, jaw, and across the forehead.
The proof: Frankincense contains botanical compounds called monoterpenes, which have potent anti-inflammatory effects. Many studies have connected anti-inflammatory compounds with pain relief. In some headaches, inflammation around blood vessels cause the pain, so a reducing in inflammation may relieve the headache or migraine. And if you need any more proof than that, just remember that Frankincense was given as a gift by the wise kings at the birth of Jesus. If it’s good enough for Baby Jesus, it’s good enough for me!
- For even faster relief, place a drop of Frankincense on your thumb and press your thumb against the roof of your mouth. This method is perfectly safe (as long as you don’t have any allergy to the EO) and it delivers the pain relief even faster than simply rubbing it on your skin.
- You can also rub the oil directly onto one or both thumbs, or rub it into the fatty tissue between your thumb and index finger (this is a common acupressure point for headaches).
3. Lavender—the anxiety buster
What it does: Lavender is probably the most popular EO that is known for producing a relaxing effect. The scent is calming to the nervous system and it is a commonly used as aromatherapy for those with anxiety.
The proof: A recent study on Generalized Anxiety Disorder found that the use of lavender over six weeks was just as effective for relieving anxiety as benzodiazepines (which as a class of strong, psychoactive drugs used to treat mental health issues). It is also worth noting that there are zero side effects associated with lavender essential oil!
- Another great way to harness the relaxing effects of Lavender is to put 3 drops of the oil into a warm foot bath. This is especially great for relaxing before bed if you struggle with nighttime worrying or insomnia.
4. Chamomile—to chase the blues away
What it does: We’ve seen a box of chamomile tea stashed away in the back of our grandma’s pantry, but who knew that this herbal had huge potential to relieve sadness and depression? That’s right, this gentle herb can pack a serious punch. Depression is tough, but chamomile might be just your cup of tea!
The proof: A study from 2012 found that chamomile (also known by its fancy science name Matricaria recutita) works clinically as a powerful antidepressant. They suggested that it can be even more effective for people who struggle with both depression and anxiety.
- The oil can be diffused or you can enjoy a cup of chamomile tea for a gentle, uplifting experience. If you’re looking for a stronger effect, you can ingest high quality chamomile oil in a capsule (either homemade or sold commercially).
5. Lemongrass—for concentration, clarity, and countertop cleansing
What it does: This EO is a jack-of-all-trades. Lemongrass is optimal for aromatherapy and it works as an effective antibacterial that can be added to almost any cleaning product. Lemon oil is commonly used in a diffuser to help sharpen your cognition, improve focus, and uplift your mood.
The proof: Lemongrass oil has been proven over and over to be an cleaning agent excellent because it has documented antibacterial and antifungal properties. It may be effective against mold and mildew in addition to pathogenic bacteria.
- To cleanse an area of mold and mildew, you can mix up a solution using these ingredients in a spray bottle: 1 cup white vinegar, 15 drops lemongrass EO, 15 drops of tea tree/melaleuca. It’s easy, cheap, and effective!
6. Tea Tree—the universal soldier
What it does: Tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca oil) should be on the front lines of your defense against common germs and ailments. Much like lemongrass, tea tree oil can be used both in cleaning agents and as aromatherapy. Tea tree has a very unique scent that most people can identify from a mile away! This oil is starting to appear in newer shampoos that fight dandruff and chronic scalp dryness.
The proof: Many studies have shown that tea tree/melaleuca oil are very effective against bad bugs like staph aureus and E. coli as well as other germs that cause common illnesses like the cold and flu.
- Tea tree oil can be rubbed topically on the lymph nodes in the neck during sickness, which may help eradicate any pathogenic bacteria in the area.
- Gargling with tea tree oil is controversial–some say that it is too strong of an oil to go directly into your mouth, while others say that 1 drop diluted in a warm glass of water can be safely gargled to treat strep throat. So, recommend asking your doctor about it first and gargling with caution! That said, topical use of tea tree oil is very safe.
*The honorable mention—Inspire & Passion Blend*
This EO didn’t make it onto the top 6 list because it is not an oil that you can find just anywhere. This “Passion” scent is a carefully selected blend of oils that is made excursively by the brand doTerra. And let me tell you, it smells AMAZING! This blend is the best smelling EO I’ve ever come across. It is rather expensive, but if you can get your hands on some, I highly recommend doing so.
What it does: This EO is labeled as an “inspiring” blend, intended to invigorate and renew your spirit and spark creativity. I can’t personally attest to any of these effects yet, but I can attest to the fact that this oil smells better than any perfume I’ve ever come across, plus it’s all-natural and non-toxic.
What it’s made of: A blend of Cardamom Seed, Cinnamon Bark, Ginger Rizome, Sandalwood, Jasmine Flower, Vanilla Bean, and Damiana Leaf.
Hopefully this post has peaked your interest in the use of EOs. And If you’re interested in creating your own cleaning products using EOs, feel free to comment below and I’ll be sure to post about DIY household cleaning recipes in the future. So stay tuned!
As always, thank you for reading. Wishing you vigor, inspiration, and joy!
Em the Silver Spoonie