Did you know that essential oils were first used many centuries ago? Although its origins have yet to be discovered, their existence throughout ancient history is undeniable.
Records show that essential oils, or formerly known as aromatic oils, were widely used across the globe. From ancient China to the old Roman empire, various countries and civilizations have utilized aromatic oils for different purposes in the past.
The most common way of using these oils is for medicinal purposes. In fact, some cultures used aromatic oils for their religious practices. Devotees of such religions believed that these oils possess healing powers.
Even today, it is evident that essential oils are widely used for healing as well. But did you know that they were also utilized as perfumes and incense in the past?
Essentials Oils And Aromatherapy
Because of its pure natural origin, essential oils also retain its natural fragrances. Hence its former name, aromatic oils. Because of its pleasant smell, the people of the past tried to use these oils in various cosmetic products and even as a form of therapy as well.
Little is known about the history of aromatherapy but it is said that its earliest records date back to ancient China. According to research, the Chinese were the very first to use essential oils as a mood enhancer.
But it wasn’t until 1937 that aromatherapy had been given the name it has today. French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse created this word right after a burn incident. His curiosity on the healing power of scents motivated him to do further research on the subject.
Today, aromatherapy is still widely practiced. But sadly, some people may have the wrong impression about essential oils and aromatherapy.
These people still believe that aromatherapy is just another form of alternative medicine and that it has few scientific studies to back its claims.
But this is definitely not true.
According to scientific research, certain scents do have the capability to lighten up our mood.
When inhaled, the aroma particles and compounds make its way to our bloodstream, into our lungs and eventually, into our brains as well.
It is said that certain chemicals or smells trigger certain feelings or reactions; that the things we smell can influence the chemistry of our brains.
Common Problems When Using Essential Oils
Certain smells trigger certain reactions and feelings. Imagine being able to manipulate the way we feel by simply filling our room with a certain scent. There are oils that can help you sleep better, oils that can uplift your mood, and oils that can relieve your stress.
But unfortunately, there are still some people who do not take advantage of using aromatherapy – perhaps you may be one of them as well. Below are the most common reasons why some people are hesitant to try out aromatherapy and essential oils:
You could be allergic to a certain scent, or you may feel that the choices available in the market don’t match your personal taste.
Perhaps you’ve purchased oils in the past that are just unsuitable for you and your home. Choosing the wrong oil can definitely alter your aromatherapy experience. To avoid this, opt for simple and basic fragrance options.
It is tempting to purchase a sophisticated and seemingly rare scent, especially if you’ve just started out with aromatherapy.
The problem is not knowing its long-term effects on you. One rule of thumb is to try the most common and basic scents first. When you are ready to experiment, you can mix and match these oils as well to make your own infusion of scents.
You might know some people who say that the smell of essential oils is too strong for them. In relation to choosing the right scent, it is also important to know the right amount for use.
Different oils have various intensities and textures – some may need to be diluted with water while others are best used in small drops.
Before purchasing your very first essential oils, it is mandatory that you do your research. Different companies also produce oils at various quality levels. Read instructions on the labels first before using them.
Last but not the least, most people do not use essential oils simply because they don’t know how to use it. It’s true – each type of oil has its own distinct set of rules.
And there are many types of essential oils available today. Diluting oils usually have a specific ration and each type of oil can be used in various recipes as well.
Keeping up with all that information may sound daunting and impossible at first. This is why we always recommend using the basic scents first before growing your collection. It’s better to become very familiar with some selected oils first rather than having a huge variety.
Common Uses Of Essential Oils
Just because you are stuck with a selected few, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with your essential oils. Throughout history, we learned that these oils were used in many different forms.
Below are some ideas that can help you creatively incorporate essential oils into your everyday life:
Using diffusers with essential oils is perhaps the most common way of introducing natural scents into your home.
Today, essential oil diffusers can be easily purchased in stores and even in the web. Depending on the type of oil being used, all you need to do is to add a few drops of oil into the machine and an aromatic mist will start appearing.
After some time, your room will be filled with the aroma you’ve chosen.
Another very common way of using essential oils is through massage. Aromatherapy massage has numerous advantages because the oils are consumed in more than one way.
When applied topically, essential oils prove to be quite healthy for the skin. In fact, some types of oils are used to treat burns and acne.
The other way is, of course, through inhalation. Certain oils like eucalyptus can provide relief for joint pain and at the same time help relieve anxiety when inhaled.
Soaps and Other Cosmetic Products
We’ve learned that some oils are actually good for the skin so it is not a surprise that these oils can also be found in various cosmetic products.
Soaps are perhaps the most common essential oil-infused products. Perhaps you may be interested in creating your own organic soap with all-natural ingredients and scents.
6 Best Smelling Essential Oils
We’ve talked about some of the common problems people encounter when using oils and we’ve also listed down ways on how to use essential oils.
Now, it is time to learn which type of oils are highly recommended for first-time users and long-time users as well. Below is a list of the best smelling essential oils:
Anyone who is starting out with their essential oils kit knows that lavender is the most popular and the most basic oil there is – and with very good reason. Not only does this floral oil smell really pleasant, it also has plenty of beneficial properties.
Lavender is commonly known as a stress-relieving oil and it is also a highly recommended oil for those who suffer from insomnia.
Apart from being a great source of stress relief, lavender is also known to have the various therapeutic properties: anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiseptic and diuretic. It is also great as a deodorant and decongestant as well.
The oil is extracted from the flower of a lavender plant and it is then distilled by steam. You can use lavender oil in many different ways. You can apply it on your skin, spray a bit on your pillow for a good night’s sleep, and you can also use it as a massage oil as well.
The citrusy smell of lemon is refreshing and uplifting. Some people may suggest using this oil in the office or in a place where you need to stay alert, energized, and motivated.
Other people also say that putting lemon oil into a diffuser at their workplace helped them stay creative and always flowing with new creative ideas.
Because of its fresh scent, the aroma of lemon oil is best known to enhance focus – but that is not all it can do. Lemon oil is also a great addition to any kitchen as it has the ability to remove foul odors while keeping the counters clean and bacteria-free.
To procure lemon oil, peelings from the lemon fruit is extracted via cold expression. Lemon oil isn’t just great for aromatherapy, it also has many medicinal purposes as well. It can ease symptoms of arthritis and it also aids in digestion.
Because lemons are a great source of vitamins, its oil can also boost the immune system. When used topically, lemon oil is also said to have cellulite-reducing properties.
Lemon oil is best used with a carrier lotion for massage therapy. You may also want to try adding a few drops of the oil into the bath. A word of caution though: lemon oil should not be used while under the heat of the sun.
The cooling and refreshing scent of peppermint attribute to its energy-boosting abilities. Because of its invigorating aroma, it is no wonder that this oil is mainly used to boost alertness.
Just like lemon oil, peppermint oil is also best used when in the office or in any place which may require sharp focus.
As mentioned above, peppermint oil is best used for a quick boost in energy. But it is definitely not limited to such abilities alone. It is also said that peppermint is a great oil for relieving nausea.
With this in mind, peppermint oil is a great aroma to have in places where one might suffer from motion sickness.
Just like lavender, the herb flowers of a peppermint plant undergoes steam distillation in order to procure the oil. Peppermint oil can be used in various forms – it can be added into diffusers, lotions, massage oils and even in a mouthwash as well.
This is because peppermint is a very flexible oil and it has plenty of therapeutic benefits. It combats skin irritation and redness, alleviates congestion and aids in digestion among plenty of other healing properties.
However, it is good to note that peppermint oil can also be a skin irritant. The menthol component of the oil can bother some people and it should also be kept away from the eyes. This also means that it is not very safe for children to use.
The eucalyptus is a native plant in Australia and it is easily recognizable through its very distinct scent. And just like peppermint, eucalyptus oil also has a cooling and refreshing aroma; it is also best used in the workspace.
But compared to peppermint, the smell of eucalyptus is a lot more powerful which is why it is recommended to use this oil in small drops.
Eucalyptus oil also has some menthol properties. Therefore, as an aroma, it is a great source of energy and it can also boost one’s mood. One good thing to note about eucalyptus is that it also has powerful healing properties for respiratory issues.
Did you know that there are over 500 varieties of eucalyptus plants in Australia? But the process to procure its oil is all the same – the oil is extracted via the steam distillation of its leaves and twigs.
The oil can be used as an antiseptic, a stimulant and a diuretic as well. Its cooling properties also help combat migraines, fevers, as well as muscle pain.
However, due to the very strong properties of this oil, pregnant mothers and children are not recommended to use this oil.
Chamomile is more popularly used as a floral tea but did you know that it is also very beneficial to the body as an oil as well?
Chamomile is best known for its relaxing properties, which is why it is a popular choice of tea. Chamomile oil does not have an overpowering smell but it is quite powerful as a medicinal herb.
The gentle aroma of a chamomile does not just help in calming the nerves. It is also an antidepressant and an overall mood-lifter. Although it does not help you stay awake like the lemon oil can, the chamomile allows you to breathe calmly and to be in the moment.
There are 2 types of chamomile plant variations: the Roman Chamomile and the German Chamomile. Both of which are used to extract oils from.
To procure the oil of a chamomile plant, the flower must undergo steam distillation like many other flowering plants.
Apart from being a stress-reliever, chamomile is also a great analgesic. This is the reason why you might see some mouthwashes or toothpaste with chamomile ingredients.
Chamomile oil is also an antibiotic and an antiseptic. Oil from the German Chamomile is also great as an anti-inflammatory agent. Use this oil for a massage or for steam vapor therapy. Add it in lotions and creams for best usage of the oil as well.
Essential oils come in different variations, each one of them proving to be beneficial and healthy for the body. Choosing your first bottle of oil can become quite difficult which is why it is recommended to choose the most basic options there are. Oftentimes, the basic oils are the best ones because of their numerous benefits and flexible uses.
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.
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