Essential oils have gone from being a niche product to widely available. You can even pick them up at some grocery stores. But whether you’re standing in an aisle or perusing online, the sheer variety of essential oils available today can be overwhelming. Which ones are best?
The answer is (no surprise here): it depends. Each essential oil delivers benefits unique to the plant from which it was derived. So if you have specific symptoms you’re wanting to treat or a planned use for your essential oil (like cleaning your house), do a little homework to find the right one for you.
Generally, though, there are a few essential oils that deliver benefits we all need. Here are our top picks for ones to add to your medicine cabinet.
Lavender is sort of like training wheels for essential oils. If you’ve never bought an essential oil in your life, this is a great place to start. Lavender is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety. Lots of people use lavender to help themselves relax.
Our fave use? Add 20 drops of lavender oil to a small spray bottle with a tablespoon of witch hazel or vodka (to help the oil permeate). Fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake it, and spray it on your pillow before bed. Your nights just got an upgrade.
Peppermint’s not just for toothpaste. If you want a natural way to banish a headache, dilute peppermint oil in a carrier oil (any vegetable oil) and dab some on your temples. You’ll get a tingly sensation and quick relief. That same cooling, soothing sensation makes peppermint oil great for sore muscles.
Peppermint’s also great for nausea and energy boosting. You can apply it topically or add it to a glass of water. Move over, coffee and Tums.
Kick out infections with oregano. It’s a powerful antibiotic and can treat fungal infections, too. Plus, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Dilute oregano and apply it to wounds to prevent infections. When you feel a cold coming on, put about 20 drops of oregano in a capsule (or you can put it in a little water but — be warned — it’s got a pretty extreme taste and can burn your lips) to give your immune system the support it needs.
There’s a reason lemon is used in such a wide variety of cleaning products. It’s antiseptic, astringent, and antibacterial. Add 15 or so drops to a bottle of half-water, half-white vinegar to make an effective, eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner.
But lemon doesn’t just benefit your house. Its bright scent is also a great mood booster. Dab a little behind your ears or put a few drops in a glass of water for a quick, natural pick-me-up.
Now, a couple of quick caveats. Some essential oils are made for topical use, while others are meant to be ingested. Check the labels on your bottles and use them accordingly. Also, do your research to find high-quality essential oils or you’ll basically just be using a placebo. Finally, dilute your oils before applying them to your skin and never use them on broken skin.
You’re ready to start exploring the wide world of essential oils. Go forth!
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