Essential oils as traditional remedies
Essential oils have a long tradition of use as remedies for many common ailments and issues, from insomnia and migraines to hair loss and wound healing.
While science may be playing catch-up to test the precise medicinal properties of popular essential oils, there is no doubt that their use is part of many cultures across the world for both physical and mental wellbeing.
Essential oils as home remedies
With almost 100 types of essential oils available, the choice of scents and the various health benefits claimed for each can be bewildering. That’s where traditional remedy information is so valuable. Remedies and health claims that have stood the test of time across generations and continents are more likely to be effective and be of genuine benefit.
Popular essential oils health benefits
Here are our 15 most popular single essential oils and the traditional health benefits associated with them:
Tea tree oil• antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. Use for insect bites, itching, cold sores, acne, etc.
Eucalyptus oil• clears phlegm and eases breathing
Peppermint oil• aids digestion, relief of tension headaches, muscular aches and pains
Frankincense oil• aids healing of physical scars and wounds
Lavender oil• aids sleep and relaxation, effective anti-bacterial
Lemongrass oil• provides an emotional boost
Patchouli oil• an aphrodisiac, relief from eczema, psoriasis and dandruff
Rosemary oil• scalp and hair care, alopecia (hair loss)
Bergamot oil• improves skin conditions such as dry spots and eczema
Lemon oil• powerful antiseptic, deodorizing
Geranium oil• supports the reproductive system and eases menstrual tension
Myrrh oil• traditional cure for toothache, halitosis and for all round oral health
Grapefruit• a lymphatic decongestant and general pick-me-up
Marjoram oil• anti-inflammatory, for minor respiratory conditions.
Ylang Ylang oil• helps relieve stress, headaches, anxiety, depression and nausea
How to use essential oils as traditional remedies
First, be aware that there is very little scientific proof of direct health benefits of essential oils. However, as we’ve said, these traditional uses have stood the test of generations, and the experiences of practitioners across the world.
Secondly, essential oils are for external use only. They should not be ingested, i.e. eaten, swallowed or used in cookery, as they are in high concentrations.
Essentials oils can be either:
- Inhaled as an aroma from a few drops in a bowl, on a cloth or in an essential oil diffuser
- Applied directly to the skin when diluted in a suitable carrier oil or in an ointment or cream. Essential oils used direct from the bottle may cause skin irritation, an allergic reaction or skin sensitivity. Always do a skin test first to check your own sensitivity levels.
Essential oils and water
Remember, essential oils are exactly that, oils. Oil and water do not mix. So if you drop essential oils into your bath water, for example, they will gently float to the surface. When you get into that bath, the first part of your skin that touches the water will be in direct contact with floating drops of the essential oil. So if you are allergic, you could end up with a nasty reaction on sensitive parts of your body… That’s why you should always do a patch skin text before use.
Having said that, we use our essential oil blends direct on our client’s skin at our chiropractic clinic and have never had an adverse reaction due to their purity and quality. However, we cannot guarantee that everyone will react (or not react) the same, so always do a skin test first.