Millions of Uses for Essential Oils

Fall is usually the busiest time of year to me. There are always things to fit in my schedule before snow starts to fly. It is also the time of year to pick out essential oils to use during the lengthy winter in Minnesota. I thought I would share some knowledge about essential oils that I learned over the years.

Essential oils – loaded with health benefits

Start collecting your favorite essential oils...

I am not an expert in essential oils and still learning and discovering new scents and various uses for them. If you do a Google search online, you’d find tons of information about the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of herbs and essential oils, but make sure to check the source of information and any reputable references used.

Essential oils vs. fragrance oils

If you’ve never researched the chemicals that are in perfumes or in your skincare products, you really owe it to yourself to look up your favorites using Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. The truth is that there is little or no regulation in the current cosmetic industry. Watch out for terms such as “natural fragrance” or “all natural fragrance” – there is no FDA regulation regarding what's defined as "natural". Unfortunately, the ingredients used in these “fragrances” are protected by US Federal Trade Secrete laws, so they don’t have to be revealed.

Rule of thumb, if you see “fragrance” or “parfum” in the list of ingredients and there is no mentioning of essential oils or herbal extracts for scenting, you can safely assume that synthetic chemicals (potentially hazardous) are used in formulating the fragrances.

The downside of scenting with essential oils is that they don’t last as long and they aren’t as strong as synthetic fragrances.

My favorite essential oils

There are literally hundreds of essential oils to choose from. Not every brand that claims that they are "pure" is actually 100% pure and organic. Do your own research before purchasing. When in doubt, go with organic essential oils from credible sources. Granted, organic essential oils cost at least twice as much as their non-organic alternatives, but a little goes a long way!

These are a few of my all-time favorites and why I like them:
  • Lavender - calming, relaxing, and helps with sleep
  • Citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit) - uplifting, neutralizes odors in the air, removes adhesive goo left behind by stickers
  • Peppermint - antibacterial, anti-dandruff, relieves sinus congestion (word of caution: peppermint should not be applied undiluted to infants especially near the nostrils due to the risk of apnea and respiratory distress)
  • Tea tree - antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-dandruff, scalp treatment

Ultrasonic diffuser at home

These diffusers do not heat up (this could destroy properties of essential oils). They produce an ultrafine and cool mist through ultrasonic vibrations. I set up mine in my home office. When I am at home, I always run my diffuser for at least a couple of hours depending on the relatively humidity on that day.

Herbal perfume/cologne with essential oils

My husband is super sensitive to allergens. Under my influence, essential oils have become his best friends for fragrance. His favorite cologne is the one I made with a formulated blend of eight types of essential oils. The key to perfume mixing is to include essential oils of base note, middle notes and top notes. Top notes evaporate more quickly than base notes. For example, lavender essential oil has the aroma of middle notes. Pairing lavender with patchouli essential oil makes a lovely and solid scent.

Room spray = essential oil + distilled water + mister

You can use it in the house before guests arrive or mist pillows before going to bed. Since oil and water don’t mix, it needs to be shaken before each use. No big deal. Just the other day, I saw a room spray like this in a local natural food store – priced at $11 for just 4 fluid ounces and it is not even organic!

Massage oil = essential oil + carrier oil

You can use any of your favorite essential oil. In term of carrier oil for body massage, I really like sweet almond oil. It is non-greasy and absorbs quickly. If you are allergic to nuts, jojoba oil and safflower oil are great substitutes.

Be creative with essential oils

Those who know me personally know that I have a strong sense of smell and I make various skincare products, like body lotions, botanical lip balms, household cleaners, soaps, and more. I use essential oils exclusively to scent my creations. Winter in Minnesota not only means coldness but also dryness! Currently, I am experimenting with different essential oils to add to my handmade body butter.