Survival of the (essential) oiliest.

The world of essential oils.
The world of essential oils.

I know I’ve mentioned my dabbling in essential oils over the last few years. A dear friend gave me a starter kit and a diffuser for Christmas in 2014 and I’ve been hooked ever since. Aside from smelling great, essential oils have proven to be fantastic for my health.

I’ve used various oils and blends to help me sleep, aid allergy symptoms, and assist with immunity, and I’ve really enjoyed searching for new oils to aid in additional problems, and in general, improve my quality of life. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t say the oils will work for everyone, but it’s worth speaking to a health professional you trust to see if they could work for you!

So far, I have developed a small group of oils I always keep on hand, and they are: peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus. There are a few blends I enjoy, but they usually revolve around relaxation and sleep, or easier breathing. I know many people who use essential oils for just about everything – and I’m envious of this! I’ll get there one day.

Today, I just wanted to focus on essential oils that will come in handy during the fall season, and in particular, the oils that help us when we’re feeling a little under the weather. The top three oils for that are:

  • Peppermint: Relieves headaches caused by congestion
  • Eucalyptus: Decongestant; soothes respiratory problems
  • Oregano: Proven antibacterial; fights sinus infections

I’ll be honest, my first experience with peppermint oil came at the end of a hot yoga class. During the relaxation portion, the instructor quietly came around and placed cold washcloths on our foreheads that had drops of peppermint oil on them and it was FABULOUS. So refreshing!

A small bottle of peppermint came in my gifted starter kit, and I used it when I was feeling congested, and I would dabble some on my chest pre-workout for a whiff of energy (swear, it works). Before I got hooked on eucalyptus for allergies, I often slept with my diffuser loaded with peppermint and it would clear my sinuses while I slept.

One important consideration with oils is the application – I find it’s a personal preference. When I was feeling under the weather around the holidays, I put a single drop of peppermint into my coffee for a festive, yet sinus-clearing, sip. Sometimes, I put the peppermint oil on the back of my neck, or on my chest. Of course, I use my diffuser nearly every night.

You can also use pill capsules and take the oils orally, in water or tea, or create a compress with a wet washcloth. You can also take your oiled compress and place it on the floor of your tub during a hot shower. Fantastic!

I purchased Eucalyptus oil about six months ago because of its healing properties. It has a minty scent, but it’s not as strong as peppermint. I usually use it in my diffuser or on the back of my neck when I really feel terrible. I keep this one in my work bag because it’s good if allergy symptoms or illness creeps up in the afternoon.

And then there’s oregano, which may sound a little funny, but it’s a good one to keep on hand for an antibacterial aid and to help with sinus infections.

The final thing I was to mention is HOW to buy essential oils. Because they are so popular right now, it seems like companies are coming out of nowhere to say they’ve got essential oils. However, there’s not a lot of regulation in this industry, so it’s difficult to know if what you’re getting is pure.

I get my oils from Melaleuca, which are steam distilled, depending on the plant itself. You can find out more information on Melaleuca’s extraction process here. When you’re purchasing oils, look for companies that post how they extract the oil. The oil should also not be labeled as “perfume oil” or “aromatherapy oil”, or anything of the sort. The oils should be packaged in dark glass bottles, and should not contain a rubber cap. Finally, the oils should be priced according to their oil. Rare oils, or oils that are more difficult to extract, should cost more than those that are readily available.

…So, that’s the scoop on just a few essential oils! I’m sure I’ll come back with more information as I continue trying to new oils and blends. If you’re already well into oils, I’d love to know which ones you love!

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