Essential Oils: First Aid at Home

Pack your family’s pharmacy full of natural essential oils that are fit to treat any ailment.

| July/August 2019

 Photo by Getty Images/Hope Connolly

You’ve probably heard plenty about essential oils over the last few years. These intensely aromatic, highly concentrated, organic liquid compounds are derived primarily through the steam distillation of various plant parts, such as leaves, flowers, resins, roots, berries, and wood. They’re also derived by cold-pressing citrus peels. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells and tastes, and they play a vital role in plant biochemistry, attracting pollinators, and helping plants maintain their health.

These botanical jewels offer myriad benefits for humans as well. Often sought by those who desire natural, safe alternatives to the synthetic chemicals that have invaded our lives and homes, essential oils have become incredibly popular, and their applications more widespread than ever. When used properly, top-quality, superior-grade oils can elevate and sustain the health of your mind, body, and spirit.

Photo by Getty Images/Ekaterina79

As with any new health practice, continuous use of essential oils is best approached with research and care. While these natural extracts are generally safe, some people will be more sensitive to their properties than others. Because of this, and due to their concentrated nature, properly dilute essential oils prior to application unless otherwise instructed. Before using an unfamiliar oil topically, always perform a skin-patch test. Dilute one drop in 1/2 teaspoon of a carrier oil, and apply to a spot of skin, such as your wrist, to make sure you don’t have a reaction over the course of the day. Finally, while some essential oils are promoted as safe to ingest, research on the safety and efficacy of ingesting oils is ongoing, therefore seek guidance from a natural health professional.

All-Purpose Essential Oil Options

I’ve been regularly working with essential oils since the late 1980s, long before they were the “trendy new kids” on the natural-medicine block. So for this article, I’ve chosen a core group that I consider to be the most versatile and useful for treating common health concerns and supporting overall wellness. These particular aromatics have potent therapeutic properties and are known to safely and effectively address a wide range of physical and emotional issues. Additionally, none are derived from endangered plants, and the majority are inexpensive. My hope is that you’ll find endless uses for this fragrant pharmacy.

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