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Using Aromatherapy Oils in Salves, Misters and More

Learn about some of the many safe and effective ways to use essential oils to improve the health and happiness of your home.

| September/October 2016

  • To make a reed diffuser, add 1ā„2 cup carrier oil and 10 drops essential oil to a bottle and drop in bamboo skewers. Flip skewers every few days; refresh essential oils every two weeks.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Buy only 100 percent pure essential oils packaged in dark amber or cobalt blue bottles, which help prevent damage from light.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Inhalers are a convenient way to carry essential oils around with you.
    Photo courtesy Stillpoint Aromatics
  • Lavender essential oil is calming and can improve sleep.
    Photo by iStock
  • Choose glass spray bottles for essential oil misters.
    Photo courtesy At the Picket Fence
  • Peppermint is one botanical essential oil that helps improve athletic performance.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Essential oils can be taken topically, used in salves or lip balms.
    Photo by iStock

Essential oils are potent healing allies. In many ways, essential oils are plants’ secret weapons to maintaining their health—so powerful they’re walled off in special vacuoles in plants. The plants release these sequestered oils to deter insects, repair wounds and cope with unexpected weather changes. Eucalyptus trees, for example, secrete essential oils to create a special water-conserving haze around their leaves to survive in a hot, dry desert climate.

The same oils that do this miraculous work in plants offer healing benefits for humans, as well. Numerous studies confirm essential oils’ abilities to affect our moods, reduce pain levels, heal wounds, fight illness and more. We can use essential oils in many safe and effective ways, but we don’t recommend ingesting them. Instead, turn to the following forms of topical and inhalation-based methods.

Method 1: Topical Application

Salves and lip balms deliver both the healing and beautifying benefits of essential oils. This recipe can be used either for salve or lip balm, although you may need to adjust the amount of beeswax slightly depending on how firm or soft you want the salve or balm to be.

1. In a double boiler (or a bowl over a pot of water), gently melt 2 ounces of beeswax over low heat.

2. Add 1 cup of polyunsaturated vegetable oil such as almond, avocado, safflower or sunflower. Essential oils absorb best when combined with polyunsaturated oils. You can use monounsaturated oils such as olive or coconut oil, but the essential oils will not absorb into the skin as well as if you use a polyunsaturated vegetable oil.

3. Test the thickness of the salve or lip balm by putting a teaspoon of the oil-beeswax combination in the freezer. If you want a softer consistency, add another teaspoon or two of oil and retest. If you want a firmer consistency, add a small amount of beeswax and retest.

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