Benefits of essential oils

​Lavender essential oil is known to be calming and healing, jasmine is romantic and energizing, and cinnamon is refreshing and stimulating. (Photo credit: Emma Kruse)

For centuries, essential oils have been a natural health and beauty staple. Essential oils are, in reality, not oils, because they do not contain fatty acids. According to the Huffington Post, essential oils are “highly concentrated plant components” and are extracted in small amounts. For example, it takes 4,000 roses to make one pound of rose essential oil.

Essential oils can be used to naturally heal numerous aches and pains, enhance and energize one’s mood, help to cure acne, help people to relax and fall asleep faster, and can be used as perfume. Tea tree oil is known to prevent acne when applied topically, which cannot be done with all essential oils. Some essential oils cannot be applied directly onto the skin because they will cause irritation.

Another useful essential oil is peppermint. Peppermint essential oil can be used to soothe headaches, stimulate the mind, and can be stirred into water for a refreshing minty beverage. Peppermint, as well as grapefruit essential oil, is an energizing oil that can fight fatigue.

Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the most powerful essential oils. Diffusing eucalyptus or simply smelling it can help fight colds, viruses, congestion, swelling, and blocked sinuses. It can also help maintain a healthy immune system and soothe sore muscles. Mercy cross country and lacrosse player sophomore Lara Zammit has used eucalyptus essential oil to alleviate pain in her overworked muscles.

“I pulled a muscle in my leg, and it was extremely painful,” said Zammit. “The only thing that helped me was using eucalyptus oil. Within two days, my pain was gone.”

Lavender is perhaps the most useful and, therefore, the most often used essential oil. Lavender works wonders for relaxation, having a very calming effect when smelled. Lavender is a popular choice to diffuse in an essential oil diffuser, especially at night time because the scent helps people to fall asleep easily into a deep sleep. If one does not own an essential oil diffuser, simply putting a few drops of lavender essential oil on a pillow can stimulate better sleep as well. Some even use lavender in their baths, which can make one relaxed while smelling good, too. Furthermore, lavender can be used to heal minor cuts, bruises, rashes, and other forms of skin irritation. Frankincense has the same benefits as lavender, but its scent is not as popular.

Lavender is not the only essential oil that can be used to better one’s mood. Cinnamon, jasmine, vanilla, calendula, mandarin, and many more have been proven to be uplifting scents. According to Young Living, a natural health company, those suffering from depression have benefited from breathing in these oils’ aromas.

Essential oils can be a less expensive, fun, healthy, and delicious-smelling natural perfume. Vanilla essential oil is a versatile scent that can be worn as perfume all year round. Simply dab a few drops onto the neck and wrists. For spring, jasmine creates the perfect floral scent. In the summer, mandarin has subtle citrus notes, a great scent for those steamy days by the pool. For autumn, cinnamon cassia’s spicy aroma correlates well with the changing leaves and holiday season. When winter arrives, pine essential oil will leave you smelling like an evergreen frosted with sparkling snow.

If you’re interested in essential oils, here is a website listing nearly all of the essential oils and their properties.