5 Of the Best Essential Oils to Use
After being used for centuries as part of a more holistic wellbeing practice, aromatherapy is fast becoming more mainstream than ever, featuring in some of our favourite skincare blends as well as bath tinctures, candles, diffusers and other lifestyle buys. And while you might be familiar with some of the more commonly used oils such as rose and lavender, there’s a host of essential oils out there that can help with a whole roster of ailments, from a below par immune system to bad sleep. The way aromatherapy works is by harnessing the healing power of plants to create essential oils. When smelt, particles of these oils stimulate the smell receptors in the nose. These receptors then communicate with the limbic system in the brain, commonly referred to as the emotional brain because of the way it governs everything from mood to memory, which in turn facilitates changes in the way we think and feel. Read on to discover 5 of the best essential oils to try and how to use them for maximum effect.
Jasmine essential oil
Used for thousands of years in ancient Eastern rituals and ceremonies, jasmine essential oil isn’t just known as a perfumer’s secret weapon. Thanks to its ability to encourage feelings of positivity and wellbeing, jasmine is also a great one to have on hand as an instant mood booster if you’re feeling down or a bit deflated. According to one study, that’s because jasmine has the ability to increase breathing rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation, accumulating in the signalling of physical pleasure and arousal. For best effects try using a few drops of jasmine oil in a base carrier in your next all-over body massage and see how it lifts your spirits.
Frankincense essential oil
Aside from its revered Biblical status and reputation in spiritual and religious ceremonies, frankincense is considered a powerhouse in the world of essential oils. For that reason, it’s often known as The King of Oils. Part of the appeal of frankincense is its versatility; as well as being reputed to promote liver healing and having antibacterial properties, it’s also said to be an excellent oil for grounding nerves, promoting sleep, maintaining healthy skin and improving memory. Experts also extol its virtues when it comes to stimulating the immune system too, so next time you feel run down and like your sleep is suffering, try adding a few drops of neat frankincense to an essential oil diffuser a couple of hours before bed.
Cedarwood essential oil
If you love the earthy, relaxing scent of lavender but are looking to try something new to calm your nerves, give cedarwood essential oil a go. Purported to be especially good at helping ease respiratory conditions too, cedarwood is touted for its anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce inflammation in joints, tissues and muscles. It’s also a natural pain reliever and an anti-spasmodic so is good to try after a particularly gruelling workout. The active compounds present in its chemical makeup are, similarly to lavender, thought to promote serotonin production and have a mild sedative effect, helping to restore emotional balance if you’re feeling frayed.
Pine essential oil
Although it might not be one of the most commonly used, pine essential oil has hugely restorative properties, ranging from helping to clear sinus infections and mucus, to fighting viral infections and reducing inflammatory conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It’s also thought to have potent emotional benefits too, helping to bring a sense of the outside in to reduce mental fatigue, sharpen the senses and energise the whole body. To reap the rewards, try burning a pine scented candle to invigorate a stale space and a tired mind, or add a few drops of pine scented bath milk to your next tub and breathe in deeply.
Ylang Ylang essential oil
If you usually favour lavender for helping you to relax then why not give this lesser know essential oil a try instead. In some studies on anxiety and stress, experts found it to be even more potent than lavender at instilling feelings of calm and peace, possibly because if its high linalool content, a compound known for its stress-busting properties. According to one study carried out, it helped reduced blood pressure and heart rate in a group of men tested. To use, try adding a few drops to a tissue and inhale whenever you need a relaxing boost.