2020 has left us speechless, (not in a nice way) and there are still 5 more months to go. We wake up to new things each morning hoping that one of them would be the COVID-19 Vaccine. The whole pandemic and lockdown have had a drastic effect on every aspect of our lives- Financial as well as social. The blow of it has seriously affected our mental health as well. Kids are worried about their exams, youth is scared of growing unemployment and adults about the financial crisis. All of these are reasons why more people are suffering from insomnia, stress, anxiety and even depression. While there are a lot of things to stress us out, there aren’t enough sources that are able to provide us with a solution in these tough times. In such conditions, it is important to not only take care of our bodies but also our minds. Mental health plays a vital role in our overall well being. We understand that not everyone has access to counsellors and therapy so it’s best to take care of our minds by ourselves as much as we can. Exercise, Music, Art are good ways to keep our stress and anxiety at bay but here is something else that can really help. Wondering what it is? Essential Oils!
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are pure oils captured from plants and specific flowers. The oil particularly smells like the main ingredient. The aroma is the main aspect of these oils and gives each essential oil its characteristic essence. Essential oils are extracted from single plant species and not all plants produce them. They’re made from parts of certain plants like leaves, herbs, barks, and rinds. These oils are obtained through various processes such as distillation, expression and mechanical methods. The distillation process involves steam/or water while the mechanical method involves cold pressing. The lesser-known facts about essential oils are that in spite of them being called ‘oil’ they aren’t really greasy in texture. They, in fact, are more on the runny side. Other than that, these essential oils also benefit the plant they’re extracted from as they act as attracting or repelling agents for insects, birds, and animals and also help in humidity control and infections in plants.
Now that we know what essential oils are, let’s quickly understand their purpose, shall we?
What Are Essential Oils Used For?
- Essential Oils play a key role in Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is based on the usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being. They help in calming down anxiety and also combats stress.
- These oils are also used to treat migraine, headaches and insomnia.
- Essential oils help boost your mood as it promotes relaxation and helps you calm down.
- They help heal acne and dull skin.
- Get rid of body aches.
What Are The Different Types Of Essential Oils?
By now we already know the many uses of essential oils. Given below is a list of specific oils which particularly help in fighting stress and anxiety and also help you get better sleep.
- Peppermint: This oil can act as extra cool hair oil. Peppermint oil when massaged on the scalp gives a tingling sensation that helps you relax. Its refreshing minty aroma also has a soothing effect on your mind. It is best for people who want to combat strong emotions such as anger and frustration.
- Lavender: While most men prefer peppermint, women are more inclined towards lavender oils as it has a mild and mellow aroma. This essential oil is popularly known for its stress-relieving properties.
- Jasmine: This flower is only found in the tropical regions and diffusing its relaxing aroma in the evening can help you unwind after a long day. There are multiple jasmine oil benefits for hair as well, including hair growth and strengthening.
- Chamomile: This oil is mostly used before bed. A lot of people also prefer having a warm cup of chamomile tea for a peaceful sleep. It has a fruity herbaceous aroma which acts as a relaxant.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus essential oil is ideal for anyone suffering from a stuffy nose and is having trouble breathing. When combined with other oils, it helps clear your nasal passage and keeps you from snoring too. This oil is often recommended for people with asthma.
How to Use Essential Oils?
There are three ways to use essential oils, such as-
- Inhalation: Distillation is the process of providing steam to the plant until only oil is left. It is through this process that essential oil is achieved. They are highly volatile compounds with strong scents which are therapeutic in nature. The essential oils are put on cotton and sniffed, rubbed on pressure points and sometimes even sprayed in the room using a diffuser, or on the pillow before sleeping. This way, the scents spread in the air and are inhaled. It is also considered to be the safest method of using essential oils.
- Tropical: In the tropical method of usage, the essential oil is applied directly on a sore area and massaged to get rid of strains and aches and even on fungal infections as these oils have antiseptic in properties. As everybody’s skin reacts differently to each essential oil and even quantities, some people also prefer diluting them with water or other carrier oils.
- Ingestion: Some people also prefer infusing a little amount of essential oils to their diet and use them for cooking too. This is a major reason why it is always recommended to purchase your essential oils from reputed buyers.
Things to Remember While Using Essential Oils:
- Always do a patch test before applying essential oils to your body.
- When trying a new scent, start with small quantities when diffusing it as a lot can have reverse effects and rather than calming you down, it might lead to irritation and restlessness.
- Be careful to buy only ‘Pure’ essential oils. Knock-Offs are of no use.
- Not all essential oils can be ingested so make sure you speak to a health professional before incorporating them in your diet.