Once the crazy aunt of the wellness world, essential oils are finally gaining the respect and recognition they deserve. This is great news for busy parents, as they offer tremendous versatility and functionality. In fact, their multifaceted nature means that a fully stocked cabinet of essential oils can help you in all areas of your life—from home care to wellness. For instance, use lemon oil as a cleaning spray and as a skin treatment for hyperpigmentation and fine lines. Is your little one sick? Rub a couple drops of diluted eucalyptus oil on his chest to help clear up congestion and boost his immune system, and then use some more to disinfect countertops.
A note on safety: essential oils, while free from synthetic chemicals, are incredibly powerful and can be toxic depending on the oil and the use. In fact, one drop of peppermint essential oil—which is great to use in homemade toothpastes, mouthwash, and even as an anti-nausea treatment—is equivalent to twenty eight cups of peppermint tea. Use conservatively and, for the most part, always dilute an essential oil in water or a carrier oil (olive oil, jojoba oil) if applying on skin or throughout your home. Furthermore, store essential oils away from young children and pets, as they can be dangerous if consumed in large quantities. Below are some ideas for ways to use essential oils at home, to promote wellness, and for personal care.
Eucalyptus: This works as a pesticide and has the ability to kill fungus, bacteria, insects, mites and weeds.
Lemongrass: Lemongrass is antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial, so it can be used as a powerful disinfectant. Plus, it can repel insects, just like eucalyptus.
Lemon: The OG DIY-home cleaner, lemon has powerful antibacterial, astringent, and antiseptic properties.
Clary Sage: Use clary sage around that time of the month! When diffused, it will help alleviate depression and anxiety. When applied diluted, it can aid in alleviating the symptoms of menstrual cramping.
Sweet Orange: This one is pretty much a happy essential oil. When inhaled, it can help alleviate anxiety and boost your mood.
Cinnamon: Applied diluted, cinnamon can help soothe muscle aches and pains thanks to its antispasmodic and analgesic properties. Plus, it can be diffused to help clear up chest colds.
Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is the breakout buster. It’s as effective as benzoyl peroxide in treating acne, without any of the harsh side effects. Use it diluted as a spot treatment.
Rosemary: This might seem like an odd choice, but rosemary is fantastic for use on your hair. It is a great dandruff tonic, and has even been reported to help stimulate hair growth.
Lavender: Lavender is anti-inflammatory. It also has hydrating properties that help calm down irritated, stressed, or acne-prone skin. It’s usually gentle enough to apply neat, although always dilute to begin with.
Adina Grigore is the founder of S.W. Basics and the author of Just The Essentials: How Essential Oils Can Heal Your Skin, Improve Your Health, and Detox Your Life.
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