Since I am allergic to almost all antibiotics, I’ve had to do some research…and find an alternative. If you are not already acquainted with essential oils, this is a quick and easy primer. I decided to share it with photos of my own collection of essential oils. These have been invaluable to our family over many years. If used correctly, they can be very effective and safe. We have only had to resort to antibiotics once… ~ Jacqueline
The Top 10 Essential Oils.
The wise use of these 10 essential oils provides a fantastic natural alternative to common ailments we see at home. Here we will have a brief look at ten essential oils which may comprise the ‘basic home care kit’. While by no means exhaustive, this list will go a long way to providing effective (and often pleasant!) treatments for you and your family for things like cuts and scrapes, burns, digestive troubles, stress-related conditions and more.
For use topically and by inhalation only, not orally.
Tea Tree Essential Oil – Perhaps the most commonly used natural antiseptic, Tea Tree oil is often used in place of iodine or anti-bacterial ointment for cuts and scrapes. To enhance its healing effect, a blend can be used with an equal part of Lavender essential oil for pain relief for the little ones. The antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral effects of Tea Tree are broad-reaching – other common ailments which can be supported through its use include nail fungus, Candida infection, acne and many more. A little research will lead you to the healing protocol best suited to your needs.
Lavender Essential Oil – As important and useful as Tea Tree, Lavender oil has been named the ‘medicine chest in a bottle’. Lavender’s calming and healing properties act on both a physiological and psychological level. Lavender is considered to speed wound healing and reduce scarring, and is the first choice in cases of minor burns. The oil is also pleasantly calming, and can be used to reduce stress in a variety of situations – a commonly used technique is to apply Lavender oil to the soles of the feet of patients recovering from almost any ailment to bring calm and comfort during a stressful time. Lavender has been noted as ‘better than benzo-diazepines’ for supporting sleep – use in a diffuser in your bedroom, or simply sprinkle a few drops on the bedding before retiring to enjoy this effect.
Chamomile Essential Oil - Well known for its gentle sedative effects, chamomile has been used in herbalism since antiquity. Chamomile essential oil works particularly well for bringing children back down to earth when the household gets a little (or a lot!) hectic. Massaging a small amount into the feet or belly works wonders; on infants, instead use a 1% dilution of Vanilla essential oil in Hazelnut oil for the same effect. Chamomile can also be inhaled from the bottle or tissue.
Peppermint Essential Oil - Peppermint is often employed for tummy troubles and for motion sickness. A drop in a cup of warm water is excellent for those who can tolerate its potent taste; a drop in a teaspoon of honey is effective for younger ones. Spearmint should be used instead for children under three years. Peppermint is also an excellent mental stimulant, bringing clarity and alertness (though it should not be used in cases of epilepsy due to its potency). Peppermint can be inhaled from a tissue or diffuser (with care taken not to touch the sensitive skin under the nose) – it is the oil of choice for use in car diffusers to keep the driver alert and to clear the stuffy air. Peppermint is also an effective mosquito repellent, and can be added in small amounts to neutral skin creams or suntan lotions for this effect.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Eucalyptus is often used for respiratory conditions, clearing congestion with coughs and colds – it can be inhaled from a diffuser or from a steaming bowl of water. Eucalyptus oil can cool the body in Summer (use very diluted in water in a spray bottle – be sure to avoid the eyes when dousing yourself). Diffusing Eucalyptus oil in your home or office can effectively disinfect the air, which is particularly useful for folks with weakened immune systems. For the natural health enthusiast, it’s broad range of actions should be investigated further.
Cinnamon Essential Oil -Cinnamon oil is distilled from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka. The oil is a light brown liquid with a sweet, warm-spicy, dry powerful aroma. Cinnamon essential oil is considered a warming remedy, stimulating digestion and circulation, while supporting the immune system and relieving aches and pains.
Cinnamon essential oil is highly anti-microbial and anti-bacterial for a great diversity of infectious bacteria. Studies have shown the strength of cinnamon bark oil to eliminate many forms of pathogenic organisms. Cinnamon essential oil has traditionally been used for fast relief of infections of the bladder and the digestive tract, as well as enzymatic deficiency in the gut.
Helichrysum Italicum Essential Oil – This is the wonder oil for sports injuries and bruises of all kinds. Its effects are recounted time and time again by active sports and fitness enthusiasts sustaining injuries of all kinds. Highly regarded in the aromatherapy literature, Helichrysum Italicum can be applied directly to any impact-related injury to dramatically reduce healing time. Only a small amount is needed for each application, and can be used sparingly if cost is an issue – Helichrysum Italicum oil can be diluted to 10% in a carrier for regular application to chronic injuries, aches and pains. It can provide similar healing action to damaged skin, particularly when blended to three percent dilution in Rosehip Seed and Hazelnut oils.
Thyme Essential Oil – Thyme is a potent antiviral, antibiotic, and antiseptic oil. There are many types of Thyme, with only the linalool chemotype appropriate for use with children. Thyme can be a first line of defense in cases of flu or sinus infections, being inhaled regularly from a diffuser. Alternatively, for sinusitis, a drop can be placed on a small square of tissue paper, with the paper then rolled so that the drop is in the inside. The paper can then be placed in the nostril to the oil can slowly be ‘diffused’ into the sinus cavity. Further research can help you find particular uses for this wonderful oil.
Lemon Essential Oil - Say good-by to chemical cleaners and deodorizers. Just dilute Lemon essential oil in distilled water (2-10 drops per ounce, depending on the strength desired) and use as you would other cleaners for your kitchen counter tops. Lemon has a very uplifting aroma in addition to its gentle yet effective antimicrobial properties. Studies have shown increased test scores by students where Lemon was diffused during study. The uses for Lemon essential oil are extensive – a little research will help you incorporate this lovely, inexpensive essential oil into your life.
Clove Essential Oil - The power of Clove essential oil is noted upon the first sensing of the aroma – it is quite strong, sharp and earthy. Clove oil has been found to be the strongest anti-oxidant of any essential oil, and is a component of ‘longevity’ formulas. It is also an extremely potent antibacterial, effective against a broader range of microbes than any other oil except perhaps Oregano – Clove oil has even been employed to sterilize surgical instruments. Clove also has analgesic properties, and can be used to temporarily reduce the pain of toothache. Clove oil (or ground cloves) is also a component of Dr. Hulda Clark’s anti-parasite protocol, helping eliminate parasites from one’s digestive system. This is a very powerful oil which should be diluted to 1% or less for topical application.
This rounds out a wonderful beginning ‘home care kit’ for the natural health, wellness and fitness enthusiasts. These oils can offer a wonderful introduction to the world of aromatherapy, particularly due to their obviously practical uses. There are a great many more varieties of oils, with a corresponding number of healing properties for both the body and the mind. As always with essential oils, their potent nature demands a certain amount of respect with their use – start slowly in any case, and consult a knowledgeable practitioner if you have any questions about their application. Most of all, enjoy the experience of including these healing liquids in your life and have fun!
The author, Erica Allen, is a natural health practitioner in Boulder, Colorado. October, 2008. For more information on this topic, go to http://achsaromatherapy.blogspot.com/
Recipe for topical use only:
2-3 drops of lavender and tea tree essential oil
1 drop of cinnamon, cloves, and thyme
1 tablespoon of coconut oil as a carrier oil
Mix oils and carrier in a small bowl with fingertips, making sure the oils are well mixed (cloves and cinnamon can sting a bit if not mixed in well). Apply to chest, inside of upper arms, or inside of upper thighs in a circular motion until absorbed. The skin is very absorptive and will transport the oils to where they are needed.
Personal note- If I had to choose an 11th essential oil, it would be Rosemary for its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. The benefits of rosemary essential oil in treating respiratory problems are unmatched. The scent of the oil gives relief from throat congestion. The oil is used in treating respiratory allergies, cold, sore throat and flu. Since rosemary oil is antiseptic it is effective for respiratory infections as well. The oil is antispasmodic and is used in bronchial asthma.
Rosemary essential oil is an excellent brain and nerve tonic. It increases concentration and helps in studying efficiently. It stimulates mental activity and is a good remedy for depression, mental fatigue and forgetfulness. Inhaling rosemary oil lifts your spirits immediately.
The ability of rosemary essential oil to relieve pain has resulted in its extensive usage in headaches, muscle pains, sore muscles, rheumatism and even arthritis. Massaging the part which is in pain with rosemary essential oil give relief from the pain.
*I would never use an essential oil that I had not studied in detail first. Never take by mouth. While essential oils should not be a substitute for professional medical care, they can be successfully employed for many minor complaints, and as adjuncts to other therapies.