Natural essential oils and other botanical oils have been around for a very long time, in fact there is evidence that they were used by the ancient Egyptians in their burial ceremonies and they are mentioned in the Bible…remember the wise men? Frankincense and Myrrh are essential oils!
In case you didn’t know and/or have been living under a rock, essential oils and their lesser known friend “carrier oils” are derived from distilled leaves, seeds or other parts of plants and are 100% natural. In recent years, oils have made a comeback and have been getting a lot of attention on social media as natural alternatives to the many suspicious and potentially damaging man-made chemicals that have been in use as ingredients in our household products since the middle part of the 20th century.
Many consumers are pushing back against chemicals in our products by either making or purchasing homemade alternatives like oil warmers to replace chemical-laden store-bought air fresheners or in recipes for natural cleaning products around the home. It’s not surprising that many of the common uses for oils involve their aroma because for the most part they smell amazing, but just like there are a multitude of different oils, there are a multitude of ways to use them! Here are five ways to use oils that you might not have heard of:
1. Foot Soak
There is a lot of concern about having a “bikini ready body”, but what about having “flip flop ready feet”? During the winter we shove our poor feet into socks and boots without much thought. Then when warmer weather comes, we’re all about flip flops and sandals! The skin on your feet can get dry and hard under winter or summer conditions if it doesn’t receive the right kind of TLC*.
- To prepare a simple foot soak just add a few drops of Tea Tree oil to a tub of warm water, add feet, sit back and relax!
After you’ve enjoyed the relaxing sensation of soaking your tired tootsies, massage a moisturizing oil such as Lavender into the skin, put on a pair of cotton socks and go to bed. Your feet will feel soft and smooth in the morning and as an added bonus, lavender smells wonderful and may help you sleep better!
*Note: if you are a diabetic or the skin on your feet is cracked and/or bleeding, please consult a qualified medical professional
2. Oils for Stress Relief
Stress from your job, family, money worries…it can all build up. Stress can have a negative effect on your health in the long run, but studies have shown that natural oils can help relieve everyday stress and anxiety1. Help calm your spirit by using natural oils in one of the following ways:
- Add a few drops of your favorite oil to a warm bath. Lavender oil or Bergamot work well.
- Apply a couple of drops of oil behind your ear or on your wrists. Lemon or Lavender are great for this
- Use oil in a diffuser or a room diffuser. Try one of the citrus oils like Lemon or Neroli; or an earthy scent like Rosemary or Coriander.
3. Stretch Mark Prevention and Relief
If you’d rather skip the unpronounceable chemicals in store-bought stretch mark creams, why not go straight to the source and use a natural plant-based oil to relieve the itching and treat or prevent stretch marks? Some of the floral oils make wonderful natural stretch mark treatments without anything else added.
- Lavender oil is safe to apply directly to the skin and has been used for generations in skin care
- Geranium oil has anti-inflammatory properties and may be helpful in preventing stretch marks and moisturizing your dry skin (bonus: it has anti-aging properties too)
- Rosehip oil was reportedly used by Kate Middleton (the Duchess of Cambridge) as a natural anti-aging product, but its high antioxidant and vitamin content also make it ideal for stretch marks!
Although botanical oils are natural and plant-based, not all are safe to use directly on the skin and some are contraindicated for use during pregnancy. Please make sure to research or consult a qualified medical professional if you plan on using oils while pregnant.
4. Nail Soak
If you have brittle or dry nails, natural oils can provide moisture and some can even encourage your nails to grow faster! The oils listed below are packed full of natural nutrients that provide moisture and can help improve the look and feel of your nails.
- Jojoba oil and Argan oil are carrier oils and can be applied directly to the nails as a cuticle cream (only a few drops are needed)
- Carrot Seed, Lavender, Lemon, Marula or Rosemary essential oils can be used in combination with a carrier oil to make a nail soak
- Mix 1 cup warm water, 1 tbsp carrier oil (you can use olive oil or coconut oil from your kitchen) and up to 15 drops of essential oil
5. Reduce Inflammation or Swelling of Hands and Feet
Swollen hands or feet can be caused by a number of conditions or if you have a job where you stand for long periods. It can be painful and embarrassing. Get relief with oils!
- Copaiba, Tamanu and Rosehip oils have wonderful natural anti-inflammatory properties
- To reduce inflammation or swelling of limbs first warm the oil, apply to the affected area and apply a hot towel
CAUTION: the information contained in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Please consult a qualified medical professional before using oils if you have a serious medical condition or are pregnant/nursing and keep all oils out of the reach of children.
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For more information or to purchase high quality, organic and naturally-sourced oils, please visit www.aunaturalorganics.com