I like to go with natural treatments and remedies whenever possible. And when I'm suffering from insomnia or irritability, I'd rather use something natural that appeals to my senses instead of feeling hungover and jittery from over the counter pain medications. If you're trying to go a more natural route, here are some amazingly versatile essential oils and how you can use them to your benefit this summer!

What are essential oils and why use them?

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They are used to inspire a positive emotional state, purify your home, refine your skin, enhance your physical wellness and even enhance your spiritual awareness.

How can I use them?

Essential oils can be used many different ways:

  • Baths - Aromatic baths are excellent for skin problems, circulatory problems, respiratory symptoms, stress and nervous tension, insomnia, muscular and menstrual pains. The best way to use essential oils in the bath is to mix them first with salts or an emulsifier such as milk or sesame oil. Aromatic bath salts disperse the oils safely into the water, and milk and sesame oil emulsify the essential oil so that it disperses. Lavender oil, clary sage oil, rose oil, geranium oil, frankincense oil, sandalwood oil, eucalyptus oil, and conifers such as cedar oil, fir oil, pine oil, pinon pine essential oil, spruce oil and juniper oil are especially good for baths. A generally safe dose is 5-10 drops, mixed with 1/2 to 1 cup of salt or emulsifier.
  • Direct Palm Inhalation - This method of use should only be done with oils that can be safely applied to the skin. Apply 1-2 drops of oil to the palms, rub together gently and inhale deeply. This is an excellent method of use for a quick and easy exposure to the anti-microbial and other therapeutic uses of essential oils.
  • Inhalations - This is the use of essential oils on a hot compress, in diffusers, or in hot water for inhalation. The standard dose is 10 drops, and it's best for treating headaches and sinus issues.
  • Facial steam - Apply 1-5 drops in hot water in a pot, cover head with a towel and gently steam your face. This method is excellent for opening sinuses, headaches and treating skin.
  • Diffuser - Essential oils can be diffused to purify your home, as a safer alternative to household air fresheners or to uplift mood.
  • Compresses - Apply 10 drops oil in 4 oz hot water, soak cloth, wrap. Good for bruises, wounds, muscular aches and pains, dysmenorrhea, skin problems.

Here are some of my favorite essential oils and how I'll be using them this summer...

Tea Tree Oil

  • Dilute tea tree oil and dab a small amount onto pimples to reduce redness and swelling
  • Add a small amount to bath water to treat cough
  • Apply topically to treat athlete's foot

Sandalwood Oil

  • Apply topically to help fade scars
  • It’s safe for use around the house (especially in the kitchen) to repel ants and other insects
  • Add a few drops to your dry hair after a shower or during the day to restore moisture to hair and give your hair a soft shine

Lavender Oil

  • Apply a few drops to soothe sunburned/chapped lips
  • Rub lavender oil onto palms and apply to pillowcase to ease sleep
  • Rub several drops onto the scalp to help eliminate dandruff
  • Apply lavender oil onto insect bites or stings to reduce swelling and itch

Chamomile Oil

  • Feeling blue? Take a breather and inhale a bit of oil to lift spirits
  • The German variety is great for treating skin allergies
  • Diffuse some Roman chamomile oil to help treat insomnia

Citrus Oil

  • Depending on the grade, add a few drops to your water for a boost of energy
  • Diffuse while studying to enhance memory recall and concentration
  • Apply topically to improve skin elasticity (just make sure to apply them at least 12 hours before heading out into the sun!)

Rose Otto Oil

  • Combine this oil with other oils (like lavender and almond) topically to reduce the pain of menstrual cramps
  • Apply a few drops to the skin to help relieve stress and anxiety
  • Apply a few drops to treat scars and broken capillaries

And these are only a few uses for each oil! I definitely recommend doing your own research to find even more uses for these oils, and talking with your doctor or physician if you have any pre-existing conditions.

Have you tried any of these essential oils?