“Essential oils are a mixture of various complex, volatile organic compounds with a pronounced, most often pleasant aroma. For example, when we pick and rub herb leaves between our fingers in the garden or peel an orange, we are surrounded by a distinct wave of scents created by the essential oils in the plant itself. However, their content in plants is quite small – from 0.01% to 10%, so oils are mostly obtained by the steam distillation method from plant leaves, flowers, roots, stems, fruits,” explains pharmacist Ivanda Krastiņa.
Use of essential oils at home
The aroma of essential oils can be inhaled by placing a few drops on a cotton handkerchief, as well as by placing it in a warming container or diffuser. It is also recommended to use oils for bath and massage. For this purpose, it is recommended to dilute the oil with base oil in proportions of 10-15 drops of essential oil per 20 teaspoons of base oil. Base oils are those oils in which essential oils are soluble, such as grape seed, apricot, almond, jojoba oil, as well as olive oil and sunflower oil. The oil mixture is added to the bath when it is filled with water, then its effect will be longer.
Essential oils should be used with care
Although essential oils are valuable, remember that they are very strong and concentrated. They are not recommended for young children and pregnant women, as they can cause allergic reactions and even respiratory problems. Under no circumstances should essential oils be used undiluted orally and also externally on the skin, as they can cause severe irritation or even burns. In the summer, in the sun, you should be careful with citrus essential oils, as they can cause skin pigmentation. It is also important to remember that essential oils should be stored in a tightly closed bottle, in a dark and cool place.
Essential oils for different situations
1 For the nervous system and heartbeat – camphor and menthol
These oils are widely used in medical preparations because they have a strong effect on the central nervous system and the heart. They are most often included in the compositions of various ointments, creams and gels, which are used as anti-inflammatory or breathing aids for colds or as pain relievers for joint and back pain. These oils have a beneficial effect on the respiratory tract, so they can be inhaled when you happen to catch a cold.
2 To stimulate immunity – Australian tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus
“Essential oils have the ability to act on bacterial cells, disinfect and stimulate the immune system. Essential oils of, for example, Australian tea tree, rosemary, and eucalyptus are very strong – they can be used as monopreparations (the composition includes only one substance) in aromatherapy, they can be included in the composition of anti-cold preparations. Australian tea tree oil is also added to cosmetics because of its antibacterial effect. When the immunity is weakened, these oils can be used to disinfect rooms as well as to be inhaled,” explains pharmacist Ivanda Krastiņa.
3 Against rodents and mosquitoes – mint, Australian tea tree, clove and citrus
By mixing these oils with water, it is possible to prepare a spray to repel mosquitoes and gnats, and these oils are also good at reducing the itching of insect bites on the body.
4 For peace and reducing anxiety – lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, sandalwood
The aromas emanating from essential oils act on the nerve centers of the brain, causing various reactions. They can reduce anxiety and restlessness, improve mood, calm and also increase energy, tone. For example, lavender, chamomile, lemon balm and sandalwood oils soothe, relax and help you sleep. They can be both inhaled and used in the evening bath.
5 For energy – lemon, orange, grapefruit, clove
Essential oils that induce energy, tone and improve mood include lemon, orange, grapefruit, clove and rose essential oils. Ylang-Ylang essential oil, on the other hand, has a balancing effect, as a joy-creator and also an aphrodisiac.
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