Essential oils are not a “new” thing. These plant extracts are in everything from cosmetics and perfumes to soaps and cleaning products. They’ve also been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. But essential oils have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in part due to home-based consultants for companies like Doterra and Young Living spreading the word.
Part of my essential oil collection is shown above, in this wonderful carrying case, which comes in lots of different colors. Depending what company you buy your oils from, some are labeled on top, others are not. I use a Dymo label maker set to the smallest font to make labels for those that don’t already have them.
As far as the companies/brands of oils themselves, there are tons of reviews and posts out there already that will tell you which is the “best”–if you want to read a good discussion, Whole New Mom has a 7-part series of posts devoted to discovering and declaring the “best”–but I just want to share which types of oils I have found to be a good addition to our home medicine cabinet. Since we all have different ailments, your favorite oils could be different. I personally have liked Eden’s Garden brand oils, which are inexpensive and available on Amazon. They have worked wonderfully for my purposes.
Important note: I personally never take essential oils internally; I only apply topically, and if I don’t apply them “neat” (undiluted), I use almond oil as a carrier oil.
1. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is the reason I became an essential oil proponent to begin with. I had horrible eczema patches on my shins for over 6 months and no amount of lotion or cream would clear them up. I was even using prescription steroid stuff to no avail. After 2 weeks of lavender oil applied before bed, my skin was completely clear and healed and I was a believer. If it’s skin-related, lavender oil is my go-to oil–burns, insect bites, scrapes, etc.
2. Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Oil
I remember using tea tree shampoo when I was younger to deal with dandruff, but nowadays, it is the greatest fix-it tool for pimples out there! Forget the Clearasil, just use a dab of tea tree oil. Whereas I think of lavender oil when I want to heal something on the skin, I think of tea tree oil when I want to kill something on the skin. It’s supposed to be a strong anti-fungal and antibiotic.
3. Clary Sage Oil
This is one that is perhaps not on everyone’s list of favorites, but it’s on mine because it’s made such a difference in alleviating my monthly PMS symptoms. A few drops applied to the abdomen and my cramps are lessened and my moodiness gone. It’s an anti-inflammatory and I have also had success using it on muscle aches and pains. I should also mention it’s purportedly an aphrodisiac…but I’m so crazy about my husband already that I wouldn’t notice a difference there. More praise for clary sage oil here.
4. Peppermint Oil
I think of peppermint oil as my go-to pain reliever. It helps with headache pain when applied with a carrier oil on the forehead or temples. It is also in every muscle aid blend I have–whether mixed with lemongrass, pine, camphor, etc, peppermint oil is said to reduce swelling and relieve inflammation. And it smells really good!
5. Eucalyptus Oil
Anytime someone in the house gets the sickies, I know it’s time to pull out the eucalyptus oil. This is the oil that makes everyone think of Vicks Vapo-Rub. Anything breathing related, this is your oil. Applied with a carrier oil, it helps clear the sinuses. Eucalyptus oil is said to be antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and a decongestant.
Honorable Mention–Cleaning Blend
White vinegar, distilled water, and drops of this cleaning blend, containing lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary, make a fabulous cleaner to use all around the house. I use it to clean mirrors, windows, floors, countertops.
We live in a world filled with toxins–they’re in our food, our medicines, our flooring, paints, even our clothes and bedding. I love how essential oils provide a safe way of cleaning my home and dealing with common ailments without contributing to a toxic environment.