Essential Oil 101 - the Basics, Benefits & Popular Types

Speaking of essential oils, the first thing comes to you mind is probably that amazing feeling of muscle tension release at a spa. 

Indeed, many cultures from around the world have been using the healing powers of essential oils to treat a variety of health conditions for over 5,000 years. Such plant-based organic compounds that have been used for centuries due to their tremendous healing properties.

What is an essential oil exactly? 

Sure, essential oils are plant-based oils, but what exactly does that mean? It means that the oils are extracted from a variety of plant parts, from the roots of a plant or tree, the bark, flowers, leaves, seeds, or fruit.

The juice that is extracted from the plants goes through a distilling process to separate the oils from the other water-based compounds. What is left, is a highly concentrated oil that has a very strong aroma which mimics the natural aromas of the plant.

Why essential oils? 

As essential oils are extracted from plants, they contain lots of powerful chemicals plants synthesise. Benefits of essential oils vary depending on the plant they are extracted from and how they are harvested, they generally have antidepressant, stimulating, detoxifying, antibacterial, antiviral and calming properties.

The top health benefits mainly include: 

  • Boost immunity & fight infections 
  • Support digestion 
  • Reduce emotional anxiety & stress 
  • Relieve headache & migraines
  • Improve sleep quality 

    3 main uses of essential oils

    1) Aromatic

    The most common use of essential oil is to inhale the aroma directly from a diffuser or the bottle. Each type of essential oils has its unique value in aromatherapy. Whether you want to support a certain mood, or treat a specific physical or mental condition, you can diffuse a certain essential oil accordingly based on their benefits and enjoy the aroma.

    2) Topical

    Placing essential oils directly on the skin is another common way to get their benefits. When massaged into the skin, essential oils can help relieve muscle soreness and pain, even heal cuts and scrapes.

    Some essential oils can be used "neat" which means undiluted, such as:

    • Lavender
    • Eucalyptus
    • Bergamot
    • Angelica
    • Geranium
    Lots of essential oils are highly concentrated, hereby requiring dilution, which is usually a minimum of a 1:1 dilution ratio with a carrier oil, but can be further diluted depending on your preference. 

      What is a carrier oil? A base oil that carries the essential oil into your skin. The carrier oil helps the essential oils get absorbed by your skin, without the risk of being too strong and possibly burn you. Below are some of the most popular carrier oils: 

      • Almond oil 
      • Avocado oil 
      • Coconut oil 
      • Grapeseed oil 
      • Jojoba oil

      3) Dietary

      The third way to use essential oil is to mix 1 - 2 drops with liquids and take it internally. While essential oil have powerful impacts on digestion, ingestion essential oils is a very personal decision. It's definitely not recommended to ingest essential oils that are not claimed "ingestion safe" from the manufacturer. Always read the labels! 

        What essential oil should I use? 

        Now you have a deeper understanding on essential oils, your next question may be "so what essential oils should I use"? It just depends on the fragrance you like and the health benefits you want to get. Here is a quick summary of some of the most popular essential oils: 

        • Chamomile – Fights anxiety and depression, alleviates PMS symptoms, reduces insomnia, promote restful sleep, supports digestive health. 
        • Lavender – For calm, balance and relaxation. Restore skin complexion, alleviate headaches, reduce anxiety and stress, protect against diabetes symptoms. 
        • Lemon - relieve nausea, relieve cough, improve digestion, promote weight loss, repel insects and bacteria. 
        • Peppermint – relieve muscle soreness and pain, boost energy, reduce headache and fatigue, improve brain performance, help with respiratory issues, help to reduce seasonal allergies.
        • Tea tree  – fight acne and other skin conditions, improve dry scalp, fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections 

        Essential oil have proven, powerful effects on improving physical and emotional well-being. Now, with the knowledge on your side, are you interested in kicking off your journey to discover essential oils?

        The August Zenkle Box features an aroma diffuser and peppermint oil, to refresh your body and mind in the hottest period of the year! Click here to find out more.