Here we will have a brief look at ten essential oils considered by some to comprise the ‘basic home care kit’. While by no means exhaustive, this list will go a long way to providing effective (and often pleasant!) treatments for you and your family for things like cuts and scrapes, sunburn, digestive troubles, stress related conditions and more. In the second article, we will cover specific applications and uses of each oil.
Oil #1: Lavender
Lavender has often been called the ‘medicine chest in a bottle’ for its broad range of applications. Every home should keep Lavender on hand, even if no other oil is used, as it is so very effective on burns. It’s anti-inflammatory action is responsible for the beginnings of modern aromatherapy, as Dr. Jean Valnet discovered Lavender’s healing properties after being burned in a laboratory accident. Lavender is considered to speed wound healing and reduce scarring. The oil is also pleasantly calming, and can be used to reduce stress in a variety of situations – a commonly used technique is to apply Lavender oil ‘neat’ (undiluted) to the soles of the feet of patients recovering from almost any ailment.
Oil #2: Tea Tree
When first examined for it’s antiseptic properties, Tea Tree essential oil was found to be 100 times more powerful than carbolic acid – the medical standard at the time. Tea tree has an extremely broad range of antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties that have been confirmed by modern scientific research. Often used topically on small wounds, Tea Tree is also commonly found in oral hygiene preparations, and can also be effectively employed for Candida, athlete’s foot and acne, among other things.
Oil #3: Peppermint
An excellent digestive tonic, Peppermint essential oil can sooth many stomach complaints. For the traveler, it’s effectiveness on calming motion sickness can be of great help. Further, at least eight controlled studies have shown Peppermint oil to be effective in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a painful condition of the intestines. Beyond it’s support of the digestive system, Peppermint is delightfully stimulating to the mind, brightening and sharpening mental focus. Finally, Peppermint is considered by some to be a more effective insect repellent than citronella when used on the body (rather than in the surrounding air).
Oil #4: Chamomile
Ah, the great tension reliever, Chamomile oil. This extremely gentle essential oil is useful for a wide variety of nervous conditions, and is often indicated for cases of stress in children (including teething and general ‘crankiness’). Rubbing into the solar plexus is a commonly used application if that is where one tends to ‘hold tension’. Chamomile essential oil is available in to varieties, German or Blue Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. The Roman variety is most often used for stress relief, whereas the German variety has the added bonus of being an extremely effective anti-inflammatory.
Oil #5: Eucalyptus
Another essential oil with a broad range of properties, Eucalyptus is most often used for respiratory conditions, being useful in clearing congestion with coughs and colds. However, it’s effects are certainly not limited to the airways – because of it’s broad range of effects, it has been called the aromatherapists ‘designer oil’. Eucalyptus oil can cool the body in Summer (or due to fever – use in a compress), and support the immune system in Winter. Diffusing Eucalyptus oil can kill most staphylococcus bacteria, again being supportive of bronchial infections. It is considered equally effective in cases of cystitis, candida, and sunburn, to name a few, as well as being an insect repellent.
Oil #6: Geranium
Geranium (sometimes known as ‘Geranium Rose’) works wonderfully on both physiological and psychological levels. It’s floral aroma is brightening and uplifting, while also working as a sedative. Malte Hozzel has made this statement regarding this oil: “Geranium’s vital, sensual presence is not subtle, but direct & unavoidable, making it one of the oils of choice for aphrodisiac qualities. (Geranium Essential Oil) inspires natural beauty & enjoyment, uplifts instantly & “tonifies” the mind & intellect in a powerful, nearly demanding attitude. Mobilizing hidden creative & emotional reserves, helping us to rise to our own earthly & spiritual identify. A fiery beauty for the spells of all worlds.” Particularly noted for it’s effect on female physiologic conditions, Geranium oil can be effective for menopausal problems, uterine and breast complaints.