If you don’t use essential oils, you’ve probably at least heard of them. Essential oils have been getting a lot of attention for benefits ranging from easing headaches and promoting relaxation to disinfecting surfaces.
I have so many essential oils in my personal stash, they need their own Caboodle! However, I remember how confused I felt when picking out my first few bottles. To help you get started with the magic of aromatherapy, here’s a guide to the best essential oils for beginners.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils capture a plant’s unique compounds (essence) through an extraction process like steam distillation or cold pressing.
It’s important to pay attention to how an essential oil was produced because some types use chemical processes. Those are often cheaper, but they’re not considered genuine essential oils.
In addition to their fragrance, essential oils have various other properties that make them useful. Some are naturally antimicrobial, and others reduce nausea, heal burns, or brighten your mood.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils. It may seem like a recent trend in holistic health, but aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years. Aromatic oils are a staple of ayurvedic medicine, an ancient healing system that originated in India.
Aromatherapy is an easy and inexpensive way to boost mental wellness and enhance your overall quality of life.
How does aromatherapy work?
When you inhale an essential oil, the membranes inside your nasal passages absorb the scent molecules, which stimulates olfactory nerves. The olfactory bulb is part of your brain’s limbic system, a group of structures involved in memory, behavior, and emotional responses.
That’s why certain scents quickly bring up memories and emotions. The best essential oils for beginners and seasoned vets alike are the ones that stimulate feelings of peace and happiness.
In addition to attaching meaning to emotions and encoding long-term memories, the limbic system plays a role in various physiological processes, including immune and endocrine function, sleep, and sexual arousal.
So, certain essential oils have immune-boosting, germ-killing, passion-igniting effects. That’s why I say aromatherapy is the perfect thing to get into this time of year! Even in a “normal” (non-pandemic) year, there’s always the seasonal flu lurking about.
What are the best essential oils for beginners?
There are tons of different essential oils available. While personal preference is most important, If you’re starting out with aromatherapy, these are the oils I recommend:
- Lavender to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and aid sleep
- Peppermint to increase focus and reduce symptoms of tension and sinus headaches
- Tea tree to kill germs and fight infections
- Eucalyptus to breathe easier when you have a cough or sinus congestion
- Rosemary to reduce pain, inflammation, and stress
- Lemon (or orange or grapefruit) to brighten your mood and disinfect surfaces
Please note – I am not a doctor or aromatherapist, and this is not medical advice!!! Some people have allergies to certain plants and their oils, so proceed with caution, and when in doubt, check with your physician.
What are the best essential oil brands?
As far as brands go, I love NOW® essential oils. They’re of excellent quality and less costly than other popular brands like DoTERRA®. Because of their low price point and wide selection, I recommend the NOW brand.
I recently bought myself this Love At First Scent kit. It has a blend called Naturally Lovable, which contains essential oils of lemon, orange, ylang-ylang, sandalwood, and jasmine absolute. I’ve been using it every night in my bedroom diffuser.
How do you use essential oils?
You can use one oil on its own, or create a custom blend for a unique scent. True story — I used to use a blend of essential oils to fragrance my DIY laundry detergent, and someone who bought a shirt from me on eBay loved the scent so much they reached out to ask what it was!
Even if you don’t make your own laundry detergent, there are many ways you can use essential oils. Some of the best beginner-friendly uses include:
- Putting a few drops in your aromatherapy diffuser
- Mixing a few drops into a carrier oil like coconut and using it on your body (patch test first!)
- Adding some to a spray bottle of water and misting the room, your hair, or your clothes
If you don’t have a diffuser, you can add essential oils to a pot of water and simmer it on the stove. I have a pot of stovetop potpourri sitting on my woodstove right now! It contains dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and spruce cuttings from my Yule decorations, but I could easily substitute any of those with the matching essential oil. It smells heavenly and is a great way to add a hygge vibe to your home.
Another thing I’m planning to do with essential oils this week is making my own scented beeswax candles. Check back soon to find out how it goes!
I hope you found this post helpful. Thanks for reading!
Cover image via Pexels
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