Friday, April 26, 2013

Essential Oils Are A Household ... wait for it ... Essential

Photo by Plantlife Natural Body Care
It's still green week ... and the beginning of Spring!  So let's talk a bit more about botanicals.

An essential oil is a concentrated liquid containing aromatic compounds from a plant.  It is often extracted by steam distillation.  Different parts of the plants, the flowers, bark or leaves are used in the different oils.  Steam heats the plant, breaking it down into components.  The oil is separated from the water and filtered to produce an essential oil.  

It takes many pounds of plant matter to get one pound of any given essential oil.  An essential oil may not be cheap, but a little goes a long way.  You only need a few drops at a time.  A 2-ounce bottle will last a few years and not lose its potency.

Essential oils have several uses.  They are used in aromatheraphy (in massage or baths) to promote natural healing and well being.  Their molecules are tiny, so they are easily absorbed into the skin as ingredients in lotions to heal, moisterize and norish.

Essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral and anitfugal properties.  You can use them to make homemake cleaning solutions, or add a few drops to your shampoo as a remedy for oily hair.

Because essential oils are concentrated, most varieties should not be used undiluted on your skin. They need a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or almond oil.  Add a few drops to your favorite massage oils, or body lotions and butters.  Despite their beneficial properties, never use undiluted essential oils on babies, children or pets.  Their skins are sensitive.

To see if a brand is pure, put a drop on a piece of paper.  It should dry and disappear.  If the drop leaves a residue, the essential oil isn't pure, but is diluted with another ingredient.

Here are five Essential Oils I like to use at home:

1. Tea Tree Oil - You can safely apply undiluted tea tree oil to skin abrasions and zits.  Add a few drops to your shampoo, or wipe down sweaty exercise mats and germy household surfaces with a mixture of 20 drops of tea tree oil to one cup of water.
2. Peppermint Oil - I add several drops to shampoo and bath oil.  It tingles the skin.
3. Rosemary Oil - It's invigorating.  Also can be added to shampoo or cleaning preprations.
4. Lavender Oil -  One of my favorite aromas, so I put it in lotions and hand creams.  I find it both refreshing and calming.
5. Geranium Oil - Very sweet smelling around the house.  You can make disinfectant sprays with any of these essential oils by adding 20 drops to one cup of water.

These are the ones I buy.  There are tons of other essential oils.  Never injest them, but learn what they do and experiment.

Do you have a favorite essential oil?
You may also enjoy:
Cheap Botanical Beauty For Body And Hair
Creamery Creek Goat Milk Soap, A Review
The Doctors' Home Remedies
Going Organic: Face, Body And Hair Essentials

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