When I was a teenager and was very sick and depressed, as I write about in my new book UPLIFTED: 12 Minutes to More Joy, Faith, Peace, Kindness & Vitality, my grandmother, Fritzie, taught me how to live close to the earth and to rely on foods, herbs, spices and all kinds of essential oils to help heal my body and to keep it vibrantly healthy throughout my life. Fritzie always reminded me to eat my foods as close to the way nature made them as possible and to look at God’s treasure trove of fragrant essences for whatever was ailing me.
Since those early days, I have done copious research and work using essential oils on a regular basis, and I really can’t live without them. The effectiveness and versatility of essential oils are easy to incorporate into our lives because there are so many different methods of use. And one of the bonuses is that they smell so good. They have been part of our past for thousands of years and will be eternally part of our future — immeasurable, valuable gifts of nature.
What is Aromatherapy?
So, what are essential oils, and what is aromatherapy? Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts typically obtained either by steam distillation or cold pressing. These oils are usually from the flowers, leaves, berries, stems, seeds, roots, gums, resins, needles, or bark of numerous plants. Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils to enhance physical and mental well-being. Because the oils are so concentrated, many of them are likely to irritate mucous membranes and the stomach lining if taken internally. Therefore, it’s best to use essential oils externally, such as in bath water, diffusers, in poultices, or on the skin (with a few drops).
The Many Benefits of Lavender
My three favorite essential oils are Lavender, Bergamot, and Frankincense. Let’s start with Lavender. I could write an entire book (and maybe I will down the road) on the healing benefits of this fragrant herb and its essential oil. Lavender is one of the most popular and versatile essential oils used worldwide to reduce stress, provide relaxation, repel insects, and much more.
Its historical use goes back over 2000 years. In ancient Egypt, it was used for mummification and for cleansing baths during the Roman civilization, and today it’s even more popular than ever before.
One of my favorite ways to use the essential oil of lavender is in a diffuser next to my bed when I go to sleep at night and/or to put a few drops on my pillowcase. However, Lavender essential oil has many health benefits and can be used to:
- Nourish skin due to its natural antioxidant content
- Promote blemish-free complexion
- Soothe minor skin irritation
- Help ease tension and stress
- Support restful sleep
- Boost mental alertness
- Serve as a natural air freshener
Lavender for Skin Care
In addition to using the lavender essential oil almost nightly to help me sleep well, here are other ways I use it to help keep my skin healthy.
- For glowing skin, I add 1 drop of lavender oil to a few drops of carrier oil such as argon or jojoba oil (great for facial skin) and massage gently into the skin.
- For sunspot treatment, I combine the lavender essential oil with frankincense essential oil, and it really works. I mix 1 drop of lavender oil and 1 drop of frankincense oil with a few drops of argon or grapeseed oil and massage gently into the affected areas right before bedtime. Be patient. These spots don’t clear up overnight, but if used consistently, you will be amazed at the healing benefits within days and weeks.
- And one of my favorite ways to use the essential oil of lavender is, of course, as a bath oil. I add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath and relax and take in the healing fragrance and skin nourishment.
The sky’s the limit with all the ways you can use lavender essential oil.
Next time, I’ll share why Bergamot is a must in my family’s natural medicine cabinet and my favorite ways to use Frankincense oil for healthy skin.
Susan Smith Jones, Ph.D.: Author of over 33 books, including Invest in Yourself with Exercise, Be the Change, Kitchen Gardening, Choose to Thrive, Wired for High-Level Wellness, A Hug in A Mug: Using Herbal Teas, Culinary Spices & Fresh Juices as Medicine and UPLIFTED: 12 Minutes to More Joy, Faith, Peace, Kindness & Vitality. Visit: SusanSmithJones.com