As I mentioned in part 1 of my blog, the use of essential oils in aromatherapy has been part of our past for thousands of years and will be eternally part of our future — immeasurable, valuable gifts of nature. Indeed, the therapeutic properties of essential oils can help to soothe sore, stiff, and achy muscles and joints, relieve occasional sleeplessness, provide respiratory support, soothe headaches, promote healthy skin, lift our mood, and so much more. But how do you choose the best essential oils?
How To Choose Essential Oils
- Purchase essential oils that are 100 percent pure botanical extracts and not synthetic or chemical reproductions of different fragrances. Chemical reproductions are ineffective because they do not evoke the same biochemical response as natural, pure essential oils.
- Always buy in small quantities because the oxygen in partially filled bottles deteriorates the oil.
- Ensure the label says “pure essential oil” and that it’s from a reputable company such as Penn Herb.
The Benefits of Bergamot
My three favorite essential oils are Lavender, Bergamot, and Frankincense. In my last post, I extolled the numerous benefits of Lavender for stress relief, sleep, and skincare. Now let’s delve into Bergamot.
The essential oil of bergamot comes from the fruit of the bergamot tree known scientifically as Citrus Bergamia. The fruit is actually the cross-breeding between a lemon and an orange tree. The essential oil is extracted from the fruit’s peel by cold compression, with only around 3 ounces extracted from around 100 bergamot fruit. So you can be sure that I appreciate every drop of this deliciously fragrant essential oil!
Bergamot is used for a wide range of health and cosmetic issues as well as being valued for its fragrance as a common ingredient in perfumes. I even use bergamot liquid hand soap, dish soap, and kitchen counter spray that I purchase from a popular home store. I keep this oil in my family’s medicine cabinet to use in a variety of ways:
- Hair: I add a few drops of bergamot to my shampoo to help promote hair growth and quality.
- Stress: This oil is calming and relaxing, like lavender, and helps to lift your mood. You can inhale it directly from the bottle or from your cupped hands whenever you feel the need to raise your spirits. Or massaging a few drops of bergamot into your neck and temples, belly, and feet can also provide relief. It has been demonstrated in studies to reduce anxiety and stress by stimulating hormones that control emotional well-being, like serotonin and dopamine.
- Skin: I recommend this oil for blemishes, bug bites, minor skin irritations, scars, and even nail care. To treat your skin, add a few drops of bergamot to a damp cotton ball or pad and apply it directly to the affected area each day.
Bergamot essential oil may increase photosensitivity, so you should avoid exposure to direct sunlight for at least 24 hours after applying it to your skin.
Other Ways to Use Bergamot Essential Oil
Some of the most common ways I use Bergamot essential oil in my healthy living lifestyle I also recommend to my clients:
Inhalation: Choose either from the bottle or from a diffuser.
Aromatic bath: Add a few drops to your bath and let the goodness soak into your body.
Topical application: For skin conditions like blemishes or scars.
Massage: To treat muscular and joint pain, dilute your bergamot oil with a suitable carrier oil like argon, jojoba, or coconut oil.
Frankincense Oil – Skin Care Superstar
Many people associate frankincense with the Christian religion. The word frankincense stems from the French meaning “quality incense.” For me, the aroma conjures up feelings of peace, warmth, and a comforting fragrance. It has been used for thousands of years in religious ceremonies, but today, it is becoming increasingly popular in aromatherapy, where it is prized for its various health benefits.
Frankincense essential oil is extracted from the inner bark of the Boswellia trees and is steam distilled, producing a rich, fragrant and therapeutic essential oil. This oil has a spicy, woody scent with a tinge of fruit, and I find this aroma very clean and relaxing.
While studies show its usefulness for a number of complaints (and you can find many studies online), my favorite ways to use it are for the skin. In the previous blog, I mentioned combining it with the essential oil of lavender promotes and maintains healthy skin.
- Skin: It has excellent antioxidant and astringent abilities, so I apply the diluted oil directly to wrinkles and spots twice a day and notice benefits in a short amount of time. If you have scars and stretch marks, apply frankincense, and you’ll see a visible diminishment of your scars over time if used consistently. The astringent qualities in this oil help tighten the skin and reduce any acne scars that you may have. It can help to tone the skin and keep it in good condition.
- Oral Care: Frankincense may not be among the best-known essential oils when it comes to oral health, but that isn’t to say that it can’t be extremely effective. I add frankincense to my oral health routine, and you can, too, because it helps your mouth stay clean and keeps your breath smelling great. You can gargle daily with a few drops of frankincense oil in a glass of water for gum health; you can even make your very own toothpaste by combining a few drops of frankincense oil and a little baking soda.
Give each of these essential oils a try and see all the different ways you can incorporate them into your healthy living program.
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
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